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Thomas Sowell
Thomas Sowell
9 Feb 2016
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Cruz Control?


Freshman Senator Ted Cruz says many things that need to be said and says them well. Moreover, some of these things are what many, if not most, Americans believe wholeheartedly. Yet we need to remember that the same was true of another freshman Senator, just a relatively few years ago, who parlayed his ability to say things that resonated with the voters into two terms in the White House. Who would disagree that if you want your doctor, you should be able to keep your doctor? Who would disagree with the idea of a more transparent administration in Washington, or a President of the United States being a uniter instead of a divider?

There are many things like this that freshman Senator Barack Obama said that the overwhelming majority of Americans — whether liberal or conservative — would agree with. The only problem is that what he has actually done as President has repeatedly turned out to be the direct opposite of what he said as a candidate.

Senator Ted Cruz has not yet reached the point where he can make policy, rather than just make political trouble. But there are already disquieting signs that he is looking out for Ted Cruz — even if that sets back the causes he claims to be serving.

Those causes are not being served when Senator Cruz undermines the election chances of the only political party that has any chance of undoing the disasters that Barack Obama has already inflicted on the nation — and forestalling new disasters that are visible on the horizon.

ObamaCare is not just an issue about money or even an issue about something as important as medical care. ObamaCare represents a quantum leap in the power of the federal government over the private lives of individual Americans.

Chief Justice Roberts' decision declaring ObamaCare constitutional essentially repeals the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution, which declares that powers not given to the federal government belong to the states "or to the people."

That central support of personal freedom has now been removed. The rest of the structure may not last very long, now that the Obama administration is busy quietly dismantling other bulwarks against the unbridled power of the government in general, and the unbridled power of the presidency in particular.

The Federal Communications Commission, for example, is already floating the idea of placing observers in newspaper editorial offices to "study" how decisions are made there.

Nothing in the Constitution grants the FCC this dangerous power, nor is there any legislation authorizing any such activity.

But what the federal government can do is not dependent on what the Constitution authorizes it to do or what Congressional legislation gives them the power to do.

The basic, brutal reality is that the federal government can do whatever it wants to do, if nobody stops them. The Supreme Court's ObamaCare decision shows that we cannot depend on them to protect our freedom. Nor will Congress, as long as the Democrats control the Senate.

The most charitable interpretation of Ted Cruz and his supporters is that they are willing to see the Republican Party weakened in the short run, in hopes that they will be able to take it over in the long run, and set it on a different path as a more purified conservative party.

Like many political ideas, this one is not new. It represents a political strategy that was tried long ago — and failed long ago.

In the German elections of 1932, the Nazi party received 37 percent of the vote. They became part of a democratically elected coalition government, in which Hitler became chancellor. Only step by step did the Nazis dismantle democratic freedoms and turn the country into a complete dictatorship.

The political majority could have united to stop Hitler from becoming a dictator. But they did not unite. They fought each other over their differences. Some figured that they would take over after the Nazis were discredited and defeated.

Many who plotted this clever strategy died in Nazi concentration camps. Unfortunately, so did millions of others.

What such clever strategies overlook is that there can be a point of no return. We may be close to that point of no return, not only with ObamaCare, but also with the larger erosion of personal freedom, of which ObamaCare is just the most visible part.

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305. His website is To find out more about Thomas Sowell and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at



8 Comments | Post Comment
What good could it be to put Republicans back in control it they are the same breed that insists on amassing personal power and ignores the needs of the Country? We have been there, done that and it was and will be a disaster. The current GOP leadership is no different that Reid, Pelosi, Schumer, et al. Chamberlaine was leader of the Conservative Party but was a Conservative in the same manner as McConnell, Boehner and their lieutenants.
Comment: #1
Posted by: jhep3304
Mon Feb 17, 2014 4:12 PM
Most of the time I applaud the words or Mr. Sowell. The Republican party should be getting behind Cruz 100 percent. If the Republican party is damned it is because they sell out the truth. There is a higher power that we must answer to, and Cruz is right on target.
Comment: #2
Posted by: RichJ
Tue Feb 18, 2014 8:04 PM
Sowell is a student of history and is making the point that the only real way that any of the big government policies such as Obamacare can be reversed is for there to be a Republican majority in both houses.

Now as many have observed there really doesn't seem to be that much of a difference between the two parties. It seems that most of the Republicans would be happy with a lot of what's going on just as long as they were the ones calling the shots.

Because of this it is hard for those on the side of fiscal conservatism to capitulate to what is the big government wing of the Republican party represented by Speaker Boehner. I think it is also true that too many times people become too enthralled with politicians to the point that they can lose sight of the big picture as it relates to actually having the power to affect policy.

It's a tough call because hypothetically speaking lets say the Republicans maintain their majority in the house and take back the senate in the upcoming mid-term elections. Who believes that Republicans will actually take any meaningful action whatsoever in regards to deficit spending, Obamacare, taxes or regulation? Take it a step further and if the aformentioned happend and in 2016 the Republicans maintain those majorities and win the presidency will any meaningful action be taken then?

As Mr. Sowell has previously written in this column there isn't anything to gain politically from cutting spending or reducing the size of government. Since that is obviously the case I wonder whether it matters at all if Cruz continues what he is doing or changes course. As Mr. Sowell pointed out we might already be past the point of no return.
Comment: #3
Posted by: Greg M
Wed Feb 19, 2014 7:58 AM
Contrary to popular Conservative thinking, you are NOT the perfect commentator regarding whether Ted Cruz is doing the right things politically. Its easy to sit to the side without any consequences and B*TCH about his tactics. How about you get off your a*s and run for office and see how well you do? They call you a Conservative icon? The only real Conservative Icon I know of is Sarah Palin, someone who actually took the fire and stood strong. Hiding to the side like you are is bullsh*t... especially when you criticize a guy who did not hide to the side.
Comment: #4
Posted by: PhilipJames
Wed Feb 19, 2014 7:50 PM
As a wise man said, "We must support the most conservative candidates THAT CAN BE ELECTED." It does no good to support a rock solid conservative candidate in a 70% blue district. You must support the candidate that can be elected in that district.
Comment: #5
Posted by: BrassMonkey
Thu Feb 20, 2014 8:01 AM
"Senator Cruz undermines the election chances of the only political party that has any chance of undoing the disasters that Barack Obama has already inflicted on the nation"
If the leadership of the Republican party is joining with other RINO members in supporting the left shifted Democrats the only result is going to be the achievement of more socialist/communist goals. In particular, the amnesty path to citizenship for tens of millions of illegals who would vote two to one Democrat would turn America into a one party communist/socialist nation with George Soros open borders. America would gradually fill up with third world immigrants drawn by America's entitlement giveaways until it becomes another poor third world country itself. This single issue is WWII in scope as it determines whether America survives foreign invasion. Americans need to unite as it did during WWII behind a candidate who is clearly loyal to America as shown by behavior such as Ted Cruz's.
"The basic, brutal reality is that the federal government can do whatever it wants to do, if nobody stops them."
Ted Cruz is trying to stop this and this is the thanks he gets. The argument that he might change if elected president is a stupid argument because it applies to every single potential candidate and provides zero guidance in selection. Cruz has a track record. He tried to stop Obamacare, a national disaster. He tried to limit government spending and growth in national debt, a national disaster. If Cruz advances his career by saving America he should have every loyal American's vote.
Comment: #6
Posted by: philstacy
Thu Feb 20, 2014 12:31 PM
Just follow the Constitution and Life will be great again. We have good leaders and Hope they are Under Gods Rule and not theres. Keep praying to our Lord God and thanks well get better. thanks you.
Comment: #7
Posted by: Phil McLeod
Thu Feb 20, 2014 12:40 PM
This is perhaps the most disjointed and incoherent article I've ever read by Sowell. Proof that he shouldn't write after imbibing more than 3 cocktails.
Comment: #8
Posted by: adam sparks
Fri Feb 21, 2014 8:57 AM
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