As Keith Brekhus reported on Monday, Steve Stockman doesn’t have a snowball’s chance of defeating John Cornyn. This was a dirty race from the beginning, which was a given since Stockman was in it.
With campaign gimmicks like Obama barf-bags, his desire to impeach the President for doing his job while black and the pride Stockman took in walking out of the State of the Union address, Stockman’s willingness to engage in smear tactics are well documented. And that is just a very small list of his smear tactic accomplishments.
In his initial response to the Tribune report, Stockman denied he had been arrested at all – even though he discussed the incident openly in the 1990’s.
He told The Dallas Morning News in 1995 that he had reported to jail for a two-day sentence stemming from a traffic violation and officers found three 10 milligram tablets of Valium in his underwear during a strip search. Stockman pleaded no contest to “use of a controlled substance” – a misdemeanor – with the understanding that it would be dropped after a short period of “unofficial” probation, according to the article.
Last month, Stock filed a libel suit against a pro Cornyn PAC, arguing that the PAC’s assertion that he was arrested for a felony was false.
On Monday, Stockman’s campaign issued a statement threatening criminal charges against media outlets that publish his mug shot or anything pertaining to his 1977 arrest because in Stockman’s orbit, the documented facts, which he confirmed in the 1995 interview with The Dallas Morning News aren’t “true”. The statement went that extra mile claim that publishing the mug shot and arrest record is a criminal act – because an unnamed Michigan official said so.
Wow, where does one begin? How about if we start with Stockman’s relationship with the truth. As someone who appeared on a Holocaust denying radio program, and accused the Attorney-General of premeditated murder, Stockman is in no position to comment on truth or accuracy in the media. As I said in the first paragraph, Stockman has a long and established history of engaging in smear tactics. In fact, he is as credible to lecture anyone to tell the truth as John Boehner is to tell President Obama or anyone else anything about standing up to thugs. Actually, I take that back. Stockman has even less credibility than Boehner, which isn’t saying much.
Moreover, Stockman’s credibility when it comes to the truth about his arrest in 1977 is far less than stellar. His story changed from being open about it in 1995, to denying that he was ever arrested, to denying that he was charged with a felony. In his campaign’s latest version of the truth, it contends that the matter was dismissed and expunged. If it was dismissed, it happened. End of story.
Even if a political news story isn’t true, publishing falsehoods isn’t a crime. In certain contexts, uttering or publishing falsehoods is protected under the 1st Amendment.
In fact, one of Stockman’s ideological friends, namely the Susan B. Anthony List is challenging an Ohio law that requires truth in political advertising before the Supreme Court.
Stockman’s threats prove that he opposes the intent of the first amendment. Not only does he share the Tea Party belief that the 1st Amendment protects right wing speech and no one else’s, he also believes that speech he does not like should be criminalized. That alone, makes us fortunate his challenge of John Cornyn’s candidacy was the complete flop that it was.