John McCain Regrets Free Speech During an Election


Earlier this week the Supreme Court began dismantling the thoroughly odious John McCain-Russ Feingold "Don't Hurt Politicians' Feelings Censorship Law." What part of the First Amendment's "Congress shall make no law …abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or of the right of the people…to petition the Government for redress of grievances" doesn't McCain and his cowering cohorts on Capitol Hill not understand?

Straight-talking McCain evidently can't stand it when voters want to straight talk back at him. So McCain denounced the Supreme Court's decision declaring,

"It is regrettable that a split Supreme Court has carved out a narrow exception by which some corporate and labor expenditures can be used to target a federal candidate in the days and weeks before an election."

Never mind that the actual case before the Supreme Court had nothing to do with unions or corporations, but involved a non-profit right-to-life group. But why shouldn't the UAW, GE, SEIU, or ADM be able to "target a federal candidate" and tell their fellow citizens why they think this or that glad-hander is a good public servant or an evil stooge? If the First Amendment doesn't protect political speech–especially criticism of politicians running for office–what does it protect?

Former reasoner Matt Welch's excellent dissection of McCain's authoritarian tendencies in the April 2007 issue is here.

NEXT: There Is No Joy in Juarez

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  1. Every time a Republican that’s not Paul opens their mouth, I get closer and closer to voting Democrat (at least for president) in 08.

    Unless it’s Hillary. Or Edwards. Or Gore. Or Kucinich. Or Biden or Dodd or Gravel. Or Obama keeps up with the Edwards-style populism.

  2. Take our disgust at the system. Add to it vague class warfare statements about corporations having too much of a voice. Pass a law that illegally limits speech for all of us.

    Makes sense to me. I just don’t understand why we don’t talk more about the children when defending McCain-Feingold.

  3. I am offended that Senators McCain and Feingold, with the concurrance of a majority of both houses of congress, think I’m too goddam stupid to recognize a political ad when I see it. Or that I’m so gullible that I naively swallow the usual crap presented by the same. WTF, are we so like Iran or Venezuela that we have to censor government criticism?

  4. But seriously now, who really needs the freedom to be mean to people in public? That’s a completely unnecessary freedom because mean people are BAD.

  5. Point of fact: The Plaintiff in the case was a corporation, “Wisonsin Right To Life, Inc.”, albeit probably a nonprofit.

  6. Peter K. You’re right. And while it is a non-profit (complete with .org internet designation), some contributions used for lobbyinig are not IRS deductible.

  7. When I was a kid, there was a Happy Days episode where the Fonz just couldn’t make himself say “I was wrong.” He was too proud.

    McCain, you just need get out there and say, “I was wr-wr-wr-wr-wr.” We’ll know what you mean.

  8. McCain will oppose Free Speech as long as there is at least one person willing to stand up in public and call him the ignorant fascist twat he so clearly is.
    Expect him to start arguing his way towards death penalties for offesive speech.

    Shirley Knott

  9. Great fricking post Ron!

    I’d like to see people start doing the finger shame/shame thing at him everywhere he goes.

  10. If the First Amendment doesn’t protect political speech–especially criticism of politicians running for office–what does it protect?

    Lots of things! For example:
    1) Your right to mail John McCain a Valentine’s Day card.
    2) Your right agree with John McCain’s criticism of Supreme Court decisions.
    3) Your right to have the lyrics to “God Bless the U.S.A.” tattooed on your ass.

  11. The greater authoritarian: Rudy or McCain?

  12. The greater authoritarian: Rudy or McCain?

    Who knows. But McCain has done more damage. He’s still trying to live down that Keating Five thing. Kinda like if Ted Kennedy suddenly became a zealot on DUI laws.

  13. JsD,
    Is that a shoutout? Well, since you insist, here’s my blurb winning comment from yesterday. Back by popular demand.

    If Matt Welch truly is responcible for keeping John McCain out of the Oval Office, then he’s done more in the service of this country than anyone since Mary Jo Kopechne.

  14. Wow. McCain should be shooting for the Democratic ticket instead. The democrats like that kinda stuff.

    Hrm… Clinton/McCain ’08? That’s a thought.

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