Monday, August 25, 2003

Free Speech for me, but not for thee

This past weekend, Robert Novak offered up this “Outrage of the Week” on the Capital Gang:

NOVAK: In South Dakota, the Rushmore Policy Council is running newspaper ads against Senator Tom Daschle calling on the Senate Democratic leader to permit votes on President Bush's judicial nominations and contending that Tom Daschle won't let America drill for oil at home.

That's permissible criticism under the First Amendment, isn't it? Not in the opinion of Senator Max Baucus, the Finance Committee's top Democrat. He has written the IRS commissioner attacking the Rushmore Policy Council's tax-exempt status. Will the senator demand the same of labor unions? Don't be silly

But, according to this AP story, Max Baucus has a risible explanation: the Rushmore Policy Council is engaging in (*gasp!*) “overtly political activity.”

Puh-leeze. Where were Baucus and all the other Democrats (with the laudable exception of Bob Kerrey) when the tax-exempt NAACP was running ads during the 2000 Presidential campaign equating Bush with hate crimes in Texas? That kind of invidious speech is fine for the Democrats; it’s only the speech directed against them that should be banned.

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