The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Interviewed By Sergio Politics

Posted on | March 16, 2012 | 1 Comment

by Smitty

I was recently the subject of an email interview at Sergio Politics. A taste:

What is your opinion of Super PACs and its influence in this GOP race?
I’m no tremendous fan of the Super PACs. What is less interesting, though, is having the government regulate speech. No, no, no, no, a thousand no’s, and again: screw that. My ultimate opinion is that our Republic, if we can keep it, is predicated upon an informed populace. So the candidates all have a dead fish aroma about them. If we are dumb enough to let saturation strikes from Super PACs do our decision making, then doom on us.

I’d add, on further reflection, there are laws covering libel which can be brought to bear if the court of public opinion can’t figure things out when a SuperPAC goes too far.

Regulating political speech is like ‘hate crime’ legislation: the notion of criminally crime-y crime, as distinct from crime, is as daft and nebulous as a useless clown like Alxelrod trying to distinguish between potty mouth from Limbaugh and Maher.

The court of opinion has got to come down harshly on political nonsense disguised as argument. But then the joke about expecting truth out of Axelrod is funnier than Maher has been in years.


One Response to “Interviewed By Sergio Politics”

  1. Adjoran
    March 16th, 2012 @ 10:17 pm

    The problem is “political nonsense disguised as argument” can’t even be defined in any way we can agree on.  One man’s political nonsense is another’s “great Presidential speech.” 

    If we somehow managed to agree on guidelines, who would enforce them?

    No, it could never be done.  The only cure for rancid speech is more speech, not less or controlled speech. 

    Libel law is no solution.  While public figures such as candidates can sue, the burden of proof of malicious intent is on the plaintiff, and it is a very heavy burden.  Ariel Sharon’s suit against Time on the refugee camp story is a good example.  Sharon was able to prove several of the allegations were false and the magazine had to have known they were false, but the jury wasn’t convinced that malice was the intent.  So why did they think it was published with the lies, to make a better story, to sell more copies?  As evil as either reason might be, a jury could decide it wasn’t malicious enough to cross the line.

    That was media versus public figure.  In a political campaign, it is virtually impossible to sue each other for libel, no matter what is said.  The elements of libel are very strict.  The statement must not only be proved false, the defendant must be proved to have known it false and made it anyway with malicious intent.  But actual damage must also be demonstrated, just being insulted and having your feelings hurt aren’t enough to recover.  Could you PROVE you would have won the election without this one libelous statement?

    We have far too much regulation of nearly everything already.  The last thing we need is more government intrusion into speech.