Money equals Speech — Part XXXVII
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.