Thursday, June 30, 2011

WP Columnist George Will on Free Speech

Like the Supreme Court, He Doesn't Want Wealthy People to Suffer From Electoral Competition

As expected, Washington Post columnist and supporter of unlimited amounts of wealthy people’s money in political campaign George Will weighed in on the Supreme Court decision that overturned an Arizona program that tried to keep candidates without access to personal fortunes and unlimited contributions competitive in elections.  The Arizona program allowed for increased public money to a candidate who took public funds when that candidate was being heavily outspent.

So, these matching funds were a powerful incentive for privately funded candidates not to speak — not to solicit funds to disseminate their advocacy


There is evidence supporting what is intuitively obvious — that the matching funds provision was intended to suppress speech by candidates relying on voluntary contributions, candidates who knew their speaking would trigger tax dollars for their subsidized opponents

Now it is possible to make a reasonabe intellectual case against public financing of elections.  One can argue that the state should not expend resources for advancing private political campaigns, even if the expenditures are voluntary on the part of its citizens.  Doing so, it can be said, forces citizens to support the candidacy of individuals they would otherwise oppose.  Such an argument is not unreasonable.

But Mr. Will's argument is, not to be kind, just plain idiotic. The idea that furthering public debate and providing candidates who are not wealthy or do not have access to Karl Rove type money will supress free speech is so far from having any intellectual basis that one wonders how individuals like Mr. Will can advance it without suffering near fatal embarassment.

Mr. Will, it is one thing to be in support of a position, but you do not help your cause with this moronic logic. What is intuitively obvious to anyone other than those like Mr. Will is that by increasing funding for the underfunded campaign the state promotes more and better dialogue and debate in a campaign.  It is intuitively obvious that allowing an underfunded candidate to compete with a heavily funded candidate supports and encourages speech

Of course, that is exactly what Mr. Will and his fellow conservatives who are on the Supreme Court do not want.

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