Massachusett’s Democratic Rep. Edward Markey is currently a front-runner to succeed John Kerry in the Senate from the Bay State, and he’s perhaps the only candidate who can make Elizabeth Warren seem intelligent and probative by comparison. I’ve always thought Markey’s advocacy of low-wattage light bulbs is obviously congruent with his low-wattage intellect, and who can resist thinking of him as Rep. Malarkey? He’s one of those kind of politicians who will say anything to try to win the day.
Markey has always hated all fossil fuels, and is the kind of person who has said many times that we need more wind and solar to help get us off foreign oil (there is zero connection between the two), but a few days ago he said that one problem with the sequester is that it would . . . slow domestic oil and gas drilling! And we’re really supposed to take this guy seriously? If he meant that, you’d think he’d be for the sequester.
But Malarkey has now outdone himself, comparing the Citizens United decision to Dred Scott. Great Scott!! “The Constitution must be amended,” Markey said; “The Dred Scott decision had to be repealed, we have to repeal Citizens United.” GOP spokesman Brad Dayspring had a good reply:
“Out-of-touch statements like these simply reinforce the fact that Ed Markey has been hibernating in Washington back rooms since Carlton Fisk was behind the plate for the Red Sox and disco ruled the world. If Ed Markey really believes this to be the modern equivalent to slavery, he’ll quickly return the millions that he’s raised from PACs over his career.”
It should be understood, however, that the Left’s outrage over Citizens United actually goes far beyond the old-fashioned, and not entirely unreasonable, concern about the potential corruption involved with large campaign contributions (though for the record I think this is overblown: whenever anyone is ever challenged to connect a single changed congressional vote to campaign cash, the response is always chirping crickets). Markey is not the first lefty to compare Citizens United to Dred Scott; his usage just shows he gets all of his ideas second hand. Beyond campaign cash, the Citizens United outrage is connected to the larger Marcusian/Chomskyite critique of “corporate control” of media. In other words, public opinion is “enslaved” by the corporate control of mass media, just like Dred Scott, QED. The Left’s remedy would involve not just government control of campaign finance, but “redistribution” of free speech rights and mass media. The inimitable Cass Sunstein explicitly calls for this in his book Democracy and the Problem of Free Speech. In other words, get ready to be forced to watch Amy Goodman on “Democracy NOW” TV. Can’t wait for that blessed day.
I doubt Markey has much of a clue about the deeper background of the Left’s thought on this subject. Perhaps he should be asked about whether he thinks the government should “redistribute” speech rights along the lines Sunstein suggests. I imagine the answer will be occasion for further hilarious Malarkey.