Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Supreme Court and Free Speech: Constitutional Common Sense.

As if the Massachusetts political earthquake wasn't enough,
another temblor struck Washington earlier this week.

In an historic 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court struck down
the most odious provisions of the McCain-Feingold Campaign
Finance Act, which restricted the rights of corporations
and unions to endorse or oppose candidates for political office.

Even better, the Supreme Court decision effectively invalidated
the "corporate speech" laws of twenty-four states, many of which
were even more onerous and restrictive than the Federal law.

In the opinion of The Thinking Nationalist, this is a
long-overdue blow for Strict Constructionism, Free Speech,
and Constitutional Common Sense.

And in case any of you are wondering about the relevant
Constitutional provision, let me quote it for you:

Bill Of Rights, Article 1, better known as The First Amendment:

"Congress shall make no law restricting either Freedom of Speech
or of The Press, and the right of the people peaceably to assemble
for the redress of grievances shall not be infringed"

And in a string of court decisions going back almost two
hundred years, the Supreme Court and the courts of the
several states have found this right to be applicable to
the states and their subordinate political subdivisions as well.

In short, it's about as close to an Absolute Right as exists
in this country.

And in my opinion, McCain-Feingold, with its myriad
exceptions, provisions, and exclusions, is about as close
to a censor's dream as could possibly have been put forth
in America. And with its exclusions and exceptions
for "the media", it has in fact and deed functioned as a
bar to all independent political speech except that which
may be permitted by, say, The New York Times or
The Washington Post.

And that's what liberals are loudly complaining about. With
"corporations" free to donate directly and publicly to
candidates, they are worried that "other voices will
be silenced" and "the people won't be heard".

But the reality is, as David Broder said in today's
New York Times, that liberals and Democrats
fear this will lead to a tidal wave of direct corporate
contributions to the Republican party in particular
and conservatives in general.

Sorry Liberals. Your biases are showing. To you, it's
all about "Free Speech for Me ... but not for Thee".

You know only too well that a big part of hard-ball
politics is making sure your voice gets heard and the
opposition gets silenced, all in the name of "fairness",
"good government", and "reform". And if you can use the
legal system to do this for you, so much the better.
After all, liberals have been in the forefront of using
the campaign-finance laws to silence those with whom
they disagree, to their everlasting discredit.
That's not right - and they know it - but restricting
the speech rights of those with whom they disagree
has been a liberal strategy for decades.

To me, Goldie Hawn and Goldman Sachs should
have the same right to directly donate as much as
they wish to the party, candidate, or cause of their

And if this historic decision leads to the fading away
of PAC's, "501(c)3 Organizations" and other so-called
"citizen groups" (which are no more than lobbyist-created
fronts for special interests), so much the better.

It's called Democracy, folks.

So, let's get everything out in the open. If, for example, a
candidate for the House or Senate in my state is funded
directly and entirely by Goldman Sachs, The Teamsters,
and the public employee unions, that's probably a pretty
strong signal that I need to consider voting for the other guy.

And for Presidential elections, a open tabulation of which
special interests support whom will be hugely helpful.
That way, if we elect another shameless corporate shill who
bails out Wall Street, cuts taxes for the rich, and helps
Corporate America outsource our jobs, we'll have no one
to blame but ourselves, and vice versa.

Bottom line - this decision will be less of a boost to special
interests than you might imagine and more of a cure for
corruption than you might hope.

When it comes to corruption and special interest influence,
Sunlight and Exposure are the best, indeed the only sure cures.

1 comment:

  1. Democracy would be better off without corporations. The government should have strict, harsh, and draconian rules governing corporations in the hope that corporate conduct changes and improves. There are some good corporations yet the largest corporations tend to have the worst and most shameless conduct. Wal-mart is an abomination and should have been broken up long ago due to its anti-competitive and anti-worker agenda. CEO's and other executives being punished even executed for crimes should be a commonplace thing and would make society better and stronger. People who have small businesses, creative and innovative endeavors, and otherwise contribute to the national interest should be rewarded with a variety of great incentives including lower tax rates.

    I disagree with giving corporations any more say in America- the Bill of Rights should only apply to People- yet Obama can always go after corporations that disagree with his policies of helping people, giving hope, and change. He should do that.

    McCain-Feingold is a blessing. It wasn't perfect- too harsh on unions- but it had its strong points and made us more like the rest of the world. The GOP only seems to want to make us a fascist xenophobic homophobic christian-Neocon backwater. great. thanks for supporting the Got Nothing Party.

    and your criticism of the corporate controlled media for being "too liberal" is very ironic.