Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: Blogging — Rick Moran @ 7:09 pm

I suppose it had to happen sooner or later. A blogger has come out in favor of new regulations to stifle political speech in the blogosphere:

Republicans, particularly conservative activists, have argued with some limited success that campaign finance laws amount to a restraint on free speech since they keep supporters from theoretically doing-or spending-as much as they’d like on behalf of their favored candidate.

Democrats are a bit less worried about regulating political speech through spending limits.

(HT: Captains Quarters)

After having established that “regulating political speech through spending” is the goal of McCain Feingold, the author of this piece, Chris Nolan, then gets to the heart of the controversy and pooh-poohs the idea of any new regulations coming from the FEC:

It’s silly to think Smith’s warnings will all come to pass and that the FEC will attempt to figure out, for instance, the actual monetary “value” to a campaign of a hyperlink from a blogger or anyone else for that matter.

And the FEC is unlikely to craft brand spanking new regulations for online advertising, completely different from those that already cover hardcopy counterparts.

But it is looking into how bloggers are compensated by campaigns as part of an exploration into how campaigns coordinate their messages with blogs or other outside organizations

Ms. Nolan, whose own political blog would be a prime candidate for regulation, doesn’t seem to mind the FEC looking over her shoulder:

Using a Web site to endorse or praise a candidate in exchange for money seems to be a violation of the spirit of the commission’s purpose.

That’s why some kind of regulation-spending limits and full, repeated disclosure are what the commission uses now-is in order

Who in their right mind would want the FEC breathing down their neck? How about this guy:

“Excellent disclosure is nice but not necessarily sufficient,” says Richard Hasen, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles and himself editor of the ElectionLawBlog.

“If your goal is to prevent corruption and create equality, then disclosure is not enough.”

Please note the phrase “create equality” as if the purpose of the FEC or any federal agency is to achieve some kind of mythical, artificial parity between candidates…sort of like the NFL but with more violence done to the human spirit.

That’s not all. Ms. Nolan is developing a coalition of like minded bloggers to push such regulation:

What’s next? A loose affiliation of bloggers and others interested in online activism is hoping to present FEC Chairman Scott Thomas with a letter outlining some of the changes they think are necessary.

It’s a first step in getting the commission to amend its rules for the modern, online era and an interesting coda to an election season that saw the Internet used-voraciously by both sides-as a partisan weapon.

The coalition has managed to include former Deaniac Democrats, fiercely partisan conservatives and even a Libertarian.

“It’s tri-partisan,” quips one organizer, illustrating yet again, that politics can make strange bedfellows.

First of all, who are these “bloggers and on-line activists” who have the unmitigated gall to speak for the rest of us? I’d love to have someone like Captain Ed or the guys at Powerline find out who these schmucks are so that the rest of us can flood their mailboxes with angry letters.

To acquiesce to government regulation is one thing. To actively seek government intervention-especially in matters pertaining to free speech-is foolhardy and dangerous.

The Captain has some similar thoughts:

It’s thought-policing of the worst order, and the BCRA inevitably pushes towards that end. The FEC will have the power to determine whether or not bloggers, especially those who are politically active, engage in speech or cashless contributions. Moreover, the language in Shays-Meehan v. FEC ominously portends that the burden of proof will rest with the blogger, not with the FEC, to prove the negative: that he or she did not intend their speech to be a campaign contribution.

Why should the FEC stop at regulating bloggers who are on a campaign’s payroll? Why not regulate partisans as well? Who’s to stop them?

Certainly not Ms. Nolan and her merry band of “reformers” who evidently won’t be happy until the government publishes “goals” and “guidelines” for bloggers.

I can see it now…FEC regs taped to the space between my keyboard and monitor just to make sure I don’t step over the “FEC Line of Death” as it relates to posting about a candidate.

An exaggeration of course. But I would say to Ms. Nolan…BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR!


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    Comment by Jay — 3/10/2005 @ 11:33 pm

  2. Free Speech Isn’t All THAT Important
    RightWing Nuthouse has a great post about a fellow blogger who thinks the FEC trying to apply the travesty known as McCain-Feingold to the blogosphere isn’t really that big of a deal.Please note the phrase “create equality” as if the purpose of the FE…

    Trackback by The Armageddon Project — 3/11/2005 @ 10:06 am

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