Revising an earlier opinion

During the last presidential election, I suggested that I’d like to see a Kerry-McCain ticket. I had no misunderstanding about Sen. Kerry’s less-than-desirable status as a presidential candidate. Indeed, I voted for him because he wasn’t the other guy. However, I believed that Sen. McCain would be a great addition to the ticket. I was wrong. Now that I’ve had time to better tune my political radar, I realize that John McCain hates free speech. I would never vote for him for president.

A worse nightmare is the “dream ticket” proposed by Andrew Sullivan. I respect Mr. Sullivan, but I don’t get that pairing. Sen. Lieberman’s regular ranting against entertainment companies, most recently in the form of obnoxious threats against video game developers, bothered me when he ran on Gore’s ticket in 2000. My opinion hasn’t changed in the five-plus years since. No thanks.

In researching links for this entry, I stumbled on this article from shortly after Gore nominated Lieberman in 2000. It’s mostly a rehash of Sen. Lieberman’s disdain for uncultured speech, but this quote in his defense struck me as absurdly misinformed:

Joan Bertin, executive director of the National Coalition Against Censorship, told the Freedom Forum Online yesterday that Lieberman’s selection was “good news and bad news.”

“Certainly he would appear to be preferable to anyone on the Republican ticket,” she said. “And we’re pleased he has supported public funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and opposed flag-desecration (legislation) in the past, both important First Amendment issues.”

Public funding for the NEA is in no way a First Amendment issue. Reading “Congress shall make no law” as “Congress shall fund speech” is as wrong as the censors who want to stamp out indecency. Every one of us has an unalienable right to free speech. We do not have a right to have that speech funded by everyone. If we did, no publisher would be able to reject an author’s manuscript. No television station would be able to reject a sitcom, drama, or documentary. Absurd.