Brendan Nyhan is upset with the New York Sun for its less than (classically) liberal view of the “right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” An editorial in the newspaper specifically suggests that protestors at the planned 15 February peace rally in New York City may/can/should be prosecuted as traitors. (Plus, there’s a delicious irony in the final paragraph. Who edited this stuff?)
Ari Fleischer comes to the rescue:
Q: In your statement when you started the briefing, you said you want peace, the administration wants peace. Many in this country and around the world want peace. They’re going to be demonstrating in the next few weeks for peace. Is it wrong for them, or unpatriotic for them not to want war, as well? I mean, you’re saying you want peace, but it looks like you’re pushing toward war.
MR. FLEISCHER: It is emphatically a patriotic act for people to protest on behalf of whatever cause they see fit in our country. And if some differ with the President and call for the use of no force and take to the streets peacefully to protest that, that’s the finest tradition of America. It’s not new. It’s been the way the American people communicate with their government for hundreds of years. We settle our differences in this country through elections and through peaceful protest. And the majority will will prevail. And the President is confident that when he makes his case, if he makes his case as Secretary Powell has made the case, that the American people agree with him about the risks of allowing Saddam Hussein to continue to have the chemical, biological weapons that he has. (emphasis added)
I guess the Sun’s editors will have to wait for regime change in their own country.