Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Senator-Elect Ted Cruz (R-TX) were adamant about two things when they addressed The Federalist Society’s discussion about constitutional law and the Supreme Court yesterday: “our [conservative] ideas work, their [ liberal] ideas don’t.” Furthermore, our ideas have been winning the argument, which explains why law schools are limiting the amount of speakers – invited by Federalist Society – chapters that can come and articulate such views across the country. Both men viewed that we must return to the government our Founders envisioned, and must guard against the progressive regulatory state advocated by our adversaries in Congress. With the re-election of Barack Obama and the full implementation of Obamacare – the stakes couldn’t be any higher to keep the Madisonian experiment alive.
Sen. Lee first remarked about his election to the U.S. Senate in 2010, after beating incumbent Republican Bob Bennett at the state party convention. Then, he went into rather humorous anecdotes about how security didn’t recognize him as a senator for the longest time during his first session in Congress. However, he looked forward to two events this year that he thought would transform government, and make it more palatable to the Founder’s vision.
The first event was on June 28, the day of the Obamacare decision, which he received – along with most conservatives – warmly at first. The court was articulating a position defining limits on the Commerce Clause – making this the third time in the last seventy-five years where the Supreme Court has done so. However, as the reading of the opinion continued, more wind was blowing in liberal sails, as the senator described it. The Court rewrote the law. To make a long story short, the penalty was constitutional under the taxing authority, which was a position that wasn’t argued by the government. Concerning the Medicaid expansion provisions, the Court ruled that the government had unjustly coerced states into accepting stipulations on the program’s funding, and that the Secretary for Health and Human Services cannot cut off the revenue stream – which funds the program – to states who refuse to expand coverage. In all, it was a limited purpose victory. The second event was on November 6, which we know did not turn out well for conservatives.
Sen. Lee agreed that we won the argument for a limited proposal victory, but we also lost a lot too. It showed that the Court can rewrite laws, and we lost the opportunity to write laws of our own choosing. The checks on Congressional power was stipulated by judiciary and political restraint. The judicial restraint has been compromised. They seem, as Senator Lee put it, “unwilling” to exercise that check on power. Second, the political check is rendered useless since Congress can pass unconstitutional laws, but if the Supreme Court can rewrite it – then what’s the purpose of that check on government power.
Sen. Lee believes that the Court acted in a manner where everyone got a little of what they wanted – but ended up hurting the American people as a result. Nevertheless, he feels that America’s best days are ahead.
Senator-Elect Ted Cruz also reiterated anecdotes on the campaign trail. His win is almost a miracle. He was polling sub 5%, and within the margin of error when he first began. This highlights the trials and tribulations of any statewide campaign, especially one where you’re outspent three to one in a $ 50 million dollar primary, as in the case of Cruz, which is somewhat of a well-known characteristic within political circles. It can be nasty, and Cruz’s opponent, David Dewhurst, dished out $35 million dollars in attack ads – but failed to clinch the nomination. Why? He didn’t have the grassroots infrastructure needed to win. This is the way politics should be decided, according to Senator-Elect Cruz.
Cruz is a good friend of Sen. Mike Lee, and thanked him for his early support in the beginning of his candidacy for the U.S. Senate. In the wake of conservatives’ devastating defeat on Nov. 6, he said we much ask ourselves what went wrong, and what does this mean for the future of conservatism? He was steadfast in the view that what conservatives have done in politics – we must now do in the law. First, we must win the argument, which conservatives are doing – albeit very slowly.
The Senator-Elect was amused by the fact that the media was detailing how Republicans lost in 2012 because they weren’t like Democrats. If they had acted, like the political left, things would’ve been great. Well, conservatives lost because we didn’t make the argument.
The president said that he inherited a bad economy, and that it was all George Bush’s fault. This message was pervasive. However, Cruz said that President Obama forgets history. Between 1978-79, unemployment was in double-digits, interest rates were at 22%, gas lines around the block, and the Iranian hostage crisis – which probably left then-President Jimmy Carter regretting leaving peanut farming. But, Ronald Reagan won in a landslide in 1980. He reduced taxes, regulations, and the scope of government, which led to an economic boom. Again, playing into the narrative of these two men being “our ideas work, their ideas don’t.”
However, there’s a reason why Obama voters believe this economy is still Bush’s fault. Why? Mitt Romney’s campaign team didn’t respond. Concerning the fatuous ‘war on women,’ the Senator-Elect vociferously denied Republicans want to curb or deny contraceptives to America’s women. He doesn’t know a single Republican who thinks that way. He quipped that he has two daughters, and he’s glad he doesn’t have seventeen. However, you cannot own, change, or destroy a damaging narrative, if you don’t respond. First, win the argument, then you win the election – which is what Senator-Elect Ted Cruz and Sen. Mike Lee plan to do in the U.S. Senate.