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June 21, 2013

Mitch McConnell Taking On The Left. UPDATE: Calls For End Of Automatic Dues Collection For Federal Worker Unions

I know the right has a love/hate/mostly hate relationship with Mitch McConnell. For whatever issues conservatives may have with the guy, one thing he's a stalwart on is the First Amendment. You know the Supreme Court Case that dealt with the horrendous McCain-Feingold bill? It's called McConnell vs. Federal Election Commission. Yeah, he sued all the way to the Supreme Court to take on John McCain.

McConnell is giving a speech at AEI today taking on the left and he's naming names a lot of conservatives never get around to, like Media Matters.

On the outside, there’s a well-documented effort by a number of Left-wing groups like Media Matters to harass and intimidate conservatives with the goal of scaring them off the political playing field and off the airwaves. An internal Media Matters memo from January 2010 showed the extent to which these tactics have been turned into a science. In it, we learned of the group’s plan to conduct opposition research into the lives of on-air news personalities and other key decision makers at Fox News, and to coordinate with 100 or so partner groups to pressure the network’s advertisers and shareholders, get this, “by the threat of actual boycotts, rallies, demonstrations, shame, embarrassment and other tactics on a variety of issues important to the progressive agenda.” Its multiple databases could also be used, the memo said, to remove what it describes as “chronically problematic media figures,” or “to preempt programming” … altogether.

Then, of course, there’s the widespread effort to stifle speech from within the government itself, something the Obama Administration has been engaged in from its earliest days.

On the ginned up out rage over Citizens United.

Looking back, the IRS scandal helps explain a lot of the things this administration has done. You all remember the President wagging his finger at the Supreme Court during his 2010 State of the Union address. Well, I assure you this little piece of presidential theater wasn’t done for the ratings. There was a good reason the President and his allies devoted so much time and energy to denouncing the Citizens United case. But it’s not the reason they gave. I realize this may be shocking to some of the interns in the crowd. But the fact is, the Court’s decision was actually fairly unremarkable. All it really said was that, under the First Amendment, every corporation in America should be free to participate in the political process, not just the ones that own newspapers and TV stations. In other words, there shouldn’t be a carve-out when it comes to political speech for folks who own media companies. It was a good and fair decision aimed at leveling the playing field. The real reason the Left was so concerned about Citizens United was that they thought it meant more conservatives would start to form what are known as social welfare organizations — something they’d been doing, with groups like Planned Parenthood and the Sierra Club, for years. And what’s notable about social welfare groups is they don’t have to disclose their donors. That was the main concern of the President and his allies. They weren’t interested in the integrity of the process. If they were, they’d have been just as upset at Left-wing groups for maintaining the privacy of their donors. What they really wanted was a hook that enabled them to stir up outrage about conservative groups, so they could get their hands on the names of the folks who supported them — and then go after them. Citizens United provided that hook. As a longtime political observer and First Amendment hawk, I knew exactly what the Democrats were up to with their complaints about this decision. I’ve seen what the loudest proponents of disclosure have intended in the past, and it’s not good government. That’s why the FEC has protected the donor lists of the Socialist Worker’s Party since 1979. That’s also why the Supreme Court told the State of Alabama it couldn’t force the NAACP to disclose the names and addresses of its members back in the 1950s.

The President could claim, as he did six months after wagging his finger at the Supreme Court, that “the only people who don’t want to disclose the truth are people with something to hide.” But the fact is, there’s a very good and legitimate reason that courts have protected folks from forced disclosure — because they know that failing to do so would subject them to harassment.

So the political response to Citizens United, the so-called DISCLOSE Act, wasn’t really about cleaning up politics: It was about finding a blunt political weapon to use against one group and one group only: conservatives. Those who doubt this haven’t been paying attention to the tactics of the Left. They must not have noticed the stories about top administration officials holding weekly phone calls with groups like Media Matters. They clearly don’t know their history. And they must not have noticed the enemies list of conservative donors on the Obama campaign’s Web site. Or the strategic name-dropping of conservative targets by the President’s campaign team.

Best quote for last...connecting Obama and government worker unions to the attacks on the right.


So, no, I don’t believe that the President ever actually picked up a phone and told someone over at the IRS to slow-walk those applications or audit anybody. But the truth is, he didn’t have to. The message was clear enough.

But if the message was clear, the medium was also perfectly suited to the cause.

The federal bureaucracy, and in particular the growth of public sector unions, has created an inherent and undeniable tension between those who believe in limited self-government and those who stand to benefit from its growth. Let’s face it, when elected leaders and union bosses tell the folks who work at these agencies that they should view half the people they’re supposed to be serving as a threat to democracy, it shouldn’t surprise any of us that they would. Why would we even expect a public employee — whose union more or less exists to grow the government — to treat someone who opposes that goal to a fair hearing? When the head of the union that represents unionized IRS workers publicly vilifies the Tea Party, is it any wonder that members of her union would get caught targeting them?

I love the way McConnell is just calling bullshit on all of this. He's not mincing words and he's not shying away from tying Obama to the liberal brown-shirts Obama pretends to be above and unconnected to.

Really good stuff, take some time to read it all. He's not delivering it in a very exciting way and the media will ignore it but we need to keep hammering on this. No weasel words, direct call outs of Obama and his thugs.

More of this GOP, much more.

Update: It gets better.

On the federal level, the first thing we should do is stop the automatic transfer of union dues from employee salaries at the taxpayer’s expense. If the unions want their dues, it should be incumbent on them, not us, to pay for it.

This is the kind of stuff that would make sticking with the GOP attractive. Maybe a Senate Majority Leader McConnell and say a President Scott Walker could get this king of thing done.

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posted by DrewM. at 10:20 AM

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