We've Got the First Ammendment on the Run

Great editorial from George Will:

Seattle"”as the comprehensive and sustained attack on Americans' freedom
of political speech intensifies, this city has become a battleground.
Campaign-finance "reformers," who advocate ever-increasing government
regulation of the quantity, timing and content of political speech,
always argue that they want to regulate "only" money, which, they say,
leaves speech unaffected. But here they argue that political speech is
money, and hence must be regulated. By demanding that the speech of two
talk-radio hosts be monetized and strictly limited, reformers reveal
the next stage in their stealthy repeal of the First Amendment.

I was living in Seattle at the time.  These were not political operatives, like a James Carville, moonlighting as talk radio hosts.  They were just radio guys who found an issue, no more or less than say Oprah when she focuses her audience on Alar or BGH or whatever.  Read the whole thing, but note that, in the name of campaign finance reform which is ostensibly about not letting money rule politics, the government is going after the side that was outspent five to one.  But this is not about campaign finance reform.  This is about protecting the government and its officials from criticism.

This is the America produced by "reformers" led by John McCain. The
U.S. Supreme Court, in affirming the constitutionality of the
McCain-Feingold speech restrictions, advocated deference toward elected
officials when they write laws regulating speech about elected
officials and their deeds. This turned the First Amendment from the
foundation of robust politics into a constitutional trifle to be
"balanced" against competing considerations"”combating the "appearance
of corruption," or elevating political discourse or something. As a
result, attempts to use campaign regulations to silence opponents are
becoming a routine part of vicious political combat.


  1. beeper:

    I guess we have the Right trying to interfere terrorists with the patriot act and the left trying to interfere with republicans with CFR.

    I don't really like either, but I know who gets my vote.

  2. eddie:

    By the way, I've noticed you often misspell "amendment". I only mention it because yours is one of the few blogs I read every day - the typos stand out because the writing is so good.

    Feel free to delete this comment.