Liberals either do not trust the substance of their philosophy or they do not place much faith in the little people to digest political debate and vote appropriately. Otherwise, liberals would embrace free speech and encourage debate. Instead, liberals have recently marshaled their forces and do all they can to stifle free speech and silence critics.
To wit: McCain-Feingold. Lamenting the efforts by alliances of politically engaged individuals, known to liberals and cheap populists as "special interest groups," to persuade Washington's voters to cast ballots against the Democrats' candidates, the governor of this once great state has proposed insulating her judicial allies from the judgment of the voters.
During this most recent campaign, citizens who held passionate opinions for or against certain prominent Washington Supreme Court justices invested unusual sums of money into either their defeat or re-election. And that has some dangerously powerful politicians considering how to put an end to all this conversation before it actually has an impact on an election or something.
"The only reasonable conclusion you can draw from those facts is that the entities -- the corporations, trade associations, unions -- have taken control of the election process," Public Disclosure Commissioner Mike Connelly complained. "By the simple volume of the money being spent, they have taken over ... pre-empted if you will, the voters and individual citizens."
Now I cannot imagine that there is anything wrong with the more passionate citizens exerting a greater influence on an election than the average voter. The passionate partisan is the guy who stands on a street corner trying to get signatures on a petition. It is the passionate citizen who donates his time and his car to get-out-the-vote efforts. Certainly these players have a greater influence on elections that other citizens. Should their efforts be controlled as well?
The average voter doesn't even know who sits on the Supreme Court. He doesn't know the outcome of most cases that the court hears or contemplate the consequences of those votes. Until and unless a "special interest group" gets involved, the average voter will see nothing but a vanilla and white bread campaign with essentially no public debate of the issues at stake.
The problem, as Washington's Democrats see it, is that these interest groups can legally speak their mind independent of campaigns. As such, these groups are not bound by laws that restrict how much money a candidate may attract from any one source. This extralegal status allows these groups to exercise something that we once took for granted -- freedom of speech. They can use their own freely given money to advocate for or against anything they want. And to Gregoire and the Public Disclosure Commission, such liberties are corrosive to democracy.
"Candidly, I'm very concerned about the amount of money that is going into judicial races," said the governor who supposedly took an oath to uphold constitutions and the like. "Is there a different and better way? ... I don't think this is healthy for the citizenry or healthy at all for the court. I'd like to hold our court in the highest regard."
She worries that someday, someone might "buy a seat" and undermine public confidence in the judiciary. I doubt that many people have all that much confidence in the judiciary as it is.
Gov. Gregoire argues that public financing is the answer. But of course, what she intends is bait and switch. It's not putting taxpayer money into campaigns that interests her. Her real intent here is to keep uninvited and undesirable people from putting their own money into election campaigns.
What she and the public disclosure commissioners have in mind was made abundantly clear in the manner in which the left went after talk radio in Seattle. Talk radio hosts John Carlson and Kirby Wilbur used their soapbox on KVI radio to advocate an initiative that would have rolled back a 9.5 cent increase in the gasoline tax. The left had Carlson and Kirby's speech declared illegal campaign contributions. Why newspaper editorials, and for that matter, their slanted news coverage are exempt defies understanding.
I suppose that it will take an attack on the mainstream media's free speech before we can expect them to oppose such speech management. But of course, by not standing up for everyone's free speech, they would lack the moral authority to defend their own.Our local liberals are exactly the same. Oh, they're not against free speech, as long as you agree with them. Go against the party line, and you're in trouble.
However, since they lack the legislative power to halt free speech, they resort to character assassination instead. One pompous WSU professor is a master of this. He was part of the "heckler's veto" at a performance last year of "Passion of the Musical" that got WSU in hot water nationally. More recently, this professor, along with some other dopey dons at WSU, have resorted to vitriolic letters to the editor in an attempt to squelch those that disagreee with them.