WASHINGTON, September 9, 2014 — Vulnerable Democrats face severe obstacles in maintaining their control of the U.S. Senate this election cycle: Public support for Obamacare stands at 35 percent, down three points from a Kaiser Health Foundation survey released last May; a new Washington Post/ABC News poll finds that 52 percent of Americans, including one-in-four Democrats, call the Obama presidency a “failure”; and the recent jobs report shows high unemployment to be the new normal in Obama’s fundamentally transformed America.
Desperate to find a winning issue to galvanize voters to keep Harry Reid the Senate’s majority leader, Senate Democrats unveiled a measure to amend the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights, giving Congress wide latitude to censor political speech in the name of “campaign finance reform.”
“You’re either for campaign spending reform or not,” Reid told a press conference on Monday. “This constitutional amendment is what we need to bring sanity back to elections.”
New York Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer blamed the nation’s high court for declaring McCain-Feingold’s campaign reform law an unconstitutional abridgment of free speech.
“The Supreme Court is trying to take this country back to the days of the robber barons, allowing dark money to flood our elections. That needs to stop, and it needs to stop now … The only way to undo the damage the court has done is to pass Senator Udall’s amendment to the Constitution, and Senate Democrats are going to try to do that,” said Schumer.
Schumer did not explain what exact qualities make Senate Democrats uniquely qualified to re-write Founder James Madison’s protection of unalienable free speech from the political machinations of craven politicians.
“A popular government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or tragedy; or perhaps both,” wrote Madison.
“For over two centuries, Congress has not dared to mess with the Bill of Rights,” said Tea Party champion Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. “This amendment, here today, if adopted, would repeal the free-speech protections of the First Amendment … When citizens hear that, they gasp. As immune as we are to abuse of power from government, citizens are still astonished that members of Congress would dare support repealing the First Amendment.”
“This amendment is about power,” Cruz continued, “and it is about politicians silencing the citizens … When did elected Democrats abandon the Bill of Rights?”
The Democrats tipped their hand concerning the draconian nature of their constitutional amendment by including this clause: “Nothing in this article shall be construed to grant Congress the power to abridge the freedom of the press.”
The clear implication being, “Everyone else is fair game.”
The Democrats’ singular protection of the mainstream media is another indication, as if any more were needed, that said newspaper scribblers and TV talking heads are in the bag for the party of big, authoritarian government.
However, mass layoffs at newspapers and cable-news networks show the public is either tuning out or seeking alternative news sources. Political advertising, therefore, is a more powerful and more cost-effective means of speaking directly to the public.
Harry Reid says his party’s re-writing of the First Amendment will “restore Americans’ confidence in our democracy.” The First Amendment is not about “democracy.” The first five words of the amendment read: “Congress shall make no law”.
Neither the people, nor their duly elected representatives, may regulate the speech of free men and women. That’s because free speech is not a group right. It’s an individual right.
When Thomas Jefferson declared that Americans should “assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them,” he was paraphrasing natural-rights philosopher John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government: “Being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions.”
If Republicans are smart (and that’s a big if), they will use the Democratic Party’s assault on First Amendment free speech in what President Obama might describe as a “teachable moment.”
Shall the First Amendment continue to protect individual free speech, or shall we, in the name of “fundamental transformation,” butcher it in an effort to shield the Democratic Party’s failed and discredited ideas from criticism?
Democrats need to explain what exact qualities make them uniquely qualified to redefine individual Americans’ natural and unalienable rights.
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