First the liberal elites represented by the Kos himself and PBS anchor Glenn Ifill gleefully pounced on that bone-headed Sarah Palin for a tweet warning conservatives to continue working to win the upcoming election rather than partying “like its 1773.”
Obviously, thought the great big leftwing brains, she must mean 1776. After all, nothing of any significance happened in 1773. (Except the original Boston Tea Party, of course.)
Then, as William Jacobsen describes, liberal America was laughing itself sick over Christine O’Donnell ’s ignorance of the First Amendment’s wall of separation between church and state.
[At] Widener Law School …as soon as O’Donnell questioned whether “separation of church and state” was in the First Amendment, the crowd erupted with gasps of disbelief and mocking laughter.
And if O’Donnell’s imperfect—or perhaps nuanced?—understanding of the First Amendment w[as] so outrageous, how about the inability of Chris Coons, a Yale Law School graduate, to identify the other freedoms protected by the First Amendment, and his misquoting the text of the First Amendment in his challenge to O’Donnell:
“Government shall make no establishment of religion,” Coons responded, reciting from memory the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. (Coons was off slightly: The first amendment actually reads “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”)
Ann Althouse has more on how Coons simply was wrong in his quotation of the First Amendment which led to O’Donnell’s supposed major gaffe about the Establishment Clause, and how the press has taken O’Donnell’s comments out of context:
O’Donnell reacts: “That’s in the First Amendment?” And, in fact, it’s not. The First Amendment doesn’t say “government.” It says “Congress.” And since the discussion is about what local school boards can do, the difference is highly significant.
Also, it isn’t “shall make no establishment of religion.” It’s “shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” There’s a lot one could say about the difference between those 2 phrases, and I won’t belabor it here. Suffice it to say that it was not stupid for O’Donnell to say “That’s in the First Amendment?” — because it’s not. Coons was presenting a version of what’s in the cases interpreting the text, not the text itself.
A literal reading of O’Donnell’s comments reflects that she was correct, but of course, the press and the blogosphere don’t want a literal reading, they want a living, breathing reading which comports with their preconceived notions.
In an age of an increasingly sophisticated public in which alternative information channels, like Fox News, AM talk radio, and the blogosphere exist, it is becoming more and more difficult to succeed in winning debates on the basis of crude sloganeering and oversimplification of complex issues and the leftwing mob winds up looking stupider and stupider when it tries relying on its traditional tactics.
Canadian-born Dahlia Lithwick is Slate’s jurisprudential authority and commentator on Supreme Court decisions. Her response to a recent statement by Christine O’Donnell demonstrates both Lithwick’s lack of regard for Constitutional fidelity and her general unfamiliarity with its text.
It is understandable, I suppose, that someone who grew up in Canada might be a little vague on the fine points of the American Constitution and legal system, but it does seem ironic to say the least that she could graduate from Yale and Stanford Law School and be unacquainted with Marbury vs. Madision.
It is often observed that our establishment media characteristically features a perspective differing radically from the viewpoint of most ordinary Americans. It just might be that the prominent contributions of so many not-genuinely-assimilated foreign-born journalists to the commentary of the American establishment plays a significant role in moving the consensus of the elect away from the American mainstream toward the left.
I have been fascinated by Christine O’Donnell’s constitutional worldview since her debate with her opponent Chris Coons last week. O’Donnell explained that “when I go to Washington, D.C., the litmus test by which I cast my vote for every piece of legislation that comes across my desk will be whether or not it is constitutional.” How weird is that, I thought. Isn’t it a court’s job to determine whether or not something is, in fact, constitutional? And isn’t that sort of provided for in, well, the Constitution?
Conservative author and commentator William F. Buckley (1925-2008) was asked, in 1967, whom he would support in 1968 for U.S. president. Buckley responded with what would late be called the ‘Buckley Rule” for primary voting: “The wisest choice would be the one who would win. No sense running Mona Lisa in a beauty contest. I’d be for the most right, viable candidate who could win. If you could convince me that Barry Goldwater could win, I’d vote for him.”
Yesterday, in reference to the Delaware GOP Senate primary in which Tea Party candidate Christine O’Donnell supported by Sarah Palin defeated moderate Republican Mike Castle supported by Karl Rove, Rush Limbaugh proposed replacing the Buckley Rule with a new rule of his own.
So we have professional Washingtonians now telling us that Mike Castle’s the only option we’ve got. Well, it’s time, ladies and gentlemen, for the Limbaugh Rule to supplant and replace the Buckley Rule, because the Buckley Rule requires clairvoyance. The Buckley Rule requires people who can’t possibly know the outcome of anything in the middle of September to support or not support somebody based on what they think’s going to happen in early November. Christine O’Donnell can’t win, she’s 25 points down. Can’t win? If a constitutional conservative can’t win in this climate coming down from 25 points, we need to find that out, find out where we are. Why not go for it? The stakes dictate it, do they not? Here’s the Limbaugh Rule: In an election year when voters are fed up with liberalism and socialism, when voters are clearly frightened of where the hell the country is headed, vote for the most conservative Republican in the primary, period.
Rush was perfectly right.
In general, it is better to back the conservative candidate and go down to defeat in the general election in an unfavorable year than to try calculation and support a RINO Republican, like John McCain, Arlen Specter, Lincoln Chaffee, Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, and the like, in hope of support on the organization of the Senate and the occasional vote.
In every serious contest during the Bush Administration, confirmation of judges, making tax cuts permanent, Social Security reform, reforming Fannie Mae, RINO Republicans sided with the democrats and foiled GOP policy. If we had not had so many RINOs, George W. Bush might have successfully privatized Social Security and prevented the Housing Bubble from collapsing. There might have been no Panic of 2008 and no democrat control of Congress, no Barack Obama.
We have to win the battle of idea and achieve victory in the national debate. There is no shortcut to conservative success achievable by compromising and taking a certain number of liberal RINO Republicans along for the ride. They will always undermine and betray any possibility of actually accomplishing something with a Republican majority. We need to elect a majority of real Republicans, and if we can’t put a principled and conservative Republican into a legislative seat, we should just need to go back and try again, and do a better job of opposing the incumbent democrat in the next election.