Representative Jim Moran (D-VA) called for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) to remove an ad critical of Obamacare. Although federal courts have declared the First Amendment guarantees such advertising, Moran insists the ad be removed. In reference to the ad’s closing line “go to hell Barack”, the congressman stated that “profanity has no place in the public forum.”
Strangely enough, the Representative Moran holds a quite different perspective on free speech regarding flag burning. In 2001, he stated, “”History informs us that the strength of America is derived from its basic ideals, one of the most important of which is tolerance for the full expression of ideas, even the most obnoxious ones.” In fact, Representative Moran was part of a small minority voting against a constitutional amendment authorizing Congress to prohibit physical desecration of the United States flag.
Moran’s convoluted perspective stretches beyond opposing the right to criticize the President while supporting the right to burn the flag. He personally fails to live by the same restrictions on “profanity” which he attempts to impose on others. At the 2006 Arlington County Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner, the congressman proclaimed that upon assuming the role of House appropriations committee chair, “When I become chairman, I’m going to earmark the shit of it.” A crowd of 450 was subjected to this unprofessional language.
Congressman Moran strongly supports funding the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The NEA generates extreme controversy over some of the artists supported by NEA grants. Just a few years before Moran’s election to Congress, artist Andres Serreno received $15,000 prize money for a piece presented in a competition at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Arts. The competition was sponsored in part by the NEA. Despite controversial, arguably obscene, projects such as this, Moran became a congressional advocate for increased federal NEA funding. The NEA issued a press release commending Moran for this strong support.
Representative Moran insists on censoring a privately funded political advertisement, suggesting it “defames” the President. Yet, this same politician supports the right to desecrate the United States flag, chooses to cuss in a public speech, and favors federal funding of controversial artwork. How’s that for blatant hypocrisy?