Constitutional Conservatives should sit down this day and write a “thank you” letter to Rep. Anthony Weiner (NY-9th) for proving, once again, that size matters.
Rep. Weiner, through his scandalous, adulterous, perverted, deceptive, and slanderous behavior, dramatized the wisdom of the Constitutional doctrines of enumerated powers and checks and balances more effectively than any think-tank white paper, talk show rant, or polemical essay could do.
Like the prophet Isaiah, walking about naked to foreshadow the coming exile of the Egyptians and the folly of Israel’s trust in her opportunistic ally, Rep. Weiner’s self-disclosure has graphically illustrated the need for smaller, limited government.
However, while Rep. Weiner should become a poster-child for the battle against large, centralized, unaccountable, bureaucratic government, he must not become an isolated exception. He’s not a freak. He’s the norm.
You see, the great risk to the Right in the midst of this sumptuous feast of Schadenfreude is that we would see it merely as Weiner’s problem, or as simply indicative of the moral vacuity of the Democrats or of the Left. It’s much more important than that. Weiner has a handicap that is shared by every lawmaker, and every voter.
Weiner is not an aberration. He typifies Congress, because he is human. And for that reason, we must move rapidly to restrain his ilk from the dangers posed by their restless, reckless, covert humanity … and by ours.
There’s nothing like a Constitutional Convention to convince men of the need to check the power of government, and to strictly limit its scope. When 55 men from 12 states migrated to Philadelphia in the summer of 1787, they came face-to-face with the major problem of governance — how to protect the governed from their governors, and from themselves. How can one craft an energetic national government without trampling the sovereignty of the states or the rights of the people? How does one create an elected legislature that would resist the wild sweep of popular passions — the prime danger of democracy?
The debates (and dinner-table discussions at nearby City Tavern) were vigorous, and reflected not only timeless principles, but also interest-group agendas and personal needs. No angels floated just above the wooden floor of the Assembly Room that summer. These were men — extraordinary, brilliant men in many cases — yet, they were men.
To speak of what “the founders believed,” you have to speak broadly, ideologically, not monolithically. But one thing they knew, to a man, was that they were sinful men. And even those who trusted in their own rectitude, attributed depravity to others. So with each codicil of the Constitution they labored to answer the question: What would weasels do? And then they built a barrier against that tendency.
Today, as we ask “What did Weiner do?”, keep in mind that he, too, is merely a man, susceptible to the temptations to which all flesh may fall prey.