In Washington, DC the Supreme Court held that the current cap on the aggregate amount that any one American can give to political candidates in an election cycle is unconstitutional, (but left in place the $2,600 per candidate limit).
The Court continued where it left off in the Citizens United case several years ago in loosening the restrictions on giving and expanding the doctrine that money is indeed “speech”, especially for political purposes. Of course everyone who paid attention in history class (if your school still has that) knows that freedom of political speech was what most concerned the men who wrote and ratified the First Amendment.
Liberals and naïve campaign “reform” advocates proceeded to have the requisite conniption fits, claiming that money is not speech, but if that is the case then why do they ask for money to fund their own campaigns? Precisely to get their “speech” heard by more people.
If a citizen speaks in the forest without a microphone, a video camera or an ad budget, does he make a noise? The simple fact is that “speaking” can cost money, especially if you want to be heard by a lot of people, or very often. And since the First Amendment doesn’t place any restrictions on how loudly you can speak, or how often, they paying to do so is a Constitutional right.
If you can’t spend your own money to say what you want to say, or support someone else who’s saying it for you, then freedom of political speech is a myth.
Money may “speak”, but it doesn’t vote. People do that. And the speech that money pays for only works if the message resonates with people and what’s important to them. And since conservatism tends to resonate with a public that is more conservative than liberal, liberals try to limit access to paid media. It’s the primary reason that we have such a complex series of campaign finance laws.
This agonizing over “big money” comes at an awkward time in history, as we now have this wonderful invention called the Internet that enables average citizens to better organize, and raise and spend money to have an impact on the political system. Further, it has enabled candidates to be less reliant on the wealthy donors liberals stress about.
Just ask Barak Obama. Most of the big money was with Hillary when he first began to run in 2007, but he went on to use the Internet to organize and raise money so well that he became the first presidential candidate to refuse public financing for a general election, since it would have limited how much more he could raise or spend. He knew that he could leverage the Internet to engage hundreds of thousands of small donors, and he did – to the tune of almost eight-hundred million dollars.
But I guess that was “good” speech?
Also this past week, Brendon Eich, the newly installed CEO of Mozilla, maker of the Firefox web browser, was forced to resign after the company was besieged by hypocritical progressives demanding his scalp to intimidate CEOs everywhere into keeping their sympathies (and their money) away from conservative causes. His sin? He contributed $1,000 to the 2008 California Proposition 8 campaign to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
Of course this was the very same position held by Barack Obama (and Hillary Clinton) in 2008, without which he probably would not have been nominated or elected President. But what’s a little hypocrisy between friends.
It’s another example of liberals trying to infiltrate and then purge one of the typical strongholds of conservatism. They are sending corporations the message that CEOs can’t be conservatives (openly) and must publicly genuflect to liberal orthodoxy, or else have their money making enterprises interrupted by liberals who don’t care about money, but power.
The hypocrisy is everywhere. On the one hand they have gone to court (as in the Holly Lobby case) claiming corporations “can’t have beliefs”, therefore they can’t have religious rights and policies based on those beliefs like individuals (still) do. Then they claim Mozilla has progressive “beliefs” that their new CEO violated. So which is it? Notice the answer always seems to be whatever stifles conservative opinion.
They are all about “tolerance” until they manage to get in charge or get their laws passed, and then they want mandatory compliance, endorsement and punishment of wrong thinking.
As Newt Gingrich recently said, it’s the “new fascism”.
Free speech be damned.