April 18, 2007

The Problem With Political Speech Limitation

I've said in the past that I'll vote for a Nazi or a Communist -- or worse yet, Hillary Clinton -- before I vote for John McCain for President because of his role in imposing campaign spending regulations that fly in the face of the clear language of the US Constitution.

Today, Bradley Smith lays out the constitutional problems with such regulations.

In his most recent Townhall column, Armstrong Williams has laid out a plan that he claims will "divorce" money from politics. In the process, Williams employs every tired canard of the campaign finance "reform" community.

But a few words were noticeably absent from Williams' column. There was no mention, for example, of "the First Amendment." Nor was there any mention of "free speech." And while I looked for "freedom" and "liberty," alas, these too were absent. This comes as no surprise. Advocates of political speech regulation have for so long felt unconstrained by the First Amendment's seemingly clear command, that "Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech," that they now ignore it as a matter of course.

The closest Williams comes to addressing the constitutional problems with campaign finance regulation is the bare assertion that "giving money is not giving voice." But it most certainly is. In modern society, money facilitates speech. It costs money to publish a newspaper or operate a broadcast station. It is not possible to run a political campaign or effectively criticize officeholders without spending money for signs, advertisements, rallies, mailers, and more.

In his column, Williams had gone so far as to quote a misguided senior citizen who wants political speech limitation and regulation.

But I (and millions of Americans, a few of which are even lawmakers) disagree. First, giving money is not giving voice. Second, privately donated money is not necessary for a campaign if "clean" or public money is given equally to each candidate. I agree with the political activist Doris Haddock who literally walked across the country at the age of 88 in hopes of bringing about true campaign finance reform. She said, "If money is speech, then those with more money have more speech, and that idea is antithetical to a democracy that cherishes political fairness. It makes us no longer equal citizens."

Haddock, of course, is wrong -- unless one wishes to argue that the existence of large corporate media like the television networks, New York Times, and Time Magazine are also "antithetical to a democracy that cherishes political fairness" and "makes us no longer equal citizens." After all, the vast spending of these news organizations ALSO give them an unequal voice that can drown out the voices of the less well-heeled among us (such as this blogger) and get them access that the common man cannot obtain. Would Haddock (and Williams) accept the argument that "money is not speech" and therefore allow Congress to limit the budgets of news organizations and the amount that Americans spend to access the same? Or how about regulations, similar to those imposed upon advocacy groups, that ban reporting upon or editorializing about candidates and officeholders for 25% of an election year? Of course not!

Smith then points out the fundamental understanding of the Founders about the nature of men and the nature of our constitutional republic -- and Williams' fundamental misunderstanding of the First Amendment.

When the Founders drafted the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, they were not na´ve. They knew that men weren't angels, and that factions would sometimes try to harness the power of government for their own benefit. They wrote the First Amendment with full knowledge of this threat. Indeed, they wrote the First Amendment because they also knew that one of the surest checks against government corruption was the unfettered ability to criticize those in government. Williams' scheme abandons these cherished First Amendment principles. The likely result is more and harder to detect corruption. The long term effects could be even worse. As the Founders knew, prohibiting ordinary citizens from effectively discussing politics is no prescription for clean government. It is a prescription for tyranny.

Money may or may not be speech, depending upon how you look at it -- but cutting off private money is a sure way of strangling the speech of citizens, an action which the Founders would have rightly labeled tyranny and which they would have understood merited the exercise the rights guaranteed under the Second Amendment to dislodge the tyrants.

|| Greg, 05:02 PM || Permalink || Comments (0) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Trackback Information for The Problem With Political Speech Limitation

TrackBack URL for this entry:
Listed below are links to weblogs that reference 'The Problem With Political Speech Limitation'.

Comments on The Problem With Political Speech Limitation

Post a comment

Remember personal info?




Winner - 2014 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards
Winner - 2014 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

Winner - 2013 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

Winner - 2012 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

Winner - 2011 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

Winner - 2010 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

Winner - 2009 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

Posts by Category

Announcements (posts: 13)
Blogging (posts: 187)
Border Issues & Immigration (posts: 421)
deferred (posts: 4)
Education (posts: 685)
Entertainment & Sports (posts: 483)
Guns & Gun Control (posts: 65)
History (posts: 329)
Humor (posts: 88)
Israel/Middle East (posts: 44)
Medical News (posts: 54)
Military (posts: 273)
News (posts: 1570)
Paid Advertising (posts: 234)
Personal (posts: 108)
Politics (posts: 5261)
Race & Racism (posts: 281)
Religion (posts: 819)
Terrorism (posts: 884)
Texas GOP Platform Reform Project (posts: 4)
The Courts (posts: 310)
Watcher's Council (posts: 482)
World Affairs (posts: 345)


January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
December 0000



Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Powered By

Powered by
Movable Type 2.64

Administrative Stuff

Email Me
Syndicate this site (XML)

Advertising Disclosure


About Me

NAME: Greg
AGE: 50-ish
SEX: Male
OCCUPATION: Social Studies Teacher
LOCATION: Seabrook, TX
DISCLAIMER: All posts reflect my views alone, and not the view of my wife, my dogs, my employer, or anyone else. All comments reflect the view of the commenter, and permitting a comment to remain on this site in no way indicates my support for the ideas expressed in the comment.

Search This Site

Support This Site

Recent Entries

Who Is Regan Theiler And Why Was She Allowed To Spend Public Funds On A Sole Source Contract For Her Part-Time Employer?
Not My Idea Of A Stimulating Evening
About Trump's Liberty University Speech
Do Not Place The Secessionist "Texas Independence" Measure On The 2016 Republican Primary Ballot
Conservatives Vs. Liberal On Those Engaged In Violent Political Activity
Tom Mechler Makes His Case Against Moving The 2016 RPT Convention
Jared Woodfill Makes His Case For Moving The 2016 RPT Convention
Questions About Moving The 2016 RPT Convention
Reject The Call To Move 2016 Republican Party Of Texas Convention
It Is Too Bad That Political Parties Cannot Reject Voters Who Seek To Join, Stop Would-Be Candidates Who Want To Run


Watchers Council
  • Ask Marion
  • Bookworm Room
  • The Colossus of Rhodey
  • The Glittering Eye
  • GrEaT sAtAn"S gIrLfRiEnD
  • The Independent Sentinel
  • JoshuaPundit
  • Liberty's Spirit
  • New Zeal
  • Nice Deb
  • The Noisy Room
  • The Razor
  • Rhymes With Right
  • The Right Planet
  • Simply Jews
  • Virginia Right!
  • Watcher Of Weasels

  • Political & Religious Blogs