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POLICY ORIENTATION FOR THE TEXAS LEGISLATURE 2014
BREAKFAST KEYNOTE (January 10, 2014)
THE HONORABLE TED CRUZ
Well, thank you very, very much. I am thrilled to have the chance to be introduced as someone fixing to get killed at the Alamo. You know I have to tell you three years ago when we started campaigning for the senate, I went all over the State of Texas saying if elected to the U.S. Senate I hoped to be a Senator like Phil Gramm. All over this state that was something I said over and over and over again so everything I've done wrong this past year, you can blame on Phil. And you know, he mentioned that fight in 1993 over Hillary-care. I remember when Hillary-care was first proposed. You had Democrats who were feeling ascendant. They'd just won a big election. They were convinced they were going to pass this thing. And if you think back and remember in '93 the reaction of an awful lot of republicans in Washington. Was they came out with what I called at the time 'Hillary-care light'. They said we'll partially socialize healthcare; that's our proud Republican position. I remember I was in law school at the time, I just about put my boot through the television set. I was so ticked off. I said to heck with all of you guys, none of you believe anything. I'm going to go move to an island and fish the rest of my life.
And then the great senator from Texas, Phil Gramm, strode out to the microphones and, you know, it's — of the things that drives my staff crazy is anytime I endeavor to do impressions. Now good impressions are pretty good but actually bad impressions are better. But 1993, my senator, Phil Gramm, stood up there and said 'This will pass over my cold dead political body." And then I'm pretty sure he started to read Green Eggs and Ham. And there were a whole lot of Republican Senators who were in the back kind of hiding behind the curtain and they sort of looked over and he hadn't been killed and they all ran over behind him and said 'yeah, yeah, what he said'. I'll tell you, I'm convinced if Phil Gramm hadn't been in the United States Senate, Obamacare would have passed 21 years ago and it would have been called Hillary-care. That's the power of leadership and I am proud to try to carry a small portion of the leadership that you provided for this state and hopefully to carry on the endeavor that everyone here, the TPPF is engaged in, that everyone here is engaged in, their leaders in Texas and the state legislature are engaged in which is telling the story of freedom. That's a powerful, powerful thing. Telling the truth matters a lot.
What I want to talk to you guys briefly about is an area of the truth that the news media doesn't talk about a whole lot. I know that's really hard to believe. Anything the medial won't talk … I know, it's really hard to believe. I want to talk to you about rule of law. You know, one of the great things about TPPF is it focuses on first principles. It focuses on the principles that matter that have made this country free and great and it created an environment where anyone can start with nothing and achieve the American dream. But if you look at most of the history of mankind, rule of law has been honored in the breach if at all. Most of the history of mankind has been a history of tyrants and despites, power concentrated in one place. Sometimes they'd give rights to the people but if government is giving you its rights, they can take away those rights. And the framers of our Constitution created a political miracle in this country. When they divided power among the branches of government between the federal government and the state government and they enshrined rule of law in our governing documents and in our history and culture.
There are many, many disturbing things that have happened under the Obama administration. Texas football's gone to pot. There are lots of bad things that have happened. Alright, it's probably not fair to blame that one on the president but we can anyway. But of all of the bad things that have happened, I think one of the most dangerous is the consistent pattern of lawlessness from this president and this administration. You know, three years ago, the course of the immigration battles, President Obama said he supported the Dream Act. Okay, he can support the Dream Act; that's a position. He can go advocate for it and people asked him at the time, three years ago, well do you have the authority to just do this on your own? His answer was no, no, no, I don't have the constitutional authority to do that. And then six months before the last election suddenly the authority materialized.
Now, set aside what you think of the merits of that decision; is it a good decision, is it a bad decision, and just think for a minute you're the President of the United States who goes out and announces we have immigration laws, they're on the books, I'm going to ignore them. I am, with the stroke of a pen granting amnesty to some 800,000 people. I'm not changing the laws; I'm simply saying I’m the president therefore amnesty is granted. That's remarkable. Let's take drug policy. A whole lot of folks now are talking about legalizing pot, the brownies you had this morning were provided by the State of Colorado. And you can make arguments on that issue. 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; didn't go you know that's an issue, you can go to congress, you could get a conversation; you could get Democrats and Republicans who would say we ought to change our drug policy in some way and you can have a real conversation. You could have hearings. You could look at the problem. You could discuss common sense changes that may be should happen or shouldn't happen. This president didn't do that. He just said the laws say one thing and; mind you, these are criminal laws … these are laws that say if you do X, Y and Z you will go to prison. The president announced no you won't. Those words on that law book thing on your shelf, pay no attention to those.
And let's take Obamacare. Please, take Obamacare. Obamacare has singlehandedly been an illustration in lawlessness at a breathtaking scale. Obamacare the statute. The president is a big fan of saying it's the law of the land; we need to follow the law of the land. Oh really? Let's see, that law of the land says on January 1, 2014 the employer mandate shall kick in for big business. Now, unless my iPhone is broken, I think we passed January 1, 2014 and yet the president just announced unilaterally no, we're not enforcing that. I'm granting an exemption to all of big business, and by the way this was done; was this done through big formal announcement? Through an address to the American people. There's a problem in this law, we're going to have to change it? No, it was done through a blog posting by a midlevel bureaucrat at the Department of Treasury on July 3 right before the Fourth of July break. Just said by the way, this portion of the law is no longer offered.
Now, 225 years of our nation's history, it used to be if you want to change a law, you go to Congress and say okay, hey this law isn't working, let's change it. Apparently all of that was a mistake. Apparently instead you can just get a midlevel bureaucrat to put up a blog posting and say this portion of the law doesn't matter so what is the law in the United States of America? If you go and think it's actually what's written in the United States Code, the United States Code says big business has to comply January 1, 2014 and the president simply says no it doesn't, I'm granting them an exemption. When do they have to comply? Well, right now we think it's 2015 because he said it's a year exemption. Of course, we've been here an hour; that may have changed.
Let's take another example. Congress. Now, I know no one here could ever imagine that members of Congress want different rules to apply to them than anyone else. That's really pretty out there. One of the provisions of Obamacare in the text of the statute is that members of Congress will be on the exchanges without subsidies just like millions of Americans. Congress wrote it in there because they said look, if we're going to create this pile of stuff, that's a euphemism, then we ought to at least eat those stuff burgers along with everybody else. Now what happened? Well Harry Reid Senate Democrats has a meeting in the capital. He invited the president down. It was a closed door but they apparently said to the president, they said we don't want to live under Obamacare. This thing's bad. Holy Cow! Nancy Pelosi said we had to pass it to find out what's in it; we found out, it's bad. And so the president said don't worry, I got your back and he legally granted an exemption for every member of Congress. Put out a statement said, oh no, no, no, that little provision that says you got to be on the exchanges without subsidies that by the way you and your staff are freaking out about. Few things are funnier than watching Democratic Congressional staff members who wrote this nonsense in utter abject … what do you mean, I'm going to be thrown on these exchanges and not have sub- … I might; what if I can't see my own doctor? Those are real comments; I'm not making those up. And you're just like oh really, is that a slight inconvenience to you?
Or you take the most spectacular of the consequences of Obamacare that have happened so far and it's not contrary to the media depiction the abysmal web site; although that was a rather amazing display of incompetence. Over five millions Americans had lost their health insurance because of Obamacare. You know, one of the things I try to remember every day is, I've got 26 million bosses. I work for each of you, I try to come back to this state every weekend if possible, travel the state and everywhere you go you hear from men and women in the state who say I've lost my health insurance; I've got a child with diabetes, I'm scared. People are hurting because of this. Now we all know the president promised if you like your healthcare plan, you can keep it. Question mark? Period. Now the New York Times said he "misspoke". You know, there comes the point with the left wing media where you can't even make fun of them anymore. You just simply say what they said. He misspoke exactly the same way 27 times on camera to the national population. So what did he do in response to that? We all now know that the statement 'if you like your healthcare plan you can keep it' was a flat out, deliberate misspeaking. We all know that the statement 'if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor' was a flat-out deliberate misspeaking. It was kind of a stuff burger. And what did he do?
You know, if you were a student of history and you saw some big government program that wasn't working, the usual way you do is you go to congress and say hey, we got to fix this. Let's do something to fix it. You know, if there were one of my colleagues observed to me about a year ago that she was not a sixth grader. If you were to ask a group of sixth graders 'what do you do if the law isn't working?' they'd say oh, you go to Congress and the House and the Senate, the pass a bill, it goes to the president, he signs it; that's how you change the law. What did the president do? He held a press conference where he stood up and said, and I'm going to take a quick digression. Why did five-plus million people lose their health insurance? Because Obamacare made their health insurance illegal. That wasn't an unintended side effect. The text of the law says that policy you think you like, we don't like it, it's illegal. So the president holds a press conference and he says insurance companies, I am instructing you now; go issue the policies that we just made illegal. I am directing you as President of the United States, go violate the law.
Now, a formalist might say I remember first year of criminal law, that's aiding and abetting. Instructing someone on how to violate; technically it's not a felony so it's not but for the reporters in the room just to clarify that because that'll get blown into ridiculous proportion. He simply held a press conference in which he instructed private citizens disregard the law for one year and then next year follow the law, unless I change it or not. And amazingly at the same time congress was trying to pass legislation to address the fact that five million plus people lost their health insurance? Simultaneous with getting the speech, the president said 'and I will veto any legislature that does what I'm saying'.
Look, there is a level at which all of this is ludicrous but there's another level at which all of this is incredibly dangerous and terrifying. And there have been Republican presidents in the past who abused their power. Shockingly! I know no one here could believe that's possible. But the difference is when that happens you had Republicans who stood up and said this is wrong. When Richard Nixon tried to use the IRS to target his political enemies, you had bipartisan condemnation; this is wrong. By the way, Nixon tried to do, so it didn't succeed. When the Obama administration tried and succeeded in doing so, the Democrats all did their obligatory for one day. I am outraged, now please go back to doing what you were doing before. Whether or not you agree with the substantive policy decision, whether it's on immigration, whether it's on drug policy; whether it's on Obamacare. If the President of the United States can simply pick and choose which laws to follow, can say I will follow this law, I won't follow that law. This law I will follow Section A, B and C, I'm going to skip D and I'm going to follow E2 and 3 but not 1 and 4. We know what that looks like. There are countries on this globe where that is how the law works. You look at corrupt countries where rule of law is meaningless, where dictators are in power and they have things they call law. But what does law mean? Law isn't the dictate from government. Every country has dictates from government and yet not every country has rule of law. Rule of law is the notion that we are a nation of laws and not of men and that no one and especially, especially, especially those in political office are not above the law.
If we have a system where the president can pick and choose what laws to follow at utter whim and discretion, then the whole rest of our constitutional structure becomes superfluous. That's dangerous. That is seriously dangerous. Many of you all remember a few years ago when George W. Bush was president. How many of you all remember the case Medellin v. Texas? Wherein that case President Bush unfortunately, a good man, made a mistake and signed an order that tried to order the state courts to obey the world court. It was wrong. It was unconstitutional and I'll tell you, I'm proud of the State of Texas that Texas stood up to the president who was a Republican, he was the former governor of our state, went before the U.S. Supreme Court and said no president can give away U.S. sovereignty, no president can undermine the rule of law in this country. And the Supreme Court by a vote a 6 to 3 struck down the president's order and upheld U.S. sovereignty of rule of law.
Let me ask y’all a question. Where are the Democrats? Where are the … is there no Democrat in Washington to actually believes in rule of law. I got to tell you if it were a Republican president; if it were President Phil Gramm or even better President Wendy Gramm. Well for one thing, this wouldn't be happening but if it did, there'd be Republicans lining up to defend the rule of law. And where's the media? Oh, they're in the back. But where are they actually reporting on what is going on? If you care about liberty, an imperial president who defies his constitutional obligation to "take care that the laws be faithfully executed" is an extraordinary threat to the liberty of this country.
And I'm going to close by speaking to Liberals and Democrats. This may not be the best place to do that; I mean, it is the People's Republic of Travis County. But I'm going to close by speaking to Liberals and Democrats. Maybe just maybe you say, yeah I'm a little troubled by too much presidential power, a little troubled by the government monitoring everything we say. By the way, for those of you who all have cell phones, please leave them on. I want to make sure the president hears everything we say. If you're a Liberal, if you're a Democrat, if you're a reporter for the New York Times, maybe you're saying look, he's my guy; I root for my guy. I don't like a few of the things he's doing but he's basically a good guy so it's okay. You know, I'm reminded of going back to Medellin when the president signed that order telling the state courts to obey the world court, I got a call from the U.S. Solicitor General, a good friend of mine, Paul Clement, a very, very good man, who called me and he said Ted, are you sitting down? That's not a good way to begin a conversation. So he described to me what the president had just done and he said but hey, the good news is the president keeps his finger on the trigger. He decides when to use this new power to set aside state laws and so you should be very comforted by that. For my response, I said well Paul, a.) that's not much comfort given how it's tried to be used right here and now but b.) Paul, there came a pharaoh who knew not Joseph and his children. This president, even if he's my guy, ain't going to be there forever and if this president has that power so does the next one and the next one and the next one and my message to all the Democrats, to all the Liberals, what do you think about the next president? It may be a Republican having the power Barack Obama is claiming to have. A president who is not bound by the law is no longer a president; and if you love liberty that should concern you greatly.
Job Number: 14035-002
Custom Filename: Keynote Ted Cruz
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