Thursday, May 1, 2008

Dem Thought Police Chide Fischer

Greg Fischer's Old Lady ad has drawn the wrath of the Kentucky Democratic Party establishment -- specifically, Dan Mondiardo, Crit Luallen, Jack Conway and John Yarmuth.

These four "concerned Kentuckians" wrote Fischer to complain about his attacks against Bruce Lunsford's Vencor debacle and to ask Fischer to pull the ad "immediately."

Page One reprints the letter, which states in pertinent part:

Earlier this year, the Kentucky Democratic Party asked all Democratic candidates for the U.S. Senate to sign an Oath of Honorable Campaigning and agree to focus on positive ideas and solutions for Kentucky, not on negative, personal attacks on fellow Democrats.
. . .

Of the seven Democratic candidates running for the nomination for U.S. Senate, you were the only candidate to not sign that oath. Now, your campaign has launched a personal attack against a fellow Democrat’s character. By doing so, your campaign is playing right into Senator McConnell’s hands and is endagering [sic] the opportunity for change this November.

Oddly, the letter never names Lunsford, though it obviously refers to him. It's also strange that Steve Beshear did not sign the letter, but Mongiardo did. But most disappointing is the apparatchiks' complete and utter disdain for Greg Fischer's free speech rights. So much for a free and open debate.

The "oath" that Fischer correctly refused to sign is troublesome as well. In first amendment parlance, it would be void for vagueness; its interpretation is subject to the whim of whoever gets to define "negative." That is, it's viewpoint discrimination, and the viewpoint being discriminated against is Fischer's.

There's no state action, so the first amendment applies only by analogy. For anyone who -- in the tradition of John Stuart Mills -- believes that the answer to vile or inaccurate speech is more speech, it's a shameful example of censorship.

It's also pathetic. Lunsford lost twice because of his Vencor baggage. It's the elephant in the middle of his campaign office. Ganging up on Fischer and sending mean letters does not change this central fact of the campaign. To the contrary, it only underscores that Lunsford is such a weak candidate that he cannot defend himself.

3 comments:

Jean said...

Oh, please.

Jake said...

You have to admit, though, that the whole situation is absolutely hilarious.

Bridget M. Bush said...

I have to admit it's very funny, watching Fischer unwitttingly play the part of the enfant terrible. But a part of me still hates censorship, regardless of the source or the reason.