Who Hijacked Our Country

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Money equals Speech — Part XXXVII

The Corporate Supreme Court has derailed yet another one of them commie campaign finance laws.

Until today, the State of Arizona provided public financing for political candidates. A candidate who opted for public financing would receive matching funds if he/she was outspent by a wealthier opponent and/or if he/she was being targeted by an “independent” organization.

Opponents of Arizona’s law have appealed to the Supreme Court, which has agreed to hear the case. They won’t be ruling on the case until this Fall at the earliest, and the law has been suspended in the meantime.

Opponents of Arizona’s campaign finance law are using the “reasoning” — using that term very loosely — that a candidate’s free speech is being “chilled” if his/her opponent gets to spend the same amount of money for political ads. WTF???

Now, let’s just play Devil’s Advocate for a minute here, and pretend to actually agree with that simple-minded short-bus “reasoning” that money equals speech. Political speech and money are the same thing. [shudder] I feel stupid even typing out that sentence. I feel like I should be chewin’ on some tobacca and listenin’ to some of that there country and western music.

Anyway, if money equals speech, then:

“If my opponent gets to spend the same amount of money that I’m spending, then MY free speech is being chilled” —

is the same as:

“If my opponent is allowed to speak, then MY free speech is being chilled.”

Right??? What’s the difference?

Of course we all know that Money and Speech are NOT the same thing; they’re two totally different animals. After all, if money was speech, people would call out “hey, keep your voice down” when you’re reaching into your wallet.

If money was speech, you could get a traffic ticket and say “I don’t have any money, so I’ll just talk at you instead. Let me know when I’ve done $500 worth of yakking, and I’ll be on my way.”

But with this “money is speech” logic, America’s oligarchs — and their inbred enablers — might be painting themselves into a corner.

Labels: , ,


Anonymous kate said...

It seems to me that in the political arena, money equals the ability to be seen and heard. From buying signs, renting billboards, placing newspaper ads, sending out fliers, holding fund raisers, managing phone lines, travelling from place to place, taking time off from a regular job to attend speaking functions, buying radio ads, etc.

In most of the elections I follow on a local level where I live, it is almost always the candidate with the most money, and therefore the most ability to be seen and heard, who wins the election. Sad, but true.

June 9, 2010 at 4:15 AM  
Blogger jadedj said...

Hey, what's wrong with you. Speechdom is not free.

June 9, 2010 at 4:31 AM  
Blogger Randal Graves said...

This problem is easily solved. Take some of those artificial cells scienticians are working on, inject them in some dollar bills, and let the inevitable AI explosion takeover. Eliminate the middle man, vote directly for the money!

June 9, 2010 at 7:06 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Kate: Yup, sad but true. I don't have any fixed opinion on campaign finance laws. But the reasoning expressed in that article -- that a candidate's free speech is being suppressed because his opponent gets matching political funding -- is completely baseless.

jadedj: Apparently not.

Randal: I think you're onto something. Not just the middle man; eliminate the middle species.

June 9, 2010 at 11:13 AM  
Anonymous Jess said...

So does this mean that the wealthy are more entitled to free speech than anyone else, just by virtue of wealth? I am confused.

June 9, 2010 at 11:53 AM  
Blogger Tim said...

I love the line "After all, if money was speech, people would call out “hey, keep your voice down” when you’re reaching into your wallet".

I need to borrow that.

As for Randal, you make my head hurt;)

June 9, 2010 at 12:49 PM  
Blogger Lew Scannon said...

Money is only speech to the rich and inarticulate.

June 9, 2010 at 2:11 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Jess: That must be what they mean, that wealthy people are entitled to more free speech than poor people.

Tim: It just shows how absurd the whole "money is speech" thing is. Yup, Randal can definitely make one's head hurt :)

Lew: Unfortunately it's the rich and inarticulate who seem to be running the show.

June 9, 2010 at 3:24 PM  
Blogger Dave Dubya said...

The list grows. Freedom's on the march in America.

Money is Speech.
Corporations are Persons.
War is Peace.
Freedom is Slavery.
Ignorance is Strength.

June 9, 2010 at 7:30 PM  
Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

Arizonans are on a roll. Maybe it's a form of PTSD in the wake of John McCain's embarrassingly incompetent presidential campaign.

We need a constitutional amendment that simply states: 1, corporations are not people under the law; and 2, money is not to be equated with speech in deciding cases under the law or in writing laws.

June 9, 2010 at 9:36 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Dave: Interesting list. And torture is "enhanced interrogation techniques," which have saved millions of American lives.

SW: I'm all in favor of that constitutional amendment. Even if it never gets passed, that sentiment needs to be kept in the public consciousness, front and center.

June 10, 2010 at 11:23 AM  
Blogger TomCat said...

Tom, what this comes down to is that the rich get all the benefits of socialism. Onbly the poor are stuck with free enterprise.

June 10, 2010 at 1:04 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

TomCat: So true; the rich only hate socialism when somebody else benefits from it.

June 10, 2010 at 1:10 PM  
Anonymous SQUATLO said...

I've just blogged on this sorry ruling myself, and see it as a piece of a much bigger problem than most. I think the Supreme Court ruling in January that equated corporations with individuals for campaign donations will result in corporate funded and handled election results. The politicians will be chosen, promoted, and then controlled by the corps, they will in turn name Appealate Court Judges (as some elected officials are allowed to do) who will do the bidding of Big Bidness, shutting down consumer complaints, shackling unions, undoing conservation and environmental reqs. This latest ruling in Arizona is yet another sign of how far to the right the Roberts Court has taken America. Read mine at www.squatlo-rant.blogspot.com (SCOTUS ANYONE?)

June 10, 2010 at 5:11 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home