All Americans – regardless of political ideology – should be alarmed and afraid by President Obama’s repeated decisions to circumvent Congress to enforce his policies, Sen. Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican, writes in an op-ed piece for The Wall Street Journal.
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"Of all the troubling aspects of the Obama presidency, none is more dangerous than the president's persistent pattern of lawlessness, his willingness to disregard the written law and instead enforce his own policies via executive fiat," Cruz writes, noting that the president’s actions fly in the face of everything the Founding Fathers stood for.
Obama thumbs his nose at the U.S. Constitution, where it explicitly imposes on every president the express duty to "take care that the laws be faithfully executed," according to Cruz.
"Rule of law doesn't simply mean that society has laws; dictatorships are often characterized by an abundance of laws. Rather, rule of law means that we are a nation ruled by laws, not men. That no one—and especially not the president—is above the law."
Examples of the president’s "dangerous and lawless" despotic behavior include his raising the minimum wage for future federal contract workers to $10.10 an hour and suspending, delaying and waiving portions of laws he is charged to enforce, such as immigration, where he instructed the Justice Department to stop enforcing the laws. Ditto for welfare and drug laws and the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
And in his speech Tuesday night, Obama promised to advance his agenda "with or without Congress," The New York Times reports.
"So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m going to do," Obama told the nation.
To illustrate his point, Cruz cites 18th-century political philosopher Montesquieu, who observed: "There can be no liberty where the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person, or body of magistrates."
Ruling as a dictatorial iconoclast just isn’t the American way, Cruz writes. If a president cannot convince Congress, he should make his case to the American people.
Perhaps the most egregious example of Obama’s dearth of respect for the rule of law has been his handling of Obamacare, Cruz argues, the bungled healthcare legislation that at least one Democratic senator characterized as a "train wreck."
"In the more than two centuries of our nation's history, there is simply no precedent for the White House wantonly ignoring federal law and asking private companies to do the same," Cruz said. "As my colleague Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa asked, ‘This was the law. How can they change the law?’
"In time, the country will have another president from another party. For all those who are silent now: What would they think of a Republican president who announced that he was going to ignore the law, or unilaterally change the law? Imagine a future president setting aside environmental laws, or tax laws, or labor laws, or tort laws with which he or she disagreed.
"That would be wrong — and it is the Obama precedent that is opening the door for future lawlessness. As Montesquieu knew, an imperial presidency threatens the liberty of every citizen. Because when a president can pick and choose which laws to follow and which to ignore, he is no longer a president."
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