op-ed

Free Speech May Be Protected But Washington Elitism Isn’t Funny

Reuters/Aaron P. Bernstein.

Shaun McCutcheon Plaintiff, McCutcheon v. FEC
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Days after the White House Correspondent Association dinner, social media is still buzzing about Michelle Wolf’s comedy act. Many leading conservatives have expressed outrage over the attacks. Journalists have complained. Faith leaders are aghast. Even the most vocal of critics of Donald Trump and his Administration have joined the chorus of outrage.

While calls to end the “nerd prom” tradition, demands for apologies, and Netflix boycotts are floated – there is another, likely unpopular, idea that should also be considered. We should applaud the demonstration of Wolf’s First Amendment right to Free Speech.

Wolf’s remarks about Roy Moore, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Kellyanne Conway, and of course, Donald Trump were all cheap shots. The comments about abortion were vile enough to make the most progressive pro-choice supporters squirm. The performance was not funny. It was downright mean.

Regardless of the unity of agreement about how disgusting as the performance was, Wolf’s remarks are protected by the Constitution. Further, it surely helped President Trump by showing exactly what he and the entire conservative movement are facing as they advocate for the issues that matter to every day Americans.

The words may have stung, but those in leadership (and the many supporting them) can handle it. In fact, they deal with vitriol from political opponents regularly. And if you ask any of them, I am sure they will agree that Wolf has the right to say the things she did, too.

Free Speech must be protected whether we like what is being said, or disagree. Of course, there are boundaries of what can be considered appropriate, but still, crossing the line can be immoral – but not illegal.

The hatred that is coming from the political left and the Washington establishment has become so absurd that it will surely help Trump win reelection. The vicious personal attacks are all that the left has now that they are losing on the issues.

There is no dispute that Trump is having a successful Presidency. The economy is coming back, employment is much higher, taxes are lower, terrorists are on the run. Yet, still those opposing President Trump are completely unable to support their failed policy positions, so they resort to personal attacks on him and his staff. In doing so, they show their true colors – and cause a surely unintended consequence – building further support for the President from those outside the Washington bubble.

Wolf’s performance was exactly what the Washington, DC elite (also known as the “swamp”) want to hear anyway. The vulgar performance was perfect for the leftist Washington press corps crowd that had gathered to celebrate themselves.

If they cannot be balanced in their reporting, should we really expect them to be open minded in their other choices? Is it intellectually consistent to be critical of a sharp tweet by President Trump all while laughing at Michelle Wolf? Of course not. Yet, that is exactly what is happening by those supporting the White House Correspondents Association and Wolf’s performance.

Political speech in all its forms are something that should be sought after, embraced, and celebrated. We deserve to hear what our leaders say and what they believe.  The more they talk, the more we get to know who they really are.  And even more money in politics (and the press) educates voters.

There can never be enough speech in the marketplace of ideas.  If that speech is negative and name calling, we can always listen to something else.

Perhaps the worst joke of all is that the White House Correspondents Association only raised $100,000.00 for it scholarships at the dinner. With an ability to attract big political donors, Hollywood, and corporate leaders, that could have made so much more with Trump there.

If the organizers really cared about raising money for the next generation of reporters, they would have planned an event that would attract the President instead of one that drove him, and millions of every day Americans, away.

Shaun McCutcheon is an Alabama based electrical engineer and successful plaintiff in the 2014 Supreme Court case McCutcheon v. FEC.


The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.