Monday, November 19, 2012

Conservative War On Constitution Escalates


RepublicanDirtyTricks.com shared the following link by Joshua Holland at Alternet.org, (http://www.alternet.org/drudge-goes-all-secession-meme-republican-war-constitution-escalates?paging=off) and had this to say about it:

"There is no greater oxymoron in America's political discourse than the “Constitutional conservative.”

"Denying citizens access to affordable health care the hill the sad, desperate, sore losing CONS are going to die on... on the orders of the "American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) – the right-wing corporate front-group – and the Koch-backed libertarian CATO Institute...'Republicans' are pushing an obscure legal theory that they say would render the entire health-care scheme inoperable in states that choose not to enact the exchanges."
"So... rather than follow the law and the will of the People they pretend to represent, Republicans take their marching orders from the Oligarchs who have commanded them to waste America's time with public tantrums and desperate misreading of settled law. Thus, entrenching themselves on the wrong side of history - as usual.

http://www.alternet.org/drudge-goes-all-secession-meme-republican-war-constitution-escalates?paging=off

"In the wake of Barack Obama's decisive victory over Mitt Romney, we are again reminded that there is no greater oxymoron in America's political discourse than the 'Constitutional conservative.'  Nobody has less respect for the federalism enshrined in that document than today's Tea Party Right.

"Matt Drudge – who dignified himself during the race with endless scare-stories warning that African Americans would launch a race war if Obama won – has full embraced what he calls the 'secession movement' (because a bunch of angry Facebook posts and a petition now qualify as a mass movement).

"The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports that in Wisconsin – where Governor Scott Walker appears to have been somewhat chastened by the failed attempt to recall him last year – a group of hard-right law-makers are openly flouting the federal government's authority.

"As Gov. Scott Walker contemplates whether to create a state health care exchange under Obamacare, he will have to contend in the coming legislative session with nine lawmakers who have said they back a bill to arrest any federal officials who try to implement the health care law....
"...Their stance on the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, could cause the most fireworks in the upcoming session. Walker must decide by Friday whether the state will create a health care exchange under the health care law or leave those duties to President Barack Obama's administration.
"Rep. Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield) is one of the nine from Wisconsin who told the Campaign for Liberty he would back legislation to declare Obamacare illegal and allow police to arrest federal officials who take steps to implement it in Wisconsin. He said he believes the health care law is unconstitutional, despite the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that it passes constitutional muster.
"'Just because Obama was re-elected does not mean he's above the constitution,' Kapenga said.
"Kapenga appears to believe he is above the Constitution. Article 3 created the Supreme Court and Section 2 gave the court – and only the court -- the power to litigate disputes between the federal government and the states. Several states sued last year, claiming that Obamacare exceeded the federal government's authority. The Supreme Court considered their arguments and rejected them, ruling that the health-care reforms did pass Constitutional muster. Now we have a group of self-anointed 'Constitutional conservatives' thumbing their noses at the court and ignoring the Constitution's Supremacy and Commerce clauses.

"A number of Republican governors have talked about 'nullifying; the new health-care law, based on a wildly erroneous reading of the 10th Amendment (which reserves powers not given to the federal government for the states). Nullification, like secession, is a concept that we litigated during the Civil War.
"The State of Oklahoma...(has initiated)...a lawsuit challenging...IRS rules and arguing the tax credits are only available for state-run exchanges. Oklahoma's suit has been described as a way for states to 'protect job creators from being subject to large and variable penalties.' If Oklahoma were to prevail in its suit -- a prospect many scholars believe is unlikely -- the individual mandate could still be in place, but the subsidies for low-income residents would disappear, leaving many individuals in a precarious situation.



"This kind of litigation will likely amount to little more than a waste of tax-payer dollars – the chances of this argument surviving judicial scrutiny are slim. But the Supreme Court did give states the ability to opt out of the health-care law's expansion of Medicaid without facing steep penalties. This is where ideology does real damage to real people, as millions of poor people and low-income retirees in deep Red states are at risk of being denied the health-care available to those living elsewhere in the United States.

"We've litigated these issues in the past. Consider this description of the view of government that prevails on the Right today:
"The progressives believe in strong and effective government that would ensure commercial growth and international prestige; the conservatives saw such goals threatening liberty and preferred local control. The conservatives saw a strong national government as a threat to the liberties of Americans, believing its distance from the people and its extended territory only increased the threat. Not surprising, then, was the fact that progressives tended to reside in coastal areas, where commercial growth was high on the agenda.
"But that's not a description of today's ideological debates. It's a paragraph from University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill historian John Semonche's monograph on the issues that divided the delegates to the Grand Convention in Philadelphia in 1787. I replaced 'Federalists' – who favored the Constitution, with a central government with direct authority over the citizens of the states – with 'progressives,' and 'Anti-Federalists' – who opposed the Constitution – with 'conservatives.'

"As Semonche pointed out, 'the opponents of the Constitution were forced on the defensive both in regard to the appellation, Antifederalist, and in regard to the fact that they had no ready alternative to suggest. .. The fact that the Antifederalists lost the battle and the fact that the Constitution quickly became a revered document combined to relegate their cause to the scrap heap of history.”

But they didn't go away. They would rear their heads again in 1861, when secessionists prevailed in the South, and they've returned in the early years of the 21st century, personified by those anti-Constitutionalists on the right who claim their fealty to “constitutional government.”

It's no coincidence that today's Conservatives are yesterday's Federalists.  The description of the Federalist/Conservative dichotomy by Simonche should be prefaced by Jefferson's description:

The Basic Differences Between Parties



"Men by their constitutions are naturally divided into two parties: 1. Those who fear and distrust the people, and wish to draw all powers from them into the hands of the higher classes. 2. Those who identify themselves with the people, have confidence in them, cherish and consider them as the most honest and safe, although not the most wise depositary of the public interests. In every country these two parties exist, and in every one where they are free to think, speak, and write, they will declare themselves. Call them, therefore, Liberals and Serviles, Jacobins and Ultras, Whigs and Tories, Republicans and Federalists, Aristocrats and Democrats, or by whatever name you please, they are the same parties still and pursue the same object. The last one of Aristocrats and Democrats is the true one expressing the essence of all." --Thomas Jefferson to Henry Lee, 1824.

And:

"Both of our political parties, at least the honest portion of them, agree conscientiously in the same object: the public good; but they differ essentially in what they deem the means of promoting that good. One side believes it best done by one composition of the governing powers, the other by a different one. One fears most the ignorance of the people; the other the selfishness of rulers independent of them. Which is right, time and experience will prove. We think that one side of this experiment has been long enough tried and proved not to promote the good of the many, and that the other has not been fairly and sufficiently tried. Our opponents think the reverse. With whichever opinion the body of the nation concurs, that must prevail." --Thomas Jefferson to Abigail Adams, 1804.
 
These differences have not changed, and the "selfishness of rulers" has permeated our history from the days of the Constitution to today.  And only after the intervening centuries we see that the only way to stop these self-appointed rulers is to criminalize their activities.

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