Let’s take a cruise down the narrow byways and twisting turns that form Senator Ted Cruz’s mind.

The first right turn on our road trip brings us to a sweeping view of the Texas Republican’s Energy Renaissance Act, a proposal so studded with fossil fuel favors that it ought be called the “Exxon Mobil Relief Act.”

Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz

Gage Skidmore/Flickr

His bill would prevent the federal government from ever imposing regulations on fracking. It also includes an edict to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, a requirement that any new EPA regulations get a congressional vote of approval, and a nifty plan to alleviate Native American poverty by opening up their tribal lands to oil drilling.

Next, let’s cruise past that legislative cliff and go off-road on an obscure money trail. It leads to an expansive new opening in federal election laws that Cruz hopes to carve out. This new highway would make it simpler for plutocratic billionaires to purchase lawmakers — like him — outright.

You see, this bill would “allow unlimited direct contributions by citizens…to candidates in federal elections.”

Good grief. This would legalize quid pro quo corruption and constitute a dream come true for the Koch Brothers. Nothing would stop the richest Americans from openly writing huge checks to politicians in exchange for those politicians promising to do political favors.

Favors like what, you ask?

Just take a hard right turn from Ted’s bribe-a-lawmaker scheme, and you’ll come upon a bright flashing light representing an idea for a huge corporate favor that popped out of his head in July. He wants to force the government to begin selling off our national parks, forests, wildlife areas, and other treasured natural resources, turning over these prized public lands to Koch Industries and other mining, drilling, and logging conglomerates.

And that would truly be a bridge to nowhere.

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Jim Hightower

OtherWords columnist Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, and public speaker. He’s also editor of the populist newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown. OtherWords.org

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