If we’re reading The Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder correctly then apparently the Obama campaign has decided to lay off political free speech generated by citizen organizations-at least for now when that speech criticizes his opponent, John McCain.
We took note of just that last week in a memo entitled "Using campaign finance law as an electoral sword." While we, of course, applaud any politician who respects the constitutional rights of Americans to freely speak and associate on issues of the greatest public importance-namely, our government and the issues it must tackle-we also wish politicians would do so for the right reasons.
According to Ambinder’s post this morning, the Obama campaign "no longer object[s] to independent [speech] efforts" because of "the realization that Republicans have achieved financial parity with Democrats," as well as the hope that independent speech will "come to Obama’s aid."
For his part, after once stating his belief that 527 organizations (and their speech) should be outlawed, McCain and his campaign have remained silent and hands-off with respect to citizen groups during this election – telling the Boston Herald that he "can’t be a referee."
We are glad to see that the candidates are deciding it’s best to combat speech with more speech, rather than trying to silence citizens who are merely exercising their First Amendment rights. Of course we also hope that these pro-speech changes in position last long after election day.