Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Obama and free speech

Rich Lowry has an article worth reading about the chill effect Obama's campaign and supporters are embracing in curbing freedom of speech. Some excerpts:

When an outside group ran TV ads pointing out links between Obama and the former Weatherman terrorist Bill Ayers, the Obama campaign asked the Bush Justice Department -- yes, that Bush Justice Department, the fount of all evil -- to open a criminal investigation.

The Obama campaign's effort dovetails with the work of an outfit called Accountable America, run by a former MoveOn.org operative. It is devoted to threatening conservative donors with legal action and exposure of any embarrassing details of their private lives if they give money to groups running ads against Obama. The New York Times account says the group hopes to create "a chilling effect," but the phrase is used non-pejoratively.

Liberal editorial boards have apparently lost their former zest for the First Amendment. Consider this approving sentence from a New York Times editorial: "The wholesale descent into Swift Boat campaigning has been blocked -- for now -- by a federal judge in Virginia." It was written about a judge denying an injunction against the Federal Election Commission sought by a pro-life group running radio ads attacking Obama. The group thinks the First Amendment protects political speech; unfortunately, the courts disagree.

But the Times goes beyond mere legalities. It asserts with no evidence that the group's advertising is "lies," then urges the FEC to "be vigilant for what will inevitably be fresh attempts to mislead voters with fresh lies." Here's a newspaper charging a governmental agency with policing and shutting down campaign ads it doesn't like.

It's all just a taste of what's to come if Obama wins and Democrats have even bigger majorities in Congress, emboldening them to try to crush their antagonists once and for all. "Hate is not a family value" was a popular bumper sticker on the left during the 1990s. Now, the left has embraced hate as, if not a family value, the organizing spirit of its long assault on George W. Bush, and anyone else in the way, from Joe Lieberman to Sarah Palin.

America's partisan politics has always featured its share of rancorous abuse, but there's something rancid at the heart of the new, blog-driven left that believes its bullying childishness has led the way out of the wilderness. This spirit will inevitably seep into an Obama administration. Whatever Obama's professions of his commitment to cross-partisan understanding, he's never confronted the left of his own party and has always been willing to engage in hardball when it suits his purposes.

Please note this blog was started in part because a cabal of Obama supporting moderators on a forum I participated on threatened to ban me for my vocal support of Sarah Palin and John McCain. I have curbed my political participation on that forum and created this blog as an unfettered outlet for expressing my political opinion.

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