December 13, 2009
The popular disdain for the Constitution
By Kevin Price
At one of her recent press conferences, Speaker Nancy Pelosi's was asked by a CNS News reporter, "Madam Speaker, where specifically does the Constitution grant Congress the authority to enact an individual health insurance mandate?" the Speaker was clearly agitated by the question and responded, "Are you serious? Are you serious?" The reporter said, "Yes, yes, I am." Without commenting further, Pelosi shook her head in disgust and took a question from another reporter. Later on, the Speaker's press spokesman Nadeam Elshami told CNSNews.com about its question regarding the constitutionality of socialized medicine that "You can put this on the record. That is not a serious question. That is not a serious question."
Like every member of Congress, Pelosi takes this sacred oath: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God." She swears to defend the Constitution, but does not take this question seriously? The arrogance or ignorance is amazing. The question is legitimate, Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution lists the enumerated powers of Congress and there is no provision for health care. Furthermore, the Tenth Amendment makes it explicitly clear that the powers not listed in the Constitution are to be left to the states and the citizens.
For decades government has gone well beyond it Constitutional responsibility and has become more cavalier about the role of government. Essentially our government is on auto-pilot and simply picks up new duties as it deems fit.
I have said often on my radio show that to be for the Constitution is simply not "cool" and you will not be taken serious in Washington. I have had friends — both Democrat and Republican — smugly smile at me and say that arguments about the Constitution are laughable. Discussions about a "strict constructionist" view can only be academic.
I must ask the question, by what standard than are we going to judge government? If not the Constitution, what will be our measure of whether government is serving us properly? It cannot be popular opinion, because the masses can be convinced to believe anything. That is why the Founding Fathers put such safe guards against pure democracy.
This is why I have grown frustrated by the "liberal" versus "conservative" debate. All these two views argue is the pace towards socialism. Liberals ask why we are not fully under government control while conservatives want to argue to slow down the pace. What is there to "conserve" any more? Massive deficits and debts? Taxation out of control? A regulatory system that is hostile to freedom? If we are serious about the Constitution we should drop the conservative label and state we wish to restore the Constitution.
Until we have a serious debate about the Constitution we can only expect our freedoms to further disappear while are political leaders show extreme joy on the left or slight discomfort on the right. The leaders in Washington believe there is nothing government cannot do and they intend to only prove that in the years to come.
Economist Walter Williams recently noted that "in each new session of Congress since 1995, John Shadegg, (R-Ariz.,) has introduced the Enumerated Powers Act, a measure 'To require Congress to specify the source of authority under the United States Constitution for the enactment of laws, and for other purposes.' The highest number of co-sponsors it has ever had in the House of Representatives is 54 and it has never had co-sponsors in the Senate until this year, when 22 senators signed up. The fact that less than 15 percent of the Congress supports such a measure demonstrates the kind of contempt our elected representatives have for the rules of the game — our Constitution."
How has your member of Congress stood on this important first step in restoring Constitutional government? Instead of arguing with politicians on specific policies, let us make them defend their view of the document they swore to defend.
© Kevin Price