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First things . . . Richard Falknor on 16 Jun 2012 11:30 pm

Protecting Free Speech: Where Is the Other 64% of the House GOP?

UPDATE! One seasoned Virginia Republican voice emails: “Many of our elite class really like shutting people like..well, us…up. I heard with my own ears some of the elites say doing so was just fine. They actually believe that we short their opportunities to make ‘deals.’” 

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Very recently we wrote about a New Threat to Our Free Political Speech: “SWATTING” Bloggers

We also addressed other kinds of harassment visited on bloggers in Maryland and Virginia here and here.

Former Justice Department lawyer J.  Christian Adams wrote  (Breitbart)–

“The high-tech Brownshirts on the left have now ‘swatted’ Eric Erickson. Two things are certain.  First, the United States Department of Justice could stop this behavior quickly because it almost certainly constitutes a federal crime.  And second, the use of term ‘Brownshirt’ to describe this swatting gang has not been used more appropriately since the Sturmabteilung made their debut in 1921.”

Last Monday June 11, freshman U.S. Representative Sandy Adams of Florida persuaded 86 of her colleagues to join her in a strong letter here to the Attorney General through which these members explained —

“Differences of opinion should enrich our lives, not divide us. Each American has the right to freely express his or her ideas and should not be subject to fear tactics like SWAT-ting, which run counter to the liberty that forms the bedrock of our great nation. These crimes are not to be tolerated and necessitate thorough examination at every level.

We urge you to hold true to those promises and work to ensure that criminals using fear in hopes [of] preventing others from exercising their First Amendment rights are held to the highest standard of the law. To this end, we implore you to thoroughly review each of these cases, determine whether any federal laws have been breached, and prosecute those crimes accordingly.”

The fact that only 87 out of 242 House GOP members — 36 per cent – – signed the Adams letter is outrageous for a House Congressional party that pretends to be conservative.

Neither Majority Leader Eric Cantor nor Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy signed. 

Only one (Andy Harris) out of two Maryland GOP members signed, and only five (Bob Goodlatte, Morgan Griffith, Randy Forbes, Scott Rigell, Robert Hurt) out of eight Virginia GOP members.

At least the House GOP pro-free-speech percentages for Maryland and Virginia beat the national House GOP pro-free-speech average of 36 percent. Perhaps Maryland and Virginia voters can take some small comfort in that.

Think this indifference to free political speech by the 64 per cent of House GOP members who failed to sign the Adams letter is wholly owing to some clerical oversight?

Veteran conservatives will recall George Will’s 2006 article (click here) “The GOP’s Betrayal on Speech” (Washington Post)  —

“The 211 Republicans who voted for big-government regulation of speech will have no principled objection [to Democrats doing the same kind of thing.] How many principled Republicans remain? Only 18. The following, who voted against restricting 527s . . . .”

Remember, however, those 87 who this week did weigh in for free political speech. (A far better number than the “principled 18” of 2006.) 

Many among the 87 are well known: Michele Bachmann, Allen West, House Judiciary chairman Lamar Smith, Republican Study Committee chairman Jim Jordan, thoughtful conservative stalwart Louie Gohmert, national defense voice Trent Franks, immigration watcher Steve King, and homeland-security voice Sue Myrick.

But all 87 signers should be honored for not shrinking from the good fight.

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