DALLAS – Americans of nearly all political stripes – conservatives, young voters, libertarians and even many liberals – are still smarting over revelations the National Security Agency, or NSA, has been partnering with telephone and social-media companies to collect data on American citizens.
And Saturday at the “Defending the American Dream Summit” sponsored by Americans for Prosperity, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, blasted Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., for not standing up to his party’s president over the NSA scandal.
“If you support the 4th and 5th Amendment rights to privacy, vote Harry Reid out,” Cruz declared.
Then holding up his phone, presumably as a reference to the NSA listening in, Cruz joked, “And President Obama, you’re next.”
Cruz went well beyond the NSA scandal, however, arguing Reid, Senate Democrats and the Obama administration have blatantly ignored the Constitution’s Bill of Rights to pass their agenda.
Cruz singled out Reid, for example, over federal involvement in education through Common Core – a perceived violation of states’ rights guaranteed in the 10th Amendment – and over news the Internal Revenue Service was targeting tea-party organizations for additional scrutiny because of their political views – an alleged violation of both federal law and the First Amendment.
Cruz especially blasted Reid for backing a Sept. 8 vote on a constitutional amendment seeking to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision – which held corporations and unions can support candidates with private money – by permitting Congress and the states to “regulate and set reasonable limits on the raising and spending of money by candidates and others to influence elections.”
Critics have claimed the proposed S.J. Res. 19 directly contradicts free speech rights and with no parameters on how legislators might set the “reasonable limits,” could enable lawmakers to deny individuals or groups the right to support their chosen candidates.
“If you support the 10th Amendment and want to repeal every word of Common Core, then vote Harry Reid out,” Cruz declared. “And if you support the First Amendment, our freedom of speech, our freedom of religion, if you celebrate the Supreme Court’s tremendous victory for religious liberty in the Hobby Lobby case, if you’re tired of the IRS targeting citizens for their political beliefs, if you’re tired of the most corrupt Department of Justice in history obstructing justice, and believe it is time to impeach [U.S. Attorney General] Eric Holder, if you are tired of seeing 50 Democratic senators in Washington, D.C., put their name to a constitutional amendment to repeal the free speech protections of the First Amendment because they are so terrified of each and every one of you, if you believe in the First Amendment, vote Harry Reid out!”
Notably, Cruz’s comment about impeaching Holder received a standing ovation.
Watch video of the fiery speech below: