The New Alien and Sedition Act
This interesting article from National Review discusses the similarities between the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 (which outlawed criticism of the government) to the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill. The article is correct – McCain-Feingold prevents constitutionally protected political speech. It’s incumbent protection. It means that you can’t criticize a candidate for 60 days before an election. Does anyone else see a problem with that? It’s saying that you cannot use a public forum like radio or TV to set your case against a political opponent for 60 days before the election – the time when it’s most important to state your case. McCain-Feingold is a gag, and it won’t separate money and politics, it will only make sure that groups supported by people like you and I won’t have an opportunity to participate in the political process.
In speaking of the Alien and Sedition Acts, I’ve just started David McCullough’s excellent biography of our second President, John Adams. Anyone interested in one of our Founding Father’s little recognized life should definitely check this one out. Adams is a fascinating character and McCullough is again at his best in yet another great historical biography for those long summer evenings.