Barack sues AFSCME

The Obama campaign must really be in worse trouble than we thought. What else to conclude from the campaign's decision to file a 64-page complaint with the Federal Election Commission, trying to prevent Edgar Bronfman and the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees from spending $700,000 on television commercials to be aired at Indiana for Senator Clinton?

Mr. Obama's campaign has been outspending Senator Clinton by margins of two- or three-to one in recent contested primaries, amounting to millions more dollars in television commercials. Now that Mrs. Clinton's allies are trying to even the playing field, Mr. Obama is trying to inflict the Federal Election Commission — and, if that fails, the U.S. Justice Department — on the people.

Of what is Mr. Obama afraid? Is he worried that if Mrs. Clinton's allies spend enough money, their message might actually resonate better with the voters of Indiana than his own message will? Mr. Obama has boasted on the campaign trail, "I was a constitutional law professor, which means unlike the current president I actually respect the Constitution." He did serve 12 years as a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago law school. One would hope that Mr. Obama's respect for the Constitution would include respect for the First Amendment freedom of speech, a right designed to protect exactly the sort of communication in which Mr. Bronfman and AFSCME are engaged.

On the Republican side, the presumptive nominee is Senator McCain, who, in harness with Senator Feingold, led the way in restricting election speech. Senator Clinton voted in favor of that legislation and is now seeing its red tape and restriction of speech being used to suppress her campaign and even its allies. Anyone who had hoped that Mr. Obama would offer a refreshing contrast will be disappointed by the latest FEC complaint by the Obama campaign.


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