Saturday, January 23, 2010
Obama, Fellow Tyrants Choke On First Amendment
Obama, Schumer and all their fellow totalitarians know that the concept of an activist court is kryptonite to decent Americans, so, as they so often do, they have absconded with the very term "activist court" and tried to pervert its meaning to serve their ends. It won't work, except to further confirm just how dishonest and drunk with power they really are.
Obama whines that the decision somehow strikes a "powerful blow to our efforts to rein in corporate influence".
As usual, he's lying. And because we know he's lying, we can see what he is really up to.
As Ed Morrissey reminds us, Obama availed himself of every last dime of corporate money he possibly could when he opted out of the public matching fund program (after promising, of course, that he wouldn't) in order to fleece all those "special interests" against which he now brazenly rails, and who gave the better part of 600 million dollars to his campaign.
It’s worth pointing out that Barack Obama had an opportunity to limit that influence in the 2008 election simply by remaining in the public matching fund program that every major Presidential candidate had used since Watergate. In fact, Obama himself pledged to do just that in 2007 and again in early 2008, but changed his mind in June when he discovered that he could raise a lot more money than his opponent — by currying favor with Wall Street and the unions, as well as ethanol companies and a host of corporate-sponsored, lobbyist-run PACs. Obama raised over $600 million in 2008 for his eventual victory.Obama's attack on Citizens United v FEC exposes both his rank hypocrisy and the extent to which he despises the Constitution for the limits it places on his power. And as Morrissey further observes, the New York Times shares Obama's hypocrisy.
Now he wants to limit the power of politicians to raise that kind of money, which is mighty convenient for incumbents such as himself — and his Democratic allies on Capitol Hill.
There is nothing behind the whines of protest over the ruling but the left's totalitarian urge, which the First Amendment was specifically designed to counter. Paul Sherman writes in Bench Memos:
When you hear reformers howl about the downfall of elections as a result of this ruling, consider that states like Missouri, Utah, and Virginia already allow corporations to spend unlimited amounts on political ads, and there’s no evidence that these states’ elections have been “corrupted” or “overwhelmed” by this additional political speech. And that is not surprising. After all, no matter how much money is spent to promote or oppose candidates, voters remain free to disagree with those views. And they often do, as well-financed but failed candidates Ross Perot, Steve Forbes, Mitt Romney, and, more recently, Jon Corzine can attest.
But the reformers are not content to leave something as important as election results to voter free will. Their real complaint is not with the Supreme Court or its ruling in Citizens United, but with the First Amendment itself, which prohibits their efforts to empower government to micromanage political debate. The Founders saw the folly of that approach and gave us a First Amendment that rejected it in clear terms: “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech.” Despite the reformers’ complaints, the ruling in Citizens United is faithful to the First Amendment, and that, ultimately, is the only test that matters.
Chief Justice John Roberts is absolutely clear on the matter in his concurrence:
The Government urges us in this case to uphold a direct prohibition on political speech. It asks us to embrace a theory of the First Amendment that would allow censorship not only of television and radio broadcasts, but of pamphlets, posters, the Internet, and virtually any other medium that corporations and unions might find useful in expressing their views on matters of public concern. Its theory, if accepted, would empower the Government to prohibit newspapers from running editorials or opinion pieces supporting or opposing candidates for office, so long as the newspapers were owned by corporations—as the major ones are.Citizens United v. FEC in plain English by Lisa McElroy, SCOTUSblog
Citizens United and 'Conservative Judicial Activism' by Richard Garnett, Bench Memos