This really shouldn’t surprise anyone, but even the attempt is rather stunning when you stop to think about it:
The Senate Judiciary Committee today held a hearing to discuss a constitutional amendment aimed at allowing lawmakers to limit spending on political campaigns by giving Congress the power to regulate “the raising and spending of money and in-kind equivalents with respect to federal elections.” The amendment, which was proposed by Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., has been endorsed by 41 Democratic senators.
Give supporters of this amendment their due: At least they take the Constitution seriously enough to realize they’ll have to amend it to limit political speech.
A Constitutional amendment requires two thirds support in both houses of Congress, as well as the approval of three fourths of all states, so the reality is that it isn’t going to happen anytime soon. However, the point isn’t to discuss the likelihood of the Constitution formally limiting the free speech of Americans…the point is to highlight the fact that Congress would even suggest such a thing.
“This amendment, if adopted, would give Congress absolute authority to regulate the political speech of every single American,” Sen. Ted Cruz warnedon Tuesday. “This amendment is about power, and it is about politicians silencing the citizens.”
Money, Cruz points out, equates to speech; you can’t run an ad, publish a book or launch a blog without spending money. If lawmakers get to decide how much may be spent and when it may be spent, they’ll effectively be able to shut off political speech—except for the press, which would be given an exemption from government censorship.
The freedom to speak our minds is one of the most fundamental, critical pillars of American civilization and the American way of life. We’ve already experienced significant infringements on that free speech through things like campaign finance reform and political correctness, but to formally enshrine such limitations is absolutely unthinkable if we value our freedom at all.
Barack Obama promised to transform America, and he wasn’t kidding. Now we are seeing the results of that transformation on a daily basis. In this case, it’s the stunning hubris of our betters in Congress suggesting that they know better what we should think and say than we do ourselves.
Let me reiterate my previous rule of thumb when stepping into the voting booth: unless you can name numerous specific reasons your representative deserves to keep his or her position, send every incumbent home. Period.
There’s my two cents.