CA Dem leader: Why do we allow free speech to terrorize politicians?

posted at 10:11 am on June 30, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

This would be great satire, except that California’s Speaker of the Assembly, Karen Bass, was foolish enough to say it — and believe it.  In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Bass responded to a question about conservative talk radio by calling show hosts terrorists, and openly wondering why we allow people to call politicians and give their opinions (via The Corner):

How do you think conservative talk radio has affected the Legislature’s work?

The Republicans were essentially threatened and terrorized against voting for revenue. Now [some] are facing recalls. They operate under a terrorist threat: “You vote for revenue and your career is over.” I don’t know why we allow that kind of terrorism to exist. I guess it’s about free speech, but it’s extremely unfair.

There’s a lot of stupidity and tyranny locked into those few words.  The First Amendment guarantees the right to petition the government for redress of grievances, even apart from the “free speech” issues Bass casually discards.  Elected politicians are accountable to the people who elect them in a free society.  Politicians do not acquire lordly status when they go to the Assembly, or anywhere else.

Usually, politicians are smart enough to at least pay lip service to getting feedback from their constituents.  Instead, Bass calls them “terrorists” for … what?  Calling their representatives and telling them not to raise taxes even higher, in the state with the sixth-highest per capita tax burden in the nation?  Expressing their opinions?  Telling politicians they won’t get their support if they vote for a tax hike?  That’s democracy, not terrorism, although I’m hardly surprised that Bass can’t tell the difference.

Maybe Bass should embed with our forces in Iraq or Afghanistan to get a sense of what terrorism really means.  On second thought, the men and women on the front lines have it bad enough.

And while we’re looking at that exchange, what happened to Patt Morrison, the LA Times reporter?  Did Morrison not feel that answer worthy of a follow-up — like, “Are you seriously equating dissent with terrorism?”  Or better yet, “Have you lost your mind?”  Morrison appears more interested in promoting Bass than actually conducting an interview.

Beware the politicians who consider dissent terrorism.  They’re either idiotic beyond belief, or tyrants waiting for an opportunity.  Bass might just be both.

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