18 September, 2008

Obama Campaign Continues to Trample Upon the First Amendment

This is the thirty-third post in an ongoing series regarding the major Presidential candidates and their views on civil liberties.

In this post, I am forced, once again, to re-examine Senator Barack Obama's (D-IL) respect for the First Amendment.

Earlier, in this post, I lowered his grade from a C- to a D-. Here's what I said at the time.

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 discussed his campaign's continued trampling on the First Amendment also here, where I discussed his campaign's e-mails sent out to supporters to shut down the voice of Stanley Kurtz, a journalist investigating Obama's ties to terrorist Bill Ayers.

This is utterly despicable. The Obama campaign's response to criticism is to shut it down? Is this the kind of heavy-handed treatment we can expect from an Obama Presidency?

I didn't lower his grade again at that point, although I strongly considered it. What I decided to do was to wait. I told myself that if team Obama attacked the First Amendment once more, I would lower their grade to an F. It took a few weeks, but they didn't disappoint.

Much of Barack Obama's political success can be traced to a database listing contact information for millions of people, a tool that has proved invaluable in raising record sums of money and organizing a national volunteer network.
Now Obama's presidential campaign is increasingly using the list to beat back media messages it does not like, calling on supporters to flood radio and television stations when those opposed to him run anti-Obama ads or appear on talk shows.
It did so as recently as Monday night, when it orchestrated a massive stream of complaints on the phone lines of Tribune Co.-owned WGN-AM in Chicago when the radio station hosted author David Freddoso, who has written a controversial book about the Illinois Democrat.

As Jim Treacher says:

Having listened to the previous Milt Rosenberg show with Stanley Kurtz that got "Action-Wired" (which is available here), I can tell you what this translates to:

"We'll provide a page of talking points for you to spout at the host and his guest. Just read it from your screen. Unfortunately, we're unable to provide you with the necessary brainpower to keep up when the host asks you to explain the reasoning behind 'your' opinion, or poses any other question that isn't found in our script.

"But that isn't the point anyway. We just want to tie up their phone lines with thousands of angry calls, both to intimidate them and to prevent people with legitimate questions from getting through. Yes We Can... Shout Down All Blasphemers."

Frankly, I'm stunned that he can get away with this. I'm trying to imagine the reaction to President Richard Nixon (R-USA) sending out a call in 1973 to his supporters urging them to silence the voices of Woodward and Bernstein.

This is absolutely atrocious. If he's elected, is this how we'll see criticism of him and his policies handled? When there's a scandal involving the Executive branch, will he attempt to silence the investigators this way?

Anyway, his grade on the First Amendment has been officially lowered to an F.

Sadly, I'm starting also to realize that Senator John McCain's grade on this is far too low. I have him at a D-, and there's really no comparison between him and Obama on this issue. McCain should probably be a D+, but I'll leave it be for now.


  1. Just came across your blog while doing research for my own. Superb work, incidentally. Your blogs on this topic (Constitutionality of the candidates) are outstanding.

    I actually find the speech-squelching intimidation tactics of Obama to be the most troubling thing about his entire candidacy, although there's so much to choose from it's really difficult to pick.

    The deal with digging up dirt to discredit "Joe the Plumber" after daring to question Obama and now a similar effort to discredit and shame that Florida news anchor who dared to ask some difficult questions of Biden makes me simply sick. Our

  2. job as citizens to ensure that our government follows the rules is becoming more and more difficult as those tools for ensuring their allegiance to us are progressively eroded.

    Keep up the great work, comrade. I guess we'll just keep going until one of the thought cops comes for us, right?

  3. Correct. And I totally agree with you with respect to free speech suppression. Well, he's in office now. We'll see how things go.

    Thanks for the compliments, btw.