Who here remembers 2 Live Crew? 1990? Tipper Gore? Parental advisory warnings? Ah, those were the days. But today, the object of parental scrutiny is a videogame--Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Politicos have been harping on Rockstar Games' mega-popular series since 2001's GTA 3, but the recent "Hot Coffee" modification for San Andreas--a downloadable program that unlocks hidden, interactive sex scenes in the game--has stirred up the media watchdogs again.

Usually, the small time politicians who go after videogames are just annoying. But last week, Hilary Clinton announced her plan for a federal bill to fine stores for selling "Mature"-rated games like GTA to minors, and requested an FTC investigation of the origins of the Hot Coffee modification. Results were fast: The Entertainment Software Ratings Board re-rated San Andreas (from a "Mature" to an "Adults Only"), causing Target, Wal-Mart, and Best Buy to yank the title.

It almost goes without saying that the politicians here are more interested in their careers than the public good--what does it say when Democratic front-runner Clinton joins forces with conservative shitbag Rick Santorum to take on naughty videogames? Clinton's game restriction bill also poses First Amendment problems. State governments have tried to pass similar restrictions, but all have been struck down as infringements on free speech. In response, some politicians have argued that games aren't a protected form of speech because they're just "simulators" that "don't express ideas" or have "meaning."

But it's impossible to create anything as complex as a modern videogame without meaning--and if San Andreas didn't express ideas, why would people be so offended? The main result of all this commotion will be the sale of a few million extra copies of San Andreas and the politicians' association with yet another failed attempt at undue censorship. Next time you see Santorum endorsing something, Hilary, run the other way as fast as possible.