Are you up to date on the election’s newest micro-controversy? Yesterday, the Washington Post published a cartoon depicting Ted Cruz’s daughters as trained circus monkeys, a reference to a recent political ad released by his campaign that uses Cruz’s admittedly adorable tots as, arguably, props. Later that night, after widespread condemnation [citation needed], the Post decided to pull the cartoon, drawn by Pulitzer winner Ann Telnaes.

Which brings us back to Ted Cruz, who ignited the pushback against the cartoon with both a tweet and a fundraising email.

Ted Cruz jumping all over an ultimately harmless political cartoon in the hopes of dominating a meaningless one-day news cycle is nothing if not entirely predictable, but—but!—Ted Cruz has spoken about the sanctity of political cartoons before, and wouldn’t you believe that he struck a different chord?

Back in January of this year, politicians across the partisan and global spectrum used the Charlie Hebdo attacks as a way of asserting themselves as anti-terror chest-thumpers and, often, newfound free speech advocates. Among those was Ted Cruz, who, as ex-Medium cartoonist Matt Bors points out, defended political cartoons as a vital part of democratic society. Via Buzzfeed:

“The attack in Paris is heartbreaking,” Cruz told BuzzFeed News. “It is a reminder of the global threat we face and the enormous peril presented by radical Islamic terrorists. It is unfortunate to see media outlets engaging in censorship.”

“The First Amendment is designed to ensure a robust debate and refusing to publish the cartoons that are the alleged reason for this brutal act of murder and terror is inconsistent with the spirit of a free debate,” he said.

With regards to the Post cartoon involving him and his family, Cruz didn’t call for the cartoon to be taken down, but he didn’t say it should be kept either. All of which is to say, Ted Cruz isn’t the ardent free speech defender that nobody thought he was.

[image via Getty]

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