Actually, it’s difficult to hear Senator Frank Lautenberg’s patronizing follow-up, because the right-to-life counterprotestors taping his remarks reacted vocally to the idea that an elected official would divide up Constitutional freedoms based on whether people “deserve” them or not. His allowance that he’d give those freedoms to Tea Partiers despite their political views might be even more offensive than his initial remark on Tuesday, as he addressed a Planned Parenthood demonstration:
… The Republicans in Congress claim they’re concerned about the budget balance, but it’s a disguise! It’s not true! It’s a lie! That’s not what they want. They want — they want other people not to be able to have their own opinions. They don’t deserve the freedoms that are in the Constitution! But we’ll give it to them anyway.
If there’s a better example of self-evident projection, I’d like to see it. Lautenberg claims that Republicans want to outlaw opinions, based on nothing but apparently some slippage in his tinfoil hat. He then assumes that the government has the power to do exactly what he accuses Republicans of desiring, but airily decides not to exercise it.
News flash to Lautenberg: rights are not Congress’ to grant or rescind at whim. You don’t get to decide which people deserve rights to free speech, especially not based on political thought. In fact, that’s the entire reason for the First Amendment, which restrains government from making that decision. The “freedoms in the Constitution” aren’t a grant from Congress, but a recognition of innate human rights — and a restraint on Congress from violating them.
Perhaps Lautenberg might want to study the Constitution and its history before presuming that the Senate operates as a nobility that can choose to silence the serfs at whim. Or at least get a tinfoil hat that fits.