Friday, March 27, 2009

The Many Faces of Randy Koschnick

We have already seen many examples of there being several versions of Jefferson County Judge Randy Koschnick. On crime and punishment we have seen Attorney Koschnick and Candidate Koschnick who seem to hold very different views. We have seen Randy Koschnick talking about running a "clean campaign" only to witness a constant practice of low-road rhetoric. Now we are being introduced to an entirely different set of Koschnicks. One that believes in free speech even if it is "messy" and the other that wants to silence speech that he doesn't like.

Even though his entire campaign has been practicing a constant smear of the Chief Justice of our state's high court, he now has the audacity to complain about an ad by a third party group. Actually, his own boilerplate list of partisan talking points practically wrote the ad itself. Even so, he is now trying to get Television stations to pull the third party ad, simply because he does not agree with it. That is very different from the free speech loving Randy Koschnick that we saw as recently as March 19 in a La Crosse debate appearance. In that debate he was asked about public financing of campaigns and he gave the following answer:

I have no problem with public financing being made available so that viable candidates can run. However, if there's any restriction (inaudible) of such a plan on free speech
rights, I would be against that strongly. We cannot restrict the rights of individuals and groups to voice their opinions about candidates. Does it get messy once in a while when we have a democratic process? Yes. Does the First Amendment create some messy situations? Yes. Do we tolerate speech
that many of us find offensive? Yes.

But I don't think that the answer to concerns about third-party groups being involved in campaigns is to try to suppress the free speech rights of individuals and groups. I think the answer to the problem of offensive or troublesome speech is more speech. And so if somebody says something that's
not true or inaccurate, I think the answer, rather than trying to suppress that speech, is to allow the candidates and others to come out with a response and put the truth out there and let the public decide. So to the extent that public financing proposals would restrict free speech as many of them do, I don't agree with them. If it's public financing with no strings attached, it's a wonderful option.

Lofty rhetoric but as soon as he was given his first chance to practice it, he decided to flush the constitutionally correct argument in exchange for the more politically convenient one. If he really meant what he said in that debate, then he should stop trying to "suppress that speech" and "come out with a response" to it (to borrow his own words). Why doesn't he just get out there and finally show us who he (really) is? It will be interesting to see which Koschnick ends up winning this internal argument. Will it be the one that supports free speech or the one that wants to silence it?


Red Guy in a Blue State said...

Out of curiosity, do you believe there is a line between free speech and slander? Or free speech and outright lies?

This is outside of the campaign.

One could define free speech as saying whatever you want whenever you want, regardless of how it may affect someone or something when it comes to 'product'.

Your profile pic is at Miller Park. What if someone claimed, in the name of free speech, Prince Fielder is on steroids? If it's true or not, that damages him, the game of baseball, the Milwaukee Brewers, etc. Granted, this is not the best example, but you get my meaning...

Cory Liebmann said...

actually, no...I don't get your meaning at all.