If you have "free speech" - but you can't publish what you say (which will usually take at least a little money) - haven't your First Amendment rights been taken away? What's the point of standing in an empty room "freely speaking"?
Isn't the whole point of "free speech" the freedom to convey a message? What sense does it make to permit someone the message but not the conveyance thereof? It's almost like saying: "You can speak, just not out loud."
If you want to join with others to "freely speak" - convey a message about an incumbent Congressional candidate, for example - the McCain-Feingold law says you can't do that when it matters most: 60 days before an election.
But you can stand in your empty room and "free speech" your brains out about the Congressional incumbent. Thank you, Senators McCain and Feingold!...
But, of course, don't tell that to the "it's money, not speech" types who support McCain-Feingold.
You know you are dealing with a bizarro-world liberal argument when the unstated premise is: money is evil. I've always noticed that liberals think money is evil - unless they're negotiating their own pay. I guess the true liberal view - which they would never admit to themselves - is: "money is evil, provided it's somebody else's money, and they have a lot of it, and they won't give me any." But I digress...
Read Justice Scalia's persuasive dissent regarding the McCain-Feingold law.
And thank goodness there is at least one Presidential candidate out there who is actually pro-First Amendment.
As Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit puts it:
"Why should any American need government permission to express himself?
"What a racket!"
Of course, the First Amendment commentariat is abuzz that Sunny's policy paper on McCain-Feingold and the First Amendment has been pending for some time.