Saturday, October 11, 2008

Obama Campaign: Band of Thugs

Michael BaroneSaturday, October 11, 2008

"I need you to go out and talk to your friends and talk to your neighbors," Barack Obama told a crowd in Elko, Nev. "I want you to talk to them whether they are independent or whether they are Republican. I want you to argue with them and get in their face." Actually, Obama supporters are doing a lot more than getting into people's faces. They seem determined to shut people up.

That's what Obama supporters, alerted by campaign emails, did when conservative Stanley Kurtz appeared on Milt Rosenberg's WGN radio program in Chicago. Kurtz had been researching Obama's relationship with unrepentant Weather Underground terrorist William Ayers in Chicago Annenberg Challenge papers in the Richard J. Daley Library in Chicago -- papers that were closed off to him for some days, apparently at the behest of Obama supporters.

Obama fans jammed WGN's phone lines and sent in hundreds of protest emails. The message was clear to anyone who would follow Rosenberg's example. We will make trouble for you if you let anyone make the case against The One.

Other Obama supporters have threatened critics with criminal prosecution. In September, St. Louis County Circuit Attorney Bob McCulloch and St. Louis City Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce warned citizens that they would bring criminal libel prosecutions against anyone who made statements against Obama that were "false." I had been under the impression that the Alien and Sedition Acts had gone out of existence in 1801-02. Not so, apparently, in metropolitan St. Louis. Similarly, the Obama campaign called for a criminal investigation of the American Issues Project when it ran ads highlighting Obama's ties to Ayers.

These attempts to shut down political speech have become routine for liberals.

Congressional Democrats sought to reimpose the "fairness doctrine" on broadcasters, which until it was repealed in the 1980s required equal time for different points of view. The motive was plain: to shut down the one conservative-leaning communications medium, talk radio. Liberal talk-show hosts have mostly failed to draw audiences, and many liberals can't abide having citizens hear contrary views.

To their credit, some liberal old-timers -- like House Appropriations Chairman David Obey -- voted against the "fairness doctrine," in line with their longstanding support of free speech. But you can expect the "fairness doctrine" to get another vote if Barack Obama wins and Democrats increase their congressional majorities.

Corporate liberals have done their share in shutting down anti-liberal speech, too. "Saturday Night Live" ran a spoof of the financial crisis that skewered Democrats like House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank and liberal contributors Herbert and Marion Sandler, who sold toxic-waste-filled Golden West to Wachovia Bank for $24 billion. Kind of surprising, but not for long. The tape of the broadcast disappeared from NBC's Website and was replaced with another that omitted the references to Frank and the Sandlers. Evidently NBC and its parent, General Electric, don't want people to hear speech that attacks liberals.

Then there's the Democrats' "card check" legislation, which would abolish secret ballot elections in determining whether employees are represented by unions. The unions' strategy is obvious: Send a few thugs over to employees' homes -- we know where you live -- and get them to sign cards that will trigger a union victory without giving employers a chance to be heard.

Once upon a time, liberals prided themselves, with considerable reason, as the staunchest defenders of free speech. Union organizers in the 1930s and 1940s made the case that they should have access to employees to speak freely to them, and union leaders like George Meany and Walter Reuther were ardent defenders of the First Amendment.

Today's liberals seem to be taking their marching orders from other quarters. Specifically, from the college and university campuses where administrators, armed with speech codes, have for years been disciplining and subjecting to sensitivity training any students who dare to utter thoughts that liberals find offensive. The campuses that used to pride themselves as zones of free expression are now the least free part of our society.

Obama supporters who found the campuses congenial and Obama himself, who has chosen to live all his adult life in university communities, seem to find it entirely natural to suppress speech that they don't like and seem utterly oblivious to claims that this violates the letter and spirit of the First Amendment. In this campaign, we have seen the coming of the Obama thugocracy, suppressing free speech, and we may see its flourishing in the four or eight years ahead.



dan said...

I'm having difficulty understanding the perspective of those who are still in the pro-Hillary anti-Obama camp. They do seem to be dwindling but this is an election about some very fundamental global and philosophical issues; McCain, and particularly Palin, advocate approaches that are totally counter to what the Clintons envision for America. Although I personally believe that Obama's thoughtful approach and cool personality are pros in today's environment, I can understand some might find something about his personality distasteful since that's politics. But it's harder for me to understand favoring a neoconservative in the mold of Cheney, running with a candidate who doesn't seem to believe in global warming and thinks oil pipelines are "God's will." And when it comes to personality, McCain's bellicose impulsive tendencies seem to be pretty counter to Hillary's analytical, intelligent approach as well. I have even more trouble finding anything in common between Hillary and Palin other than that they are both women. I try to look at all angles thoughtfully myself and consider people from both sides of the aisle. But I think this is a critically important election, too important to focus on gotcha politics over broad fundamental policy issues. Hillary herself has certainly made clear in no uncertain terms that she favors Obama. She's been campaigning and fundraising for him all over the place and will be focusing in even more in the near future in states like Pennsylvania where she has such strong appeal. I understand the primaries may have gotten a little bit bitter there toward the end, but this is just too important an election to dwell on that. The next president will be deciding foreign policy, Supreme Court justices, economic issues, healthcare, and so forth. McCain is not right for the job, and I'm sure many Hillary supporters can find flaws with Obama but as they say democracy is the worst form of government there is except for all the others. It's not perfect, but it's what we've got. And I think this is a really critical time in our nation's history.

tigrefan98 said...

The Obama 'thugs' have resorted to violence and harassment, and I have reports from all over the country of dangerous illegal acts against McCain supporters.

We need to expose this, and call on Senator 'They Bring a Knife, We Bring a Gun' Obama to end the inflammatory rhetoric and call for peace and discussion instead of violence and destruction.

Anonymous said...

I never heard about like this before. Thank for this.