Restoring the Lost Constitution just got much easier.
This is an historic moment on our constitutional history. With the change of Senate rules today by a simple majority to [allow a simple majority to] close debate on judicial nominations, a Rubicon has been crossed. Restoring the Lost Constitution has now been made far more feasible, and will make the 2014 & 2016 of enormous importance to our constitutional future.
I’m always amused by the nuclear option debate because it is without a doubt the most spectacular display of Congressional hypocrisy, which is saying a lot. Because whenever the minority party is arguing, it says that this is a very important, indeed a majestic part of our constitution. And as soon as the minority become the majority, like Harry Reid and the Democrats and Obama, all of a sudden it’s terrible instrument of obstruction.
Look, as a matter of the means in which this was done, it was a rather lowdown way. This is a fundamental change of the structure of the rules of the Senate and done on strict party lines, which it should not be. The same way, incidentally, Obamacare, a major reform, on party lines. That should not be. But on the substance of the change, I think the Democrats have stumbled upon the truth as they do every decade or so. If you are not to know who is in power, I think it’s a better idea for the president to have the ability to nominate his nominees, judicial and executive, without having to get a supermajority.
And the other part of it, as a conservative, I am extremely happy that the Democrats are doing this. The prospects are very strong that the Democrats are going to lose the Senate next year and there is an excellent chance of losing the White House. And the Democrats will absolutely rue the day because they not only are going to allow a Republican majority—which will come one day anyway—to get its nominees through, but Chuck Grassley has said that when Republicans come into you power, they’re going to include Supreme Court nominees, and that will be a devastating blow to the liberals on the Court and to the liberals in the country. So I don’t think Democrats will remember this day with any joy in the near future.
NYC voted to go back to the 1970s, back to grafitti, squeegee men, and muggings. Dan Greenfield has some words of congratulation for NYC voters.
Do you miss the old New York City? Remember when subway trains were covered in graffiti, a news hour began with six shootings and everyone who lived in the city had been mugged at least once?
Remember when Times Square had more strip clubs than theaters and when you could afford an apartment in the village because it was a drug infested mess?
Remember when the city and everyone living in it were on the verge of bankruptcy and the only people who had money lived upstate or in a small cluster of Manhattan?
Remember when everything was grimy and had a layer of filth, when people moved to the city because they wanted to slum, when nothing worked and no one cared and the only difference between New York and Chicago was that it had taller buildings?
If you miss that classic New York, there’s good news because Bill de Blasio is bringing it back.
The muggers are coming back. The squeegee men are coming back. The crazy people randomly stabbing you on the subway, the gangs shooting each other over turf, the race rioters marching through neighborhoods and shouting, “Whose streets, our streets”—they’re all coming back.
Because the polls have spoken. And it’s De Blasio time now.
No more fascist cops hassling “innocent” people. Bill de Blasio won’t put up with any of that. De Blasio will put the cops in their place, inside a Dunkin Donuts and away from people. They’ll still get paid. They’re in a union. They just won’t lift a finger to help you because they’ll have more special monitors and civilian complaint review boards on their necks than they can handle.
And next time one of the innocent victims of Stop and Frisk is pounding your face into the sidewalk with one hand while digging through your pockets with the other, wave to the pair of beat cops sitting in the window of the coffee shop. And they’ll wave back without getting up. Because you voted for this. And you’re getting what you deserve.
Detail, Horatio Greenough, George Washington Attired in Roman Toga, 1841, National Museum of American History
Stratfor’s George Friedman thinks seriously about what the founders would have thought about the partisan stalemate in Washington.
The founders needed to bridge the gaps between the need to govern, the fear of tyranny and the uncertainty of the future. Their solution was not in law but in personal virtue. The founders were fascinated by Rome and its notion of governance. Their Senate was both a Roman name and venue for the Roman vision of the statesman, particularly Cincinnatus, who left his farm to serve (not rule) and then returned to it when his service was over. The Romans, at least in the eyes of the founders if not always in reality, did not see government as a profession but rather as a burden and obligation. The founders wanted reluctant rulers.
They also wanted virtuous rulers. Specifically they lauded Roman virtue. It is the virtue that most reasonable men would see as praiseworthy: courage, prudence, kindness to the weak, honoring friendship, resolution with enemies. These were not virtues that were greatly respected by intellectuals, since they knew that life was more complicated than this. But the founders knew that the virtues of common sense ought not be analyzed until they lose their vigor and die. They did not want philosopher-kings; they wanted citizens of simple, clear virtues, who served reluctantly and left gladly, pursued their passions but were blocked by the system from imposing their idiosyncratic vision, pursued the ends of the preamble, and were contained in their occasional bitterness by the checks and balances that would frustrate the personal and ideological ambitions of others.
The Founding Father who best reflects these values is, of course, George Washington. Among the founders, it is he whom we should heed as we ponder the paralysis-by-design of the founders’ system and the current conundrum threatening an American debt default. He understood that the public would be reluctant to repay debt and that the federal government would lack the will to tax the public to pay debt on its behalf. He stressed the importance of redeeming and discharging public debt. He discouraged accruing additional debt and warned against overusing debt.
However, Washington understood there would be instances in which debt had to be incurred. He saw public credit as vital and therefore something that ought to be used sparingly—particularly in the event of war—and then aggressively repaid. This is not a technical argument for those who see debt as a way to manage the economy. It is a moral argument built around the virtue of prudence.
After these excellent observations, though, George reaches a dubious conclusion.
I think the founders would have questioned the prudence of our current debt. They would ask if it were necessary to incur, and how and whether it would be paid back. They would also question whether economic growth driven by debt actually strengthens the nation. In any case, I think there is little doubt they would be appalled by our debt levels, not necessarily because of what it might do to the economy, but because of what it does to the national character. However, because they were moderate men they would not demand an immediate solution. Nor would they ask for a solution that undermines national power.
As for federally mandated health care, I think they would be wary of entrusting such an important service to an entity they feared viscerally. But they wouldn’t have been fanatical in their resistance to it. As much as federally mandated health care would frighten them, I believe fanaticism would have frightened them even more.
The question of a default would have been simple. They would have been disgusted by any failure to pay a debt unless it was simply impossible to do so. They would have regarded self-inflicted default—regardless of the imprudence of the debt, or health care reform or any such subject—as something moderate people do not contemplate, let alone do.
So, by this analysis (which I think is drawn unconsciously from the poisoned well of the establishment media), even though Obamacare and an ever-increasing and unsustainable public debt are both classic examples of the kind of fundamentally destructive perils to the Republic which the framers devised the Constitution specifically to avoid, good men must refrain from fully utilizing the House’s power of the purse to restrain the radicals and the corrupt because refusing to write checks to cover the debts they irresponsibly and uncontrollably pile up would mean the good men were being “immoderate.” Uh, huh!
Sorry, but I think it is appropriate to quote Justice Jackson to Mr. Friedman: “The Constitution is not a suicide pact.” And a one-sided political philosophy which demands that the forces of conservatism, liberty, and fiscal prudence must be moderate and cannot fight totally ruthless opponents who shrink from nothing with all their means simply guarantees that the democrats are always going to win.
When we have one of these policy confrontations, I would say, “Republicans, what would the democrats do?” The answer is: everything and anything necessary to win. In political wars, it is desirable to maintain a standard of behavior. It is desirable to set an example of moderation. But to set any kind of example, to have any impact on the future, to be remembered by history, you actually do have to win. Nobody, long years afterwards, says, they lost, but they were so well-mannered and restrained in their manner of being defeated that we are building them this monument.
We have, in this country, an ongoing political struggle between two parties. The Republican Party is commonly comprised of well-meaning, civic-minded and moderate men, successful businessmen, Rotarians who went on into public service. The democrat party, on the other hand, is full of machine politicians, of ruthless bastards with limitless ambition, of demagogues and crooks. Republicans would like to do politics in the genteel way you play a game of croquet. Democrats are professional, organized, and utterly and totally determined to win every time at any cost. We are doing politics as an obligation and a duty. They are doing politics to make a living. If a typical Republican leaves office, he is happy to go home. If a typical major democrat pol were to leave politics, he’d be in the gutter or in jail. The Republican Party is going to keep losing until its leaders realize that they are really fighting for the survival of the Republic and that they have to fight these people with no holds barred.
Former Colorado State Senate President John Morse (D – Colorado Springs)
Colorado democrats took advantage of the emotional atmosphere occurring in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut shootings to ram through a controversial gun bill requiring background checks for any firearm transfer and limiting the capacity of most magazines to 15 rounds.
The response from residents of the outdoor-loving state was furious. 54 out of 64 Colorado county sheriffs even brought suit to overturn the law, contending that its provisions were too vague and that innocent citizens could inadvertently violate the law by owning magazines readily convertible to larger capacities.
Angry sportsmen and gun owners responded by petitioning for recall elections in the cases of several of the most prominent senatorial supporters of the bill.
Yesterday’s election produced the first successful recalls in Colorado’s history of any elected officials. Colorado Senate President John Morse was ousted and along with him Senator Angela Giron who represented Pueblo.
All this proves once again that gun control in regions outside coastal urban enclaves represents a very effective political third rail for progressive democrats.
Drew in Wisconsin, at Ricochet, has a go at inferring the correct hierarchy of interest groups.
Recent events help illuminate a few things on the left.
The Keystone XL pipeline demonstrates that environmentalists slot in above unions
The Trayvon Martin case shows that it’s blacks over Hispanics.
Reaction to North Carolina’s gay marriage vote last year suggests that Democrats favor gays over blacks.
Women over men is too well-established to even be questioned.
Any examples where gays come in conflict with unions or environmentalists? That would help us figure out who really takes the #1 slot.
I think some of the left’s constituencies just naturally lack opportunities for conflict, but it should be obvious that left’s status hierarchy is founded upon specifically upon ressentiment, the inversion of values by which the loudest whiner and the leper with the most sores gets the top place.
If gays were more reflective, they might start thinking about exactly what their current very high position in the left’s roll call of constituencies says about what lefties really think of them.
This is a true story. It happened exactly as described.
It was around noon on election day, November 6, 2012. I was sitting in McDonalds. A group of old retired men were enthusiastically talking about the election. ...
A couple was waiting in line. They were a typical, mid-forties, white, middle class couple. They were listening to the old guys discussing the election and the state of the union in general.
One of the retired guys said something negative about “Obama-Care” and the middle-class white guy in line turned to him suddenly and said, “Oh yeah, well I’ll have you know that if it wasn’t for Obama’s healthcare plan, I wouldn’t have any health insurance right now.”
This silenced the old guys. He continued, appearing to speak to the room in general, “Obama made it possible for me to cut the cost of my insurance by over 80%, so I voted for him again.”
The entire room was silent. Nobody said a word. Before I knew what I was doing, I heard myself addressing him.
“You actually sound like you’re proud of that”, I said.
“You’re damn right I am,” he replied indignantly.
“In other words, you’re proud of the fact that instead of paying for your health insurance yourself, you and Obama have ganged up on ME and have forced me, at the point of a gun, to pay for part of your health insurance. You’re actually PROUD of the fact that you are mooching off of me and all those people working behind the counter in McDonald’s… that you’re part of a gang that is using the power of the government to FORCE us to pay for your healthcare. Instead of feeling ashamed… instead of bowing your head and cowering in front of all the people you are depending on to pay for your healthcare insurance… instead of meekly thanking them for the sacrifices they are being forced to make in order to benefit YOU… instead, you stand there claiming that you’re PROUD! What do you have to be PROUD of? Are you proud of the fact that you’re unable or unwilling to take care of yourself? Are you proud of the fact that you’re stealing part of their wages for your own personal greed? No… shame is what you should feel. Disgrace… embarassment… and gratitude… along with a strong dose of remorse… because YOU can’t or won’t take care of yourself and so you joined a mob of others who can’t or won’t take care of themselves… and together you’ve figured out how to force US to take care of you. Shame on you.”
Nobody said a word. The guy was stunned and his wife stood there mortified. The room was absolutely silent for a moment, then one of the retired guys started clapping… and within a few seconds, he was joined by another… then by someone across the restaurant… and pretty soon it sounded like the entire restaurant was applauding.
I had delivered my little sermon while still seated at my table. I remained seated and looked down at my meal… angry at myself for having lost my temper and butting in rather than minding my own damn business.
Within a minute or so, the room quieted down again and everyone went about their business, pretending nothing had happenned.
Then I heard the guy quietly say to the McDonald’s counter person, “Can I change my order… I’d like that, to-go please.”
Life in America gets more like living in an Ayn Rand novel every day.
Hale County in west central Alabama and Bamberg County in southern South Carolina are 450 miles apart. Both counties have a population of 16,000 of which around 60% are African American. The median households and per capita incomes are well below their respective state’s median, in Hale nearly $10,000 less. Both were named after confederate officers–Stephen Fowler Hale and Francis Marion Bamberg. And although Hale’s county seat is the self-proclaimed Catfish Capitol, pulling catfish out of the Edisto River in Bamberg County is a favorite past time. These two counties share another unique feature. Amidst a blanket of Republican red both Hale and Bamberg voted primarily Democratic in the 2000, 2004, and again in the 2008 presidential elections. Indeed, Hale and Bamberg belong to a belt of counties cutting through the deep south–Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina–that have voted over 50% Democratic in recent presidential elections. Why? A 100 million year old coastline.
During the Cretaceous, 139-65 million years ago, shallow seas covered much of the southern United States. These tropical waters were productive–giving rise to tiny marine plankton with carbonate skeletons which overtime accumulated into massive chalk formations. The chalk, both alkaline and porous, lead to fertile and well-drained soils in a band, mirroring that ancient coastline and stretching across the now much drier South. This arc of rich and dark soils in Alabama has long been known as the Black Belt. But many, including Booker T. Washington, coopted the term to refer to the entire Southern band. Washington wrote in his 1901 autobiography, Up from Slavery, “The term was first used to designate a part of the country which was distinguished by the color of the soil. The part of the country possessing this thick, dark, and naturally rich soil…”
Cretaceous rock units (139-65 million years old) are shown in shades of green. Older rock units are in gray, younger ones in yellow. From Geology and Election 2000.
Over time this rich soil produced an amazingly productive agricultural region, especially for cotton. In 1859 alone a harvest of over 4,000 cotton bales was not uncommon within the belt. And yet, just tens of miles north or south this harvest was rare. Of course this level of cotton production required extensive labor.
As Washington notes further in his autobiography, “The part of the country possessing this thick, dark, and naturally rich soil was, of course, the part of the South where the slaves were most profitable, and consequently they were taken there in the largest numbers. Later and especially since the war, the term seems to be used wholly in a political sense—that is, to designate the counties where the black people outnumber the white.”
Readers can compare 2012 results using individual state maps at Politico.
James Taranto, in the Wall Street Journal, defines George McGovern’s contribution to American politics.
One might say McGovern reinvented the Democratic Party by putting identity politics at its center—by encouraging members to think of themselves first in terms of sex or age or skin color (or, later, by sexual orientation). E pluribus, multis.
In the 1973 book “Sexual Suicide,” George Gilder speculated that such an approach “would find its reductio ad absurdum in a President who is an exact ethnic and sexual composite of the American demography—some kind of multiracial hermaphrodite from Kansas City.”
The Nation’s David Corn revealed at Mother Jones this “secret video, in which “Romney Tells Millionaire Donors What He REALLY Thinks of Obama Voters.” and in which (supposedly) “When he doesn’t know a camera’s rolling, the GOP candidate shows his disdain for half of America.”
The far left seems to think that the startling revelation that Republicans, including Mitt Romney, look down upon the democrat philosophy of entitlement and government dependency is a terribly effective attack meme. Sure, spongers and looters are going to be offended by being identified as what they are, but they weren’t really going to be voting for Mitt Romney anyway.
Mark Steyn puts Sandra Fluke’s speech to the DNC into perspective, identifying exactly which plimsoll mark Fluke represents as civilization sinks beneath the liberal waves. He also rather amusingly compares her to Lola Montez.
Sandra Fluke… completed her education a few weeks ago – at the age of 31, or Grade 25. Before going to Georgetown, she warmed up with a little light BS in Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies from Cornell. She then studied law at one of the most prestigious institutions in the nation, where tuition costs 50 grand a year. The average starting salary for a Georgetown Law graduate is $160,000 per annum – first job, first paycheck.
So this is America’s best and brightest – or, at any rate, most expensively credentialed. Sandra Fluke has been blessed with a quarter-million dollars of elite education, and, on the evidence of Wednesday night, is entirely incapable of making a coherent argument. She has enjoyed the leisurely decade-long varsity once reserved for the minor sons of Mitteleuropean grand dukes, and she has concluded that the most urgent need facing the Brokest Nation in History is for someone else to pay for the contraception of 30-year-old children. She says the choice facing America is whether to be “a country where we mean it when we talk about personal freedom, or one where that freedom doesn’t apply to our bodies and our voices” – and, even as the words fall leaden from her lips, she doesn’t seem to comprehend that Catholic institutions think their “voices” ought to have freedom, too, or that Obamacare seizes jurisdiction over “our bodies” and has 16,000 new IRS agents ready to fine us for not making arrangements for “our” pancreases and “our” bladders that meet the approval of the commissars. Sexual liberty, even as every other liberty withers, is all that matters: A middle-school girl is free to get an abortion without parental consent, but if she puts a lemonade stand on her lawn she’ll be fined. ...
Any space aliens prowling through the rubble of our civilization and stumbling upon a recording of the convention compatible with Planet Zongo DVD players will surely marvel at the valuable peak airtime allotted to Sandra Fluke. It was weird to see her up there among the governors and senators – as weird as Bavarians thought it was when King Ludwig decided to make his principal adviser Lola Montez, the Irish-born “Spanish dancer” and legendary grande horizontale. I hasten to add I’m not saying Miss Fluke is King Barack’s courtesan. For one thing, it’s a striking feature of the Age of Perfected Liberalism that modern liberals talk about sex 24/7 while simultaneously giving off the persistent whiff that the whole thing’s a bit of a chore. Hence, the need for government subsidy. And, in fairness to Miss Montez, she used sex to argue for liberalized government, whereas Miss Fluke uses liberalism to argue for sexualized government.
But those distinctions aside, like Miss Fluke, Miss Montez briefly wielded an influence entirely disproportionate to her talents. Like Miss Fluke, she was a passionate liberal activist who sought to diminish what she regarded as the malign influence of the Catholic Church. Taking up with Lola cost King Ludwig his throne in the revolutions of 1848. We’ll see in a couple of months whether taking up with Sandra works out for King Barack.