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At least they admit it

The censorship campaign finance "reform" law passed, and Bush violated his oath of office to sign it. And special interest groups like Common Cause claimed it would end corruption in politics. But as Robert Samuelson notes, this is about speech, and some politicians are "honest" enough to admit it:

"This bill . . . is about slowing political advertising and making sure the flow of negative ads by outside interest groups does not continue to permeate the airwaves," said Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.). "We must also close off the use of corporate and union treasury money used to fund ads influencing federal elections," said Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine). "I cannot believe the Founding Fathers thought that the right to put the same commercial on 5,112 times was intended to be protected by the First Amendment," said Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.).

You might ask: What's wrong with groups -- the National Rifle Association, the Sierra Club -- running ads to praise friends or pillory foes? That's democracy. You might wonder whether the First Amendment makes exceptions for "negative" speech (Cantwell), speech intended to influence elections (Snowe) or repetitive speech (Schumer). It doesn't. Finally, you might rightly suspect a role for incumbent self-protection. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) confessed that she would be well rid of "those vicious attacks" (advertisements) in the final 60 days before an election.

Nobody should be surprised that politicians would be willing to eviscerate the First Amendment in order to protect their own jobs. But what is surprising is that so many are willing to admit it openly.


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 29, 2002 1:41 PM.

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