Monday, June 18, 2012

The Good Fight: Mitch McConnell and the First Amendment

Mitch McConnell doesn't get a lot of love from conservatives, but he's certainly a lot better than his Bush-era predecessor, Bill Frist. And, whatever RINO-esque legislative maneuvers he may have made during his career, he more than made up for them with a remarkable speech at the American Enterprise Institute on the subject of the Left's assault on the First Amendment:

You’ve all heard about the Idaho businessman who’s become a personal target of the President for speaking out on behalf of candidates and causes the President opposes. Shortly after being publicly singled out by the President’s campaign, people were digging through his divorce records, cable television hosts were going after him on air, and bloggers were harassing his kids. 
Charles and David Koch have become household names, not for the tens of thousands of people they employ, not for their generosity to charity, and not for building up one of the most successful private corporations on the planet; but because of their forceful and unapologetic promotion and defense of capitalism.

In return for their decades of work, one of the President’s top aides exposed them to public scrutiny by insinuating that they’d done something shady on their taxes. And earlier this year, the President’s own campaign manager sent a mass email to the campaign’s supporters, notifying them of a Koch-backed event, presumably to incite just the kind of mob that showed up. 
The results have been predictable. The Koch brothers, along with Koch employees, have had their lives threatened, received hundreds of obscenity-laced hate messages, and been harassed by left-wing groups. One e-mail carried a typical message. It read: “Choose your expiration date.” 
If the President of the United States opposed these kinds of tactics, all he’d have to do is condemn them. Instead, he’s joined the effort. 
President Obama has publicly accused the Koch’s of being part of a, quote, “corporate takeover of our Democracy,” whatever that means. And not only did his campaign publish a list of eight private citizens it regards as enemies — an actual old-school enemies list — it recently doubled down on the effort when some began to call these thuggish tactics into question. 
None of this should be surprising for a former community organizer who told a radio audience shortly before the 2010 mid-term election that Latino voters should vote with the idea of punishing their enemies and rewarding their friends. But all of it should be surprising to a former community organizer who happens to be President. 
What’s more, the tactics I’m describing extend well beyond the campaign headquarters in Chicago. To an extent not seen since the Nixon administration, they extend deep into the administration itself.

There's a lot more where that came from, and you should certainly read the whole thing. It's a remarkable thing, really. The Senate Minority Leader is calling the president - indeed, virtually the whole of the Democrat Party - enemies of freedom. McConnell is no wild-eyed radical. But, he at least recognizes that we are no longer dealing with people with whom bi-partisan compromise can be achieved. They can only be defeated. 

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