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Ted Cruz is one of those psychotically far right-wingers that just spews so much absurdity from his lips that it’s hard to keep up sometimes.

The Senator and apparent presidential hopeful published an op-ed in the WSJ yesterday attacking Sen. Tom Udall’s proposed amendment to the Constitution regarding the potential (not actual) regulation of money in campaigns.  To say that he took some liberties in describing the amendment and what it does or could do is an understatement.

First off, he certainly had a lot to say…with the exception of a glaring omission: any mention or addressing of the idea that money in politics and campaigns can corrupt in any way.  Or the idea that Americans actually want campaign finance to be restricted according to polls.  He points out the amendment has little chance of passing and it takes three-fourths of state legislatures to pass while omitting the reality that 79% of the public want limits on campaign donations and expenditures, according to a Gallup poll last year.  A CBS News poll from last month found similar results.  Also in the Gallup poll, 50% would support government financed campaigns, yet another of Cruz’s omissions.

It should also be noted that the entire op-ed is simply a scare tactic of what could happen resulting from the amendment, not what the amendment is actually asking for or what, in reality, will happen.  It’s reminiscent of the far right’s scare tactics of what could happen if African-Americans get the right to vote, if the LGBT community is given equal rights, or if the Affordable Care Act becomes law, all of which proved their predictions were pretty much dead wrong.

Let’s address some of his contentions directly:


For centuries the Supreme Court has rightly concluded that free speech includes writing and distributing pamphlets, putting up billboards, displaying yard signs, launching a website, and running radio and television ads. Every one of those activities requires money…If you can prohibit spending money, you can prohibit virtually any form of effective speech.
He is contending that money equals speech and, on the surface, this seems reasonable.  The problem, of course, is this ignores the truth in America that he who has the most money has the loudest speech, which is clearly not what was intended by the First Amendment.  Its intention was to give equality of speech and making sure that even the lowliest of voices could still be heard, a complete impossibility in today’s world where money, not speech, is king.  In fact, you could really change his last sentence there to, “If you don’t prohibit spending money, you can prohibit virtually any form of effective speech.”  (His word “effective” should be particularly noted.)


As for the idea that the Supreme Court got it wrong in Citizens United because corporations have no First Amendment rights, that too is demonstrably false. The New York Times is a corporation. The television network NBC is a corporation. Book publisher Simon & Schuster is a corporation. Paramount Pictures is a corporation. Nobody would reasonably argue that Congress could restrict what they say—or what money they spend distributing their views, books or movies—merely because they are not individual persons. (Emphasis added)
It’s brilliant on Cruz’s part to use press and media in this description as it skews the reader’s view into thinking the government would be looking over their shoulders and telling them what to say.  He wouldn’t dare use corporations like Enron, BP, or Halliburton in that sentence since it would give people a different perspective.  The reality of the amendment is that it would not restrict what the press can say but how much a person or corporation can spend during a campaign saying it, something the public clearly wants according to the polls.  In other words, it would be an attempt to balance equality of speech.

Then Cruz produces a list of things that could be deemed constitutional if the amendment were adopted, some of which are just completely ridiculous.  He actually contends that the government “could criminalize pastors making efforts to get their parishioners to vote”, as if anyone would ever support any law that criminalized people for asking others to remember to vote.

What has to be remembered is that these laws would have to be made by Congress (ideally with the popular support of the public) and signed by the president in order for any of his absurd predictions to come true.  And if you look at his list of what ifs, you might notice that not one actually includes a scenario involving a restriction on an actual corporation, which is something the public clearly wants.

Campaign finance reform is something the public clearly wants.  Ted Cruz’s views are something the public clearly doesn’t.

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Comment Preferences

  •  A warning about Cruz: (7+ / 0-)

    Don't underestimate him. His intelligence and legal acumen were highly regarded before, during and after his tenure as Texas Solicitor General, which recorded successes in case after case.

    The thing to keep in mind about his political speech - written or oral - is his audience: he knows what they'll buy, and is crafty and skillful in selling it.

    His positions may sound psychotic and he can often come off as a buffoon, but he's anything but. As they used to say, he just plays one on television. Unlike fellows from his state like Gohmert, he's terribly smart and cunning as hell, which makes him many times more dangerous.    

  •  Hellspawn Cruz doesn't care nor does the TGOP (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    because money is property not speech but still buys elections for the terrible tea-publicans.

    I voted Tuesday, May 6, 2014 because it is my right, my responsibility and because my parents moved from Alabama to Ohio to vote. Unfortunately, the republicons want to turn Ohio into Alabama.

    by a2nite on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 04:23:23 PM PDT

  •  Who wants to 'prohibit' money in elections? (0+ / 0-)

    I want it regulated. I want it reported. I want it shared with others in election pools. I want to know who's money it is that's jamming the airwaves with lies about someone unable to answer innuendo and character assassination from the right's media megaphones.
    No Senator. I don't think we want to prohibit anything, except for maybe your incessant mischaracterizations. Many of us see the clear need to 'limit'... and let me say that again for you Senator, 'limit' the amount of money in our nation's and the state's elections.
    Free speech doesn't drown out other free speech, money does. Limitations are needed and regulations need teeth.
    Its too bad Canada refused you, Senator, they still have a sense of humour there.

  •  Welles' War of the Worlds caused listeners to (0+ / 0-)

    flee the New Jersey coast. Udall's pretended amendment draws a different sort of reaction. Rather, Cruz and Roberts have Udall on the run, as they need only 5% to stop his nonsense. FDR and LBJ understood the long odds of amendments and invented the Dems as the party of legislative revolution, no such party still exists. For the 79% who don't believe in Roberts' rules for an oligarchic paradise, deluded Udall thinks it takes 96%.

    The truth is that Congress can abrogate whatever cases it wants and regulate whatever federal campaign financing it wants on a simple majority vote. This fact is known to every member of Congress. Look behind the curtain, Congress routinely abrogates cases when it wants. And it also has the exceptions clause to silence the Court. But corruption is such that the New Dems don't recognize FDR and LBJ as their own. It is the defeat of the revolutionary Dem strong Congress that Cruz and Roberts celebrate, Cruz pulling an inside job on behalf of the usurping Court. Udall's fools's errand poses no threat, rather proves that Congress has been thoroughly defeated. Congress is dead, and even Udall plays by Roberts' rules, by proposing the states do something to revive Congress.

    The new rule after McCutcheon is that to end criminal systemic corruption practiced by both parties will take a legislative revolution against the Court's usurpation of Art. 1. The 79% would have to elect a Congress to exercize its powers to represent voters and criminalize systemic corruption. The end of systemic corruption by amendment will be defeated by a confederacy of corrupted states, on the battle cry of free speech. Instead voters will have to elect candidates radicalized to use a legislative majority to end systemic corruption. There was a similar fork in the road when the corrupt Whigs were replaced by the radical Republicans willing to take all necessary steps in nulliftying Dred Scott, and using the exceptions clause to protect its revolution as upheld in Ex Parte McCardle.

  •  The ACLU opposes the Udall Amendment (0+ / 0-)

    Shouldn't anyone be taking this into consideration?

    I hate Ted Cruz and his lying face as much as anyone, but given the ACLU is essentially backing him (just in a less histrionically rhetorical way), should we really be pushing for this specific Amendment?

    The idea is right, we need to undo Citizens United, but let's make sure we're smart about it.

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