Senate Candidate: ‘With Jews We Lose’

An independent candidate for Mitch McConnell’s senate seat has a bizarre and bigoted campaign slogan: “With Jews We Lose.” He’s putting up signs around the state of Kentucky. And we might dismiss this as some random jerk with no chance of winning (which is true), but he spoke a university’s celebration of Constitution Day in front of a bunch of high school students.

Some high school and UK students crowded into the Cats Den Wednesday for the university’s annual Constitution Day Celebration.

Since 2004 all publicly funded universities are required by law to commemorate the signing of the document and provide an opportunity for reflection on the freedoms it affords…

The right of free speech was tested however with the appearance of U-S Senate write-in candidate Robert Ransdell who used his allotted time to deliver a racist rant about the “Jewish-owned and controlled media,” as well as to “stress the need for this nation’s white majority to recognize that they have ethnic interests,” before having his microphone cut off by the sound crew.

The horrified high school teachers then hustled their students to their respective buses, prompting this rejoinder from UK Rural Journalism director Al Cross.

“You’ve just witnessed in this hall a laboratory experiment about the extent and nature of free speech. I think most of you found the remarks of the write-in candidate deeply offensive, however in this country people do have the right to speak, even if their views are offensive. Now organizations can have their own rules about how much access they are going to give people like that but they do have a right to speak,” Cross said.

No, wrong. Having free speech does not mean that one has to give you a platform to express your views. And it is completely inappropriate for a university to invite a racist to talk about the Constitution during a legally-mandated event.

"I have seen zero (serious) people who claim Franken and Moore are both equally as ..."

How to Think Critically About the ..."
"Pretty much every word of this sounds like a verbatim defense from a Roy Moore ..."

How to Think Critically About the ..."
"If that's the kind of story he has to tell his wife to get in ..."

Warning: Alex Jones is Going to ..."
"Circular reasoning aside, were they saying that ALL the angels were with Lot at Sodom?"

Wiles: Gays Would Rape Angels if ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Sheesh! Hasn’t he heard of dogwhistles?

  • Pierce R. Butler

    Whaddya mean “we”, Aryan?

  • katzenklavier

    Let me say first that I agree with Ed’s worldview about 99% of the time.

    Brown-nosing dispensed with, I say “Huh?” A state university (public, not private) celebrating the Constitution should first parse its invited speakers’ views to exclude those deemed offensive?

    And what made the occasion “a legally mandated event?” Sorry if I’ve missed something obvious, but I reflexively defend the free-speech rights granted us under the 1st amendment, especially when I see everywhere the attempted denial of those rights depending on whose ox is being gored. “Oh, I believe in free speech, but that’s offensive!”

    I say Let him talk, then — without violence — let him know he’s an asshole. That’s free speech as I see it.

  • dan4

    “…let him know he’s an asshole.”

    I hope that you meant “them” instead of “him,” and don’t seriously believe that a person automatically comes to realize they are an asshole after they’ve said assholish things.

  • LightningRose

    “Having free speech does not mean that one has to give you a platform to express your views.”

    This *is* a tax supported university being discussed, not a 3rd tier cable TV channel.

    “And it is completely inappropriate for a university to invite a racist to talk about the Constitution during a legally-mandated event.”

    Is it? Clown he may be, but he is a legitimate candidate for US Senator in a state not exactly known for rationality or civil rights.

  • dan4

    @5: If anything, I would think the fact that the college is “tax supported” would/should make it MORE careful and selective on who gets gets to have a platform, not less.

  • colnago80

    Re katzenklavier @ #3

    From Brayton’s post: Since 2004 all publicly funded universities are required by law to commemorate the signing of the document and provide an opportunity for reflection on the freedoms it affords

  • dan4

    I also have to laugh at the “legitimate” part of the “legitimate candidate” characterization. As if someone with the slogan Ed mentioned is, in any way, “legitimate.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/den.wilson d.c.wilson

    Is he “legitimate” as write in candidate, though? Or do you have to have been able to get your name on the ballot in order to be a legitimate candidate? Couldn’t anyone claim to be a write in candidate, regardless of how dubious their standing is?

  • katzenklavier

    Re colnago90 – #7

    Thanks for the citation. Nonetheless, I stand firm in my support for 1st Amendment speech protections in public-supported venues.

    Re dan4 – #6

    I disagree. In order for 1st Amendment speech protections to have weight, “tax supported” arenas should be all the more heterodox as to access. Hate speech proscriptions are understandable, but in fact render free speech protections essentially meaningless.

  • sugarfrosted

    @10 You seem to be purposefully missing that it was a mandatory event, as in the kids were required to go to this event. There is no right that guarantees you a captive audience.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    d.c.wilson “Is he “legitimate” as write in candidate, though?”

    It seems to me, from what I understand from Civics, that’s really rare. If he’s a legitimate candidate, the political body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down…

  • dan4

    @10: Oh, for pete’s sake, the First Amendment only mandates a “negative” (the government cannot fine and/or threaten you with incarceration for your speech), not a “positive” (as in being obligated to provide a person a platform for your speech).

  • dan4

    …and yes, that last bit does not exempt said “platforms” at taxpayer-funded facilities.

  • John Pieret

    There are conflicting considerations here. The university is legally mandated to hold the event but it is unclear that the students are required to attend (though it would be a good guess that the high school students were). The event was organized by Citizen Kentucky Project and it is not clear that the school controlled the speakers list. It was apparently an open forum where all elected officials and candidates in the upcoming elections were invited to speak but were asked to focus their remarks on the the principles of the Constitution. Generally when the government creates an open forum, it cannot censor the speech based on its content.

  • David C Brayton

    Ed, are you advocating that the university read and approve of the content of all speeches prior to them being made at this event?

  • LightningRose

    How soon some of us forget. Only 10 days until the 50th anniversary of the Berkeley FSM.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_Speech_Movement

  • http://www.facebook.com/eo.raptor.3 eoraptor

    Sorry, I’m with Katzenklavier. A publicly funded university — I don’t care whether the program is legally required — has no business cutting off somebody who legitimately holds the microphone. I’d like to know how he got to be a speaker, was it open mic, was he actually invited? If the former, the University got what it didn’t pay for. If the latter, who was asleep at the wheel?

    If the University wanted to rebut what Randsdall said (probably not necessary, sounds like the high-schoolers pretty well understood the hate), they surely could have found one of their professors to speak cogently despite the lack of preparation.

  • snoeman

    Modusoperandi @12:

    “d.c.wilson “Is he “legitimate” as write in candidate, though?”

    It seems to me, from what I understand from Civics, that’s really rare. If he’s a legitimate candidate, the political body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down…”

    Seriously, is there any thread you can’t win?

  • eric

    it is completely inappropriate for a university to invite a racist to talk about the Constitution during a legally-mandated event.

    If that person actually had something topical and interesting to say about the Constitution, I see no reason to cut them off. But I think the school is perfectly within their rights to cut off any speaker who isn’t talking cogently about the topic they were invited to speak on. There’s no first amendment violation in letter or spirit in inviting someone to speak on subject X, and then taking the microphone away from them when they abuse the organizer’s and audience’s time by speaking on Y instead.

  • steve84

    Why are so many Americans such rambling, drooling morons when it comes to free speech?

  • lofgren

    Ed and the speaker quoted at the end appear to making exactly the same point, yet Ed says “No, wrong.” As a ln object lesson about the first amendment this appears to be making a solid point. Despite wide disagreement with the speaker, there is no legal recourse to stop him from speaking. It’s true that they could have invited a speaker whose speech is banned in much of the world but whom most of the students already agree ought not to be banned — Christian missionaries in China, for example — but by illustrating the point with speech offensive to the students and also speech that is illegal in many parts of the world, I think it drives the point home all that much more. In Canada, England, or Germany this might be considered illegal hate speech. Even if you agree with those laws this is a useful way to stir up conversation about the value and (some would argue) unintended side effects of the First Amendment.

  • http://quodlibet-sarah.blogspot.com/ Quodlibet

    I hope that teachers and professors followed up in their classes with lessons and open conversation on principles of free speech, how the Constitution addresses free speech, and real-life applications of the principles, such as this very incident. With a good, well-informed teacher, that could be a really lively, informative, useful discussion. Now that would be an appropriate way to observe Constitution Day.