Silliness about who has to give up their day jobs
By J.J. Jackson
Let's think about something here. With the 2012 Presidential election already upon us, half way through 2011, several candidates have already declared their intention to run on the GOP side of the ticket. Prior to declaring however, many of them were forced to divest themselves of their day jobs because of silly rules put in place by Washington politicians and bureaucrats.
All of this stems from the concept of "equal time" where broadcast outlets that give air time to one candidate are required to do the same for all candidates. Herman Cain had to give up his radio show. Rick Santorum had to quit his gig at FOX News. Newt Gingrich even had to wait until he was done writing books and promoting them before he could jump in because in the process of doing what he does he often did radio and television interviews. Every second that each of these men would have been on the air would have been a headache for the station or network.
Each of these candidates, good, bad or indifferent in your eyes, were private citizens earning a living. But according to electioneering rules they were forced to drop it all to seek the office of the President. Keep this in mind as we look at some of the rest of the field.
Because while these private citizens were required to cease and desist their activities, Michelle Bachmann and Ron Paul, both public servants, were allowed to jump in without quitting their day jobs. Bachmann and Paul are both sitting members in the U.S. Congress. On the other side of the isle, President Obama is going to be allowed to keep his station of public trust as well while he campaigns for another term. God help us all if he actually wins.
See what is wrong with this picture yet? What is wrong is that private citizens are being treated differently than the ruling class. Not only are they being treated differently, but they are being treated more harshly as well. Is this what equal protection under the law is all about these days?
While private citizens holding down jobs, are told to stop doing what they are doing for fear that they might use their day jobs to electioneer for President, elected officials are allowed to use the bully pulpit of their status to do just what these private citizens are omitted from doing. Again, why?
Ok, so Herman Cain might use his now former radio show to help get his message out. So what? If that is bad then why is it ok for President Obama to do the same thing from behind that fancy podium emblazoned with the Seal of the President of the United States? Anyone think for one second that Congresswoman Bachmann or Congressman Paul will not use their station to get some plumb interviews on big television outlets whenever they can? Do not make me laugh by saying no.
In 2008 when Fred Thompson was running for the presidency stations had to actually consider whether or not his appearances as a fictional character on Law & Order would cause problems under the concept of "equal time." Even though he was not electioneering, questions over his mere appearance in an episode raised questions of whether stations running such episodes in which he appeared would be required to give other candidates the same amount of face time as he received. When Arnold Schwarzenegger ran for governor of California, television stations were careful to not show any of his movies because of similar concerns.
This election cycle the same problem arose for Donald Trump. While I am glad that Mr. Trump, a RINO of the highest order, decided not to run, the fact that he had a prime time show was bringing up all sorts of election related questions. Even though, again, he was not electioneering. Just the fact that his face was on the television was enough to spark controversy.
But what about President Obama? Well, he is out there right now, using taxpayer funded travel, to fly all over the nation and hold rallies and pimp his agenda of more taxes, more regulation, less opportunity and more misery while getting all sorts of press coverage. His mug is all over television and you can bet that equal time is not being given to other candidates for 2012. See, politicians are special like this. Because you see equal time does not apply to documentaries, newscasts, news interview shows, or coverage of on-the-spot news events. That pretty much includes anything politicians like President Obama do. Talk about a stacked deck.
But if Newt Gingrich were to dare write a book supporting his campaign and tour around the country promoting it all Hell would break loose from the bureaucratic red tape in Washington. Then stations would be required to give other candidates air time equal to his opponents even if they were not doing anything worth of that airtime.
No wonder elected officials think themselves our betters. They have written the laws to make themselves such. How about we just go back to the simple concept of liberty? Huh? How about enough with the silly rules that make some more equal than others?
J.J. Jackson is a libertarian conservative author from Pittsburgh, PA who has been writing and promoting individual liberty since 1993 and is President of Land of the Free Studios, Inc. He is the Pittsburgh Conservative Examiner for Examiner.com. He is also the owner of The Right Things - Conservative T-shirts & Gifts. His weekly commentary along with exclusives not available anywhere else can be found at http://www.libertyreborn.com.