Free speech for all?????
Three things have happened recently that, taken separately are relatively unremarkable, but when put together are concerning.
First, when I was at the SD35 DFL meeting to listen to Coleen Rowley speak, one agenda item was "John Kline sending campaign literature at taxpayer expense". Second, much has been made in the last 2 weeks of the Governor's radio program on WCCO. It appears that some are upset that the program is still on the air even though the Governor is "running" for re-election. Third is the reaction to the Progress for America "Midwest Hero's" ad campaign.
The mailings that had the Dems so upset was a flyer that came out in one of the local papers. It was one of those typical "here is what I have accomplished in DC" flyers that all Senators and Congresspeople send out year after year. While I am not a lawyer, I do know that as long as the literature does not say "Vote for John Kline" it is not campaign literature. It is simply a report back to the constituency.
Second is the Governor's radio program. Several of the DFL candidates for Governor are demanding that WCCO pull Governor Pawlenty's weekly radio program, calling it an "illegal campaign contribution". They have been going (almost daily) to their willing accomplices at the Star Tribune to complain. MDE has all of the documentation as to why that is wrong! The bottom line is that the FCC law says that this is not "illegal" campaigning until July 20 which is when his name will be certified for the ballot!
Lastly are the Progress for America ads - I had not posted on these ads, mostly because the rest of my fellow MOBsters have more than adequately covered this issue. It was not until I read about this that I started to really get upset. The fact that one of our major political parties would activly campaign to stifle free speech that they do not agree with set my teeth on edge. For month after month, during the 2004 election, the airwaves were filled with "embellishment and fabrication" (as one commenter on MDE described the video) of thousands of issue ads from all sides of the political spectrum. Were there calls to pull them from the public airwaves? I don't recall any - at least none that were this organized. OK - scratch that....the Swift Boat Vets got the same treatment....do you sense a trend here?????
Nick Coleman wrote at length - devoting two columns to the issue - on these advertisements in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. In his second column, he even had the audacity to imply that the step-mother who raised one of our dead soldiers had "no right" to speak for this young man. Several Iraq War Vets, including Eagan's own Col. Joe Repya, have written letters, to the editor to the Strib, to Mr. Coleman directly and to the DFL refuting these assertions. To date the Star Tribune refused to print the letters from Col. Repya.
Putting all of this together, one gets the distinct impression that the Minnesota DFL has no problem with free speech - as long as it is their own.... anyone who disagrees with them apparently has no such rights. And they wonder why they continue to lose elections.