September 11, 2014

Wingnut Texas Sen. Ted Cruz took to the Senate floor this Tuesday while they were debating the Democrats' constitutional amendment that would overturn Citizens United, and did his best to do his good friends the Koch brothers' bidding by trying to scare the hell out of anyone listening that the amendment would somehow criminalize shows like Saturday Night Live doing political satire.

The Washington Post's Jaime Fuller summarized the entire hour long speech -- which will save anyone who reads it and is curious about which medications Cruz's doctor should probably be subscribing for him -- from having to subject themselves to actually listening to him pontificate for the wingnuts who for some unknown reason take him seriously.

Here's the link and the portions related to the clip above: Ted Cruz loves ‘Saturday Night Live’. And hates attempts to overturn Citizens United.:

This week, the Senate is devoting much of its time to debating a constitutional amendment that would reverse the 2010 Citizens United decision. It has somewhat bipartisan support but is unlikely to ever become law. The debates that occur this week then are mostly theoretical and made for grandstanding. Which is the one kind of debate where Congress -- and the Senate in particular excels. No speech, though, was as visually appealing as that of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), who -- wait for it -- opposes the amendment. Cruz's speech included a dazzling array of charts that would make no sense out-of-context -- and, Cruz's opponents would argue -- even in-context. [...]

He said that prohibiting corporations from engaging in politics could prevent the New York Times from criticizing members of Congress, and the NAACP from taking part in political advocacy. He also argued that reversing Citizens United could give Congress the authority to make Saturday Night Live's political commentary illegal. He was very passionate about this part of his speech -- which of course was the part of the speech that was the most eye-catching, and has inspired the most blog posts. It included a bit of impersonation inception as Cruz said, "Not gonna do it," in the style of Dana Carvey-impersonating -George H.W. Bush. (Wheels within wheels!)

"Lorne Michaels [SNL's creator] could be put in jail under this amendment for making fun of any politician," Cruz said. "That is extraordinary. It is breathtaking and it is dangerous." Cruz is arguing that since NBC is a corporation, the amendment would give Congress the authority to ban any political speech doled out by its employees.

Next, he established his undying affection for the comedy program, which is approaching its 40th anniversary, to further bolster his argument. "I grew up watching Saturday Night Live. I love Saturday Night Live. Saturday Night Live over the years has had some of the most tremendous political satire. Who can forget in 2008, Saturday Night Live’s wickedly funny characterization of the Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin?" (Now we know the inspiration for Cruz's cache of political impersonations.) [...]

Al Franken, the Senate's own personal Saturday Night Live expert, was also invoked in Cruz's floor speech. Cruz consulted him on the possibility of the amendment outlawing corporate-sponsored satire. "The good senator promptly assured me he had no intention of doing any such thing,” Cruz said, before returning to his argument that the current legislation would give him no choice in the matter. [...]

Many campaign-finance experts employed at pro-campaign-finance reform organizations obviously disagree with Cruz. "Nothing in the language of the amendment would permit such actions," writes John Bonifaz, president for Free Speech for the People, in an email. "Criminalizing a TV show would, of course, still violate the First Amendment."


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