Democrats Abuse Franking Commission To Censor Republicans
The “Franking Commission,” officially known as the Commission on Congressional Mailing Standards, exists to administer the use of the franking privilege by members of congress. The franking privilege allows members to inform their constituents of legislative matters through mail, with the taxpayer picking up the cost of such “official business.”
Just like they want to censor talk radio, Democrats are seeking to use the Franking Commission to build an Orwellian filter between congressional Republicans and their constituents. First, they have argued that Republicans shouldn’t be able to mail a chart detailing the convoluted structure of proposed government-run health care on the basis that it is misleading.
Set aside for the moment the question of whether or not it actually is misleading (because one first has to read a 1,000+ page bill to know whether it is or not) and ask whether it makes sense for one partisan group to determine whether or not another partisan group is being “misleading.” Clearly that’s not the kind of determination partisans should be officially making about other partisans, as it can too easily be abused for political purposes. Democrats are not engaged in honest fact-checking, but politically motivated censorship.
Second, Democrats want to be able to choose the language Republicans use to describe the Democrats’ legislation. Moreover, this censorship applies to telephone town-halls and not just congressional mailings. (Hat-tip: QandO)
“It came to me from the Franking Commission and I have the email from the Franking Commission here if you’d like to see it,” Carter said. “We held a telephone town-hall… When you hold telephone town-halls you have a recorded message that introduces the town-hall and the subject matter you’re going to be talking about. You have to now submit that language to the Franking Commission.
“What we proposed as language was as follows, ‘House Democrats unveiled a government-run health care plan,’” Carter said. “Our response from Franking was, ‘You cannot use that language. You must use, ‘The House majority unveiled a public option health care plan,’ which is Pelosi-speak or ‘just last week the House majority unveiled a health care plan which I believe will cost taxpayers…’”
Political parties will often try to use language that they believe frames a debate to their advantage. So long as everyone is free to express their ideas, this is a healthy reflection of our ability to debate policy in an open manner. When one political party attempts to enforce their chosen language through coercion, it violates the spirit of the marketplace of ideas. That Democrats are systematically looking to use the force of government to silence opposing views in numerous formats shows how dangerously committed to authoritarianism they remain.