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Alan Grayson wins a muzzle

By J. DeVoy

Alan Grayson, the Democrat Congressman from central Florida, has been on a hot streak for bad PR.  In December, Marc broke the story about Grayson’s poor reaction to constituent outcry over his childish antics.

I truly admired Alan Grayson. I think that his policies are good for America. I think that his style is exactly what the liberals need. But, anyone who behaves with such dishonor and such disdain for First Amendment principles needs to be tossed out on his ass – no matter who it is that he’s going after. I can’t say that I will support his Republican challenger in 2010, but you can be damn sure that I’ll be donating money to his democratic primary challenger.

After central Floridian Angie Langley created My Congressman is Nuts – a spoof of Grayson’s “Congressman With Guts” slogan – Grayson attempted to single her out for special punishment.  Instead of addressing Langley’s concerns, Grayson contacted the Florida Attorney General, urging the investigation and prosecution of Langley and her political group.  Grayson wanted those charges to be brought under 18 U.S.C. § 1001, so Langely could be fined and imprisoned up to five years for committing fraud.

The Jefferson Center has memorialized the ire of internet users and free speech advocates by awarding Grayson a Muzzle award for 2010.

For urging the U.S. Attorney General to seek a monetary fine and a 5 year prison sentence against a vocal critic for alleged violations of Federal Election law that, even if true, represent minor transgressions, a 2010 Jefferson Muzzle goes to… U.S. Representative Alan Grayson (D-FL).

Since 1992, the Jefferson Center has been giving out Muzzles to the worst opponents of free speech.  Past winners have included Janet Reno, CBS Television, the Library of Congress, Rudy Giuliani, the Clinton Administration, and George W. Bush’s Presidential Campaign.  This year, the Jefferson Center awarded 10 Muzzles, and Grayson was number one.  Not only does Grayson hang from the gallows of censorship with ignominious company like the Texas State Legislature, Las Vegas Police, Oklahoma Tax Commission and Virginia Department of Correction, he precedes them all in foulness. 

The unexplored angle of this story is how unexpected this conduct should be from Grayson, given his background.  If Grayson were some “are country” bumpkin who had never tasted pho or encountered literature more challenging than Harr’s bourgeois tale of unheeded caution known as A Civil Action, this would all make sense.  Indeed, ignorance is bliss.  But Alan Grayson went to Harvard College.  Then Harvard Law School.  Then he did Ph.D. coursework at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, though many allege that KSG = TTT.

Despite his triple-Harvard credentials, Grayson took actions that not only stifle the political discourse he ostensibly cared so much about, but should shock the conscience of any political activist.  The maxim that speech should be combatted with more speech, while trite, is true; prosecutions and witch hunts by the Florida Attorney General are inimical to that goal.  Lashing out like Grayson did reeks of desperation, and is the action of a man who cannot influence political discourse through legitimate means.

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