May 19, 2014

Free Speech: Blaming Their Troubles on Koch

Democrats are aiming to silence speech they don’t like with a constitutional amendment.

When economic policies don’t work and ideas thought to be brilliant fail, the last thing a politician does is blame himself. It’s always someone else’s fault.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), who has another two years left in his current term, is looking at the 2014 political landscape and has obviously made the decision that he has no desire to be in the minority party to finish his term. But what successes can his Democrat Senate point to? Fellow Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) correctly noted, “Democrats are simply seeking to distract from their failure to address the real issues facing our country, like our sluggish economy and the president’s disastrous health care law.” So what does Reid do? Blame the Koch brothers, of course.

Granted, the entrepreneurial philanthropist Koch brothers are major conservative players, among other things bankrolling the advocacy group known as Americans for Prosperity. Who could be against prosperity besides the current administration? Harry Reid could. That’s why he incessantly screeches about private citizens from the Senate floor. “None of us should be afraid of the Koch brothers,” he said. “These two multi-billionaires may spend hundreds of millions of dollars rigging the political process for their own benefit. But I will do whatever it takes to expose their campaign to rig the American political system to benefit the wealthy at the expense of the middle class.” Matthew 7:3-5 (first remove the log from your own eye) comes to mind, particularly when Democrat coffers are overflowing with millions of dollars from the pockets of George Soros and Tom Steyer.

But Reid sits in a position to do great harm. He and other Democrats are championing a constitutional amendment that would undo several Supreme Court precedents, beginning with Buckley v. Valeo – a 1976 case in which money was first equated with political speech – and continuing on through the more recent Citizens United and McCutcheon decisions striking down parts of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance “reform” law from a decade ago. Reid’s is a populist appeal to hide the fact that the biggest in-kind donations to leftist campaigns come from the Leftmedia, which trumpet news when it’s bad for conservatives but downplay the negative about the Left.

More to the point, The Washington Times explains, “Mr. Reid and his fellow Democrats say the government should have the ability to decide who can spend money in elections and how much they are allowed to spend.”

Democrats’ plan to amend the Constitution to limit campaign contributions from certain categories of people practically amounts to an unconstitutional bill of attainder – a law aimed to punish a person or group. Reid nearly admitted as much, saying, “Amending our Constitution is not something we take lightly. But the flood of special interest money into our American democracy is one of the greatest threats our system of government has ever faced. Let’s keep our elections from becoming speculative ventures for the wealthy and put a stop to the hostile takeover of our democratic system by a couple of billionaire oil barons. … There is absolutely no question the Koch brothers are in a category of their own. No one else is pumping money into the shadowy campaign organizations and campaigns like they are. There isn’t even a close second. They are doing this to promote issues that make themselves even richer.”

So Reid is going to try to amend the Constitution to stop the Koch brothers. His singular obsession with them has become severely disturbing. As Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey quips, the amendment should be titled “The Koch Brothers Are So Un-American That I Have Lost My Mind Act.”

One would think this amendment is a non-starter with congressional Republicans, but at one time we thought ObamaCare would never see the light of day, and then Republicans would defund it the first chance they got. As an “incumbent protection plan,” Reid’s proposal possibly has legs. Perhaps Reid would like to call a constitutional convention. We have some ideas for amendments to rein in abuse of power.

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