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Comments about ‘Robert Bennett: More, rather than less, political speech is a good thing’

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Published: Monday, April 7 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

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JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

Reminds me of the saying "I have a bridge to sell you"

Bennett writes "liberals are now insisting that one’s free speech rights should decrease as one’s net worth increases."

Constitutionally, looks like the case is settled. The bribery in our politics is now completely legal and limitless.

Money in politics corrupts. You know it and I know it.

Corporate money, Union money, Koch brothers money, Soros money. It all corrupts. I see not difference in those dollars.

Constitutionality aside, Do you think the money in politics corrupts the system?

Bennett also writes

"Liberal commentators claim this decision undermines democracy; Conservatives declare it a victory for free speech."

Maybe both can be true. It could be construed as a victory for free speech, but we KNOW it compromises the decisions of our elected officials.

xert
Santa Monica, CA

The Des News censors rarely let my comments through even though in every rejected comment I've posted, I've tried to remain civil and avoided personal attacks. Also, each and every time one of my comments have been rejected I can look on the same thread and see many of the more party line comments, which contain intolorence, pettiness and simply support the Des News positions. Free speech is a tricky thing. Mr. Bennett is not in a position to reap the profits of the Koch brothers or the Addlesons of our nation, but you can tell he'd like to be back in their good graces. Our democracy was dealt a death blow by Citizens United and this is simply the icing on the cake. Now we read where Mr. Addlesons flew,the GOP likely candidates out to Nevada for a little meet and greet/audition. Lovely, Republicans! And bravo! This is what you've left yourself with. A miserable field of candidates cowtowing to the elite of our nation. This Supreme Court will be remembered for this. Forever.

Midwest Mom
Soldiers Grove, WI

If speech is free, then why the $ value?

The late British socialist, Tony Benn, had this to say, and I think he was absolutely right.

"What democracy did was to give the poor the vote.And it moved power from the marketplace
to the polling station. From the wallet to the ballot."

What Citizens United and McCutcheon do is diminish the ballot, in favor of the wallet. That the courts call it freedom is incomprehensible, unless you realize that some of these justices are guests of special interest meetings and at least one justice has a spouse who is a lobbyist.

Said Brigham Young, "One of the great evils with which our own nation is menaced at the present time is the wonderful growth of wealth in the hands of a comparatively few individuals. The very liberties for which our fathers contended so steadfastly and courageously ...are endangered by the monstrous power which this accumulation of wealth gives to a few... its seductive influence...threatens to give shape to
legislation...according to history, such a tendency among nations once powerful was the sure precursor of ruin."

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

I'll predict the contestants in the 2016 presidential race right now. It will be Hillary Clinton vs Jeb Bush for the simple reason that they have access to the biggest donor networks. In our new political era access to money will be the only thing that counts.

Esquire
Springville, UT

Bob, you are wrong on this one. More money causes free speech to be reduced. That big money controls the dialogue and smothers weaker speech.

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

The American Revolution was about liberty and Justice for ALL,
throwing off the shackles of the Wealthy Elite ruling the masses.

Most Ironic of all --

Today's "Tea-Party" supports these King-men,
while trampling the rights of indivual citizens.

Hutterite
American Fork, UT

In absolute terms, these rulings are correct. But they do not make things better, and there's no way to deny this puts a lot of power into the hands of the few that can buy it.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

Reading the first 2/3 of this article (the nice historical outline up to his attack on liberals) I kept thinking “what does this have to do unlimited campaign contributions?” I’m still trying to connect the dots that are apparently so clear to Mr. Bennett.

The next time the Koch brothers or George Soros (pick your partisan poison) decides they are going to give an obscene amount of money to your local congressman, who’s call do you think he’ll take when his secretary says, “congressman, I have Joe Shmoe from Anytown USA and Mr. Soros on the lines?”

And for anyone who still believes money is not inherently corrupting to representative democracy, ask yourself what a billionaire typically expects in return for his money. Even the most philanthropic minded still want their name on a building they bankrolled. How much more will they want from a living breathing congressman whose daily actions or inactions can mean a return on investment that would make a hedge fund look like a passbook savings account.

And limited government? Please… this is pouring gasoline on a fire (“fire” meaning government power).

Ralph
Salt Lake City, UT

If you're fabulously wealthy, then you would naturally believe your money doesn't corrupt politics or politicians.

If you're like the other 99% of people, you understand that you don't have the same voice as very wealthy people and corporations.

If you're not fabulously wealthy, and you support the very wealthy in this, then someone has sold you a bill of goods....namely, corporate media.

I'm sorry, money does NOT equal speech. The SCOTUS got it wrong on this one.

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

And limited government? Please… this is pouring gasoline on a fire (“fire” meaning government power).

======

Agreed.

Anyone claiming they are for "Limited Government",
and then cheering "Unlimited Spending" under the false guise of Free Speech fooling themselves.

xert
Santa Monica, CA

Sincere thanks for this thread and to the Des News for letting the people speak on this issue. If Mr. Bennett can look at this thread and not feel himself slightly put "in check," then he needs two teaspoons of reality. This is a pure example of Reps. and Dems. finding true common ground and politicians and justices can't feel the heat rising on this issue, they would be wise to read A Tale of Two Cities. At the risk of sounding overly dramatic (well, you have to be when you're speaking with a tiny megaphone while the Addlesons of the world are using concert quality mikes and speakers...) your "let them eat cake," moment is upon you.

Irony Guy
Bountiful, Utah

"Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. Behold, the hire of the laborers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth." James 5:1-4

Stalwart Sentinel
San Jose, CA

There are a few issues on which I believe that very liberal folks, such as myself, and very conservative folks should be joining forces to combat. NSA spying is one and this is the other.

It doesn't matter your stripe, we all recognize that in nearly all election cycles, any social issue, and every political decision the person/organization/group that has more money almost always wins. Our Congress is comprised of more wealthy individuals than ever before. Our Nation is slowly creating a ruling class wherein political inroads are nearly unforgeable if you don't have the means (or someone who will support you using their means).

We all have to admit that the marketplace for ideas is no longer pure. Our topical debates are no longer won or lost based on substance but rather spending. In this case, the enemy of your enemy is your friend. It should be a combined effort to pass a Constitutional amendment to get rid of this deplorable system and then, once that is taken care of, we can go back to having true debate among ourselves - until that happens, politics is just a fiction.

Steve C. Warren
WEST VALLEY CITY, UT

Maybe we need a constitutional amendment requiring all politicians who receive more than $5,000 from one source to dress sort of like NASCAR drivers whose jumpsuits prominently display the names of their sponsors. The politicians would be required to wear this clothing whenever they're doing something related to their office, including campaigning. During a climate-change hearing, for example, senators' clothing would show us which oil companies contributed more than $5,000 to them.

JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

That is one way. However, Steve, their clothing is not large enough to list everyone who has paid them off.

How about this. If you receive money from an oil company, you must recuse yourself from voting on legislation that affects oil companies. Or big union contributions bar you from voting on legislation that affects unions.

You know, kind of like a judge not sitting on a case where his brother is the defendant or sitting in judgement of a company with which he owns a lot of stock.

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

I'm still just agast that the Deseret News has openly and whole-heartedly supported this ruling,
as well as many good Latter-Day Saints who for political reason do so as well.

It's almost like their hatred of "all things Obama" has tainted them to the point of no longer recognizing Right from Wrong. Good vs. Evil.

BTW --
I'm still trying understand how unlimit Money is a Good thing in our Democractic political process,
and how it accomplishes the polar opposite, or fights the Gadianton Robbers,
who also destroyed the once righteous Nephites.

Wonder
Provo, UT

Steve Warren and Joe Blow -- Both fabulous ideas. It would be ideal if representatives were not allowed to vote on any legislation affecting their sugar daddies (a clear conflict of interest), but at the least, full disclosure about who is donating to these politicians and how much they are giving is essential. I fully support the NASCAR concept. LOL

Nate
Pleasant Grove, UT

@Tyler D "The next time the Koch brothers or George Soros (pick your partisan poison) decides they are going to give an obscene amount of money to your local congressman..."

...they will pay a penalty up to twice the amount contributed. The per-candidate spending limit is still in place.

@Steve C. Warren "Maybe we need a constitutional amendment requiring all politicians who receive more than $5,000 from one source to dress sort of like NASCAR drivers...."

Again, the per-candidate spending limit is still in place. It's $2600 for one election. This hasn't changed.

I wonder if the best campaign reform might not be a reading comprehension test for voters.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

First Amendment:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Does anyone see any reference or applicability to the individual citizen in the First Amendment?

JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

Nate, So, you really see a big distinction?

I am limited on what I can give directly to the candidate who will use the money to run a campaign, (lets say to put out political ads) but I can run all the ads I want myself and spend without limits to do so.

How is the end result functionally different?

Sorry, but it is not about reading comprehension. It is about the ease in which one can circumvent the system and accomplish the exact same thing.

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