ABC News’ Steven Portnoy reports: In a conservative radio interview that aired in Washington, D.C. Friday morning, Republican vice presidential nominee Gov. Sarah Palin said she fears her First Amendment rights may be threatened by “attacks” from reporters who suggest she is engaging in a negative campaign against Barack Obama.
Palin told WMAL-AM that her criticism of Obama’s associations, like those with 1960s radical Bill Ayers and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, should not be considered negative attacks. Rather, for reporters or columnists to suggest that it is going negative may constitute an attack that threatens a candidate’s free speech rights under the Constitution, Palin said. “If [the media] convince enough voters that that is negative campaigning, for me to call Barack Obama out on his associations,” Palin told host Chris Plante, “then I don’t know what the future of our country would be in terms of First Amendment rights and our ability to ask questions without fear of attacks by the mainstream media.”
You have got to be kidding me. I realize that it is asking too much that someone running for the second highest office in the land should have a grasp of what the constitution says. I realize that it is a god-damnned piece of paper in some Republican’s eyes and is meaningless to those some people. I, though, am outraged that this stain on American politics can so brazenly distort the Constitution of the United States of America! Ms. Palin, please allow me to provide you a quick civics lesson, ok? You betcha!
This is the text of the First Amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Freedom of speech was specifically written into the constitution to allow the press to freely speak out against the government. This right is supposed to maintain the ability of the people to be able to know what its’ government is doing and the press to report it. Let’s take a closer look.
From FindLaw in its’ adaption and common law background:
Madison’s version of the speech and press clauses, introduced in the House of Representatives on June 8, 1789, provided: ”The people shall not be deprived or abridged of their right to speak, to write, or to publish their sentiments; and the freedom of the press, as one of the great bulwarks of liberty, shall be inviolable.’ The special committee rewrote the language to some extent, adding other provisions from Madison’s draft, to make it read: ”The freedom of speech and of the press, and the right of the people peaceably to assemble and consult for their common good, and to apply to the Government for redress of grievances, shall not be infringed.” In this form it went to the Senate, which rewrote it to read: ”That Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and consult for their common good, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
”The liberty of the press is indeed essential to the nature of a free state; but this consists in laying no previous restraints upon publications, and not in freedom from censure for criminal matter when published.
So I ask you, Governor Palin, which criminal matter might you want to have the courts censure? Would it be your comment about Obama “pallin ‘ around with terrorists?” Perhaps that your opponent, who is running for the highest office in the land, is dangerous? Which, of your many phrases, all which might possibly incense some true American “patriot” to take matters into his or her own hands should Obama win next Tuesday, by killing off that dangerous, terrorist loving, Muslim might any thinking person censure? As Glenn Greenwald said:
If anything, Palin has this exactly backwards, since one thing that the First Amendment does actually guarantee is a free press. Thus, when the press criticizes a political candidate and a Governor such as Palin, that is a classic example of First Amendment rights being exercised, not abridged. It is even possible to imagine more breathtaking ignorance from someone holding high office and running for even higher office?
While we are talking about the constitution, let’s talk about those (cue the scary music) associations. The First Amendment also gives people the right to assemble. Let’ s return to Findlaw for a moment.
”It is beyond debate that freedom to engage in association for the advancement of beliefs and ideas is an inseparable aspect of the ‘liberty’ assured by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which embraces freedom of speech. . . . Of course, it is immaterial whether the beliefs sought to be advanced by association pertain to political, economic, religious or cultural matters, and state action which may have the effect of curtailing the freedom to associate is subject to the closest scrutiny.”
And specific to the political arena:
Political Association – The major expansion of the right of association has occurred in the area of political rights. ”There can no longer be any doubt that freedom to associate with others for the common advancement of political beliefs and ideas is a form of ‘orderly group activity’ protected by the First and Fourteenth Amendments. . .
Greenwald concluded his piece with, “Thus, by Palin’s ”reasoning,” when newspapers — or Palin herself — criticize Obama for his associations, they’re threatening his constitutional rights.” Funny how that works.
The thought of this dangerous, ignorant woman being anywhere near our federal government (or ANY governmental office) scares me to no end. Governor Palin, you are an outrage. You are an ill-informed, inflammatory, a liar and a vicious politician who cares not one whit about this country. I hope with all my heart that you are sent packing back to the land from which you crawled out of. You are an abomination on the American political scene. Would someone
PLEASE send both Palin and McCain copies of the Constitution? Honestly, it is not that long of a read.