Obama Unwittingly Makes Best Case Against Political Speech Laws

President Obama famously derided the Supreme Court over the Citizens United decision in a State of the Union address. Obama’s bashing of that First Amendment decision is also central in the scandal involving Internal Revenue Service targeting of Tea Party applicants for tax-exempt status. Lois Lerner followed Obama’s lead to suppress speech.

Thursday, in an address at Northwestern University, however, Obama unwittingly undermined a whole regime of regulation of election-related speech. As reported at The Daily Caller:

President Barack Obama gave GOP campaigns and right-wing super PAC’s across the nation fodder to use less than five weeks out from the midterm elections.

Obama told the crowd, ‘I am not on the ballot this fall. Michelle’s pretty happy about that. But make no mistake: these policies are on the ballot. Every single one of them.’

For years campaign finance, election and tax-exemption laws have operated and been enforced under the logic-defying notion that it is possible to comply with the First Amendment while suppressing communications about candidates, especially incumbents who have a record of policy votes.

Thursday Obama spoke the truth. Elections are about policy. For federal or state laws to limit or deny the right to communicate about incumbents however those laws are parsed is, ipso facto, to violate the First Amendment.

Obama’s policies, lawbreaking and contempt for the Constitution are indeed on the ballot November 4, and those who supported or conceded to them are complicit.