The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

April 7, 2014

Undercutting free speech

The Daily Item

— Robert Samuelson is usually more discreet on issues of public policy, acknowledging points from both sides of the argument before coming down on the more conservative side most of the time. But his April 7 column (“Restoring Free Speech”) gives us a full-throated, unqualified endorsement of the Supreme Court’s five conservative justices in the Citizens United and the more recent McCutcheon decisions.

As he tells it, there is nothing more to the issue than the right of anyone, rich or poor, to spend what they like on political campaigns, because such appending amounts to free speech and may not be restricted.

It brings to mind the old saying, that both rich and poor have the same right to sleep under bridges.

He points out that not all the rich and the big corporations are on the same side, and that big donors sometimes lose. This is true, but the game is between those with the cash. The rest of us can only hope for some rich person to take our side, for otherwise we can express our opinions all we want, but no one will be listening.

And who really believes that the Koch brothers, or George Soros, have the same interests as we have?

These Supreme Court decisions are a transparent attempt to make the world safe for the rich and the big corporations, at the expense of the rest of us. They are so transparent that they undercut one of the functions of free speech that Samuelson cites: buttressing the political system’s legitimacy.

John Peeler,