Let’s hear the argument for rewriting the First Amendment

Apparently there are a few Republicans who have decided it is time to give the Democrats enough rope to hang themselves.

Twenty Republicans — including Nevada’s junior senator, Dean Heller — joined the Democrats to vote 79-18 to begin debate on a constitutional amendment that would allow Congress and the states to limit how much of one’s own money a person or organization may spend on elections and issues.

That means as much as a week of the two weeks the Senate will be in session before the elections will be spent debating an amendment that has no chance of passing. 

Less time to talk about the budget. Less time to discuss immigration, terrorism and even the things the Democrats want to push, such as the minimum wage, equal pay for women and reforming student aid.

Majority Leader Harry Reid, of course, used the occasion to bash the Koch brothers and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

“We’ll vote on a constitutional amendment that would bring sanity back to elections and restore Americans’ confidence in our democracy,” Reid tweeted before the vote.

So, let the Democrats start gabbing about how important it is to protect the stupid voters from being exposed to someone’s ideas because they spend money to get their message out. Of course, the press is exempted because they spend no money and have no agenda. Right?

That is the crux of the argument: Voters are stupid. Well, that may be a given, since they elected these buffoons to the Senate.

Justice Anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion in Citizens United v. FEC, which this amendment would overturn, pointed out the wrongness of a law restricting speech by restricting spending:

As a “restriction on the amount of money a person or group can spend on political communication during a campaign,” that statute “necessarily reduces the quantity of expression by restricting the number of issues discussed, the depth of their exploration, and the size of the audience reached.” Buckley v. Valeo , 424 U. S. 1, 19 (1976) (per curiam) . Were the Court to uphold these restrictions, the Government could repress speech by silencing certain voices at any of the various points in the speech process. See McConnell , supra , at 251 (opinion of Scalia , J.) (Government could repress speech by “attacking all levels of the production and dissemination of ideas,” for “effective public communication requires the speaker to make use of the services of others”). If §441b applied to individuals, no one would believe that it is merely a time, place, or manner restriction on speech. Its purpose and effect are to silence entities whose voices the Government deems to be suspect.

Reid would like to silence the Koch brothers, while he would still be allowed to rant on the floor of the Senate.

It would be tempting to call for a gag on Reid, but the more he talks, the more he reveals about himself, his motives and his objective to stamp out liberties.




33 comments on “Let’s hear the argument for rewriting the First Amendment

  1. Rincon says:

    We forget how effective propaganda can be. Money is power – to persuade.

  2. Steve says:

    Yes, money is power.

    However, money is the only thing that can balance politicians in places of power who wish to solidify and strengthen their power from any outside force.

    This is a very bad proposal and it is far more devious than all those anti “flag burning” amendments proposed by the elder Bush.

    Let the money speak, it gives voice to people who agree, but lack the money to get their voices heard.

  3. nyp says:

    Money “gives voice to people who agree, but lack the money to get their voices heard” ???

    You shouldn’t post comments when you are drunk.

  4. iShrug says:

    I’m with Steve on this.

  5. nyp says:

    You are drunk as well?

  6. iShrug says:

    Stone cold sober, how about you?

  7. nyp says:

    I must be hallucinating, since I thought I read someone on this board say that unlimited money in politics helps give voice to people who otherwise lack the money with which to be heard.

  8. Rincon says:

    So how do we explain the tenfold increase (in today’s dollars)in campaign spending since the ’70’s?http://voteview.com/Congress_Campaign_Contributions.htm Are their words only 10% as effective now as then or have they found that spending obscene amounts of money is the best way to shout as loudly as their opponents? Keep in mind, most contributors expect their donation to pay in some way. Today’s hacks…err, politicians now owe their contributors ten times as much as those of forty years ago. Technically, we’re a representative republic, but we smell more like an aristocracy.

  9. Steve says:

    No Nyp, as usual you spin.

    It gives volume to voices in agreement that, otherwise, would not have any volume at all.
    Our republic was designed to give voice to the minority while keeping the interest of the majority at center.
    Money is one of the ways this balance is maintained. Taking that away removes a large portion of that balance.

    You guys prefer the tyranny of the majority and I sincerely hope you find your brave new world to your liking.

    But this proposed amendment has the same chance of becoming an new addition to our Constitution as the “anti flag burning” amendment had.

    Suck on that, drunk boy.

  10. nyp says:

    I see. People who don’t have money find their voice because the super-rich Wall Street guys are speaking for them and looking out for their best interests.

    Of course, people who don’t have the big money and don’t think that hedge fund salaries should be taxed at a lower rate than regular salaries, or who don’t think that Medicare should be abolished, end up not having a voice. But the hell with them, I suppose. After all, this is America.

  11. Steve says:

    People who are not rich but work hard to get well off anyway and happen to have used many of the same pathways as those super rich used, do not have the money to make their voices heard.
    You guys say to people like this, “But the hell with them, I suppose.”

    You agree with what your side says and you want to silence any who do not.

    This is not freedom of speech. Nothing comes without a price. Speech itself costs money if you want to be heard!

  12. Under this amendment, Thomas Paine could have been prohibited from printing more than a couple dozen copies of “Common Sense.”

  13. nyp says:

    Really? I suppose it would, so long as one simply ignored the portion of the Amendment that states “Nothing in this article shall be construed to grant Congress or the States the power to abridge the freedom of the press.”

  14. Define “the press.”

  15. Steve says:

    Not to mention the fact Thomas Paines printing press was not a gift to him to use as he pleased…it cost money…horrors.
    Speech may be be a freedom, but it most certainly is NOT free!

  16. Would Paine be permitted to print his screed anonymously?

  17. nyp says:

    I had no idea that Tom Paine was spending millions of dollars on advertisements in election campaigns.

  18. Steve says:

    You did the math on pre revolutionary currency, nyp?

    The founders were NOT poor people. They were speaking for many of those people (like those who dumped all that tea overboard) who did not have the money to speak for themselves!

  19. Rincon says:

    It’s all about balance. The rich and powerful have historically run roughshod over the majority and still do in most parts of the world. That’s precisely what democracy is about – giving everybody a fairly equal voice. Money in today’s politics makes voices less equal once again, but has also gone to such an extreme that legal and blatant bribery is the norm and is supported by a propaganda machine that terms it “free speech”.

  20. Steve says:

    Democracy, Rincon, does not do that.
    A constitutional Republic, OTH, has a much better chance of achieving the goal of majority rule while maintaining minority voice.
    What we are seeing is a democracy in full on action today. Taking away speech as fast as it is able.

  21. Nyp says:

    We can trust the super-rich to speak out on bahalf of the rest of us. They have our interests at heart.

  22. Steve says:

    We CAN trust those who say the things with which we happen to agree. For you, nyp, it would be The former mayor of New York City,,,,Bloomberg? Rather wealthy, in fact super rich and spreading money around speaking for those who do not happen to have the money to speak for themselves?


    Dead on arrival, as predicted by both you and I Tom. What a waste, a blatant attempt at distraction is all it was. And now Harry wants an apology for something completely within campaign protocol,,,irony is nice. And it leaves a warm afterglow too.

  23. Rincon says:

    Let me rephrase my sentence Steve: “That’s precisely what a constitutional republic is about – giving everybody a fairly equal voice..” Feel better?

    What is OTH?

    Hypocrite? Maybe I’m slow, but I don’t see it at all. Can you explain for us slowpokes?

  24. Steve says:

    OTH =On (the) Other Hand.

    Hypocrite is
    aimed at nyp’s response, Rincon.

  25. nyp says:

    What makes you think I “trust” Michael Bloomberg?I would be perfectly happy if all super rich guys were restricted from spending hundreds of millions of dollars trying to influence elections in order to further their personal agendas. How does that make me a “hypocrite”?

  26. Steve says:

    You are hypocritical for claiming to believe is the freedom of speech while campaigning on a platform of silencing everyone.

  27. nyp says:

    reversing Citizens United and returning campaign finance laws to their pre-2009 status means being in favor of silencing everyone??

  28. Steve says:

    nyp sez:
    “I would be perfectly happy if all super rich guys were restricted from spending hundreds of millions of dollars trying to influence elections in order to further their personal agendas.”

    then claims:
    “reversing Citizens United and returning campaign finance laws to their pre-2009 status means being in favor of silencing everyone??”

    I say:
    non sequitur

  29. nyp says:

    No, it is not.

  30. Steve says:

    Ahh, I see we have arrived at the kindergarten playground level of discourse and argument.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s