Sen. Ted Cruz's warning that political satire
on shows like "Saturday Night Live" may become illegal if a constitutional amendment on campaign finance is passed is the preposterous mumbling of a swamp dweller, former Sen. Alan Simpson says.
"It was outrageous. That's the kind of stuff that leaves Ted wandering in the swamp," Simpson, a Wyoming Republican and onetime Senate whip, said Wednesday on "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
"Cruz is always mumbling about the little guy. Well, the little guy is going to get hosed anyway unless you get a control of the debt, man."
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Democrats want to pass an amendment to fight the influence of big money in politics, singling out such major contributors as the conservative billionaire Koch brothers.
The proposal would grant Congress the power to block corporations from contributing to political campaigns and, "Well, NBC which airs 'Saturday Night Live,' is a corporation," Cruz pointed out.
Speaking from the Senate floor, with enlarged photos of celebrated SNL scenes to make his point, Cruz said the show's creator could be thrown in the slammer if the amendment were to become enacted.
"Congress would have the power to make it a criminal offense, Lorne Michaels could be put in jail under this amendment for making fun of any politician. That is extraordinary. It is breathtaking and it is dangerous," Cruz said.
But Simpson, the outspoken former chairman of the Senate Veteran Affairs Committee, believes Cruz is dead wrong.
"The First Amendment of the Constitution has nothing to do with corporations," Simpson said.
"The Republicans think this is just the greatest thing since ice cream and pop at the end of the road. Let me tell you this is an automatic butt-kicking machine when you open this door and don't think the Democrats aren't going to come back and rain bombs.
"This is an automatic fanny kicker with a big boot on the end and he ought to get rid of it."
Simpson said he and former senators such as Bill Bradley and Bob Kerrey had worked for years on a movement called Americans for Campaign Reform to "take a sludge of money out of the system."
"We've been working on it for years and unless you do something you have created the ultimate cynicism, the ultimate corruption and the ultimate rejection of political people because they know that you can buy an election," he said.
"It's going to buy a president soon. Somebody will put up $5 million or $10 to buy a president — they're doing it already. I don't get it. We've been working for a hell of a lot longer than Cruz has."
Simpson urged Cruz to "read the damn amendment. That would be a wonderful thing.
"The states have the power to do this. Each state has the power to control how the fall of money will come into their state. What's wrong with that?" he said.
Simpson fired another salvo at Cruz, who has called for an investigation into Senator Thad Cochran's victory in the Mississippi runoff.
"He's trying to overturn that and he's going to be sitting next to Thad for four years. How is that for helpful collaboration between people from the same party?" Simpson said.
Simpson also urged President Barack Obama to take definitive action to destroy the Islamic State (ISIS), which has beheaded two American journalists in recent weeks and is slaughtering Christians throughout Iraq.
"It's a tough thing to say because it sounds very inhumane, but you've got to wipe them out," he said.
"Anybody that beheads people of your profession and does it on public and then shows pictures of it — those people are the epitome of evil. You have to stamp them out.
"That's tough to do, but I'll tell you how to do it and somebody is going to laugh right down on their gut. You got to start establishing some kind of a relationship with Syria."
That will not necessarily be an easy thing to do, but it's essential, according to Simpson.
"I've heard all this stuff: 'Never talk with people you hate because you're going to end up compromising.' Hell, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, was months of compromise," he said.
"I love it when the cuckoo say they believe in the Constitution, but never compromise. Get a life. Go take some kind of potion, for God's sake.
"You've got to make some kind of a meeting or a commonality or something with Syria and the people that are in Syria because that's where the cancer is boiling."
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