Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Ruthless or Witless?

A brief review of the utterances and activities of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid might lead one to ask the following: does he really hold views that are incompatible with notions of free speech, or is he temperamentally unqualified to hold office in a country that values the same.

The Senate historically has styled itself as a deliberative body, but it is difficult to recall any federal office holder in recent American history that has so frequently attempted to deny First Amendment rights or stifle debate.

A couple of years ago, the Majority Leader reacted to a controversial network miniseries with a thinly veiled threat (I tried to link to the letter, which was previously on Sen. Reid's website, but he seems to have moved it or taken it down) to seek revocation of the network's broadcasting license. Last year, he wrote a letter on Senate letterhead to a radio broadcast company demanding that the company discipline a talk show host he found disagreeable and also expressed support for hypothetical legislation that would result in government management of the political content of broadcast media. Now, he is attempting to stifle debate on the most far reaching domestic issue of this generation by comparing those who disagree with his direction to advocates of slavery.

It is unclear whether Sen. Reid's actions stem from a penchant for dictatorial control or from mere witlessness. What is clear is that he should not be a United States Senator. The people of Nevada will make a determination on that next year. One hopes that they are taking notes.

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