Arkansas Politics

Sanders: Obama Bullying on Ads

Obama: Free speech for me, but not for thee.
Obama: "Free speech for me, but not for thee."

I didn’t see this earlier in the day because the Arkansas News Bureau website was inexplicably jacked up, but columnist David Sanders has a tough column today looking at the Barack Obama campaign’s rather alarming practice of seeking to squelch viewpoints critical of Obama.

Case in point, per Sanders: Reports last week that Obama was launching a “truth squad” in Missouri, made up of prosecutors and law enforcement personnel, to “target anyone who lies or runs a misleading television ad during the presidential campaign.” (Here’s the original TV report.)

There’s been some controversy over what that means exactly—are they looking to turn the powers of the state against political ads they don’t like?—but the state’s Republican Gov. Matt Blunt issued a blistering statement criticizing the “Obama truth squad” effort as an abusive assault on free speech.

Sanders points to other examples in a column that’s well worth reading in its entirety (though I might have gone with a headline that was a bit less, um, overheated).

And in honor of Sanders and the Citizens Journal blog, which has also been treading in these waters, I bring you….ONE OF THE POLITICAL ADS THAT BARACK OBAMA DOES NOT WANT YOU TO SEE!!!!!!!! It’s from the National Rifle Association, which has released several ads hitting Obama on gun rights issues. Just doing my part for free speech, y’know:

Jacob Sullum and Dave Kopel at the indispensable Reason Magazine have a smart and even-handed take on the NRA ads, by the way.

Update: Excellent round-up on this issue from Instapundit.

Update: Arkansas Project contributor Freeman Hunt has also tackled this issue over at her baseship blog.

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5 thoughts on “Sanders: Obama Bullying on Ads

  • Sanders article is a bit absurd. Republicans have been engaging in this practice for over ten years. Swift Boat ring any bells!

    In my opinion its the one thing the repubs have done very well. Obama and the dems have learned a thing or two and its about time.

    Carville has preached about this for over 15 years, “when you get hit, hit back – HARD”

  • David Kinkade

    That’s a novel interpretation of the post, Insider. It’s one thing to “hit back hard” with a strong counterattack in a response ad, or a damaging attack against your opponent. It’s quite another thing to threaten legal action against ads that you don’t like. If this were just a matter of back and forth attack ads between the two campaigns, I wouldn’t have bothered posting anything about it.

    Try a “shoe on the other foot” thought experiment: If John McCain were threatening legal action or FCC action against stations running critical ads, you’d probably find that rather significant, wouldn’t you?

  • I think pointing out that the obama campaign is threatening to contact the regulating body over an issue they actually regulate and calling that into question is a bit like being anti neighborhood watch or anti citizens crime patrol.

    The regulating body will decide the outcome and its legality. And the fact that Matt Blunt is claiming that democrats are abusing the legal system by utilizing the system put in place and then claiming that Thomas Jefferson would be opposed to that is just embarassing.

  • The Dems have made a cottage industry of filing complaints with what statists call the “regulating body”, which is code for the speech police. Lying political ads (McACain wants to be at war in Iraq for 100 years or Palin promotes cruel treatment of wolves in AK) is the norm today, but Republicans don’t call out the brown shirts to stop the Dems or their lying allies.

    This report confirms that Obama is a smooth talking, jack-booted ass with an agenda of that doesn’t belong in land of the free. It is 100% a First Amendment issue.


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