Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Tim Walberg Copies Sleazy Tactics of the McCain Campaign

First we had the McCain campaign falsely accusing Barack Obama of wanting to teach sex education to kindergarteners in an ad that the Obama campaign called "perverse" and the New York Times called "flat-out lies". The ad was roundly discredited by anyone with a brain and a sense of decency - but apparently it was perceived as a great idea by the Walberg campaign, for they rushed right out to copy it. You have to wonder about all these Republicans and their fascination with... well, nevermind. Let's not go there. Gets too creepy.

Back to the matter at hand - a new, negative attack ad from Walberg released today flat-out lies about Mark Schauer and his record of protecting children from pornography, and in a weird, off-topic twist, throws in taxes as well. Talk about strange and confusing mixed messages - the ad is not only sleazy; it's ineffective because of the bizarre juxtaposition with two topics that have nothing to do with each other, except for the fact that Walberg is lying about both.

Digging back to a House vote from 1999, the Walberg campaign is trying make the outrageous claim that Schauer approves of adults sending pornography over the internet to minors. Yes, I know, it's hard to believe, right up there with the lie about Obama, but that is where they are trying to go with this. Seems we had a bill before our Engler-era legislature that wanted to amend an existing law to include the internet in Public Act 33 of 1978, which prohibits dissemination of explicit material to minors. The Clinton administration had already passed something like this - and it was struck down by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional because it was too broad-based and infringed on adult's right to free speech, it would likely be subject to abuse by anyone who objected to any discussion of sexuality in general.(Remember, at the time filters and such had yet to come into existence). So, down it went.

Par for the course, our own wingnuts here in Michigan ignored that and wanted to try for their own version, and also par for the course, they wrote some really bad legislation. An analysis of the Michigan bill showed that this law, if passed, would be unconstitutional.

The bill is almost certainly unconstitutional and will likely be struck down if enacted into law.

For the same reasons as the federal law; citing chat rooms, e-mail, newsgroups, etc., there is no way of knowing who is out there and how old they are, and it could turn into censorship.

The Government’s assertion that the knowledge requirement somehow protects the communications of adults is therefore untenable. Even the strongest reading of the ‘specific person’ requirement of [section] 223(d) cannot save the statute. It would confer broad powers of censorship, in the form of a ‘heckler’s veto,’ upon any opponent of indecent speech who might simply log on and inform the would be discoursers that his 17 year old child -- a specific person . . . under 18 years of age," [citation omitted] would be present."

Furthermore, it would likely violate the interstate commerce clause. Bad all the way around. And, not only was this legislation unconstitutional - it had the potential of costing the state millions in trying to defend it if it passed and was challenged in court, which it most certainly would be. House Democrats of the time stood up and pointed that little fact out when explaining their vote. Here are a few quotes from the record.

"I voted no on this issue because it will be declared unconstitutional and the state will then be liable for the cost of the appeals process."

"I believe this bill to be unconstitutional and as such will be challenged and overturned in court. Subsequently, the people of the state of Michigan will pay in court cost and damage awards.”

"Due to current Federal Legislation and recent Supreme Court rulings, this legislation puts the State of Michigan and its taxpayers at risk to lawsuits. According to the House Legislative Bureau and beyond the financial concerns on behalf of taxpayers, this bill also violates the U.S. Constitution’s interstate commerce clause and gives broad powers of censorship.”

End result - the Democrats were trying to save the taxpayers money, but Tim Walberg wants you to believe that they were trying to peddle smut to children.

Unbelievable? Not really, given that the Republicans are proven liars this cycle. Sad thing is, Walberg can't even be original in his lies - he has to copy the trashy tactics of his Bush/Rove buddies.

And as far as the accusation that Schauer led that tax-increase - someone needs to remind the public that it wouldn't have happened without the consent and votes of the Senate Republicans. Got a problem with the taxes? Talk to Mike Bishop - wouldn't have happened without him. Somehow Republicans want you to overlook that little fact...

Tim Walberg. More of the same. In every way possible.