We at CCP are looking for early clues on what an Obama administration means for the First Amendment and the rights of citizens to freely speak out in politics and support the candidates and causes of their choice. Much to our delight, Obama seems to be abandoning his "lobbyists are bad" mantra from the campaign (reporting and carping about this here, here, and here, among other places), embracing not only experience (both good and bad, I suppose) but also the simple fact that lobbyists represent the vast and varied interests of the American public, and having done so should not be a bar to service in his administration.
On the downside, however, are comments by Attorney General nominee Eric Holder on the subject of regulating speech on the internet. In the wake of the 1999 Columbine tragedy, Holder had this to say in an NPR interview:
"The court has really struck down every government effort to try to regulate – we tried with regard to pornography. It is going to be a difficult thing, but it seems to me that if we can come up with reasonable restrictions, reasonable regulations on how people interact on the Internet that is something the Supreme Court and the courts ought to favorably look at."
At a time when the majority party in Congress is eagerly looking to enact "reasonable regulations" on who is allowed to speak over the airwaves, how much time they can speak, and on what topics they can speak, under the guise of "fairness" in talk radio, it can hardly be reassuring to find that the man likely to be the next Attorney General appears to look favorably on government control over online speech as well.