#RightToSpeak

February 9, 2016

by Dan Ward

I’ve long been a Jeb Bush fan, but his latest comments about campaign finance may just be the “Jump the Shark” moment in his presidential campaign.

My two cents:  Jeb! is just plain Wrong! when it comes to Citizens United, which he vowed on Monday to “eliminate.”

It’s not a popular opinion, but I still stand by what I wrote on these pages six years ago in responding to criticism of the Citizens United decision: “deal with it … the freedom of speech is meant to be expansive, not restrictive.”

I’m no happier about the role of big money in campaigns than the next voter.  But infringing upon First Amendment rights is not the answer. Citizens was an unpopular decision, but it was in keeping with our Constitution.

Given the money Jeb’s #RightToRise PAC has raised, his comments raise some interesting questions.  If the floodgates have opened for “Big Money” to influence campaigns, why is Jeb stuck at 3 percent in the polls?  And why is a Democratic Socialist senator with millions of small-money donors running neck-and-neck with a candidate backed by the greatest political fundraising machine in the country?

Convenient or not, our First Amendment guarantees the #RightToSpeak.


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