Parties have failings in common
The two major political parties are more alike than different. On the two paramount issues of our day — war and debt — they are identical. With the exception of Democrat progressives and Republican libertarians, the two parties stand for perpetual war and perpetual debt. Both stances increase the power of the government, and each invites present and future destruction.
A healthy society should avoid war at all costs, except when immediately vital for its own self-defense. A healthy government should pay its bills and not push them off to the next generation. Do you know any American whose freedom and safety have been enhanced or fortified by our empire building in the Middle East? Do you know that the federal government borrowed $2 trillion to wage these wars and now spends 20 cents of every dollar in interest on its debt? Do you know that the congressional leadership and most of the rank and file of both parties have brought this about?
A great freedom under siege is the freedom of speech. Here, too, both parties in Congress have failed us. When Congress in 2001 enacted the Patriot Act, which permits federal agents to write their own search warrants in utter defiance and direct contradiction of the Fourth Amendment, it also prohibited the recipients of agent-written search warrants from talking about them. At least a half-dozen federal judges have found this unconstitutional, yet federal agents continue to threaten such warrants’ recipients against talking to anyone about them. This, too, came about with the support of the leadership of both parties in Congress.
Not content with commanding silence about search warrants, Senate Democrats last summer attempted to offer an amendment to the Constitution that would have weakened the First Amendment by permitting Congress and the states to punish the political speech of groups. Three years ago, the Supreme Court, in Citizens United , held that free political speech is so highly valued and constitutionally protected that it may be enjoyed not only by individuals, but also by groups such as labor unions, foundations, nonprofits, think tanks, partnerships and corporations.
Outraged that corporations can spend money to affect the outcome of campaigns, rejecting the concept that buying an ad is speech, and wanting to remove “free” from free speech, the Democrats offered a constitutional amendment that would have made the government the arbiter of acceptable political speech. Is Vladimir Putin consulting the Democrats?
Yet, did you hear any Republicans in the recent elections call out any Democrats for this stunt? The First Amendment has remained pristine since it was ratified in 1791, and the Democrats want to change that and the Republicans have gone mute.
Andrew P. Napolitano, a former judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, is the senior judicial analyst at Fox News Channel.