We Won't Be Silenced - American Commitment

In a ridiculous editorial today, the Tampa Bay Times asserted that American Commitment’s free speech right to criticize Senator Bill Nelson’s record is somehow dependent on the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. That is false. As the Supreme Court made clear in 1976’s Buckley v. Valeo, issue advertising is not subject to campaign finance restrictions.
Unfortunately, dubious pronouncements made authoritatively have become a habit for the Tampa Bay Times.
For instance, it is a simple, undeniable fact that the health care law passed with exactly 60 votes for cloture, the minimum required. Thus every vote was decisive, and had a single Senate Democrat, such as Bill Nelson, voted “no” it could not have passed. Anyone who would allege, as the Tampa Bay Times has, that any of the 60 was not the deciding vote is a partisan apologist, not a fact checker.
Similarly, the Tampa Bay Times claimed our pants were on fire because we quoted the Wall Street Journal, which wrote: “It is now undeniable that Mr. Obama has imposed the largest tax increase in history on the middle class.”
The Wall Street Journal is the number one paper in the country, highly respected especially for its analysis of political economy. The Tampa Bay Times is free to disagree with its analysis, but there should be no burning pants involved in such a discussion.
Additionally, the Tampa Bay Times insists that the enormous Medicare cuts in the president’s health care law are not cuts, because even though they reduce spending by hundreds of billions of dollars below the expected, or “baseline,” level for Medicare, they still allow Medicare spending to be higher in the future than it has been in the past – little solace for the bulge of retiring baby boomers entering the program.
They do not, of course, apply this same definition of the word “cut” to the food stamps bill presently being debated in Congress, which spends $70 billion more on food stamps in the next five years than the actual amount spent in the last five. Those “cuts are draconian” the Tampa Bay Times insists – which would be “Mostly False” if they followed their own definition of “cut.”
Perhaps the worst error made by the Tampa Bay Times, however, is the claim that our right to protect the privacy of our members depends on a recent Supreme Court case. In fact, the relevant Supreme Court decision that confirmed our constitutional right to protect the privacy of our supporters was not Citizens United but the landmark 1958 case NAACP v. Alabama, which found that membership organizations have a right to protect the anonymity of our supporters because forced disclosure would risk retribution that could chill their free speech rights.
Given the willingness of some in the media to coordinate with outside pressure groups to intimidate and silence critics of the Obama administration, such protection is more vital than ever.