Ever since the Citizens United decision, the would-be aristocrats in the Senate — both parties — have been desperate to reduce the sudden influx of political speech in the nation. The Democrats trot out the tired “corporate money” mantra, and Senator Reid is working to set a Guinness Book record for the number of times he can say “Koch Brothers” on the floor of the Senate, and just yesterday, with a sizable bit of help from Republicans, Senate Resolution 19 was passed.
The point of SR19 is to weaken not corporate influence, but to curtail the speech of political grassroots organizations like the Tea Parties, and specifically the National Rifle Association — but it will have much wider impact that those two vilified groups. This could be used against the Sierra Club or World Wildlife Fund; against the ACLU, which supports some of these measure; small immigration lobbying groups. But mostly, it would be used to protect incumbents from having to face real opposition in their various elections.
You see, with the internet to show the corruption of our “leadership”, and the expectation that freedom of speech and political assembly actually means having a voice and being heard, the political class is being threatened by interest groups that represent the People. The NRA is a good one to focus on, since it is the specific target of Tom Udall’s legislation — this is an organization that (perhaps not well and not always accurately; I am not a member of the NRA, as they do not spend thedues in a way I think is effective) represents the interests of between 80-130 million gun owners in the United States.
That’s 26-40% of the population, depending on whose stats you use. Individually, the political class does not care what those people have to say. But when they can bring money to bear on campaigns, the politicians have to at least listen and pay lip service — even when they don’t agree with the will of the people. That goes for the NRA, NAACP, AARP, AMA, ACLU, and any other number of groups you can think of. You might not agree with them, but they have the right (and I would say responsibility) to accurately reflect the opinions of their membership (looking at you AMA and AARP.)
Senate Resolution 19 is not about fairness, or keeping the corrupting influence of money out of politics — it’s designed to shut YOU up and protect the politicians from approbation and competition.
Here’s the people that voted for your rights — it’s a short list:
John Barrasso [R-WY], Saxby Chambliss [R-GA] (this one surprised me…), Thomas Coburn [R-OK], Michael Crapo [R-ID], Ted Cruz [R-TX], Michael Enzi [R-WY], Michael Inhofe [R-OK], John Isakson [R-GA], Ron Jonson [R-WI], Mike Lee [R-UT], Rand Paul [R-KY], Robert Portman [R-OH], James Risch [R-ID], Pat Roberts [R-KS], Tim Scott [R-SC], Richard Shelby [R-AL], John Thune [R-SD], Pat Toomey [R-PA]
If you don’t see the name of your senator — they voted against your right to political speech.