...usually with an attempt at historical and economic context
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Double Good News for American Freedom
This has been one of those rare weeks when two noteworthy and favorable political events happened.
I. Scott Brown (R) defeats Martha Coakley (D) in U. S. Senate race in Massachusetts
This defeat ought to at least force the Democrats to consider the fact that people are mostly opposed to their “health-care reform” plans, and are willing to vote accordingly. Democrats want us to believe this election was not a “referendum on Obama,” but it clearly was. It appears the Democrats’ 60-vote super majority is gone, and if they try to ram some form of the health-care legislation through without another Senate vote, they’ll look desperate and dishonest, and lose even more esteem among the public.
Therefore, we are hearing talk about a scaled-back approach to the issue. As you have read in numerous places, the election sent a shock through the Democratic Party, as it now appears many Democrats are vulnerable in the 2010 elections, if a blue state like Massachusetts can choose a Republican over a Democrat – especially, a Republican who campaigned with a conservative message, and presented himself as the candidate of the people, rather than the government.
It remains to be seen how this will play out, but it looks like the Obamacare program may very well be rejected. Certainly the voters across America are rejecting it, and are prepared to punish, at election time, incumbents who voted for it. Despite liberal pundits urging and predicting a full-blown effort to get the program passed, lawmakers who are facing the 2010 elections will probably be cautious. Are they willing to give up their congressional careers in order to give President Obama a face-saving “legacy” in the form of a hated socialist program?
If Obamacare is not passed, look for the economic outlook to quickly improve, especially if taxes associated with it are not somehow enacted. It really would be good news for America if Obamacare is dumped.
II. The Supreme Court overturns key parts of the campaign finance laws
This is a significant victory for the Constitution, as some serious limits on free speech have rightly been found unconstitutional. Now corporations (gasp!) will be permitted to freely advertise for and against candidates, right up to election day. So will unions, although they have been doing that, in effect, all along. All sorts of entities have been freed to express political views for and against specific candidates.
Democrats are in a huff about this, having lost the security of knowing that political speech was basically controlled by the politicians in power. As a matter of free speech, if this is a free country, political speech ought to be especially protected, and especially as elections draw near. The restrictions that were overturned were blatantly aimed at silencing opposition to incumbent politicians. The idea that this has somehow protected Americans from “big money” influence is given the lie by the fact that the Section 527 organizations have helped politicians by raising many millions of dollars to influence elections.
The court left intact the rules prohibiting corporations and unions from giving money directly to campaigns.  The main thing changing is that corporations can now spend their money on political ads, if they choose to do so, at any time. The Supreme Court has ruled that free speech applies to corporations and other organizations as well as individuals. The Constitution is pretty clear about prohibiting Congress from making laws abridging freedom of speech or of the press.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), quoted at The Hill praised the decision: “‘For too long, some in this country have been deprived of full participation in the political process. With today’s monumental decision, the Supreme Court took an important step in the direction of restoring the First Amendment rights of these groups by ruling that the Constitution protects their right to express themselves about political candidates and issues up until Election Day,’ he said.” 
Meanwhile, Sen. Schumer (D-NY), supports legislation to restrict the effects of the decision: “‘The bottom line is this: The Supreme Court has just pre-determined the winners of next November's elections,’ Schumer said. ‘It won't be Republicans, it won't be Democrats, it will be corporate America.’” 
President Obama is pushing for such legislation  Democrats in Iowa, the state where the case arose which resulted in the Supreme Court decision, were critical of the Court’s action. Republicans had less to say, emphasizing their concern for disclosure, which was not affected by the Supreme Court ruling. 
Union leaders don’t particularly like the decision. For example, The Wall Street Journal has the following quote from SEIU spokeswoman Lori Lodes: “I don't think working people would ever have as much to spend as corporations. For us, being able to spend a few extra dollars isn't worth allowing decisions to be made from boardrooms instead of the polling booth.” 
If Democratic incumbents and their favored client interest groups stand to lose any influence from a decision that widens freedom of political speech (as required by the Constitution), then, by all means, protective measures must be taken. If such laws are passed, I predict that test cases will soon get to the Supreme Court, and the new laws will be struck down, too. Here’s hoping, anyway.
Conclusion It has been a better-than-usual week for the American people in terms of freedom.
As Bojidar Marinov, at American Vision, points out, in an article citing the fact that British pensioners are buying books from charity stores to burn as fuel, because they can’t afford highly taxed gas, coal, and electricity, then describing, in general, the “gray market,” “Socialism is an ideology that calls for the confiscation of the individual’s life, liberty and property by the state; but whatever resources socialist governments commit to their propaganda, they can never talk the individual people out of loving their life, liberty, and property.”  The current socialist-fascist administration in Washington, and the Democratic Congressional leadership are shining examples. But fortunately, America has retained enough freedom to put up some effective resistance. Both of the events mentioned above show that the American spirit will not be defeated by would-be oppressors.
I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.