Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) has asked the Department of Justice to step in and stop the airing of an ad from American Issues Project that ties him to terrorist Bill Ayers. He has also threatened station managers against airing the ad.
There's no doubt that it's a hard-hitting ad. You can see it below.
However, Obama has no reason to involve the DoJ other than the fact that he doesn't like the ad. He claims that that since the organization isn't listed as a 527 that it can't run political ads, but that's not true and he knows it. He just wants the ad shut down because he doesn't like what it says.
McCain-Feingold weighs heavily against Senator John McCain (R-AZ) when people are discussing the First Amendment, but in my mind this is far worse. McCain-Feingold at least tried to reign in the First Amendment through legislation, and required the cooperation of at least 50 other Senators, 218 Representatives, 1 President and eventually 5 Supreme Court Justices.
In this example, we have one man attempting to use an arm of the federal government to shut down the voice of someone that's speaking out against him. This is exactly the kind of abuse of power that the founders were trying to prevent.
Due to these events, I'm forced to revisit Senator Obama's grade on the First Amendment and lower it. I am lowering it from C- to D-. I'm strongly tempted to give him an F, but I'm resisting on the feeling that I may be having somewhat of a knee-jerk reaction here. I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt, a benefit that I really don't think he deserves.
I am also adding this post to my ongoing series discussing the candidates for President and their views on civil liberties. That makes this post the twenty-fifth in the series.