Ted Cruz: ‘Biggest obstacle’ in the immigration debate


By Steve Benen

From The Maddow blog

Why do I marvel at Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas)? Largely because of quotes like these.

“The biggest obstacle to passing common sense immigration reform is President Barack Obama,” Cruz tells The Fine Print, going on to say that the White House’s “insistence” on including a path to citizenship is standing in the way of the bill’s ultimate passage.

It’s possible that some folks are confused about the nature of the debate. When it comes to immigration reform, Democrats and Republicans have effectively proposed a trade – Dems want a pathway to citizenship and can live with new border-security measures, while Republicans want new border-security measures and can live with a pathway to citizenship. The result is a compromise bill that’s “comprehensive” because it tackles both parts of the larger issue.

For Cruz, Obama is being unreasonable – if only the White House and its allies would abandon their reason for working on this issue, then everything would work out fine. Policymakers would agree to make Republicans happy, at which point, everyone could simply move on to some other issue.

By this reasoning, that rascally president sure is annoying. Obama’s the “biggest obstacle” to reform because he “insists” upon the one specific provision that enjoys the support of congressional Democrats, many congressional Republicans, most of the country, immigration advocates, and the Bush/Cheney administration. It’s not some gratuitous, tangential provision – for the White House, it’s the point of the bill.

But Cruz expects Obama to give up on the idea, and if the president disagrees, Cruz wants Obama to get the blame if/when Republicans feel the need to kill the bipartisan legislation.

He’s quite a senator.