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Rep. Richard Hanna is no champion of 1st Amendment

On 4/30/14, Rep. Richard Hanna made an attempt to attack Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney over the 1st Amendment. The goal was to try to position Rep. Hanna as a champion of the Constitution – in other words he is trying to move to the Right to salvage votes. A pure re-election political move.

Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY 22)

Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY 22)


This is laughable when you consider that, by his own words, Rep. Hanna is a moderate. In fact, as he said to Time Magazine in 2010, “Most of them are” more Conservative than [Hanna]. The recent ranking of Hanna as the 3rd most Liberal Republican in Congress (2013) also fails to convey the image of a defender of the Constitution his campaign is trying desperately to re-imagine him as (in fact in 2011 National Journal rated Hanna less conservative than Dem Mike Acuri he replaced.

This is further backed up by the fact that Hanna, after being elected to Congress on the support of Conservatives and the Tea Party in 2010, has rejected the Conservatives – recently calling them “extremists“. This is at the core of why Hanna was rejected by the NY Conservative Party in 2012, and incapable of getting their line on the ballot in 2014.

Thus the posturing as a candidate with Conservative values is (in my opinion) just that, posturing.

But it gets worse.

Let’s look at the record – something that Rep. Hanna tries very hard not to refer to for himself. In this case the issue of Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is a prime example. SOPA was an infringement on the 1st Amendment rights of every internet user. In 2012 there was a massive outcry against this Bill, and its counterpart in the Senate called PIPA. I wrote about that at the time (which has since been cited as part of a scholarly publication – Always Connected:The Power of Broadcasting and Social Media)

“In other cases [internet censorship] is merely the attempt of Governments trying to isolate and remove thought it does not like.”

So on this massive 1st Amendment issue, where did our johnnie-come-lately psuedo-Conservative (or just plain RINO if you prefer) Rep. Hanna stand? Well, that’s a good question as there is no real evidence he took any position on the issue.

According to ProPublica Rep. Hanna had no position on the issue. Wikipedia fails to list his name as a supporter or opponent.

In fact, at the time in 2012, the Hanna office had this to say to opponents of this free speech killing Bill (according to Aurburnpub.com)

“Rep. Hanna is listening to the debate and appreciates the outpouring of constituent input. Rep. Hanna believes strongly in the importance of free speech and a vibrant Internet and will remain cautious when considering any attempts to limit either.”

In effect, I believe, Rep. Hanna said he was sitting on the fence, waiting for the bandwagon of consensus to come by so he could jump on. Not exactly a champion of the Constitution or the 1st Amendment.

There is an old saying, ‘People in glass houses shouldn’t throw rocks.‘ For some politicians the saying is more along the lines of ‘I hope people pay attention to the rocks and not the baggage in the glass house.

If Rep. Hanna wants to try to stand in front of the public and pound his chest, he should try hard to do so on an issue where he has actually taken a stand – if such an issue can be found. If Hanna wants to lure voters, he might also limit that search to issues and Bills where he stands with the public – which will be doubly hard based on his record that he hopes no one will look at.

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