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When free speech attacks

A Supreme Court ruling that unleashed the flood of third-party political ads is coming back to bite at least one Congressman who championed "the full flowering" of political speech. (AP image)

On January 21, 2010, the Supreme Court ruled that for the purposes of free speech, corporations are people – unleashing the flood of third party political ads that we’re all currently enjoying. California Representative Dan Lungren took the floor of the House that day to congratulate the court.

“And the court has said we ought to attempt to allow the full flowering of political speech,” Lundgren said.

But what he might not have appreciated back then was just how vigorously the flowers of progress would be blossoming in his own district.

“This is Rep. Dan Lundgren, he voted against embryonic stem cell research, is he a doctor?” says an attack ad targeting the Congressman.

Dan Lungren did vote against the type of research that uses stem cells from embryos. So in this bit of Supreme Court-enabled political speech, actors portraying a mother, a grandson, and a child wonder what would happen to them if they were to contract some horrible disease that could only be cured by the research he voted against.

“Help me , help me, maybe I’m your mother. Maybe I’m your little girl,” say the voices in the ad.

Now, Congressman Lungren wasn’t against all stem cell research, but strangely the ad doesn’t mention that.

“How come he gets to decide who lives and who dies. Who is he?” asks a little girl in the ad.

Actually, he chairs the House committee with jurisdiction over campaign finance issues. And according to the New York Times, he and others who once applauded the Supreme Court decision are drafting laws that would force candidates and campaigns to take more responsibility for these ads.

Beautiful as they are, some flowers smell better than others.

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