Hillary Clinton’s hometown of Chappaqua, in Westchester County, New York is ground zero in the national controversy over AFFH (Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing). Westchester’s County Executive, Robert Astorino, a Republican, has been publicly asking Hillary Clinton whether she thinks her hometown is discriminatory, and whether she agrees with the Obama administration’s efforts to force Chappaqua to build a low-income housing development that it doesn’t want. Last July, Astorino even held a press conference outside of Hillary’s home to press her to speak to the issue.Read the whole thing. As I have said in the past, in my humble opinion, the basic divide in US politics is urban vs. rural, with the ever growing, government services dependent urban areas increasingly dominating the political landscape, over the food and energy producers in the rural areas, with the suburbs the uneasy battlefield in between.
And now it just so happens that the “Federal Monitor” appointed to oversee the settlement of a court case compelling Westchester to “affirmatively further fair housing” has asked a court to muzzle Astorino. The Federal Monitor wants to force Astorino, the man who has led public resistance to Obama’s de facto takeover of local governments, to repudiate his own claims and parrot the administration’s line instead. In effect, they want a court to order Astorino to stop criticizing Obama’s HUD and start advertising HUD’s own views. This is truly Orwellian stuff, a frightening demonstration of how the expansionist regulatory state ultimately chokes off political speech itself.
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The Federal Monitor’s report reaches truly bizarre heights in this regard. It attacks Astorino’s “tone,” as if you can silence someone’s speech because you don’t like their attitude. It’s true that Westchester County is under a consent decree, but in this case the terms of the consent decree are being abused to undermine the most basic rights of free speech. The Federal Monitor’s report sets a terrible precedent, and I believe that in the near future you will see it criticized systematically as a serious violation of freedom of speech.
It will be a new level of tyranny for the Federal government to try to force it's opponents to parrot it's own position, but that seems to be where we are now.