And thuggishness by, well, see below…
A month ago, I wrote critically about Obama’s attempt to silence advertisements that opposed him: using a combination of his passionate supporter-strength and legal threats.
Sadly, it was not a one-off incident.
The latest targets of the Obama campaign is an advertisement by the National Rifle association (NRA). Obama claims that the ad misrepresents his position, which may well be true. But his response goes beyond that.
The Obama campaign has written radio stations in Pennsylvania and Ohio, pressing them to refuse to air an ad from the National Rifle Association.
“This advertisement knowingly misleads your viewing audience about Senator Obama’s position on the Second Amendment,” says the letter from Obama general counsel Bob Bauer. “For the sake of both FCC licensing requirements and the public interest, your station should refuse to continue to air this advertisement.”
As the letter makes clear, it’s not just a request but a transparent legal threat.
Yes, Obama, and indeed every individual has the right to make legal threats. But this issues isn’t whether Obama did anything illegal in sending that letter (he didn’t) but whether you want a president who lacks the basic respect for the First Amendment and free speech that was displayed here. Can you imagine what it would be like if in an Obama administration, the people sending these letters are not lawyers but Federal investigators?
Yes, the First Amendment is too precious to take a chance with. So, despite the fact that I am an Obama supporter, I’ll respond to him in the only way I can think of — by linking to the NRA ad that he hates.
Update: I now see that David Bernstein at Volokh had the same idea. Good for him and I hope more people do this. The small difference is that Prof. Bernstein titles his post “Doing my patriotic duty”. I am not American, and in any case, this is not about a country. So let’s just say I am being true to my beliefs.