Recently, Sen. Mitch McConnell wrote an opinion in which he attacks the Obama Administration as planning to target the 1st Amendment if President Obama is re-elected. There may be no accusation that could be more troubling for an American citizen than this. But is this just political sniping? Is this something that could be attempted by an Obama Administration if a re-election win can be wrested from the apparent loss some pundits are already projecting.
Sen. McConnell stated
“But the administration’s troubling view of free speech was perhaps best summed up just this week, when Obama’s top political adviser said that if the president is reelected in November, a top priority could be a constitutional amendment to change the First Amendment.
The courts have said Congress doesn’t have the authority to muzzle political speech. So the president plans to silence his opponents by amending the First Amendment itself. Now, this is radicalism.”
This is a serious statement. The top political advisor that is being refered to is David Axelrod. The comment comes from a New York Times article on June 22nd. In this article Axelrod is quoted
“I hope that one of the things we can do, when we win this election, is use whatever tools are available, up to and including a Constitutional amendment, to turn this [Supreme Court decision on Citizens United] back.”
To be fair to Mr. Axelrod, the extent that Sen. McConnell takes his words to is extreme. In a manner of speaking. While there is no direct reference to the 1st Amendment, it can be inferred – which Axelrod, speaking to potential supporters of President Obama, may have wanted it to be taken as.
At the same time, President Obama, and other leading Democrats, have made no effort to hide their displeasure with the Tea Party and others that disagree with their political views. The “astroturf” comments of Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the numerous accusations of racism by Rep. Sheryl Lee Jackson and the Congressional Black Caucus, even the accusation that ‘Republicans want people to die’ by former Rep. Alan Grayson.
The DISCLOSURE Act cited by Sen. McConnell in the same opinion letter noted above, is another example of the Obama Administration striking out against opinions it does not like. Yet another example was the early attempt by the White House to try to dictate to the American public what news organizations should, in the Governments opinion, be considered real and worthy – an attempt that drew criticism from ALL the media.
So there is credence in what Sen. McConnell states he fears. Still that does not equate to an Amendment of the Freedom of Speech. Not with a House majority of Republicans that is unlikely to change, and a Senate that may well go the same way no matter who wins the big seat.
It would be interesting for the White House to be explicit about what they plan to do to overturn or otherwise circumvent the ruling of the Supreme Court. Such detail will never happen in an election year, even as Axelrod hints at it. Perhaps the thing that should be really examined is that the Obama Administration is willing to openly and directly state that it plans to reject the position of an equal part of the Government – in effect to defy decisions it does not agree with through the power of the Executive Branch and any other means at its disposal. Axelrod did say that.
Why won’t the major media focus on that kind of thought. Why won’t President Obama be asked how he might dare to make such a power grab. Without question if Karl Rove ever made such a statement, ANYWHERE, it would be broadcast on virtually every cable network before he was able to finish his sentence. It would seem that there is a propensity to push the Obama agenda in the media. The cost of which should also make ALL Americans feel uneasy.
Ultimately we are left with 2 troubling thoughts. The first is that a member of Congress would go to such an extreme, to gain a political advantage – even if this is isolated to those political junkies that are outside the norm of average American politics. This is without doubt political theatre to an extent.
The other thought is that as much as it is theatre, at its core it is based in a true concern and a clear intent to grab power by the Executive Branch to further goals that are decisively partisan.
Neither thought is comforting, and neither will gain major media attention. Which is not only sad, especially in an election year, but is potential the harbinger of darker days regardless of the outcome in November 2012.
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