America’s Constitutional Awakening

If there is anything good to say about Democrat control of the White House, Senate and House of Representatives, it’s that their extraordinarily brazen, heavy-handed acts have aroused a level of constitutional interest among the American people that has been dormant for far too long. Part of this heightened interest is seen in the strength of the tea party movement around the nation. Another is the angry reception that many congressmen received at their district town hall meetings. Yet another is seen by the exchanges on the nation’s most popular radio talk shows such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin and others. Then there’s the rising popularity of conservative/libertarian television shows such as Glenn Beck, John Stossel and Fox News.

While the odds-on favorite is that the Republicans will do well in the fall elections, Americans who want constitutional government should not see Republican control as a solution to what our founders would have called “a long train of abuses and usurpations.” Solutions to our nation’s problems require correct diagnostics and answers to questions like: Why did 2008 presidential and congressional candidates spend over $5 billion campaigning for office? Why did special interests pay Washington lobbyists over $3 billion that same year?

What are reasons why corporations, unions and other interest groups fork over these billions of dollars to lobbyists and into the campaign coffers of politicians?

One might say that these groups are simply extraordinarily civic-minded Americans who have a deep and abiding interest in elected officials living up to their oath of office to uphold and defend the U.S. Constitution. Another response is these politicians, and the people who spend billions of dollars on them, just love participating in the political process. If you believe either of these explanations, you’re probably a candidate for some medicine, a straitjacket and a padded cell.

A far better explanation for the billions going to the campaign coffers of Washington politicians and lobbyists lies in the awesome government power and control over business, property, employment and other areas of our lives.

Having such power, Washington politicians are in the position to grant favors and commit acts that if committed by a private person would land him in jail.

Here’s one among thousands of examples: Incandescent light bulbs are far more convenient and less expensive than compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL) that General Electric now produces. So how can General Electric sell its costly CFLs? They know that Congress has the power to outlaw incandescent light bulbs. General Electric was the prominent lobbyist for outlawing incandescent light bulbs and in 2008 had a $20 million lobbying budget. Also, it should come as no surprise that General Electric is a contributor to global warmers who help convince Congress that incandescent bulbs were destroying the planet.

The greater Congress’ ability to grant favors and take one American’s earnings to give to another American, the greater the value of influencing congressional decision-making. There’s no better influence than money. The generic favor sought is to get Congress, under one ruse or another, to grant a privilege or right to one group of Americans that will be denied another group of Americans.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi covering up for a corrupt Ways and Means Committee Chairman, Charles Rangel, said that while his behavior “was a violation of the rules of the House. It was not something that jeopardized our country in any way.” Pelosi is right in minimizing Rangel’s corruption. It pales in comparison, in terms of harm to our nation, to the legalized corruption that’s a part of Washington’s daily dealing.

Hopefully, our nation’s constitutional re-awakening will begin to deliver us from the precipice. There is no constitutional authority for two-thirds to three-quarters of what Congress does. Our constitution’s father, James Madison, explained, “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government, are few and defined … (to be) exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce.”

  • poptoy

    gOD ABOVE WILL SHOW THEM WHERE THEY WRINKLED THE CONSTITUTION WITH THE KENYAN AND HIS CHICAGO BUNCH AT THE LEAD. TO HELL WITH THEM.

  • davarino

    Tell me where the next TEA PARTY convention will be and I will bring as many people with me as possible. We need to get this snow ball rolling, and then roll it right over these kings and queens.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/BS61 BS61

      Look up where your local party has at taxdayteaparty.com, or start your own if there isn't one! They are doing a lot of things locally in my area. :)

  • jrad

    Through Devine intervention, our Founding Father's' created a Republic, with a warning: only if we can keep it (a Republic). I fear, we lost it with the vote on March 21, 2010. We had a good run as a Rebublic. Without a quick awakening and Devine intervention, this relegated democracy will go the way of histories democracies.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/The_Inquisitor The_Inquisitor

    "Having such power, Washington politicians are in the position to grant favors and commit acts that if committed by a private person would land him in jail."

    The government should not do anything that is immoral if done by a private citizen.

  • Tom Caldwell

    There will not be any Constitutional awakening until people like Walter Williams quit promoting democracy (a form of collectivism, damned by the Founding Fathers) and start promoting the system they invented, "a doctrine and system of government in which the governing powers are limited by rules of enforceable law and in which the concentration of powers are prevented by a system of various checks and balances, to protect the rights of the individual." That is the definition of Constitutionalism. It is the opposite of democracy and all other forms of collectivism.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Poppakap Poppakap

      Sorry Tommyboy, WW never says anything about advancing "democracy" in this article or others that I have read written by him. To the contrary, he is explicitly supportive about the US Constitution's granting limited powers to federal gummint and knows well the difference between a democracy and a republic. If anything, Dr. Williams is libertarian/originalist in his views about governance viz a viz the US Constitution.

      While I agree with your defining democracy as something abhorred by our founders, your criticism of WW is unfounded.

  • gpcase

    Democracy means majority rule. If a majority wishes to protect individual rights and remain free, in theory this would not meet the definition of collectivism where all power is centralized. Yet history shows that majorities, not limited by custom, contract or constitution, tend to expropriate the wealth of the minority and may turn to neighboring lands to loot. Yet a "democratic republic" as the U.S. once was represents the consent of the governed but living within the constraints of a limited government. You could have a theocratic republic and be collectivist.
    The point is this: if any leg of the stool is compromised (individual rights, democratic elections, limited governmental powers, a sound currency, and citizenry thus educated, the entire system becomes unstable. It started with government-controlled schools followed by a fiat currency. If we just fix part of the problem, future generations could find themselves in the same mess.

    • USMCSniper

      The USA is a constitutional republic not a democracy or a slight of hand definition democratic republic. But it is worse.

      When asked the question if the Constitution is the supreme law of the land? only 28% of public high school students answered correctly.

      In addition, over 75% were unable to identify the first president of the United States as George Washington, with 10% believing it was either George W. Bush or Barack Obama.

      Around 75% were also unable to identify the name of the first ten amendments to the Constitution, with small percentages answer “The New Deal” and “The Ten Commandments”.

      Alarmingly, just 14% were able to correctly state that the author of the Declaration of Independence was Thomas Jefferson. While 34% said they didn’t know, 7% thought that Barack Obama wrote it and 2% frighteningly believed that it had been drawn up by Michael Jackson.

      11% of the students thought that the two major political parties in the U.S. were the Republicans and the Communists. Hmmm… maybe they are as stupid as we thought?

      • Tom

        I have long suspected that numbers such as these are proof that teens like to horse around with their elders. The numbers were almost as bad 30 years ago, and a majority of us can still identify constitutional transgressions when we see them. Yes, things can be a lot better, but a domestic political Doomsday is probably still far off. Now, on the other hand, that iranian uranium…

    • Randy

      There were only 13 colonies when the constitution was written. I say lets do away with the electorial voting system and go by the popular vote from now on. To heck with letting someone else say where my vote goes.

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/Poppakap Poppakap

        Randy,

        I sympathize with the sentiment you express, but your viewpoint is naive. The electoral college was created in an attempt to ensure minority rights, and to protect rural America from being dictated to by large urban centers. Only two times in US history have the results of the electoral college been counter to the popular vote. In both cases, the popular vote was exceeding close both numerically and statistically.

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/BS61 BS61

        I'd say that we should redo the way district lines are drawn – most of these long term representatives have their districts carved out and are guaranteed a win!

  • gpcase

    The Electoral College was and remains a check against large states manipulating elections. Because each state's electoral college vote is limited to the number of federal officeholders each state sends to Washington, the potential damage done by artificially inflating the popular vote with phantom voters is limited. California for example gets, if memory serves, 52 and no more. If the Electoral College system was repealed by amendment and Democratic officials in California magically produced 50 million votes for Obama but 1 million votes for his opponent, the popular vote would change the nature of our elections for the worse.

    Voter fraud and intimidation would become widespread and overwhelm the system. Recounts and court challenegs would be widespread and place unelected judges as the final word on whose votes counts. One more Amnesty law passed would place the last nail in the coffin of our republic. Bottom line: be careful of what you wish for!

    • John

      I agree with SOME of what you say, though the bottom line is that we are The United STATES of America and not The United PEOPLE of America. The people of each state vote for the electors who promise to vote for a specific individual when the electoral college gathers to vote. The people of this country are so poorly educated about the history of the US and do not understand the way things work.

  • beckncall

    It's about time, Just hope it's not too little too late. I KNEW what he was, I live in Illinois..but you couldn't tell people, they wanted change, and brother did they WE get that!

  • Joe Robinson

    Re: in the 1st paragraph:
    “Yet another is seen by the exchanges on the nation’s most popular radio talk shows such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin and others.”

    Why don’t you include Michael Savage by actually saying “Michael Savage”? He’s been in the top 3 most popular conservative radio hosts for years…maybe he’s 4th now (?) but I always find it curious, insulting and even cowardly that he gets labeled in the “and others”.

  • Len Powder

    The Constitution is the only thing that can restrain the Left from pursuing their agenda to commit genocide on our society and values. Without it they will continue to expand the oppression without which they cannot succeed. They cannot impose their will through representative government, but only through despotism. They have know this for many decades and it is for this reason that they consider the electorate irrelevant and impotent. They cannot eradicate the values upon which this country was founded so they will simply follow the program of movements that have seized power without any regard for the desires and will of the people. Autocrats and despots see the people as their subjects and as enablers that can help realize their quest for power and domination. If constitutional restraints disappear the only force than can resist their attainment of absolute power will be the people, who will have to resort to more than ballots to preserve their liberties and prerogatives.

  • toto

    The current system of electing the president ensures that the candidates do not reach out to all of the states. Presidential candidates concentrate their attention on a handful of closely divided "battleground" states. In 2008, candidates concentrated over two-thirds of their campaign events and ad money in just six states, and 98% in just 15 states. Over half (57%) of the events were in just four states (Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania and Virginia). In 2004, candidates concentrated over two-thirds of their money and campaign visits in five states; over 80% in nine states; and over 99% of their money in 16 states, and candidates concentrated over two-thirds of their money and campaign visits in five states and over 99% of their money in 16 states.
    Two-thirds of the states and people have been merely spectators to the presidential elections.

    Candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or worry about the voter concerns in states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind. The reason for this is the state-by-state winner-take-all rule enacted by 48 states, under which all of a state's electoral votes are awarded to the candidate who gets the most votes in each separate state.

    Another shortcoming of the current system is that a candidate can win the Presidency without winning the most popular votes nationwide. This has occurred in one of every 14 presidential elections.

    In the past six decades, there have been six presidential elections in which a shift of a relatively small number of votes in one or two states would have elected (and, of course, in 2000, did elect) a presidential candidate who lost the popular vote nationwide.

  • toto

    The potential for political fraud and mischief is not uniquely associated with either the current system or a national popular vote. In fact, the current system magnifies the incentive for fraud and mischief in closely divided battleground states because all of a state's electoral votes are awarded to the candidate who receives a bare plurality of the votes in each state.

    Under the current system, the national outcome can be affected by mischief in one of the closely divided battleground states (e.g., by overzealously or selectively purging voter rolls or by placing insufficient or defective voting equipment into the other party's precincts). The accidental use of the butterfly ballot by a Democratic election official in one county in Florida cost Gore an estimated 6,000 votes ― far more than the 537 popular votes that Gore needed to carry Florida and win the White House. However, even an accident involving 6,000 votes would have been a mere footnote if a nationwide count were used (where Gore's margin was 537,179). In the 7,645 statewide elections during the 26-year period from 1980 to 2006, the average change in the 23 statewide recounts was a mere 274 votes.