Let us walk through the tortured rationalizations of one Jim McGovern (D, MA-03). To make this easy, it will be labeled in stages.
Stage One: The Big Oops. Last night at a debate Rep. McGovern proposed the theory that the Constitution – specifically, the First Amendment; more specifically, the part that goes “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech”
We have a lousy Supreme Court decision that has opened the floodgates, and so we have to deal within the realm of constitutionality. And a lot of the campaign finance bills that we have passed have been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. I think the Constitution is wrong. I don’t think that money is the same thing as human beings.
He’s referring to the Citizen’s United case, in which the USSC ruled that key portions of McCain-Feingold (a law designed to abridge the freedom of speech) were in fact unconstitutional. Now, as Jim Geraghty noted, this opinion at least has the novelty of honesty: at least McGovern wasn’t trying to insult our collective intelligence by pretending that it’s Constitutional to regulate political speech. He just hates the idea; that makes McGovern kind of twisted up and nasty inside, but not an actual idiot.
Stage Two: The Reflexive Denial. Alas for McGovern, somebody was paying attention to his comments; double alas, he got asked about them. Triple alas, McGovern forgot the First Law of the Age of Scrutiny (“Somebody has a camera”) and reportedly denied saying that he called the Constitution wrong. So Stacy McCain – who happened to be there, as part of his Massachusetts trip – did a quick interview with the person who called out McGovern:
Oops. So let’s go to…
Stage Three: The Non-Apology… Non-Apology. McGovern, having realized that a: he said something unfortunate and b: he later denied doing so, has now put up a press release blaming all of this on the ‘silly season.’ I’d link to his full press release, but McGovern spent so much time whining about his opponent’s record that he completely forgot to give even a pro-forma apology for the statement-and-denial, so back to Jim Geraghty for the relevant bits:
Last night, I had a slip of the tongue. While answering a question about the awful Supreme Court campaign finance decision, I used the word “Constitution” rather than “Court Decision.” Everyone in the room recognized it as a slip of the tongue, but it’s silly season, and my opponent is now cheaply capitalizing on the error in a bid to try to change the subject from his blatant flip-flopping on major issues.
The top three things wrong with that statement:
It’s not ‘silly season:’ it’s the last days of the campaign. If you’re going to start blathering on about how the Constitution is wrong on something, expect a reaction.
Everyone in the room did not recognize it as a slip of the tongue: you were confronted by at least one person on what you said. Out of curiosity, are you diminishing her presence there because she was African-American, or because she’s a woman, or both? – Question withdrawn.
‘Cheaply’ capitalizing? If you can’t speak English coherently, Rep. McGovern – and bear in mind that your inability to master English is apparently your main defense – then don’t be heartbroken when your opponent promptly brings your deficiency up.
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