Monday, October 25, 2010

The Constitutional Wisdom of the GOP

One of the big selling points that Tea Party and some Republican candidates use while campaigning is that they will return the country to the constitution. This has always confused me because to my knowledge, the USA and the constitution are still married. I’ve scoured the papers and can’t find any news of a divorce or even a trial separation. Sure, the country has a wandering eye, trying to occasionally get away with something, but the Supreme Court always bring them back together. At the end of the day the country and the constitution are in bed whispering sweet nothings to each other.

So why do Tea Party candidates say they will return the country to the constitution? The answer, as far as I can see, is that they’re full of shit. Tea Partiers are filled with fake righteous indignation and have no idea how to express it without sounding like the racist douche bags they are so they spew out meaningless bullshit to get attention. As a candidate for office if you say you want less taxes and rule by the constitution, who can argue with you? If your opponent tries, the Tea Partiers rise up like the overinflated parade balloons they are and scream “the democrats want higher taxes and to ignore the constitution!” It’s a full proof plan to run for office without having to think or have any actual ideas.

You may ask “How well do the Tea Partiers and like minded republicans know the constitution?” As it turns out, not very well. Last week Christine O’Donnell was debating her opponent for the Delaware Senate seat, Chris Coons, when he stated that the constitution calls for the separation of church and state. O’Donnell responded "Where in the constitution is the separation of church and state?" Coons’ answer: the first amendment.

The FIRST amendment. He went on to quote from the document “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”. O’Donnell responded "You're telling me that's in the first amendment?" This would be hilarious except that this woman is running for congress and has every chance of winning since our country elected George Bush TWICE! Some have argued that O’Donnell was referring to the fact that the words “separation of church and state” do not appear in the constitution. Nice try. Though those exact words do not appear in the constitution itself, Thomas Jefferson said the clause's intention was to erect "a wall of separation between church and state". The meaning has been clear for a very long time.

You could also argue “Who the hell knows the constitution by heart?” Valid point. I sure don’t, but then again, I’m not running for the Senate and haven’t used my knowledge of the constitution as a calling card. As a qualification for running for office O’Donnell talked about a graduate fellowship in constitutional government she received from the Claremont Institute. Sounds impressive, doesn’t it? The Claremont Institute is a conservative think tank and the fellowship dragged on for a harrowing 7 days.

Our little constitutional scholar was also asked in another debate to talk about a recent Supreme Court decision she disagreed with and she couldn’t come up with one. Which brings us to Jon Runyan: Jon is an ex-NFL offensive lineman once voted the dirtiest player in the league. He’s now a republican running for congress in New Jersey. He was asked by his democratic opponent in a debate "Jon, it's a different branch of government, but can you give me an example from the last 10 or 15 years of a Supreme Court decision in which you strongly disagree?" Runyan’s response after a long, long pause?

“Dred Scott.”

Dred Scott, which was decided upon in 1857. I’m sure everyone feels warm and fuzzy that Jon Runyan disagrees with a ruling declaring slavery legal 153 years ago.

This is the constitutional wisdom of the GOP.

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