In a desperate bid to censor press coverage, Vice Chair Christine Butler, de-facto leader of the Broward Republican Executive Committee, has proposed Draconian rules for next week’s debates for BREC candidates. As Red Broward previously reported, Butler and her patron worry negative reviews of her performances at club meetings are hurting her chances to become the official chairman of the BREC. On Saturday, Butler personally emailed to these “rules” to local Republican leaders including Robert Sutton and Tom Truex. Butler’s rules hang the threat of disloyalty claims and RPOF sanctions over anyone who dares to question, poke fun at or accurately report the missteps of Butler.
Butler says she submitted the rules in the “interest of fairness, openness, civility and imparting information and credentials of each candidate.” Baloney. First, she would ban all straw polls and preference polls “conducted in conjunction with or as a result of the forum.” Heck no, we cannot allow the unwashed masses to provide reviews of her performance. That’s the job of her $5000 worth of shiny mailers!
Butler wants all questions submitted in writing. Each question must be accompanied by the name of the author. If the moderator can’t under the question, the author will be forced to stand up and explain. Questions from non-Republicans will not be accepted. Make sure to bring your official GOP identification papers and be prepared to face public ridicule for daring to question the Butler regime!
But wait, it gets better.
Butler included this innocuous sounding bit about the Republican Party of Florida: ” This forum is being sponsored by Broward Republican Clubs, which are extensions of the BREC and the RPOF, and accordingly, all rules as to member deportment and civility must be observed and maintained, including compliance with the Party Oath and loyalty matters.” So what? Why bring up talk of oath and loyalty matters? Perhaps Butler seeks to stamp violators of her last rule as disloyal Republicans?
Butler’s last rule covering “recordings and photographs” is a doozy. It is amazing Butler, a lawyer, even wrote it down. All lawyers take Constitution Law classes which emphasize ideas like “freedom of the press”, “prior restraint” and “chilling effect.” Guess Christine was absent that day. We will send you a blue book, Christine.
First, Butler demands anyone recording the debate “must agree to supply all candidates a complete copy of every such recording delivered to them within 24 hours of the end of the event.” What, no “pretty please”? Butlers says such recordings “shall be provided to the candidates without cost and free of copyright restrictions.”
Our “battle hardened” vice chair gets even tougher. She declares her rules “shall apply to the Press and bloggers as well.” Even if any self-respecting reporter and/or blogger agreed to handing their product over, they would not be allowed to comment on the event. Making fun of Dear Leader’s lackluster performances is a big no-no. Butler announces, “no photographs or recordings will be edited, out cropped, digitally altered or taken out of context and subsequently published in any media outlet, for the purpose or use of denigrating or displaying a candidate in a mocking or derisive manner.” If the Press doesn’t agree to follow her orders they will be “denied recording privileges.”
So, in Christine Butler’s BREC-world, there is no freedom of the press, satire is not allowed and those speaking truth to power will be publicly shamed and branded as disloyal. Who helped you write these rules? The ghost of Hugo Chavez? Stacy Ritter? Sharon Day?
Butler’s rules are clearly intended to have a “chilling effect” on anyone daring to criticize her. Period. It’s doubtful Tom Truex, a lawyer, a blogger and a judicial applicant, would agree to rules that fly in the face of the First Amendment.
Butler clearly doesn’t know the people she wants to lead. They’re not troublemakers. They’re civil and will politely listen without shouting you down.