Big Day

Today the U.S. government hands over control of the Iraqi army to the Iraqis and takes control of American political debate.

Incredibly, the McCain-Feingold ban on independent broadcast advertising that mentions candidates by name, beginning 60 days before the election, is apparently not mentioned in any major media. The blackout period for free speech has been noted in newspapers by such civil libertarians as Ryan Sager, Jacob Sullum, and the D.C. Examiner. But no news stories warning people to stop talking about candidates. No editorials from major papers deploring this restriction on political speech before an election. Nor even any editorials hailing the new restrictions, which might be more likely since most major papers endorsed the McCain-Feingold legislation.

What would McCain, Feingold, and the New York Times say if the U.S.-backed government in Iraq banned any criticism of itself for the next 60 days? Would they say “one giant step toward democracy”? I doubt it.

Anyway, if you want to criticize a member of Congress, or just ask your neighbors to call him about an issue, you’re free to do that – starting November 8.