FREE SPEECH….Atrios has been banging on this for a couple of days, and today both Eugene Volokh and Ted Barlow take up the question too: does George Bush really think that all independent political speech should be banned?

Apparently he does. On Larry King the other day he opined that “they ought to get rid of all those 527s, independent expenditures that have flooded the airwaves.” And his subsequent clarification indicated that he really meant it.

I’m a little wishy washy on campaign finance reform myself. There are serious First Amendment issues involved, but at the same time trying to regulate the flood of money in the electoral process is a legitimate concern. But Bush’s statement is completely out of left field. Just ban all political advertising? Does he even understand that the First Amendment has something to say about that?

Probably not. Like I said before, he’s like a guy in bar. We should just ban all the advertising, that’s what I say! And his understanding of the issue never goes any further.

Do Bush’s supporters really feel comfortable with a man whose instincts lead him to say stuff like this whenever he doesn’t have a script in front of him? Sure, it’ll never happen because there are plenty of people in Washington DC who do understand the issues, but still. This is just frighteningly ignorant stuff.

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