Regulating and intimidating free speech out of existence 

Bill Clinton once told an audience in Philadelphia, "You know one of the things that's wrong with this country? Everybody gets a chance to have their fair say."  It was intended as a humorous response to a crowd of hecklers who was giving him fits as he tried to deliver a speech, but it's not hard to imagine that Democrats have taken that sentiment to heart of late.

Seton Motley notes a letter sent to book publishers Simon & Schuster by the Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee accusing the company of making an in-kind donation to Republicans with the publishing of Young Guns: A New Generation of Conservative Leaders which is about Republican House candidates.  In a letter to the publisher, Democrats allege that the book is an "in-kind" donation and make ominous statements (given the party's current control of Congress and its investigatory/regulatory power) about ensuring that the marketing of the book is "legal."

Of course, corporations are allowed to make independent political expenditures.  And how can this book be an in-kind contribution when it is set to be published, and sold, for profit?

Were the publishers of Obama's various bestselling books making in-kind contributions to his political campaigns?

I think not.

This sort of thuggish intimidation to free political speech has become all too common on the left. We've all watched as the Democrats have turned some contributions from Target in favor of a Minnesota governor candidate into a national issue, complete with boycotts and protests, a move clearly intended to intimidate other potential corporate backers of Republican candidates (for what it’s worth, it’s not having much of an impact on Target’s bottom line). And Democrats have been making noises for years about "Fairness Doctrine" policies in the talk radio industry that would silence many of the conservative/libertarian voices that dominate that medium.

Obama's FCC has even proposed regulations that would form diversity boards for the express purpose of monitoring broadcast content and ensuring that it's diverse enough. And by diverse enough, they of course mean ensuring that there's enough liberal-friendly programming.

Campaign finance reform, though supported by some Republicans, was supported by Democrats because it gave government an unprecedented amount of regulatory control over free speech. Regulatory control that could be used to brow-beat political speech to death. Control that is now being used against Simon & Schuster for the offense of publishing a book about Republican candidates.

This is a free country, and everyone who wants to should get to have their fair say. But it's fairly obvious to this observer that the left doesn't feel that way.

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Rob Port

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