Left's intolerance growing on college campuses
This is a rush transcript from "Journal Editorial Report," May 10, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
PAUL GIGOT, FOX HOST: This week on "The Journal Editorial Report," university silence, conservative speakers, and a now familiar rite of spring. But does the left's intolerance go well beyond the college campus?
Plus, Tea Party candidates took a beating in Tuesday's primaries. So is the movement in trouble, or is the GOP establishment just getting smarter?
And in an end-run around the Supreme Court's campaign finance ruling, Senate Democrats want to rewrite the First Amendment. Does Chuck Schumer know better than James Madison?
Welcome to "The Journal Editorial Report." I'm Paul Gigot.
Well, it's commencement season once again. And as college seniors prepare to leave the ivory tower, another rite of spring is taking hold, college bans on conservative speakers. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is the latest victim, announcing last week that she is with drawing as the graduation speaker at Rutgers University after faculty and students there protested her role in the Iraq War. Last month, Brandeis University rescinded its invitation to the Somali-born writer, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, whose criticism of radical Islam, the school said, violated its core values. And a speech by Libertarian political scientist, Charlie Murray, was postponed by Azusa Pacific University in California recently for fear of, quote, "hurting our faculty and students of color."
But Wall Street Journal columnist, Dan Henninger, says the intolerance goes well beyond college speakers.
He joins me now, along with Political Diary editor, Jason Riley.
So, Dan, as we said, this has been known to happen in the past. But it seems to be picking up in number and in the breadth of the people who are banned. Condoleezza Rice is hardly some radical. She's the ultimate establishment figure.
DAN HENNINGER, COLUMNIST & DEPUTY EDITOR: Yeah, that's right. I mean, you get the sense that something has kind of snapped on the left, and that they have just felt unleashed to try to go after people like this. Outside university, perhaps the most famous recent case was the CEO of the Mozilla Foundation, Brian Eich, who, because he was found to have donated to California Proposition 8, supporting gay marriage --
GIGOT: Supporting opposition to gay marriage.
HENNINGER: The opposition to gay marriage. Was driven out of his job as CEO of Mozilla. It's was an extraordinary -- it's one thing to sort of crack back and make somebody apologize. They threw him over the side. And then Condi Rice was appointed to the web company, Drop Box. There was an Internet campaign to drive her off the board of directors because she somehow was associated with government surveillance. So the net has gotten bigger and more bizarre. And the question is, why is that happening?
GIGOT: And at Brandeis, which was founded after World War II in the name of liberal tolerance and speech, now saying that somebody who wants to speak, it violates their core values of free speech.
JASON RILEY, POLITICAL DIARY EDITOR: Right. Right. Also with Condi Rice and Hirsi Ali, there is also a racial element to this.
GIGOT: Really? How so?
RILEY: These are two independent-thinking black women. And the left cannot abide that. They're race traitors. Hirsi Ali has aligned --
RILEY: -- herself with neoconservatives and their opposition to radical Islam. Condi Rice is a conservative, a Republican, served in the Bush administration. They're not acceptable in polite liberal company.
GIGOT: So they're particular targets? Does that make them particular targets?
RILEY: Oh, yes. Yes, I believe so. I believe that -- and we see this with -- their fair game for these personal attacks that you see.
I almost wish that Condi Rice and Charles Murray, however, pushed back, Paul, you know, at the mob. And that's essentially what you have. The left has been controlling these universities for the better part of a half century. And when they get away with these tactics to that extent, I think it only encourages them. And they're going it to try them on other campuses.
GIGOT: But shouldn't we put the onus on college presidents, Dan, I mean, for standing up? They're the ones, number one, who issue the invitations, first of all.
GIGOT: OK. So then they renege on the invitations. Shouldn't they be called out on that? And then why can't they stand up and say, know what, we're just going to have this speaker. I'm sorry.
HENNINGER: Well, I think -- I argue that the reason they're not -- they have been complicit in this for years. No question about it. But now I think they've given up. Because there was a case last year involving a Title IX violation of the University of Montana, which --
GIGOT: Anti discrimination --
HENNINGER: Anti discrimination.
GIGOT: -- in education, Title IX.
HENNINGER: And by and large, today involves sexual violence on campuses.
And they signed an agreement with Department of Justice and the Department of Education, very unusual for both of them.
GIGOT: This is the University of Montana.
HENNINGER: University of Montana signed. And they agreed to a very detailed, lengthy set of principles that they would have to conform to.
They would have to hire something called an equity consultant. There are such things. The equity consultant would be on campus through the year, monitoring their compliance. They would have to collect data.
Now, this was a firestorm inside the university community. Every college in this country knows about that Montana agreement. And what it means is, the sort of things Jason is talking about has the force and authority of the federal government behind it. By and large, the Justice Department is siding with the leftists, who are complaining about a broad range of grievances on campus.
GIGOT: And is this has had what effect across the entire academic establishment?
HENNINGER: Well, the effect is that the presidents won't push back against the craziest things on their campuses.
GIGOT: And so if --
HENNINGER: Because they risk Title IX fund figure they lose.
GIGOT: And that would --
HENNINGER: Their liability is significant.
GIGOT: And that would include student loans.
HENNINGER: That would include student loans.
GIGOT: And they recently released a list of 55 colleges and universities who are under investigation for their Title IX enforcement processes. And these are some of the biggest names in academia, Princeton, for example.
HENNINGER: Yeah, but this was -- well, these were for violations of the sexual violence side of Title IX.
HENNINGER: Catholic University, Carnegie Melon, Harvard Law School. And it's not clear exactly what their injuries are. It's simply they are under investigation. They haven't been cited for anything specific.
GIGOT: The problem here in part is due process. Because the -- what the schools are being asked to do is implement enforcement regimes that deny, for example, explicitly, the ability of accused students to answer the accuser face-to-face. In some cases, even their lawyers are not allowed into the proceedings.
HENNINGER: Yeah. It's the due process of the queen of hearts, sentence first, verdict afterwards. It really is. And they're dumbing down the idea of due process. And I think because you've got justice behind it, universities are going to go along with this for a long time.
GIGOT: OK. Very, very dangerous.
When we come back, Tea Party candidates taking a hit in some Republican primaries this week. But is the movement fading, or is the GOP establishment just getting smarter?
GIGOT: Some signs of trouble for the Tea Party, whose candidates took a beating in Tuesday's primaries. The biggest loss, perhaps, came in North Carolina, where state house speaker and GOP candidate, Thom Tillis, defeated Tea Party favorite, Greg Brannan, by more than 18 percentage points, despite an eleventh-hour push for Brannan from Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. Nationally, a Gallup poll released this week put support for the Tea Party among Republicans at just 41 percent, down from a high of 61 percent in 2010.
We're back with Dan Henninger and Jason Riley. And Wall Street Journal assistant editorial page editor, James Freeman, also joins us.
Jason, what's happening here, this year, the Tea Party challengers in these primaries aren't fairing as well?
RILEY: I guess reports the GOP establishment's death have been greatly exaggerated, Paul.
GIGOT: It's not because everybody has suddenly fallen back in love with them.
RILEY: No. I think it's partly they're a victim of their own success.
They have moved --
GIGOT: The Tea Party?
RILEY: -- the Republican Party to the right. And I think these candidates, the Tea Party candidates, it's tougher for them to distinguish themselves from the establishment.
In the case of Thom Tillis, you're talking about a house speaker in North Carolina, took on the teachers' unions and tenure reform, cut taxes, raised the cap on charter schools. It's hard to get to this guy's right without being really out there, and therefore probably unacceptable to people statewide.
GIGOT: It also seems, James, that sometimes the Tea Party groups, the Senate Conservatives' Fund, that provides money for them, Freedom Works, picked some bad candidates.
JAMES FREEMAN, ASSISTANT EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR: Yeah.
GIGOT: I mean, Matt Bevin in Kentucky, for example, challenging Mitch McConnell for the Senate race, he attacked McConnell for supporting TARP and the bank bailout. Turns out, in private life, he was supporting the TARP bailout.
FREEMAN: Right. I think this goes to the positive impact the Tea Party has had in moving the Republican Party to the right, where the people who -- in Washington, who have sort of grabbed on to the Tea Party mantle and are trying to use it politically are taking on targets now that are not liberals. They're not moderates. Mitch McConnell is not a liberal. John Boehner beat back the Tea Party challenge. He's the establishment. He's the speaker of the House. But he is not the reason that ObamaCare exists.
He is not the obstacle the conservatives are for.
GIGOT: Are you guys saying here that this distinction between the establishment and the Tea Party is in some ways artificial?
HENNINGER: I think it is.
GIGOT: That the liberals -- the left, particularly the liberal media, loves to say, ah-ha, civil war in the Republican Party. You seem to be saying it's not that broad a gulf.
HENNINGER: I think the idea of an establishment is very, very vague. At times, it almost seems as though anybody elected to Congress before 2010.
And that would include someone like Paul Ryan, who, by my lights, could hardly be called an establishment sellout. He spent his entire five years fighting Barack Obama.
GIGOT: And challenging Tom DeLay when they were -- when they were in the majority in 2005 on the budget.
HENNINGER: So I think the Republican Party has to get a little bit clear about exactly what its opposition is. And more often than not, simply seemed it is other Republicans in Congress, which creates a circular firing squad.
RILEY: I think this is also a very bad night for Rand Paul.
GIGOT: Yeah. How so?
RILEY: Because he once again showed poor political judgment in backing an unvetted, undisciplined candidate. And he has --
GIGOT: In Greg Brannan?
RILEY: In Greg Brannan in North Carolina. And Kay Hagan, the incumbent Democrat there, is extremely vulnerable. And I think the GOP in that state wants to be throwing everything at her right now. If Rand Paul had had his way, I think he would have increased the chances of her holding on.
GIGOT: So why did his endorsement fail, whereas it has succeeded in other places?
RILEY: Again, I think he was backing an undisciplined candidate here, and that candidate was going up you against a conservative in Thom Tillis.
That's the problem.
Rand -- part of the problem here is trying to purify your party when you're in the minority in terms of the Senate and not controlling the White House.
So the timing here is also off. I think the establishment is more focused on putting Republicans in seats right now. And whereas you have another faction here led by the Tea Party who is trying to find purer and purer and purer individuals.
FREEMAN: OK --
GIGOT: It's interesting. The Democrats, Kay Hagan in this case, but previously, they have tried to pick their own opponents.
GIGOT: They wanted to knock out Tillis. So they were -- Democrats were running ads against Tillis to be able to try to make sure that either it was extended to a runoff or they could run against Brannan.
FREEMAN: Yeah, but I think it would be wrong to take away the lesson somehow that it's always the winning move for Republicans to take the more liberal or the more moderate candidate. I mean, when the establishment has chosen candidates -- I think the last few years, Denny Rehberg in Montana; Rick Berg, North Dakota -- so --
GIGOT: They lost.
FREEMAN: They lost.
And were acceptable to the establishment. You go back, in recent presidential history, Mitt Romney, John McCain, these were not the conservative alternatives in those years. So the winning formula is a conservative one for Republicans, and I think in a Thom Tillis, they have a conservative.
GIGOT: It's also a unified party. You can't have the Tea Party in revolt against Republicans, or that would play right into the hands of the Democrats.
HENNINGER: Yeah. Absolutely. I mean, the goal here now is to win back the majority in the Senate in the November elections.
I mean, let's face it. Politics is simple. It's about numbers. Either you have more votes than the other guy or you don't. If you don't, you lose. That was the problem with the government shutdown. And I think that's the basic lesson that has to be learned here. Yes, conservative candidates, but strong conservative candidates who can know politics and can win these elections.
GIGOT: Is there a danger, Jason, that if the Tea Party fades, and these challenges from the outside become less salient, that you could get a lot of these Republican incumbents, saying it's back to business as usual, baby. Spend, spend, spend.
RILEY: There is a chance of that. But there are a number of groups out there, I think, that have established themselves, Freedom Works, Club for Growth, Heritage. They're going to keep Republicans on their toes.
GIGOT: All right.
Thank you all.
When we come back, rewriting the First Amendment. Democrats take a crack at revising the Bill of Rights, believe it or not, in their latest effort to regulate campaign spending.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, D-N.Y.: When the Supreme Court or any of my colleagues say that the Koch brothers' First Amendment rights are being deprived, that they're not being heard, it defies common sense. It defies logic. The ability to be heard is different than the ability to drown out every other point of view using modern technology simply because you have a lot more money.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GIGOT: That was New York's Chuck Schumer at a Rules Committee hearing last week where he announced that the Senate will vote this year on a constitutional amendment allowing Congress and the states to regulate campaign spending. The amendment, written by Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico, is a response to a recent Supreme Court ruling seen by Democrats as injecting a new flow of so-called dark money into politics. And it has the support of at least one former justice, John Paul Stevens.
Wall Street Journal editorial page writer, Collin Levy, joins us with more.
So, Collin, what does Chuck Schumer -- what's his problem with the First Amendment?
COLLIN LEVY, EDITORIAL PAGE WRITER: Yeah. I think that's the question that everyone is asking, Paul. I mean, this was essentially a declaration of war by Schumer and Udall on the Supreme Court. This was them saying, look, the Supreme Court has been finding that the First Amendment protects political speech, and we're not going to allow them to continue to knock down our efforts to regulate that kind of speech. This is incredible. I mean, this really would create an unlimited ability for -- an unlimited authority for Congress to regulate whatever political activism of private citizens.
GIGOT: So it would basically re-define the First Amendment and political speech to say that it does not include money that you spend to try to amplify speech. So the states and the federal government could say, you can speak all you want if you're on a street corner, but if you want to buy advertising or spend somehow to amplify that speech, we're going to regulate that as much as we want.
LEVY: Right. And guess what? I mean, all of this is being done, supposedly, to regulate dark money. Can we use another term for dark money? Dark money is issue advocacy money. OK? So all of the money they're concerned about is the core political kind of speech that the First Amendment was intended to protect.
GIGOT: Well, when you say issue advocacy, when you say issue advocacy, what you mean is that somebody goes on the airwaves, spends money to buy an ad to promote a cause, an issue. It could be gun control, it could be opposition to gun control, it could be environmental rules, right?
LEVY: Right. That's the kind of speech the First Amendment was meant to protect. It wasn't meant to protect speech about recipes or sports teams.
It's political speech, it's there for.
GIGOT: What about the argument, though, that the rich -- Schumer is making that the rich have more power because they have more money, and therefore can amplify that speech to a greater degree?
LEVY: I mean, the rich have more money in many ways, but getting rid of the money in politics is not going to create the kind of equal playing field that they think it will.
GIGOT: Go ahead, Dan.
HENNINGER: One other example, I think, has to be made. The president of the United States, this president, has spent the last five years running around the country raising money, tens of millions of dollars for his own re-election.
GIGOT: Hundreds of millions.
HENNINGER: Hundreds of millions. All presidents do this. In 2012, Senator Schumer talked about drowning out the other side. He used a get- out-the -vote apparatus, social media, outreach, and so forth, that drowned the Romney campaign. Perfectly legal! Perfectly legal. But this is what Senator Schumer is talking about is simply doing something to disadvantage his opponents, like the Koch brothers, so that his side can raise millions to win.
GIGOT: One of the other things they want to do here is be able to regulate companies that spend, or the Koch brothers or others who want to spend on speech. But what about other companies like media companies?
FREEMAN: Yeah, this is --
GIGOT: I mean, do you regulate, do you carve out a loophole for the "New York Times" in this new First Amendment?
FREEMAN: Yes, they would.
I mean, besides that it's just a bad idea to rewrite the Constitution, especially Chuck Schumer stepping in for James Madison, we know he's not going to have his high-minded a goal here.
But the point is that great double standard. If you own a newspaper, if you own a television network, you can spend as much as you want to get your message out. But government will decide who is a licensed journalist, essentially. And if you're a business, if you're a private citizen and you've got something you want to say, you are going to be strictly controlled and regulated and limited and muzzled in terms of what you can spend. So I can't believe it's gotten this far. We were talking about the impact of the Tea Party. Thank god they're out there, reminding people of the brilliance of our founding people.
GIGOT: And also needs 38 states to be ratified.
GIGOT: Two-thirds of each house. So thank heavens for that --
GIGOT: -- James Madison provision as well.
We have to take one more break. When we come back, Hits and Misses of the week.
GIGOT: Time now for Hits and Misses of the week.
Collin, starting with you.
LEVY: Paul, the House voted this week to hold former IRS official, Lois Lerner, in contempt for her failure to testify, her refusal to testify about what she knew about the IRS targeting of conservative groups. Since this scandal broke a year ago, there's been almost nothing but the efforts to make little of it from the administration, from congressional Democrats.
So I'm glad to see that, in some way, at least, someone is being held accountable.
GIGOT: All right, Collin.
RILEY: This is a miss for the Obama administration's response to the schoolgirl kidnappings in Nigeria. This is a strike against the West, a strike against modernity, Paul, and we should be doing more than tweeting about it and sending a team of security experts over there.
Kidnapping girls for the crime of going to school is appalling. These are fanatics. Sooner or later, they'll be coming after America.
HENNINGER: Yeah, I would like to give a preliminary hit to Representative Trey Gowdy, named to head the new house select committee on Benghazi this week. Congressman Gowdy held a press conference in which he directed to the press some very pointed, precise, unanswered questions about Benghazi.
And it suggested to me that if the administration has a problem on Benghazi, it's going to get worse. A skilled congressional prosecutor can be a formidable force, so I would say stay tuned.
GIGOT: Jason, briefly you don't give the administration credit for --
RILEY: It's another example of leading from behind. We should be leading this international effort from the front.
GIGOT: All right.
And remember, if you have your own Hit or Miss, please send it to us at jer@FOXnews.com. And be sure to follow us on Twitter @jeronfnc.
That's it for this week's show. Thanks to my panel and to all of you for watching. I'm Paul Gigot. Hope to see you right here next week.
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