Why did Ted Cruz give Obama executive action on Iran?

Monday, September 14, 2015
Kevin McCullough - Guest Columnist

Kevin McCulloughIt's the single-most vital terror-related issue of our lifetime – and Cruz voted to do the opposite of what every American wanted done with the deal. Maybe he can explain why in this week's debate.

This primary season has been full of blunders. Some from being less than knowledgeable about areas of expertise that they are still getting up to speed on. Others from pretending to be something they are not. Some from treating nearly every woman he speaks about as though she's an ex-wife who just took him to court.

Some blunders have less historical significance.

Others are recorded in Senate history for posterity.

Senator Cruz on Iran is a blunder so historical it leaves me scratching my head.

Senator Cruz and Donald Trump were the keynote speakers at last week's "Stop Iran Rally." And while the rally posted lower turnout than the numbers of the original rally in New York City, they still received national attention and massive TV presence.

Ted Cruz spoke powerfully, as have most of the GOP presidential candidates, as to the reasons why the Iran deal should never have been agreed to. He listed the reasons why it is so morally objectionable. He articulated the very essence of why the American people know beyond any doubt that it is the single biggest foreign policy mistake made in our lifetimes. He properly communicated why it will be seen historically as worse than Neville Chamberlain upon his return from Munich in 1938.

So imagine most Americans' surprise when they learn that Cruz actually voted to do the opposite of what every American wanted done with the deal: make it a treaty, enforceable under real congressional teeth. Americans did not want to let President Obama use his "pen and phone"-style executive order to wield foreign policy insanity.

But that's what the senator voted for in May of this year.

I found it incredulous to even comprehend. I read the senator's quote attempting to defend the action – but at the end of the day, the facts were: Senator Cruz voted in favor of giving President Obama the right to treat the "treaty" with Iran as nothing more than an executive order, rendering Congress completely useless in the process.

My mind did return to the day I heard Josh Earnest snickering from the White House press room about how they didn't have to even go to Congress, that Congress was more or less unimportant to the deliberation's outcome.

Turns out he was right – and in an action so bizarre, Senator Ted Cruz not only voted in favor of it happening that way, but he actually co-authored the language of the legislation that made it all possible.

In his defense, the senator claimed that by voting in the overwhelming majority to give President Obama the right to make it an executive action that he was "hoping to slow down the process." The implication being he hoped to buy time to convince senators to influence the hardened chief executive to change the outcome.

But why would they, when he just voted to legally allow them to not have to worry about it?

The bait-and-switch never even made sense. If Congress allowed the president to treat it as an executive action – thus forgoing their constitutional role in approving treaties – then the vote threshold was merely 51 votes to pass instead of the 67 for treaties.

Senators weren't basing this vote entirely upon support for their respective parties, and hardened Democrats switched sides because of the pressure constituents put on them in rallying in New York City. (Both Senators Schumer and Menendez announced official opposition to the Iran deal following the largest protest rally ever held in Times Square.)

Cruz couldn't have changed the outcome by voting against Obama being given executive action power. But he could have claimed the victory in principle.

Only the brave and honorable Tom Cotton from Arkansas voted against doing so, screaming from the Senate floor why treaties should never be handled in such a manner.

Senator Cruz says he did it to try to wield leverage, buy time, influence votes, and get people to go along with him.

All of which sounds like the justifications for politics that Ted Cruz is usually attempting to distance himself from – remember that brave filibuster?

Why didn't he raise righteous indignation (holy hell, if you will) over letting the leader of the free world use his pen and phone to give the world's biggest exporter of terror their $150 billion dollar signing bonus, along with the fast track to nuclear weapons?

And worse yet, is this indicative of an inexperienced senator with no executive experience attempting to navigate waters he's just not prepared to stand on principle over?

The world may be able to survive Donald Trump not being smarter than Hugh Hewitt; it may be able to survive Governor Kasich bragging about attending gay weddings, a radio host attempting to correct Governor Huckabee concerning Supreme Court cases, Rand Paul's cranky isolationism, or possibly Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush being for paths to citizenship for illegals.

It's just hard to fathom how one can claim to be the principled, filibuster-owning, go-it-alone-if-I-have-to tea party guy who ended up helping President Obama further the abuse of executive orders – and to do so on the single-most vital terror-related issue of our lifetime.

Perhaps Senator Cruz can explain the inexplicable in this week's debate.

Kevin McCullough (kmcradio@gmail.com) is the nationally syndicated host of "The Kevin McCullough Show" weekdays (5 p.m. EST) and "Baldwin/McCullough *LIVE*" Saturdays (9-11 p.m. EST). Ranked as 11th most listened to talk show host by TALKERS magazine. His newest best-selling hardcover from Thomas Nelson Publishers -- "No He Can't: How Barack Obama is Dismantling Hope and Change" -- is in stores now.

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