Ted Cruz mad at Obama for not throwing more pot users in cages

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Alberta Texas), a “Tea Party” Republican and ostensibly a champion of states’ rights, is unhappy with President Obama’s decision to not round up marijuana users in Washington and Colorado:

“A whole lot of folks now are talking about legalizing pot. The brownies you had this morning, provided by the state of Colorado,” he jokingly said during his keynote speech at Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Policy Orientation.

Oh Ted, what a knee-slapper!

“And you can make arguments on that issue,” Cruz continued. “You can make reasonable arguments on that issue. The president earlier this past year announced the Department of Justice is going to stop prosecuting certain drug crimes. Didn’t change the law.”

The problem, as Cruz sees it, isn’t just limited to Obama’s decision to not interfere with Washington’s and Colorado’s legalization of marijuana. The president is running the government like a “corrupt dictator” and only enforcing the laws that suit him. And perhaps Cruz has a point. But let’s look at a list of Cruz’ complaints:

Cruz is on solid ground when criticizing Obama’s unilateral delay of the ACA employer mandate. He simply doesn’t have the executive authority to make such a decision, as a lawsuit filed in October to block the delay argued. But it all falls apart when Cruz goes after Obama on immigration and drug policy.

For one, discretion in law enforcement is not the same thing as suspending a law. Prosecutors have always had substantial leeway in choosing which cases to pursue and what evidence to present, so Obama’s directives to immigration and Justice officials on relaxing deportation rules and drug offense indictments is not flouting the law but simply changing the enforcement strategy. This is not uncommon.

But more to the point, Cruz is attacking Obama for not strictly enforcing immoral laws. No government has moral authority to use violence against people, especially so when those people have violated no one’s rights. Smoking a plant and crossing imaginary political borders are crimes only because the state has declared them so. It’s blindingly clear that the federal government has no compelling interest in criminalizing drugs nor does it have a constitutional mandate to do so. And arguably it need not have jurisdiction over immigration enforcement — the constitution provides for federal authority over naturalization, or the laws and process by which one becomes a citizen. A states’ rights advocate, as Tea Party Republicans purport to be, might argue that border enforcement is the domain of border states.

Cruz seems to be repudiating both a cornerstone of the new Republican grassroots platform, and arguing for more federal infrastructure to maintain policies any true conservative should oppose. This is the sort of cognitive dissonance, not to mention rank hypocrisy, that keeps Republicans so woefully out of step with much of the nation.

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  • Wow. It seems the “Freedom to Use Drugs” and “Lets Let All the Mexicans In” arms of the Libertarian Party will even besmirch the most Constitutionalist politician we’ve had in years. Go ahead Chico, maybe they’ll let you smoke your doobies in one of those Promise Zones

    • Then perhaps Cruz should review the Tenth Amendment:

      The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

      – Bottom line: the constitution doesn’t prohibit the states from legalizing marijuana. Just like it doesn’t prohibit other states from not allowing it.

      Beyond that, there’s nothing to prevent Congress from passing stupid laws. For example, it’s illegal to unlock your cell phone for use with other carriers. Half the people I know would face up to 5 years in prison and up to a $500K fine (first offense) if it were enforced in full vigor. By all accounts, laws like this are incompetent and unenforceable, and would seem to be a waste of taxpayers’ money – something that many Tea Partiers (by the sentiment of your comment, I assume you’re a member of).

      Likewise, it’s entirely disingenuous to think that Obama isn’t enforcing immigration laws. In fact, in his first term, he deported more illegal immigrants than Bush did in both terms.

      Now excuse me while I legally inhale some Bubba Kush.

    • Ah yes, the sanguine sanctuary of the ad hominem. No need to refute what has been posited. Merely make a supposition, “[Ted Cruz is] the most Constitutionalist politician we’ve had in years,” then make an ad hominem attack, but do not engage in actual debate. Once you have executed this erudite maneuver, the “debate” is over and said attacker has masterfully won the “debate” in only one slendiferous move. Bravo, you just won the interwebz. Game Over.

    • People who put “The Freedom to Use Drugs” in scare quotes should not be taken seriously, particularly as a friend to small government.

      Try again.

  • Ted Cruz is no constitutionalist when it comes to civil liberties. He is pretty good on the economic ones.