Should the Democrats gain control of one or even both chambers of Congress in next month’s elections, their leaders will have a hard time imposing a liberal agenda on America.
If the Republican nightmare becomes reality and Nancy Pelosi ascends to the role of House Speaker in January, she will preside over a razor-thin majority comprised of some Democrats from conservative districts who won’t vote in lock-step with her. Even if she is able to create rock solid discipline within her party, any legislation passed by the House must move to the Senate, where Republicans can gum up the works even if they find themselves with minority status. To become law, any legislation would still have to withstand a presidential veto, and unless President Bush is convicted of having committed, “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors,” he will reside in the White House for another two years.
When they wrote the U.S. Constitution, our country’s founders intentionally designed a system that makes it difficult for broad, sweeping changes to be made based on short-term passions. For more than two centuries, this has helped preserve liberty and foster a remarkable stability that has enabled America to evolve into the most prosperous nation in the world. But liberals know that the Constitution is the biggest obstacle they face to imposing their progressive vision on our country, which is why they have fought for decades to undermine the document. Now, a University of Texas law professor and self-described “strong Democrat” is arguing that we should scrap it altogether.
Sanford Levinson, author of the new book, Our Undemocratic Constitution: Where the Constitution Goes Wrong (and How We the People Can Correct It), wrote in the Los Angeles Times this week that “the Constitution is so far from perfect that it threatens our ability to resolve the daunting problems facing our society.” Because it’s too difficult to amend our founding document under current rules, and even then we can only make small changes, his solution is for a new Constitutional Convention during which the whole document would be fair game.
One can just imagine the circus such an event would create in today’s political environment. Harry Reid on C-Span accusing Republicans of wanting to write a Constitution “of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich,” and Dick Cheney firing back that Democrats want a constitution that will embolden Al Qaeda. CNN running a “Constitutional Crisis” graphic (cue ominous music), while FoxNews holds lively debates: “‘Necessary and Proper’ clause: Keep it or Dump It? We report. You decide.”
Moving beyond the impracticality of such an endeavor, it’s worth examining some of the specific problems Levinson has with the Constitution. One of his major complaints is the existence of the U.S. Senate, which gives disproportionate influence to smaller states to the detriment of more populous states, resulting in the flow of tax dollars to projects such as Alaska’s “bridge to nowhere.” However, the root cause of such a project is not the existence of the Senate, but the prevalence of the ideology of big government that originated with liberals and has recently been adopted by Republicans.
Were the Senate abolished in favor of a system of purely proportional representation, the only thing that would change is that California and New York would have free rein to siphon money away from smaller states to pay for their own pet projects (not to mention impose their views on everything else on smaller states). Under the current system, California and New York can still throw their weight around the House of Representatives, but through the Senate, the smaller states harness the ability to block policies that they find particularly objectionable.
Levinson also faults our system for not having “mechanisms by which leaders who lose the public’s confidence can be removed” (i.e. Bush is still president despite low approval ratings), and he laments that the power to veto legislation allows the president to “become an independent third house of an already cumbersome legislative process.” This “cumbersome process” he says, helps explain “the difficulty — often, the impossibility — of passing innovative legislation and having it signed into law.”p>This is exactly right, and how things should be. As James Q. Wilson wrote in TAS ‘s September issue: br> /p>
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online