Inevitable: Birther heckles reading of Constitution

posted at 2:55 pm on January 6, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Come on, man … or woman, in this case. The reading of the Constitution this afternoon in the new Republican majority proceeded in both a respectful and bipartisan fashion, with members of both parties taking part in the somber recitation of the foundational legal document of the Republic. However, as Greg Hengler captures for Townhall, the predictable happens when Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) gets to Article II, Section I, causing the House to come to a halt:

Give Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID) credit for a quick and forceful response. Birthers will hail this as their “You lie!” moment, but everyone else will just be embarrassed. Right now, Congress needs to apply the Constitution to its own actions, which was the point of this exercise.

But embarrassing protests surrounding the reading today aren’t limited to the peanut gallery at the House. David Cole tries for snark at the Washington Post in his idea of what conservatives want to see in the Constitution:

We, the Real Americans, in order to form a more God-Fearing Union, establish Justice as we see it, DefeatHealth-Care Reform, and Preserve and Protect our Property, our Guns and our Right Not to Pay Taxes, do ordain and establish this Conservative Constitution for the United States of Real America.

Article I. Congress shall have only the powers literally, specifically and expressly granted herein, and no others. That means definitely, without question, absolutely, no regulation of the Health Insurance or Financial Services industries.

The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected not directly by the People, but by other people whom the People have elected to better represent the People.

Any law enacted by Congress and signed by the President may be overturned by the vote of three or more States if they find it burdensome, offensive, annoying or in any way touching on Health Insurance, Property Rights or Guns.

Cole goes on at length in this vein far longer than the joke deserves even if it was funny or trenchant.  Instead, it just makes Cole look like a fool.  Most conservatives actually like what the Constitution says right now, and wish liberals did, too.  If we had to make one addition, it would be an Article VIII that reads:

Everything in this document means exactly what it says, no more and no less.  If future generations want to imbue other meaning and grant more authority than what we have explicitly stated in easily-understood language, please re-read Article V.

But then again, that doesn’t fill three web pages or vent a lot of hostility at conservatives who actually can read and understand documents literally decades old.

Update: Simpson is from Idaho, not Ohio, which I knew but just had a brain fade.  Thanks to Jacob M for the heads-up.


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It’s a good thing this was pursued by many on our side.

It’s paying dividends…for Democrats who want to paint the right as idiots and lunatics.

Good Lt on January 6, 2011 at 2:59 PM

Dems are always the classiest of people.

LincolntheHun on January 6, 2011 at 3:00 PM

It was a break in the annoyance I got from the inerruption of identifying each critter as they read their piece.

OmahaConservative on January 6, 2011 at 3:00 PM

So would that be 1.2 million to read the Constitution allowed now, as it was halted?

upinak on January 6, 2011 at 3:00 PM

What a putz

cmsinaz on January 6, 2011 at 3:03 PM

If we had to make one addition, it would be an Article VIII that reads:

Everything in this document means exactly what it says, no more and no less. If future generations want to imbue other meaning and grant more authority than what we have explicitly stated in easily-understood language, please re-read Article V.

But I think part of the problem with a brief document that includes a general welfare clause, a necessary and proper clause, and a Ninth and 10th Amendment (among other parts which could be construed in different ways) is that it’s not really clear “exactly what it says.”

Proud Rino on January 6, 2011 at 3:05 PM

Until other evidence is presented, I’ll believe the heckler was a liberal plant pretending to be a “birther”.

eforhan on January 6, 2011 at 3:05 PM

People are melting down over this. I thought it wouldn’t be a big deal, but the news is dominated by the simple act of reading the document that forms the foundation of our country out loud.

Mord on January 6, 2011 at 3:05 PM

How much anyone want to bet that Pelosi or one of her ilk planted this loon?

pilamaye on January 6, 2011 at 3:07 PM

David Cole tries for snark at the Washington Post in his idea of what conservatives want to see in the Constitution

two can play that;

We the self-anointed, ruling, liberal elite, in order to establish Socialist Utopia, bind ourselves together with tyrants of the past and present as a means to invalidate truth, justice and liberty across this land.

Article 1. The legislature shall enact laws which demonstrate raw malevolence toward those who seek to thwart our power or detract from our abilities to kill babies, steal money and crush reason or logic from this land.

Article 2. The executive shall be upheld as the Supreme Ruler of the Land, and all power shall be available to him, through him, of him and subjects within the borders of this nation exist only as a result of his benevolence and mercy. Malevolence and thuggery shall be his trade and we, the elite, shall bring his message forth. He shall be chosen, in due time, after a period of training of two score and five years in our finest institutions.

Article 3. The most divine Judiciary will be comprised of those gifted and omniscient individuals whom understand that laws are what you make of them, and apply inequally to whatever social ends you may desire, at the time.

Amendments: to be amended at whim by the benevolent leader, the judiciary or by forceful legislating either with or without the free will of the subjects.

ted c on January 6, 2011 at 3:08 PM

It’s paying dividends…for Democrats who want to paint the right as idiots and lunatics.

Good Lt on January 6, 2011 at 2:59 PM

Apparently not.

Ronnie on January 6, 2011 at 3:08 PM

Right now, Congress needs to apply the Constitution to its own actions, which was the point of this exercise.

Also, I don’t think Congress has ever passed a law that the majority honestly believed was unconstitutional and they were just like, “Eh, whatever, let’s just pass it.”

If they want to read the Constitution aloud, that’s fine, but that’s not going to resolve a single debate as to how to interpret it or how it applies to modern day legislation.

Although it does appear that several members of Congress were unaware of what the Constitution actually says, so at least this exercise is useful in that respect.

Proud Rino on January 6, 2011 at 3:08 PM

Until other evidence is presented, I’ll believe the heckler was a liberal plant pretending to be a “birther”.

eforhan on January 6, 2011 at 3:05 PM

Chuckles Johnson has proclaimed it to be a crazy teabagger.

Knucklehead on January 6, 2011 at 3:10 PM

Until other evidence is presented, I’ll believe the heckler was a liberal plant pretending to be a “birther”.

eforhan on January 6, 2011 at 3:05 PM

HTH

Proud Rino on January 6, 2011 at 3:10 PM

Also, I don’t think Congress has ever passed a law that the majority honestly believed was unconstitutional and they were just like, “Eh, whatever, let’s just pass it.”

Proud Rino on January 6, 2011 at 3:08 PM

Then what’s with all the “It’s old and outdated” crap?

Ronnie on January 6, 2011 at 3:10 PM

Then what’s with all the “It’s old and outdated” crap?

Ronnie on January 6, 2011 at 3:10 PM

Ezra Klein is not a member of Congress.

Proud Rino on January 6, 2011 at 3:11 PM

Proud Rino on January 6, 2011 at 3:05 PM

My belief is that the founders were right in making it unclear and limited. They knew that they couldn’t legislate the future, so instead made it difficult to legislate their present by attempting to limit how intrusive and all-powerful their government could be. They lived under a Monarch, remember(hello carbon regulation via Obama decree). The King’s decree was law, much like it seems nowadays. They tried to set up a system that would make top-down government impossible.

Mord on January 6, 2011 at 3:12 PM

Chuckles Johnson has proclaimed it to be a crazy teabagger.

Knucklehead on January 6, 2011 at 3:10 PM

Because he has so much credibility.

MeatHeadinCA on January 6, 2011 at 3:12 PM

Until other evidence is presented, I’ll believe the heckler was a liberal plant pretending to be a “birther”.

eforhan on January 6, 2011 at 3:05 PM

Have they identified the name of the person who did it?

I bet they won’t.

dforston on January 6, 2011 at 3:12 PM

Well now we know Mr. Cole and the heckler have two things in common.

fourdeucer on January 6, 2011 at 3:12 PM

I admit, before this last couple of years I had no idea there were actually Americans who want to have something else instead of the Constitution.

This a failure of education. Without the Constitution we have only the whims of the majority to rule us. Is that really what they want? I would think not. I would think that people who are in such a complete minority… 20% at last count would be the ones who want to stick as closely to the Constitution as possible.

Do they understand the Pandora’s box that happens if we lose the Constitution?

petunia on January 6, 2011 at 3:14 PM

David Cole tries for snark at the Washington Post in his idea of what conservatives want to see in the Constitution

It’s amusing those who paint an extremist bogeyman based on beliefs which are precisely 180 degrees opposite their own. If they take the exact opposite position of the bogeyman on every issue, what does that say about their own extremism? That is, they are projecting their own extremism onto their opponents. Well, Obama might say “enemies” instead of “opponents”. That makes the “Other” as different from you as possible. Easier to dehumanize.

Paul-Cincy on January 6, 2011 at 3:15 PM

But I think part of the problem with a brief document that includes a general welfare clause, a necessary and proper clause, and a Ninth and 10th Amendment (among other parts which could be construed in different ways) is that it’s not really clear “exactly what it says.”

Proud Rino on January 6, 2011 at 3:05 PM

Try the Federalist Papers and a few other docs.

INC on January 6, 2011 at 3:17 PM

Also, I don’t think Congress has ever passed a law that the majority honestly believed was unconstitutional and they were just like, “Eh, whatever, let’s just pass it.”

What planet do you live on?

I suppose if, by “unconstitutional,” you mean “won’t be upheld by courts,” then you may be correct. But Congress passes laws all the time where the only concern for the constitutional ramifications is how Anthony Kennedy will vote. Heck, W. Bush even signed the campaign finance reform law with the explicit intent that the SCOTUS would find it unconstitutional for him, saving him the political consequences of vetoing it, as it should have been on constitutional grounds.

HitNRun on January 6, 2011 at 3:17 PM

I still say the birther card may be the greatest Democratic weapon on the table. Lets imagine that the birthers are right, and there is a basis to bar Obama from office. Imagine now that the economy doesn’t improve and his numbers begin to drop again. It won’t even be necessary for the Dems to primary him. They just bar him from running for re-election.

DFCtomm on January 6, 2011 at 3:18 PM

My belief is that the founders were right in making it unclear and limited.

Mord on January 6, 2011 at 3:12 PM

Maybe so, but Ed wants an Article VIII saying:

Everything in this document means exactly what it says, no more and no less. If future generations want to imbue other meaning and grant more authority than what we have explicitly stated in easily-understood language, please re-read Article V.

If it’s unclear – and I agree with you that it’s unclear although I’m agnostic as to whether that’s a good thing – then saying that it means “exactly what it says” is an exercise in futility.

Proud Rino on January 6, 2011 at 3:18 PM

Try the Federalist Papers and a few other docs.

INC on January 6, 2011 at 3:17 PM

Interesting. Where did we ratify the Federalist Papers as a binding law?

Proud Rino on January 6, 2011 at 3:19 PM

Ed, Mike Simpson is the Rep for Idaho, not Ohio.

Daft Punk on January 6, 2011 at 3:19 PM

is that it’s not really clear “exactly what it says.”

Proud Rino on January 6, 2011 at 3:05 PM

Clearly we disagree.

Also, I don’t think Congress has ever passed a law that the majority honestly believed was unconstitutional and they were just like, “Eh, whatever, let’s just pass it.”

Proud Rino on January 6, 2011 at 3:08 PM

Are you questioning the sincerity of those against ObamaCare or the numbers of those against it?

Esthier on January 6, 2011 at 3:20 PM

I suppose if, by “unconstitutional,” you mean “won’t be upheld by courts,” then you may be correct.

HitNRun on January 6, 2011 at 3:17 PM

Yes, that’s what I meant, the courts are the final arbiter as to whether something is constitutional or not. Right or wrong, their interpretation of what is constitutional or not is the one that we’re using.

Proud Rino on January 6, 2011 at 3:20 PM

Probably a prop from code pink. After all, they haven’t been getting a lot of attention lately, and feel neglected.

capejasmine on January 6, 2011 at 3:21 PM

Sure hope 0bama has heard about the heckling incident…

OmahaConservative on January 6, 2011 at 3:21 PM

Interesting. Where did we ratify the Federalist Papers as a binding law?

Proud Rino on January 6, 2011 at 3:19 PM

they’re not. In fact, the federalist papers were used as a series of OPEDs, if you will, as a more detailed means to encourage the states to ratify the Constitution. They are reasoned, logical and strong arguments for the rationale underlying the structure and content of the Constitution.

ted c on January 6, 2011 at 3:22 PM

On the Cod Fishery Bill, granting Bounties.

February 7, 1792. (my emphasis)

Mr. MADISON. It is supposed, by some gentlemen, that Congress have authority not only to grant bounties in the sense here used, merely as a commutation for drawback, but even to grant them under a power by virtue of which they may do any thing which they may think conducive to the general welfare! This, sir, in my mind, raises the important and fundamental question, whether the general terms which have been cited are {428} to be considered as a sort of caption, or general description of the specified powers; and as having no further meaning, and giving no further powers, than what is found in that specification, or as an abstract and indefinite delegation of power extending to all cases whatever — to all such, at least, as will admit the application of money — which is giving as much latitude as any government could well desire.

I, sir, have always conceived — I believe those who proposed the Constitution conceived — it is still more fully known, and more material to observe, that those who ratified the Constitution conceived — that this is not an indefinite government, deriving its powers from the general terms prefixed to the specified powers — but a limited government, tied down to the specified powers, which explain and define the general terms.

It is to be recollected that the terms “common defence and general welfare,” as here used, are not novel terms, first introduced into this Constitution. They are terms familiar in their construction, and well known to the people of America. They are repeatedly found in the old Articles of Confederation, where, although they are susceptible of as great a latitude as can be given them by the context here, it was never supposed or pretended that they conveyed any such power as is now assigned to them. On the contrary, it was always considered clear and certain that the old Congress was limited to the enumerated powers, and that the enumeration limited and explained the general terms. I ask the gentlemen themselves, whether it was ever supposed or suspected that the old Congress could give away the money of the states to bounties to encourage agriculture, or for any other purpose they pleased. If such a power had been possessed by that body, it would have been much less impotent, or have borne a very different character from that universally ascribed to it.

The novel idea now annexed to those terms, and never before entertained by the friends or enemies of the government, will have a further consequence, which cannot have been taken into the view of the gentlemen. Their construction would not only give Congress the complete legislative power I have stated, — it would do more; it would supersede all the restrictions understood at present to lie, in their power with respect to a judiciary. It would put it in the power of Congress to establish courts throughout the United States, with cognizance of suits between citizen and citizen, and in all cases whatsoever.

INC on January 6, 2011 at 3:22 PM

Proud Rino, you’re moving the goal posts.

This is what you said:

But I think part of the problem with a brief document that includes a general welfare clause, a necessary and proper clause, and a Ninth and 10th Amendment (among other parts which could be construed in different ways) is that it’s not really clear “exactly what it says.”

Proud Rino on January 6, 2011 at 3:05 PM

INC on January 6, 2011 at 3:23 PM

Team Soros smelling the place up…

Inanemergencydial on January 6, 2011 at 3:25 PM

Mr. Madison cont’d:

…There are consequences, sir, still more extensive, which, as they follow dearly from the doctrine combated, must either be admitted, or the doctrine must be given up. If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare, and are the sole and supreme judges of the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their Own hands; they may a point teachers in every state, county, and parish, and pay them out of their public treasury; they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union; they may assume the provision for the poor; they may undertake the regulation of all roads other than post-roads; in short, every thing, from the highest object of state legislation down to the most minute object of police, would be thrown under the power of Congress; for every object I have mentioned would admit of the application of money, and might be called, if Congress pleased, provisions for the general welfare.

The language held in various discussions of this house is a proof that the doctrine in question was never entertained by this body….

INC on January 6, 2011 at 3:25 PM

Interesting. Where did we ratify the Federalist Papers as a binding law?

Proud Rino on January 6, 2011 at 3:19 PM

Same place we did “separation of church and state.”

Esthier on January 6, 2011 at 3:25 PM

Wasn’t Mr. Madison a smart guy?

In short, sir, without going farther into the subject. Which I should not have here touched at all but for the reasons already mentioned, I venture to declare it as my opinion, that, were the power of Congress to be established in the latitude contended for, it would subvert the very foundations, and transmute the very nature of the limited government established by the people of America; and what inferences might be drawn, or what consequences ensue, from such a step, it is incumbent on us all to consider.

INC on January 6, 2011 at 3:25 PM

If it’s unclear – and I agree with you that it’s unclear although I’m agnostic as to whether that’s a good thing – then saying that it means “exactly what it says” is an exercise in futility.

Well, for starters, it needn’t be a contradiction. For example, when the Constitution says that Congress has the power to To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes, we can agree that this does not mean that Congress can require all citizens to purchase healthcare insurance at levels prescribed by law.

HitNRun on January 6, 2011 at 3:27 PM

It’s paying dividends…for Democrats who want to paint the right as idiots and lunatics.

Good Lt on January 6, 2011 at 2:59 PM

Dividends?

Like the left losing the governorships of Virgina and New Jersey, Ted Kennedy’s seat, and the historic asskicking of Nov. 2?

I’ll take those dividends any day of the week.

Rebar on January 6, 2011 at 3:27 PM

they’re not. In fact, the federalist papers were used as a series of OPEDs, if you will, as a more detailed means to encourage the states to ratify the Constitution.

Yep. They’re designed to answer the concerns of the states that may have opposed them. They had an agenda.

They are reasoned, logical and strong arguments for the rationale underlying the structure and content of the Constitution.

ted c on January 6, 2011 at 3:22 PM

Sure. But we didn’t pass those as law. They’re just the interpretations of Jay, Hamilton, and Madison, and while those men are very important, even Hamilton and Madison disagreed on how to interpret the Constitution, and they definitely weren’t ratified by any of the states or any of the signers of the Constitution itself, so let’s not ascribe “intent” to people who did not affix their signature to someone else’s newspaper article.

Proud Rino on January 6, 2011 at 3:27 PM

Proud Rino on January 6, 2011 at 3:08 PM

I think they should read it every single day. Because it will become more clear the more times it is heard.

Each and every one of them made an oath. They made a sacred oath on their honor.

How does it hurt anything to remind them that the oath they take is to these words. THESE WORDS!

They don’t take a sacred oath to help the helpless, or the poor, or the rich, or the bankers, or the home owners, or the dogs and cats…

Their job is to protect the integrity of this document! That is their first and most important job. They agree they understand and have NO MENTAL RESERVATIONS! None.

Mental reservations would include the belief that the document is outdated! That it can be improved by statue rather than by amendment. That it doesn’t cover everything it should… that there are hidden rights and meanings. All of that is “mental reservation”.

Constituents may elect them, but when they do they are electing them to protect this document! They aren’t electing them to fix anything or do anything more important than protecting the words of this document! In fact this document is paramount, it overules the whims of the people! Unless people convince enough other people to amend the words!

Congress, the President, and our Judiciary all take an oath to these words! Yet, these words are so foreign to most Americans! I beleive many of them lie when they take that oath.

petunia on January 6, 2011 at 3:28 PM

Proud Rino, you’re moving the goal posts.

Responding to all the different points you guys are making is not moving the goal posts.

Proud Rino on January 6, 2011 at 3:28 PM

Well, for starters, it needn’t be a contradiction. For example, when the Constitution says that Congress has the power to To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes, we can agree that this does not mean that Congress can require all citizens to purchase healthcare insurance at levels prescribed by law.

HitNRun on January 6, 2011 at 3:27 PM

No, we can’t.

Proud Rino on January 6, 2011 at 3:29 PM

Right now, Congress needs to apply the Constitution to its own actions, which was the point of this exercise.

Sorry! No can do.

An early push by New Jersey Republican Rep. Scott Garrett to add some “teeth” to the GOP’s new Constitution rule requiring every bill cite its specific constitutional authority failed in a Republican conference meeting Tuesday.

Rae on January 6, 2011 at 3:29 PM

What exactly are you guys talking about?

Anyway, we can hope Joy Behar will find this very heckling to be un-Constitutional :D

MeatHeadinCA on January 6, 2011 at 3:30 PM

INC on January 6, 2011 at 3:22 PM

INC on January 6, 2011 at 3:25 PM

Wasn’t Mr. Madison a smart guy?

INC on January 6, 2011 at 3:25 PM

Yes, and thanks INC

fourdeucer on January 6, 2011 at 3:31 PM

She’s an idiot…but “guests of the House”?

That’s our house, bub. You better not forget that.

MadisonConservative on January 6, 2011 at 3:32 PM

The Federalist Papers were written as an apologetic and explanation of the Constitution prior to its ratification in the hopes that people would understand the words and reasoning.

INC on January 6, 2011 at 3:32 PM

No, we can’t.

Proud Rino on January 6, 2011 at 3:29 PM

Define Commerce.

MeatHeadinCA on January 6, 2011 at 3:33 PM

Yes, that’s what I meant, the courts are the final arbiter as to whether something is constitutional or not. Right or wrong, their interpretation of what is constitutional or not is the one that we’re using.

Perhaps you would best understand our conversation this way, then: we’re trying to brainstorm ways to stop using these people as the final arbiter of whether something is constitutional or not.

No, we can’t.

Then there’s nothing else, really, to discuss. Ballots or bullets, sir.

HitNRun on January 6, 2011 at 3:33 PM

No, we can’t.

Proud Rino on January 6, 2011 at 3:29 PM

If we can’t, then pray tell what can’t Congress require people to buy?

MadisonConservative on January 6, 2011 at 3:33 PM

fourdeucer on January 6, 2011 at 3:31 PM

You’re welcome.

INC on January 6, 2011 at 3:34 PM

Was it Governor Abercrombie?

Fallon on January 6, 2011 at 3:35 PM

Perhaps you would best understand our conversation this way, then: we’re trying to brainstorm ways to stop using these people as the final arbiter of whether something is constitutional or not.

HitNRun on January 6, 2011 at 3:33 PM

Unless you want to say that the courts don’t have the power of judicial review, I’m afraid you’re SOL my friend.

Proud Rino on January 6, 2011 at 3:35 PM

Decorum.

davidk on January 6, 2011 at 3:36 PM

Until other evidence is presented, I’ll believe the heckler was a liberal plant pretending to be a “birther”.

eforhan on January 6, 2011 at 3:05 PM

I’m with you. “Help us, Jesus”? It’s just too perfectly in line with their teabagger/birther caricatures.

Missy on January 6, 2011 at 3:36 PM

Until other evidence is presented, I’ll believe the heckler was a liberal plant pretending to be a “birther”.

eforhan on January 6, 2011 at 3:05 PM

Ditto!!

SouthernGent on January 6, 2011 at 3:37 PM

Have they identified the name of the person who did it?

I bet they won’t.

dforston on January 6, 2011 at 3:12 PM

It was probably Orly Taitz. Had one too many Cape Codders and, well…

JetBoy on January 6, 2011 at 3:38 PM

Interesting. Where did we ratify the Federalist Papers as a binding law?

Proud Rino on January 6, 2011 at 3:19 PM

Same place we did “separation of church and state.”

Esthier on January 6, 2011 at 3:25 PM

SSssnap!.

davidk on January 6, 2011 at 3:38 PM

Dividends?

Like the left losing the governorships of Virgina and New Jersey, Ted Kennedy’s seat, and the historic asskicking of Nov. 2?

I’ll take those dividends any day of the week.

Rebar on January 6, 2011 at 3:27 PM

Don’t forget that there are elections every 2, 4 and 6 years. Just becuase you won one election big doesn’t mean you’ll win the next one big (see 2008 vs. 2010).

And several years of incidents like this compounding into a narrative of “those crazy birther loons in the GOP” – with the aid of a hostile and willing media and even the occasional Democrat activists/plant, of course – will end up sticking.

Good Lt on January 6, 2011 at 3:38 PM

Unless you want to say that the courts don’t have the power of judicial review, I’m afraid you’re SOL my friend.

If you’re saying that the power of manifest language is less than the power of judicial review – not as a dirty cynical practical matter, but of expressed principle – then there is no constitution. Might makes right, and we’re just dawdling before the war, or what would be war if more than 20% of the public agreed with you.

HitNRun on January 6, 2011 at 3:39 PM

Proud Rino on January 6, 2011 at 3:18 PM

The whole point of Ed’s sarcasm is about how different sides of the aisle interpret the Constitution. I hope you realize that Ed’s “ammendment” was snark.

I think the brilliance of the whole document is on full display when we have conversations like this. They left certain clauses, like the ones you first mentioned vague for a good reason. I think that reason was because they knew they couldn’t predict the future. Many people who ratified the constitution lived to see the beginning of the industrial revolution.

How do you legislate the future? That is the question that is dominating political talk these days. I don’t think you can legislate the future. I think that you can only create an environment that promotes free people to come up with ideas on their own, free from the burdens of regulations imposed upon them from an elite in DC (doesn’t that sound like a King’s court?) forcing them to conform with DC ideals of how the world should work. Regulations can and DID come from the individual states. The real problem was that the feds prevent insurance sales across state lines, so only a few carriers are available in all 50 states…..those that happen to be big enough to absorb the losses from states that demand insurance coverage for sex-change operations and other equally frivolous expenditures.

I am not an Anarchist, I just think that the government is not authorized to tell me to buy something.

Mord on January 6, 2011 at 3:41 PM

We, the Real Americans, in order to form a more God-Fearing Union, establish Justice as we see it, DefeatHealth-Care Reform, and Preserve and Protect our Property, our Guns and our Right Not to Pay Taxes, do ordain and establish this Conservative Constitution for the United States of Real America.

I have to say that ahh…..that’s not bad.

NeoKong on January 6, 2011 at 3:42 PM

Rep. Mike Simpson is from Idaho not Ohio as shown. He handled it perfectly.

Kevin in Southern Illinois on January 6, 2011 at 3:44 PM

Well, thank you you stupid birther for proving the NY Times right.

mizflame98 on January 6, 2011 at 3:47 PM

Don’t forget that there are elections every 2, 4 and 6 years. Just becuase you won one election big doesn’t mean you’ll win the next one big (see 2008 vs. 2010).

Good Lt on January 6, 2011 at 3:38 PM

No, see 2006 and 2008. These things go in cycles, and the MSM has always painted us as morons and crazies. Yes, the birther thing gives them more ammo but not enough to lose us an election. Maybe that’d be the case if we started birther bills or something stupid, but not just because someone is yelling in the House.

Esthier on January 6, 2011 at 3:49 PM

I am not an Anarchist, I just think that the government is not authorized to tell me to buy something.

Mord

is the government authorized to tell you to buy a part of the pension benefits for service veterans?

audiculous on January 6, 2011 at 3:52 PM

And several years of incidents like this compounding into a narrative of “those crazy birther loons in the GOP” – with the aid of a hostile and willing media and even the occasional Democrat activists/plant, of course – will end up sticking.

Good Lt on January 6, 2011 at 3:38 PM

And without these incidents, it’s all just one big GOP/media love fest? Dude. Quit worrying about whether the left likes you.

Ronnie on January 6, 2011 at 3:54 PM

is the government authorized to tell you to buy a part of the pension benefits for service veterans?

audiculous on January 6, 2011 at 3:52 PM

Probably not… if so, how/where?

MeatHeadinCA on January 6, 2011 at 3:54 PM

is the government authorized to tell you to buy a part of the pension benefits for service veterans?

audiculous on January 6, 2011 at 3:52 PM

How do you buy a pension benefit?

Ronnie on January 6, 2011 at 3:56 PM

Also, the Founders were far more precise grammarians and far better educated in composition. This is from Mr. Madison, and look at his points regarding the use of a semi-colon!

In the section I quote at the end, he is referring to Article 1, Section 8: Powers of Congress
This phrase from the Constitution: “to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts, and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States,” he states is the general phrase of which, “Nothing is more natural nor common than first to use a general phrase, and then to explain and qualify it by a recital of particulars.” In other words, they explained what it mean by the list that followed!!!!

The Federalist No. 41
Saturday, January 19, 1788

Mr. Madison (my emphasis, words of Constitution in italics):

….They will see, therefore, that in all cases where power is to be conferred, the point first to be decided is, whether such a power be necessary to the public good; as the next will be, in case of an affirmative decision, to guard as effectually as possible against a perversion of the power to the public detriment.

That we may form a correct judgment on this subject, it will be proper to review the several powers conferred on the government of the Union…

Some, who have not denied the necessity of the power of taxation, have grounded a very fierce attack against the Constitution, on the language in which it is defined. It has been urged and echoed, that the power “to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts, and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States,” amounts to an unlimited commission to exercise every power which may be alleged to be necessary for the common defense or general welfare. No stronger proof could be given of the distress under which these writers labor for objections, than their stooping to such a misconstruction.

Had no other enumeration or definition of the powers of the Congress been found in the Constitution, than the general expressions just cited, the authors of the objection might have had some color for it; though it would have been difficult to find a reason for so awkward a form of describing an authority to legislate in all possible cases. A power to destroy the freedom of the press, the trial by jury, or even to regulate the course of descents, or the forms of conveyances, must be very singularly expressed by the terms “to raise money for the general welfare.”

But what color can the objection have, when a specification of the objects alluded to by these general terms immediately follows, and is not even separated by a longer pause than a semicolon? If the different parts of the same instrument ought to be so expounded, as to give meaning to every part which will bear it, shall one part of the same sentence be excluded altogether from a share in the meaning; and shall the more doubtful and indefinite terms be retained in their full extent, and the clear and precise expressions be denied any signification whatsoever? For what purpose could the enumeration of particular powers be inserted, if these and all others were meant to be included in the preceding general power? Nothing is more natural nor common than first to use a general phrase, and then to explain and qualify it by a recital of particulars. But the idea of an enumeration of particulars which neither explain nor qualify the general meaning, and can have no other effect than to confound and mislead, is an absurdity, which, as we are reduced to the dilemma of charging either on the authors of the objection or on the authors of the Constitution, we must take the liberty of supposing, had not its origin with the latter….

INC on January 6, 2011 at 3:58 PM

Article 3. The most divine Judiciary will be comprised of those gifted and omniscient individuals whom understand that laws are what you make of them, and apply inequally to whatever social ends you may desire, at the time. ted c on January 6, 2011 at 3:08 PM

I did not know that former Assc Justice Stevens was around then… Oh wait, maybe he was……

Mark

mailmars on January 6, 2011 at 3:58 PM

is the government authorized to tell you to buy a part of the pension benefits for service veterans?

audiculous on January 6, 2011 at 3:52 PM

Is it authorized to tell us to pay any of their salaries? Or is the expectation that men and women should just volunteer to die for their country and fund their own weapons, food, clothing and shelter by being independently wealthy?

Esthier on January 6, 2011 at 3:59 PM

They probably need to teach reading, writing and arithmetic to Congress as well as have the members read the Constitution.

INC on January 6, 2011 at 3:59 PM

The Federalist Papers were written as an apologetic and explanation of the Constitution prior to its ratification in the hopes that people would understand the words and reasoning. INC on January 6, 2011 at 3:32 PM

Kevin Gutzman’s Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution kinda turned me off on the Federalist Papers.

He pretty much shows them to muddled and contradictory. And he is very conservative. It was not the main feature of the book, but when he addressed the FP he more or less ripped them.

It was disturbing, since I had held them in high regard until then. I still do but not quite as much thanks to him. I’m not gonna debate it here, I don’t have it with me. Read it if you like having your totems toppled.

Akzed on January 6, 2011 at 4:01 PM

As I understand it, Mr. Madison is defining exactly what provide the general welfare means from the Constitution itself. And it certainly doesn’t mean what the Dems think it means!!!!!!!!!!!!!

INC on January 6, 2011 at 4:01 PM

How do you buy a pension benefit?

Ronnie

you buy benefits for people to whom the government gives pensions by paying the taxes that the government levies to finance those benefits.

(or taxes to carry the debt incurred by the bennies)

audiculous on January 6, 2011 at 4:04 PM

I am so upset.

No, wait. No.

Ugly on January 6, 2011 at 4:06 PM

If we had to make one addition, it would be an Article VIII that reads:

Everything in this document means exactly what it says, no more and no less. If future generations want to imbue other meaning and grant more authority than what we have explicitly stated in easily-understood language, please re-read Article V.

But I think part of the problem with a brief document that includes a general welfare clause, a necessary and proper clause, and a Ninth and 10th Amendment (among other parts which could be construed in different ways) is that it’s not really clear “exactly what it says.”

Proud Rino on January 6, 2011 at 3:05 PM

Disingenuous at best. The real problem isn’t disagreement on what the Constitution says, but the people who try to make the Constitution say something else entirely due to some general statement of purpose like “promote the general welfare.”

For instance, it’s quite clear that the only thing the Constitution says about privacy is that we should be free from unlawful search and seizure. But we have those pretending that the Constitution protects abortion, which is pure fantasy. Or that the Constitution, which says nothing about marriage or homosexuality, somehow requires allowing same-sex marriage.

tom on January 6, 2011 at 4:07 PM

Ed… any proof where OBasmgorgasma was born?

No? Thought not.

Ugly on January 6, 2011 at 4:07 PM

Speaking of heckling, Tyler Durden is on a roll:

Congress is refamiliarizing itself with the Constitution to ensure it violates every principle thoroughly.

The idiocy of reading the constitution in Congress is only comparable to reading the Satanic Verses in a mosque in Mecca

Rae on January 6, 2011 at 4:08 PM

is the government authorized to tell you to buy a part of the pension benefits for service veterans?

audiculous on January 6, 2011 at 3:52 PM

I honestly don’t know what you mean. I’m a veteran and I get disability but I paid taxes on my salary while I served. I don’t feel like a hypocrite for receiving benefits for injuries resulting from enemy contact.

If you are objecting to disability benefits paid out from the VA, I suggest you lobby congress to get out of wars instead of blaming the people they send to other countries with the intention to break stuff and kill people. I was proud to serve and Liberate. I was one of the few people that didn’t have to shoot anyone and for that I’m grateful. I would have if needs required but I’m glad I never had to.

If I misunderstood you, I’m sorry.

To answer your question: Do you think that anyone would volunteer to serve in the military if they were cut off once they got injured? Would you rather we had a draft? It wouldn’t matter to me either way, I am a volunteer.

Mord on January 6, 2011 at 4:08 PM

you buy benefits for people to whom the government gives pensions by paying the taxes that the government levies to finance those benefits.

(or taxes to carry the debt incurred by the bennies)

audiculous on January 6, 2011 at 4:04 PM

No, you pay taxes and then the government pays for the pensions. Perhaps indirectly, you are “buying;” however, this is justified via the authority the gov’t has to tax.

MeatHeadinCA on January 6, 2011 at 4:08 PM

It was disturbing, since I had held them in high regard until then. I still do but not quite as much thanks to him. I’m not gonna debate it here, I don’t have it with me. Read it if you like having your totems toppled.

Akzed on January 6, 2011 at 4:01 PM

I still think the Federalist Papers are useful, but they are not always written well.

Nonetheless I think they are useful in terms of understanding the reasons why the Constitution was set up in a particular way or why Hamilton opposed the Bill of Rights.

They don’t have the power of law but understanding why Madison or Hamilton believed certain aspects of the Constitution were important and the reasons can provide guidance and a greater understanding of our history and our government.

Proud Rino on January 6, 2011 at 4:09 PM

And several years of incidents like this compounding into a narrative of “those crazy birther loons in the GOP” – with the aid of a hostile and willing media and even the occasional Democrat activists/plant, of course – will end up sticking.

Good Lt on January 6, 2011 at 3:38 PM

Nonsense – the issue dies in 2012, one way or another.

At least four states are changing their election laws, requiring a long for birth certificate for all presidential and vice presidential candidates, for ballot access. 0bama will either have to produce same, forfeit those electoral votes, or not run.

As much as it might stick in your craw – the “birthers” have won.

Rebar on January 6, 2011 at 4:09 PM

Was it Governor Abercrombie?

Fallon on January 6, 2011 at 3:35 PM

Thread winner.

Del Dolemonte on January 6, 2011 at 4:11 PM

audiculous on January 6, 2011 at 4:04 P

And someone thinks this is covered by the commerce clause?

Ronnie on January 6, 2011 at 4:12 PM

Esthier,

the government is plainly authorized to tax the citizenry and apply the proceeds to those things that the government has voted to do.

Mord thinks that the government may not legally compel him to buy something, and he does have a point that doing so is questionable, but the bigger picture is that the government does have authority to compel purchases by the citizenry.
The funding mechanism here is unusual, but the rest of it is not.

audiculous on January 6, 2011 at 4:14 PM

Money goes into a pension and money goes out. Aside from the costs of running it, I don’t see where there’s any buying going on at all until it hits the recipient.

Ronnie on January 6, 2011 at 4:14 PM

Mord thinks that the government may not legally compel him to buy something, and he does have a point that doing so is questionable, but the bigger picture is that the government does have authority to compel purchases by tax the citizenry.
The funding mechanism here is unusual, but the rest of it is not.

audiculous on January 6, 2011 at 4:14 PM

Just call it a tax. That’s what the gov’t has the ability to do. Then again, no one wants to raise taxes.

MeatHeadinCA on January 6, 2011 at 4:17 PM

Typical Dem-foolery. They’d go to the mat to defend the rights of LAMBLA to spread its vile message but smear conservatives for trying to read the founding document our American system is based on. What are they afraid of? Having to judge the life style choices of child molesters who want to be free to have sex with children regardless of age or not being able to judge the life style choices of citizens free from their dictates? Seems self evident.

chickasaw42 on January 6, 2011 at 4:17 PM

And someone thinks this is covered by the commerce clause?

Ronnie

yeah, a big bunch of lawyers think it is. a whole mess of them serve in Congress and an even biggrt bunch advise the Congress and said that this will float.

A fair amount of Con lawyer professors have written arguments for why it is.

And a couple of federal judges have stated that it is.

I’m not entirely convinced…. but a lot of others are.

audiculous on January 6, 2011 at 4:20 PM

Money goes into a pension and money goes out

Ronnie

when the money that goes in comes from taxes, the taxpayers are footing the cost and doing the buying for everything that goes out.

that’s just the way it is.

audiculous on January 6, 2011 at 4:23 PM

It is a natural human reaction to deride what we fear, so Democrats must really fear the Constitution and those who revere it.

College Prof on January 6, 2011 at 4:30 PM

Ezra Klein is not a member of Congress.

Proud Rino on January 6, 2011 at 3:11 PM

You intentionally don’t discuss the leftist Dem Congresspersons who have openly said exactly the same thing, of course. You’re being intellectually dishonest; you also seem fairly intelligent, so I’ll conclude that you’re doing so intentionally rather than ignorantly.

Midas on January 6, 2011 at 4:31 PM

…but the bigger picture is that the government does have authority to compel purchases by the citizenry.

audiculous on January 6, 2011 at 4:14 PM

Nonsense.

Midas on January 6, 2011 at 4:33 PM

Nonsense.

Midas

you don’t have it believe it, but if you’ve ever worked for a salary or paid someone else’s salary, you’ve lived it.

audiculous on January 6, 2011 at 4:38 PM

the government is plainly authorized to tax the citizenry and apply the proceeds to those things that the government has voted to do.

But that is not what’s happening here. If it were, I would pay a tax to the IRS and the government would apply the proceeds as it sees fit to provide health care.

Instead, to be compliant with the Obamacare mandate, I am required to purchase a health care plan from a private insurance provider and then prove to the IRS each year that I have purchased it.

The only people who will be paying anything directly to the IRS under Obamacare will be the people not in compliance with the mandate. They are paying a penalty tax.

Missy on January 6, 2011 at 4:39 PM

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