Are they going to try to regulate Internet free speech using McCain-Feingold? Well, yeah. And anytime “they” refers to a Federal entity (in this case the Federal Election Commission), they’re going to do what they want unless a whole bunch of someones do something about it. I think it’d be safe to call this the Fuss of the Week around the blogosphere – there, I said it, I hate the word but there it is – and I think it’d be equally safe to say it ought to be. There are an awful lot of smart Americans who have realized during the past election cycle that, thanks to a half-dozen blogging services ranging from ‘free’ to ‘free and annoyingly ad-filled,’ the Internet really is a great marketplace for discussion and ideas. If the FEC decides to treat every Joe and Sally the same as NBC or Fox, a lot of us will be up the proverbial creek without a paddle (proverbial or otherwise).
First Amendment, First Amendment, First Amendment. For all the carrying on you hear about it from the attorneys of terrorists and Martha Stewart, here is a situation where a Federal bureaucratic agency is seriously targeting First Amendment protections. We’re not talking about millionaire nutjobs pouring dirty money into dirty politics here (ok, we’re not as long as you exclude moveon.org), we’re talking about insightful working men and women who take the time and energy to lend their own unabashed perspective to daily events. I, for one, enjoy that right, mostly because I like reading what they have to say. A lot. Ed Morrissey at Captain’s Quarters has posted a letter to Congress, and La Shawn Barber has a good rundown of the subject from top to bottom.
As far as open letters go, here’s my own much easier, dumb version:
McCain-Feingold must not be applied to the Internet. Would it be just – or within the intentions of the original legislation – to treat private citizens the same as NBC or The Washington Post? This is a dangerous swipe at our freedom of speech, and one that I’m counting on you and other Republican members of Congress to block. Thank you and God bless.
The Internet is, in addition to giving nerds such as myself someplace to write as though people were reading, a great resource for reaching our elected officials. If you’ve got a minute, send a quick message to your state’s senators. If you’re blessed to be an Ohioan, visit the contact forms at Voinovich.senate.gov and DeWine.senate.gov and drop a few sentences through. Otherwise, visit senate.gov and pick your state from the dropdown list.
Oh, by the way, those links to George Voinovich and Mike DeWine’s websites? In the months prior to an election, they’d probably be considered illegal in-kind assistance if McCain-Feingold were stretched to cover Internet communications. Yikes…