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That's what Obama supporters, alerted by campaign e-mails, did when conservative
Stanley Kurtz appeared on Milt Rosenberg's WGN radio program in Chicago. Mr. Kurtz
had been researching Mr. Obama's relationship with unrepentant Weather Underground
terrorist William Ayers in Chicago Annenberg Challenge papers in the Richard J. Daley
Library in Chicago - papers that were closed off to him for some days, apparently at the
behest of Obama supporters.

Obama fans jammed WGN's phone lines and sent in hundreds of protest e-
mails. The message was clear to anyone who would follow Mr. Rosenberg's
example. We will make trouble for you if you let anyone make the case against
The One.

Other Obama supporters have threatened critics with
criminal prosecution. In September, St. Louis County
Circuit Attorney Bob McCulloch and St. Louis City Circuit
Attorney Jennifer Joyce warned citizens that they would
bring criminal libel prosecutions against anyone who
made statements against Mr. Obama that were "false."
I had been under the impression that the Alien and
Sedition Acts had gone out of existence in 1801-'02.
Not so, apparently, in metropolitan St. Louis.

Similarly, the Obama campaign called for a criminal investigation of the American Issues
Project when it ran ads highlighting Mr. Obama's ties to Mr. Ayers.

These attempts to shut down political speech have become routine for liberals.
Congressional Democrats sought to reimpose the "fairness doctrine" on broadcasters,
which until it was repealed in the 1980s required equal time for different points of view.
The motive was plain: to shut down the one conservative-leaning communications
medium, talk radio. Liberal talk-show hosts have mostly failed to draw audiences, and
many liberals can't abide having citizens hear contrary views.

To their credit, some liberal old-timers - like House Appropriations Chairman David Obey
- voted against the "fairness doctrine," in line with their longstanding support of free
speech. But you can expect the "fairness doctrine" to get another vote if Barack Obama
wins and Democrats increase their congressional majorities.

Corporate liberals have done their share in shutting down anti-liberal speech, too.
"Saturday Night Live" ran a spoof of the financial crisis that skewered Democrats like
House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank and liberal contributors Herbert and
Marion Sandler, who sold toxic-waste-filled Golden West to Wachovia Bank for $24
billion. Kind of surprising, but not for long.
The tape of the broadcast disappeared
from NBC's Web site and was replaced with another that omitted the references
to Mr. Frank and the Sandlers.
Evidently NBC and its parent, General Electric, don't
want people to hear speech that attacks liberals.

    Then there's the Democrats' "card
    check" legislation that would abolish
    secret ballot elections in determining
    whether employees are represented
    by unions. The unions' strategy is
    obvious: Send a few thugs over to
    employees' homes - we know where
    you live - and get them to sign cards
    that will trigger a union victory without
    giving employers a chance to be
    heard.

Once upon a time, liberals prided themselves, with considerable reason, as the
staunchest defenders of free speech.
Union organizers in the 1930s and 1940s
made the case that they should have access to employees to speak freely to them, and
union leaders like George Meany and Walter Reuther were ardent defenders of the First
Amendment.

Today's liberals seem to be taking their marching orders from other quarters.
Specifically, from the college and university campuses where administrators, armed with
speech codes, have for years been disciplining and subjecting to sensitivity training any
students who dare to utter thoughts that liberals find offensive. The campuses that once
prided themselves as zones of free expression are now the least free part of our society.

Obama supporters who found the campuses congenial and
Mr. Obama himself, who has chosen to live all his adult life in
university communities, seem to find it entirely natural to
suppress speech they don't like and seem utterly oblivious to
claims this violates the letter and spirit of the First Amendment.
In this campaign, we have seen the coming of the
Obama thugocracy, suppressing free speech, and we
may see its flourishing in the four or eight years ahead.
Used by Permission of
the
Washington Times


Michael Barone is a
senior writer for
U.S.
News & World Report

and principal coauthor
of
The Almanac of
American Politics
. He
has written for many
publications—
including the
Economist and the New
York Times, The Weekly
Standard
, The New
Republic
, National
Review
, and more. He
is a contributor to the
Fox News Channel and
a frequent guest on
public affairs programs.

Barone graduated
from Cranbrook
Schools in 1962. He
received a bachelor's
degree from Harvard
University in 1966 and
a law degree from Yale
Law School in 1969.

He is the author of
several books:
Our Country: the
shaping of America
from Roosevelt
to Reagan
(Free Press, 1990).
The New Americans:
How the Melting Pot
Can Work Again

(Regnery Publishing,
2001),
Hard America, Soft
America: Competition
vs. coddling and the
Battle for the Nation's
Future
(Crown Forum,
2004), and
Our First Revolution:
the Remarkable British
Uprising that Inspired
America's Founding
Fathers
(Crown
Publishers, 2007).
DAVID BARONE
    ...The Coming Thugocracy

"I need you to go out and talk to your friends and talk to
your neighbors," Barack Obama told a crowd in Elko, Nev. "I
want you to talk to them whether they are independent or
whether they are Republican. I want you to argue with them
and get in their face."

Actually, Obama supporters are doing a lot more than
getting into people's faces. They seem determined to
shut people up.