Wednesday, September 25, 2013

More on Republican ( (or, at least, Sen. Cruz's) "terrorism"

Sandy Levinson

For obvious reasons, I was much interested in Jim Dwyer's column in today's NYTimes, which is devoted to the comments of New York Republican Rep. Peter King about Ted Cruz:

Here is Mr. King, a Republican congressman who represents Long Island, speaking on Tuesday afternoon about Ted Cruz, the Republican senator from Texas, who is bringing the federal government to the brink of a shutdown because he wants to cut all the money for President Obama’s health care plan.
“My sound bite is to say he’s a fraud,” Mr. King said. “I start with that, and then I go on. It takes me two or three minutes to explain it.”
Jumping ahead to that third minute, Mr. King said precisely what he thought of the Cruz tactic: “It is just a form of governmental terrorism.”        .
I rest my case.
What are Rep. King's own views?
“But I also believe in democracy, and I don’t mean that in a Fourth of July way,” he said. “We’ve lost on the House floor, we lost on the Senate floor, the president signed the bill, the Supreme Court held it to be constitutional, and the 2012 election was run on Obamacare as much as any issue. President Obama won.
“I still think we should try to repeal the bill. But you repeal it the same way you passed it. You get bills through both houses of Congress, and you get the president to sign it. The only way we are going to do that is by electing more Republicans and winning the presidential election.”
The only reason I'm allowing comments on this is that I wonder if this will cause some of the discussants to read Rep. King out of the Republican Party, or is it possible that this is the beginning of the end for the terrorism practiced by the not-yet-ex-Canadian junior senator from Texas?  (Recall that he promised several weeks ago to renounced his Canadian citizenship; it's apparently fairly difficult to do, and he's apparently had other things on his mind, like destroying the American system of government.)



Nah, I'm not going to read him out of the party; Statistically speaking, he's pretty representative of it's establishment, which is to say, this is not an issue he wants to win on, and certainly not if there's any potential cost to trying.

I'd just say that Cruz, (Who may indeed be faking it.) is acting more in accordance with the desires of his party's base, than King.

Sandy's snarky reference to Sen. Cruz:

" ... or is it possible that this is the beginning of the end for the terrorism practiced by the not-yet-ex-Canadian junior senator from Texas?"

recalls this earlier snarkier comment reference (but not by Sandy) to Sen. Cruz:

"Should Cruz be identified as a ;Canadian-American' or an 'American-Canadian'? I understand that in Texas border towns he's described as a 'Snowback.'"

According to Brett, Sen. Cruz is a fellow "anarcho-libertarian" but is this representative of the GOP establishment as Brett claims?

When the debt ceiling debate took place in 2011, there was a semi-serious intellectual effort made to brand the Republican strategy as illegitimate due to an alleged moral and constitutional duty to separate the debt ceiling from debate over fiscal policy. This theory quickly degenerated into labeling the Republican strategy as "terrorism," which is for some reason considered an acceptable form of rhetoric by people who get uncomfortable if actual terrorism is called "terrorism."

Now we are in 2013, and the same rhetoric is being used to describe those who don't want to vote for appropriations bills that they don't support. Apparently it is not only illegitimate to tie fiscal policy to the debt ceiling, it is illegitimate to tie it to fiscal policy. The only acceptable, non-terrorist, approach is to agree to President Obama's demands.

I get that when the partisan passions get boiling, people pretty much act like children throwing a tantrum. But don't you find it somewhat embarrassing to use a professional legal blog for such purposes?


mls asks a serious question: Should the tone of a "professional legal blog" be? Should we always talk in a suitably high-tone language? Yes, if people merit being treated seriously and respectfully. This is why I am often dismayed at the invective directed against Mr. DePalma, who generally adopts a tone of courtesy. Ditto Brett.

Does Ted Cruz merit this courtesy? I would say the answer is no. He has chosen to be, again to use a term of art, little more than a "thug" with regard to people who disagree with him. He is little more than an Ivy League-educated, bi-national Joe McCarthy. The proper response is "Has he no shame?" (And the answer is apparently no.

I take my guidance from Alexander Hamilton, who had no hesitation to refer to the American political system established by the Articles of Confederation as "imbecile" and who questioned the motives of some, not all, of the people who opposed the change he was advocating in The Federalist.

And is MLS as upset at Representative King as he is with me, or is the argument that Balkinization should adopt a higher tone than that found in his comments. I don't mean this to be a snarky question. There's a strong argument that we shouldn't descend to the kind of kindergarten language often found in ordinary politics.

But Rep. King is also making a fully serious argument about what it means to respect the democratic (n.b., not the "Democratic") process. There is something movingly old-fashioned about his belief that the losers of elections--and he has no doubt, since he's not delusional, that the Republicans lost the 2012 elections, since I suspect he realizes that their control of the House, with almost 2 million fewer votes than Democrats, is a function of partisan gerrymandering plus the ideological clustering that increasingly typifies our politics.

I confess I[m generally not a big fan of Rep. King, who has been quite demagogic, I believe, re the "Islamicist threat" within the US. But that doesn't lessen the seriousness behind his dismissal of Sen. Cruz as a "fraud" and "terrorist."


It's comical that you have higher regard for Blankshot than you do for Ted Cruz. You really need to start reading the content of Blankshot's posts, and not just the tone.

I'm curious as to what you think of Reid "filling out the tree" to prevent any substantive amendments in the Senate besides restoration of the Obamacare funding. It doesn't appear to me he wants this actually subject for debate, maybe he's afraid he can't keep his own caucus together if they're not presented with an all or nothing vote?

The House is, procedurally, entitled to do what they're doing. A terrorist is doing things they're not entitled to do, period, but the House is perfectly entitled to write statutes to their liking, and send them to the Senate. That's one of my reasons for objecting to this kind of language: You'r enot entitled to have a legislative chamber fund things you want funded, not even if they were funded in the past. Laws can be changed by votes, and that's what they're doing.

Perhaps if the Senate were actually generating the legally required budgets, and running things in a generally normal manner, instead of keeping us in a perpetual crisis mode, less extreme circumstances for revisiting this subject would be available.

Does mls have no "partisan passions" that reach the boiling point? Should his past employment on GOP staffs in the House suggest that he might have "partisan passions"? Since leaving his past employment, has he been objective rather than partisan? While mls seems to be careful in his own blog, "Point of [Something or Other]," his comments on some legal blogs are a tad partisan. As Sandy points out in his comment on mls' comment, it was GOP Rep. King who chose the Sen. Cruz descriptive. Perhaps mls disagrees with Rep. King. Perhaps mls even disagrees with Sen. McCain's descriptive. But Sen. Cruise will sail along just as long as his name is spelled correctly as no doubt will msl.

"The only acceptable, non-terrorist, approach is to agree to President Obama's demands."

That isn't the case being made and it has been repeatedly explained, repeatedly not using words like "terrorism," though Sandy Levinson uses this blog to vent.

How many times do people have to show the compromises being made etc.? When even Mr. W. gets aggravated trying to explain things, maybe something is a bit off. Also, why is it "Obama's demands"? Not the Senate?

As to Cruz more representing his party's base, I think King probably represents his base while Cruz might his base in Texas. Still, like Rand Paul talking a lot and then voting for someone after getting a one sentence reply that he got before, maybe not.

After all, ACA has many popular aspects and the people, including Republican base, don't disagree. They have a confused view of things while with respect not being as much of a distasteful person Cruz seems to be.

Finally, representatives of the people also have a responsibility to act like mature actors, even if the base of their party's id doesn't want them to. This includes explaining them how things should work in a republican democracy. If "terrorism" is too mean of a word, explain it in some other fashion.

It was a fake filibuster, was negotiated with Harry Reid before it began, and it delayed no votes.

Please pay more attention to events and less to your fixations. "Connect the dots"


It takes a massive amount of obtuseness to believe that Ted Cruz is anything more than a narcissistic self-promoter. The fact that he's the darling of "tea party" (f/k/a as Christian Coalition, f/k/a as Moral Majority) republicans speaks volumes about them.


King has been a RINO of good standing since he arrived in Congress. Nothing remotely new here apart from adopting the reprehensible "terrorism" slander.

What is it you find terroristic about giving speeches on the floor of the Senate?

Or perhaps you were referring to an appropriations bill which declines to fund your preferred programs?


Prof. Levinson ignores the political aspect to BD's continuing flood of commentary on Balkinization. By responding to a high percentage of postings with numerous (often nonsensical) comments on each thread, BD dominates the discussion as others' retorts (unfortunately) give him fodder to continue the disruption. This (again unfortunately) diminishes the value of Balkinization, whose primary posters do provide high quality commentary.

So a few things. I know Ted Cruz and Pete King and, like most other people I know (Shag excepted), they have flaws. Cruz has perfected the art of ticking off everyone in Washington, probably on purpose, and King tends to speak before thinking. I haven’t read King’s remarks. As Sandy describes it, King is making the argument that because Obama won the election, Republicans have the obligation to fund Obamacare. I find this a somewhat peculiar argument. I agree that Obama’s re-election makes it implausible to think that Obamacare is going to be completely repealed or defunded, but this doesn’t mean that Republicans have the obligation to support funding it unless their concerns are taken into account. So I would think that both sides have an obligation to negotiate in good faith, but that neither is obligated to reach agreement on the other side’s terms.
Now if Obama and/or congressional Democrats were offering to negotiate, and Cruz was demanding that they agree to defund on a take it or leave it basis, I think it would be perfectly reasonable to criticize him harshly. Given that the other side is flatly refusing to negotiate, I find the criticism harder to understand.
Whatever King’s point, though, I see no justification for using a word like “terrorism” to describe what Cruz is doing. He is one senator who gave a long speech in support of his legislative position. I am mystified as to how that amounts to terrorism, even by the very loose standards of political rhetoric (death panels, war on women, etc).
I hope this answers Sandy’s question.


I don't think mls is "mystified" by the use of the word "terrorism" to describe GOP behavior. On the off chance that he's sincere, it's because the Republicans are threatening to destroy *other* programs in an effort to get their way on this one. Not just "some" other programs, but *all* other programs. In the same way, a terrorist threatens to shoot a hostage who is unrelated to the particular demands made by the terrorist. It's the combination of "unrelated" and "completely destroy" that makes the analogy pretty obvious.

"Cruz has perfected the art of ticking off everyone in Washington, probably on purpose"

On purpose only if he's a grifter who'll be happy making money on the right wing fringe. Some thought he was angling for a governorship, and not more. At this point I don't think he'll get even that.

King is only admitting political defeat. He wouldn't have made the same argument a year ago. And republicans have been filibustering for years, but it's reported mostly in the language of "blocking" or "stopping" not referring to the resulting victory with a minority of votes.

Obama has negotiated, and his base isn't happy. The republicans are are now in the situation on playing to their shrinking base or engaging in the governance of the country.

"Most Americans these days are simply ignoring Republicans. And they should," That's Judd Gregg.

MLS: the thinking man's Bart DePalma. It's not enough. As an old friend once said : It's not the system it's the people. The post is as silly as the responses.

The "base" is a useful term but it doesn't illuminate the underlying structural issues. Senator Cruz has a base of support in Texas but this depends upon two factors: the mobilization of a white male status-conscious constituency and a discouraged and relatively passive minority electorate. These conditions tend to reproduce the structural biases of the Old South. Cruz's victories depend upon one-sided appeals that exacerbate social tensions and intimidate lower status groups. Explicit racism and class prejudice are perhaps absent because attacks on the Affordable Care Act may communicate the same sentiment of disdain for the working class majority at a lesser cost.


Did you and other conservatives consider Rep. King a RINO when he was out front leading W. Bush's War on Terror positions or denouncing the 'ground zero mosque'? I seem to recall conservatives treating him with much love during that period (similar to how they treated Chris Christie with much love when he was simply being rude to union members).


I find Mr. Levinson's work and comments here to be nearly always thought provoking and insightful, and I highly value his willingness to speak uncommon ideas (such as about the flaws of our over-venerated Constitution).

But I find all this recent 'GOP as terrorists' talk to be more than a bit too much. Our system allows, and I believe the Founders intended, for the House to use the 'power of the purse' in a variety of ways. The current GOP use of that power may be silly or irresponsible, and the structure which allows this may be unsound, but a party invoking it is no more resorting to 'terrorism' than an administration invoking something like the 'platinum coin' technicality would be engaging in 'Ceasarism'

Takendo 193Cruz has no more influence than was is given to him by others, particularly in his own party. He has already been unanimously black balled by them. When he turns to the voters, either in Texas or in a presidential primary bid, he will garner the votes of the people who loudly averred that the government should keep its hands off their medicare, or those that believe Obama is a Kenyan national, or that impeachment should be on the table. Keeping in mind that Cruz will always have a base of wacko voters, he should quickly be marginalized, All that is required is that he be properly categorized; his impossible egotism and disrespect for others will limit him. But these times are unpredictable, and peculiar situation could catastrophically elevate him to the presidency.

"Did you and other conservatives consider Rep. King a RINO when"

So, conservatives support a Republican when he advances conservative causes, and denounce him when he begins aiding Democrats in opposing them. Inexplicable, it's almost as though their praise and/or blame were contingent on the facts of the case!

So, calling someone a RINO doesn't mean anything more than "I don't agree with you in this case"? Because it sure sounds a lot worse than that.

Mark- what I am mystified about is the theory on which Cruz, or the Republicans in general, are thought to be doing something procedurally improper (as opposed to simply disagreeing with their substantive legislative objectives). The CR funds the entire government. How exactly is funding Obamacare “not related” to that?

There are House Democrats who want to block the CR unless the overall spending cap is raised. Is this holding the whole government “hostage” to get what they want, or is it just the normal legislative process?

A reasonable way of resolving this impasse might be to say that the question of funding Obamacare should be entirely separated from the question of funding the rest of the government. In that way, the CR would neither “defund” (ie, take away money from prior permanent appropriations) or “fund” (provide additional money to support this FY’s operations) for Obamacare. I don’t believe, however, that this compromise has been floated by either side so its hard to see why one side is being any more unreasonable than the other.

But even if you think the Republicans are being more unreasonable (which perhaps has less to do with their negotiating position than your views about their substantive goals), saying that someone is unreasonable is very different from calling them a terrorist.


"Mark- what I am mystified about is the theory on which Cruz, or the Republicans in general, are thought to be doing something procedurally improper (as opposed to simply disagreeing with their substantive legislative objectives)."

It's Even Worse than it Looks.
Ask Norm Ornstein

Are you capable of holding a knowledgable conversation about the deficit and debt?

But it's not about the debt; its about the tribe. The Republicans have become the functioning equivalent of the Saudi monarchy: moralizing to the base while screwing them, and wallowing in corruption, cash and muck. I drink with a retired coke dealer who used to work DC. "I was the coke dealer for neo-cons" He got a heads up to leave town after Obama was elected. The Dems had their own connections.

all so stupid


Sandy: " This is why I am often dismayed at the invective directed against Mr. DePalma, who generally adopts a tone of courtesy. "

Considering that during the last time I was here, he flat-out lied about voter suppression, I would say that the tone does not match the words.

"The elite academic circles that Cruz was now traveling in began to rub off. As a law student at Harvard, he refused to study with anyone who hadn’t been an undergrad at Harvard, Princeton, or Yale. Says Damon Watson, one of Cruz’s law-school roommates: “He said he didn’t want anybody from ‘minor Ivies’ like Penn or Brown.”


Mr. W:

King is what used to be known as a Scoop Jackson Democrat - a defense hawk and left on domestic issues.

So long as we are discussing domestic issues, King is a RINO.

Folks, Obamacare is a red line issue.

No politician who actually believes in free markets can possibly tolerate the government socializing 1/6 of the economy and simply accept this with a shrug and a comment that: "we lost and nothing can be done."

This goes beyond principle. Progressivism and socialism simply do not work and we in the US need to take a long, hard look at the slow motion civilization failure which is occurring in across Europe as their economies and populations collapse one by one.

Either we join the lemmings leaping off the cliff or turn around now. Once you have leapt off the cliff, it is too late.

The lemmings, aka Tea Partiers, can follow Cruz et al to and over the cliffs, if they so desire.

This goes beyond principle.

# posted by Blogger Bart DePalma : 6:07 PM

I assume that is why you're decided to ignore the results of the last election?

You mean the election that left Republicans in control of the House, which all funding bills have to pass? No, I don't think that's being ignored. It would be ignoring it to act as though they were a minority there, and had no choice but to pass what Democrats want.

Glad the tea klux party has no guilt about the skewed redistricting that allows them to obtain more seats in the House, despite receiving 2 million less votes.

Fact is the right wing has zero respect for the outcome of elections that don't go their way, at least in my lifetime of 32 years.

Just look at the histrionics involved with raising the debt-ceiling, after the ultimatum of accepting Romney's proposals (despite losing the election).


What I was trying to get at is this way conservatives have of writing off people who have historically been with them on this or that cause. Then they disagree on a cause and, viola, RINO!!!

"Folks, Obamacare is a red line issue."

But Rep. King voted against it. He should be written out of conservatism because he does not think much of Cruz's actions opposing it?

"You mean the election that left Republicans in control of the House, which all funding bills have to pass?"

Strange thing about that election is that, unlike the Presidential one, the one with less votes overall won. If that entire 'consent of the majority' thing has meaning then that election seems to be less evidence of a mandate.

"no choice but to pass what Democrats want"

They have a "choice" but given the Senate is controlled by the Dems and the President has veto power, our mixed government makes it necessary to compromise. That is what the Dems including the President has done over and over again. They rather not, they "want" not to, but that's how reasonable government operates.

And, since in the last election the Senate and the President was re-elected, the latter particularly in a sort of "recall" election, 1/2 of Congress blocking ACA (particularly for the reason Mark Field flagged) is problematic.

The proper republican (small 'r') way to do that is what Rep. King suggested. We were told that even with a supermajority & a year, with constant attempts of compromise that ACA was "rammed down" but now many of the same people hypocritically is much less concerned with bipartisanship.

Unless it means what the majority of 1/2 of Congress wants, the one with less of a mandate if we look at the numbers to boot.

Brett, you got fewer votes. People don't like you. A lot more will dislike you after you kill the economy, again. This isn't going to end well for you.

One could equally say, Democrats have a choice, but given that the House is controlled by Republicans, our mixed government makes it necessary for them to compromise.

Still waiting for you guys to start compromising. Say, to the extent of 1 part in 3?

Seriously, what this comes down to is that you're demanding Republicans give the finger to the people who elected them, and give YOU, not people like me, what you want. I'm HAPPY they're finally starting to put up some trivial resistance, finally beginning to not reflexively cave to you guys. I want to see more of it.

A government 'shutdown'? Cool. Stretch it out half a year or so, and a working majority of the voters might notice it's not really hurting them.

But, so long as Republicans have a majority in even one chamber, I expect them to USE IT.

Brett with this:

"A government 'shutdown'? Cool. Stretch it out half a year or so, and a working majority of the voters might notice it's not really hurting them."

once again demonstrates the "anarcho-libertarian" agenda. A declining tide lowers even the rowboats of "a working majority" and their oars might get stuck in the mud. Brett may be immune to pain but who believes that he speaks for "a working majority"?

As one of the few actual terrorists in Congress, Peter King (IRA-NY) is a particularly odd person to be flinging around allegations of "terrorism" over old-fashioned (or even new-fashioned) political hardball.

The fact that a man who fundraised for the IRA when they were blowing up British and Irish civilians is the Republicans' point man on counter-terrorism policy says more about their fundamental unseriousness than even the daftest budgetary antics.

And you, I suppose, are immune to the pain of all those people ending up in part time jobs instead of the full time they used to have, as a consequence of Obamacare? Democrats never need to take the blame for the "unintended" consequences of your brilliant ideas?

And you, I suppose, are immune to the pain of all those people ending up in part time jobs instead of the full time they used to have, as a consequence of Obamacare? Democrats never need to take the blame for the "unintended" consequences of your brilliant ideas?
# posted by Blogger Brett : 9:08 AM

I'm sure there probably are unintended consequences from this law. Fortunately, the wingnut refusal to do anything but eliminate it means that they'll get blamed for the fact that problems are not being fixed.

But brett, your "Cool" comment focused on:

" ... a working majority of the voters might notice it's not really hurting them."

and now express concern with part-timers. So you seem to recognize that a government shut-down would result in harm, at least to those in part-time jobs. Of course a shut-down will also result in complete job losses to many voters who WILL notice it's really hurting them. Brett, blows both "cool" and "hot" at the same time in the manner of an "anarcho-libertarian."

I think the Dems are ready to compromise. We want an end to all agricultural subsidies; repeal of Taft-Hartley; doubling of Social Security; halving the size of the armed forces; a transactions tax on all stock, bond and derivatives trades; increase the maximum tax rate on earnings over, say, 5 million, to 67%; a national voter rights law which eliminates all voter suppression efforts; and the immediate resignation of at Scalia, Thomas and Alito. We're happy to repeal the ACA in return for a single payer system. There's some other stuff too, but we can start with these. What are Republicans willing to give us as part of any compromise?

This comment has been removed by the author.

Mark Field is a helper.

I'm a fair man. They can keep Scalia to keep Ginsburg company.

Seriously, some other sort of compromise will be found, just not one good enough for some. This means, using flexible use of language, Dems are getting everything they want.

Joe's right; that was unworthy of me. It should be Roberts who resigns instead.

It's also fair to add some other issues so the Republicans can't say they were sandbagged: we want proportional representation in the Senate; a constitutional amendment declaring that corporations are not "people" and have no rights protected by the Constitution; a carbon tax of, say, $100/ton, which will be used to reduce the taxes of the bottom 90% of taxpayers; break up of the large banks and an order prohibiting their top managers from ever working in finance again; reimposition of Glass-Steagall; repeal of the Commodity Futures Act of 1999; an end to all tax breaks for the oil industry; an increase in unearned income taxes to 100% at $25 million and above; elimination of all "charitable" donations; and a national program for infrastructure rebuilding (I'm thinking $3 trillion, but it's negotiable).

Mark's compromise appears to be in the same spirit as the list of demands that the GOP has released. I'd like to see Reid announce that the debt limit will be increased only if Boehner agrees to those demands.

Boehner, who insists that the "o" is silent, may not he heeded if he alienates the Tea Party, then henceforward being called "former Speaker Bo[eh]ner." But what's in a name?

The Affordable Care Act: A Hidden Jobs Killer?

Reality has a pro-ACA bias.

The Washington Post reports that "Democrats joined Republicans to overwhelmingly approve a separate measure that would guarantee that active-duty members of the military- as well as civilians and contractors essential to their work- would get paid in the event of a shutdown. That would eliminate one of the most politically sensitive consequences for Republicans if a shutdown occurs.

But Democratic aides said the Senate was unlikely to consider that bill, either."

But, wait. If the House has overwhelmingly passed a clean CR on military funding, and the Senate refuses to approve it in order to keep the political heat on Republicans, isn't that "terrorism"? Using our military as "hostages"?

mls reaches deep down for his concept of a "clean CR." But that "clean CR" if taken up by the Senate might just trigger a Senatorial "hold" by Cruz (or Lee) preventing a resolution on a timely basis to avoid a shutdown. That's "Cruz-ing" on the shoals of the Potomac, the American version of what happened on the coast of Italy.

Perhaps mls with his insider knowledge of how the House works could explain how a "clean" separate military bill was enacted unattached to his suggestion of a "clean CR" military bill that might have pressured Democrats. Maybe mls can untangle the web of deception.

Now we are in 2013, and the same rhetoric is being used to describe those who don't want to vote for appropriations bills that they don't support. Apparently it is not only illegitimate to tie fiscal policy to the debt ceiling, it is illegitimate to tie it to fiscal policy. LOL代练  lol boosting  Cheap Fifa 15 Coins Cheap lol elo boost


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