Ed Driscoll

E.J. Dionne Rediscovers the Constitution...

…But only in an attempt to bludgeon it into submission. “It’s time for progressives to reclaim the Constitution,” Dionne writes in the Washington Post, but it’s an entirely disingenuous proposition, making his article a piece with previous recent examples of the left fantasizing about discarding the Constitution.  Or as I wrote in January of last year:

“CBS Runs Segment Called ‘Let’s Give Up On The Constitution,’” Big Journalism reports today (warning, link goes to auto-play Charles Osgood video). They’re simply the latest branch of the Obama-media to drop the mask in recent years. “Let’s Give Up on the Constitution,” blared a headline in the New York Times on December 30th, atop a column written by Louis Seidman, the same man featured in CBS’s segment today, who professes to “teach” Constitutional Law at Georgetown University.

Ten days later, Time-Warner-CNN-HBO spokesman Morton Downey Morgan Jr. sneeringly described the Constitution as “your little book,” when handed a copy by guest Ben Shapiro.

Back in January of 2011, when the GOP took back control of the House, the New York Times ran an earlier assault on the Constitution, leading Power Line’s John Hinderaker to ask, “Are Liberals Coming Out of the Closet on the Constitution?” 

That was around the same time the Washington’s Post’s Young Ezra Klein admitted on MSNBC that in his opinion, because the Constitution was written “more than 100 years ago,” it was all so confusing to understand.

On July 4th 2011, the cover of Time magazine featured a shredded Constitution and a headline that asked, “Does It Still Matter?”

And as Thomas Friedman infamously wrote in the pages of the Times back in September of 2009:

Watching both the health care and climate/energy debates in Congress, it is hard not to draw the following conclusion: There is only one thing worse than one-party autocracy, and that is one-party democracy, which is what we have in America today.

One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. But when it is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have great advantages. That one party can just impose the politically difficult but critically important policies needed to move a society forward in the 21st century.

In February of 2013, Glenn Reynolds was interviewed by Russ Roberts, economics professor at George Mason University. Roberts reiterated some of the arguments by Louis Michael Seidman, the author of the Times article positing the jettisoning of the Constitution. When asked if the left’s argument is that “we already ignore the Constitution; it’s not really much of a binding document,” as Roberts paraphrased Seidman, Glenn responded:

REYNOLDS: Oh, well, then I’m free to do whatever I want!  And actually, that is a damning admission, because what that really says is: If you believe Seidman’s argument; if you believe that we already ignore the Constitution anyway, then in fact, the government rules by sheer naked force, and nothing else. And if that’s what you believe, then all of this talk of revolution suddenly doesn’t seem so crazy, it seems almost mandatory.

ROBERTS: Well, he would say – well, I won’t speak for him, but some would say that, well, there’s a social contract, we’ve all agreed to kind of play by these rules…

REYNOLDS: Oh really?!

ROBERTS: …of electing officials, and…

REYNOLDS: Well, the rules I agreed to electing these officials are the Constitution. I thought we were going to ignore that. That’s my social contract.

It’s tough for “Progressives” to reclaim something they’ve spent the better part of five years openly attempting to jettison. Let’s give the final word to the man whose billboard is atop this post, a man of a few very carefully words, Calvin Coolidge on July 5th, 1926:

One of Coolidge’s greatest speeches was on the occasion of the Declaration’s 150th anniversary (his 54th birthday). Silent about himself, Coolidge praised the Declaration’s words on human equality, natural rights, and consent of the governed. America was the first nation founded on those principles. July 4, 1776, the day when they were formally expressed, “has come to be regarded as one of the greatest days in history” and “an incomparable event in the history of government.”

For Coolidge, these principles spelled security. They were final. “No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions,” he said. To deny the self-evident truths of the Declaration would take America “backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people.”

These principles provided the foundation for all Americans, whatever their policy preferences or partisan alignments. “Amid all the clash of conflicting interests, amid all the welter of partisan politics,” Coolidge said, “every American can turn for solace and consolation to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States with the assurance and confidence that those two great charters of freedom and justice remain firm and unshaken.”

Coolidge’s speech was made when the first serious attempts by “Progressives” to turn back the clock on the Constitution were made by America’s original Liberal Fascist, Woodrow Wilson, was still within the memory of Americans who suffered under his excesses during World War I.

As Wilson attempted a century ago, E.J. Dionne, Young Ezra Klein, Piers Morgan, and Louis Michael Seidman — along with their man in the White House and his Attorney General — are doing everything they can to similarly cast America into the abyss of nihilism as well.

Update: At Power Line, Steve Hayward deconstructs “Dionne Again, Naturally:”

Unfortunately I don’t have time for a complete fisking of Dionne’s article just at the moment (busy day starting . . . now), but I’ll just bring your attention to its biggest howler.  (You’ll want to put down your coffee first and spare the risk to your keyboard.)  Dionne quotes Joseph R. Fishkin and William E. Forbath of the University of Texas School of Law:

“Extreme concentrations of economic and political power undermine equal opportunity and equal citizenship,” they write. “In this way, oligarchy is incompatible with, and a threat to, the American constitutional scheme.”

Let’s see: where’s the greatest concentration of economic and political power these days?  Yes, that’s right—the Washington Beltway.  It’s sucking wealth and power from every other corner of the country.  Dionne and his pals are just fine with that.  It makes him an oligarch of sorts.  And that’s exactly the problem.

Which dovetails perfectly with Bill Whittle’s latest Afterburner, a visit to “Obamadelphia, DC, the New U.S. Capital:”

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