With respect to the First Amendment, almost everyone across the political spectrum is a hypocrite to some degree. We can all think of cases when we have wanted an ironclad and expansive interpretation of it to protect behavior we approve of and a narrow and exclusive reading to restrict behavior we disapprove of. But those who treat the Constitution as an inerrant text seem to have more problems than others. Money is speech, according to their view, and unlimited campaign contributions are an unfettered right for which our forefathers threw out the British tyrants. Flag burning, on the other hand, is not free expression, because they don’t like it. (There is an additional irony here: The flag is a secular symbol, so to refer to burning the flag as a “desecration,” as flag amendment proponents habitually do, applies sacred language to a secular symbol, reflecting the sort of idol worship that the Bible explicitly forbids.) When opponents of a Republican administration dare to make statements critical of government policy in times of war, the faithful will accuse them of “giving aid and comfort to the enemy.” But when the governor of a southern state talks about secession from the United States in response to a federal government policy he doesn’t like, there is no mention of treason.
-Mike Lofgren, The Party is Over, pp.47-48
Mike Lofgren spent 28 years working as a Republican U.S. Congressional aide on Capitol Hill, working for John Kasich among others. He has an insider’s view, has witnessed the growing dysfunction of our government first-hand, and does a wonderful job of using critical thinking skills in his book to show the conflict between political rhetoric and reality.