I work in Washington and I know that money corrupts. And I and a lot of other people were trying to stop that corruption. Obviously, from what we've been seeing lately, we didn't complete the job. But I would rather have a clean government than one where quote First Amendment rights are being respected that has become corrupt. If I had my choice, I'd rather have the clean government.
George Wills wrote a piece in the WaPo about this conversation McCain had with Imus. Some salient points in his piece:
On April 28, on Don Imus's radio program, discussing the charge that the McCain-Feingold law abridges freedom of speech by regulating the quantity, content and timing of political speech, John McCain did not really reject the charge.
McCain seems to regard unregulated political speech as an inherent invitation to corruption. And he seems to believe that anything done in the name of "leveling the playing field" for political competition is immune from First Amendment challenges.
the stark contradiction in McCain's doctrine
In the language of McCain's Imus appearance, the government is very much not "clean," but it is so clean it can be trusted to regulate speech about itself.
McCain favors judges who think the Constitution is so radically elastic that government regulation of speech about itself is compatible with the First Amendment. Can President McCain be counted on to nominate justices who would correct such constitutional elasticities as the court's discovery of a virtually unlimited right -- one unnoticed between 1787 and 1973 -- to abortion?
McCain told Imus that he would, if necessary, sacrifice "quote First Amendment rights" to achieve "clean" government. If on Jan. 20, 2009, he were to swear to defend the Constitution, would he be thinking that the oath refers only to "the quote Constitution"? And what would that mean?
On March 11, 2008 President George W. Bush attended and spoke at the National Religious Broadcasters 2008 convention in Nashville, TN.
Here are some of the salient points he made in this speech
The very first amendment to our Constitution includes the freedom of speech and the freedom of religion. Founders believed these unalienable rights were endowed to us by our Creator. They are vital to a healthy democracy, and we must never let anyone take those freedoms away.
We know who these advocates of so-called balance really have in their sights: shows hosted by people like Rush Limbaugh or James Dobson, or many of you here today. By insisting on so-called balance, they want to silence those they don't agree with. The truth of the matter is, they know they cannot prevail in the public debate of ideas. They don't acknowledge that you are the balance; that you give voice. The country should not be afraid of the diversity of opinions. After all, we're strengthened by diversity of opinions.
We love freedom in America, and we're the leader of the world not because we try to limit freedom, but because we've helped to spread it. You and I know that freedom has the power to transform lives. You and I know that free societies are more peaceful and more prosperous. You and I know that if given the chance, men and women and children in every society on Earth will choose a life of freedom -- if just given a chance. Unless, of course, you don't believe freedom is a gift from the Almighty. The liberty we value is not ours alone. Freedom is not America's gift to the world; it is God's gift to all humanity.
It is no coincidence that the region of the world that is the least free is also the most violent and dangerous. For too long the world was content to ignore oppression -- oppressive forms of government in the Middle East, in the name of stability.
The result was that a generation of young people grew up with little hope of improving their lives, and many fell under the sway of violent extremism. The birthplace of three of the world's great religions became the home of suicide bombers. And resentments that began on the streets in the Middle East killed innocent people in trains and airplanes and office buildings around the world.
My President is often roundly accused of speaking poorly and incoherently. Yet these words in this speech were quite crystal clear to me in their meaning. I only wish these words had come to the forefront of his brain when the McCain-Feingold bill was placed in front of him for his signature to become law.
Recently at RedState I read this comment
If conservatives decide to attack McCain and try to make him lose (by not voting for him and by doing Democrat's dirty work) then there is no reason they should expect a seat at the table.
If the table is the Republican Party, and this new Republican Party becomes destructive to certain unalienable Rights, then not only do I not expect a seat at the table. I do not want a seat at the table.
Today in Nashville Pres. Bush showed John how to talk about core principle values. I realize John has been busy lately, but maybe he has a friend who can call John’s attention to this matter. There is still time between now and November, and I don’t think John taking it back on his quote First Amendment statement to Don Imus will cause all of the moderates and independents to stop supporting him.
From the Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.