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Exclusion and Incorporation

Ron Paul pork doesn't calculate. Selective constitutional enforcement. Schumer heat. Why call it Nanny state? Plus more.

8.9.07

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NOW WAIT A MOMENT
Re: Jeffrey Lord's McCain's Conservative Moment:

Jeffrey Lord can't tell the difference between Hillary Clinton and Ron Paul? Well, Jeffrey, why don't you do an experiment. Put the drunken sailor John McCain's voting record up against Ron Paul's. Who exactly has the voted for the most spending? Who is the one voting for government entitlement programs? If you do an experiment like that you will find out who exactly these drunken sailors are in Congress. You also will then find out there isn't much difference between Hillary Clinton and John McCain. Both of whom are drunk on socialist spending. No, Ron Paul is not the problem. My dream would be if the other Republicans followed Dr. No's voting habits and just vote no on a lot of this nonsense. You may disagree with Ron Paul's foreign policy, but he is the last person you should blame for out of control government spending and boondoggles
-- Sean Conness
The Colony, Texas

As I recall, John McCain voted against tax cuts. A conservative would loudly eschew earmarks and at the same time, would vote for cuts in the income tax rates. A true conservative would not practice class warfare, calling those cuts: "Tax cuts for the rich." A true conservative would never support McCain-Feingold which promoted censorship and stifled political speech. A true conservative would understand that an immigration bill containing amnesty is not good for the country and does not promote smaller government. Shall I continue? Except for his stance on earmarks, McCain would never be considered a conservative under any circumstance.

I am tired of reading about John McCain. I wish all of you would quit trying to shove him down our throats with pious writing about his tiny flashes of conservatism. Very clearly and often, he showed us who he is: A self-serving gasbag with delusions of grandeur who saw a president in the mirror every morning as he shaved. He did not walk the walk and finally is getting his just rewards with a dose of humility thrown in for good measure!

You need some new candidates about whom to write? Try Duncan Hunter, Mitt Romney (and not his church), Mike Huckabee and Rudy Giuliani -- not necessarily in that order. These are all interesting, vital conservatives who may someday actually lead our great country.

John who?
-- Judy Beumler
Louisville, Kentucky

"Sam Brownback or Ron Paul"

You're kidding, right? If not, get real or buy a clue. Your writers must not pay attention to this thing called the Internet. I'm sure you'll be getting some mail from it regarding this statement.

People are still writing stories about McCain's campaign? I guess it makes some sense, since that is all McCain's campaign will amount to. A story. Mr. "Bomb Bomb Bomb, Bomb Bomb Iran" is finished.
-- Chris Sinnard

The obvious way to fix our politician's addition to spending is to take away the politicians. Term limit all members of Congress!
-- Chris B.
Hackettstown, New Jersey

LONG, HOT SCHUMER
Re: Doug Bandow's Conservative Judges, Liberal Crisis and Quin Hillyer's Gerald Ford, Orator!:

Compare the content and tenets of what Quin Hilyer reports in "Gerald Ford, Orator!" with the first few paragraphs reported in Doug Bandow's "Conservative Judges, Liberal Crisis' and you have to question a lot of things of our ruling elites and corresponding wannabes these days. My, oh my what choices we don't have and boy the political 'leadership' that equates to mediocrity nowadays. Perhaps the reason why we all feel excited when an exceptional individual comes our way who touches us all with extravagant God-given wisdom is that they are just that -- exceptional. I cannot believe a country the size and energy of the USA is unable to make these exceptions the rule. Bring it on!
-- G. Constable
Sydney, Australia

I was in full agreement with Doug Bandow's article, "Conservative Judges, Liberal Crisis," until this paragraph appeared:

The post-Civil War amendments obviously expanded federal authority, but most obviously vis-a-vis the states, and for the purpose, most particularly, of ensuring that the newly freed slaves would be protected in the exercise of their traditional liberties. These amendments were not intended to provide the foundation for the 20th Century welfare/redistributionist/nanny state. Indeed, via the doctrine of "incorporation," that is, the application of the Bill of Rights to the states, backed by contemporaneous evidence indicating that supporters of the provisions desired this result, the post-Civil War amendments applied the Constitution's most explicit limitations on -- authorizations of -- federal power to states as well. [Emphasis added.]

In my opinion, Incorporation Doctrine was the primordial (and perhaps irreversible) heresy of modern day judicial activists. It is based on the notion that the mere words "due process," contained in the 14th Amendment, somehow magically operate to apply certain judicially cherry-picked provisions of the Bill of Rights (all of which were originally intended to apply only against the federal government) against the states. However, the original meaning of the due process clause is that no one should be executed (denied life), imprisoned (denied liberty), or fined (denied property) without being afforded some formal set of procedures that were traditionally recognized as "fair." Advocates of Incorporation Doctrine blew apart this original meaning, concerning a "fair procedure," and started identifying certain "results" or "ends" that state and local governments simply could not pursue (such as regulating speech), no matter how fair the process involved. As such, Incorporation Doctrine is simply a species of "Substantive Due Process," and its descendents include abominable decisions like Griswold v. Connecticut and Roe v. Wade.

I don't know what evidence there is that the framers of the 14th Amendment desired to incorporate portions of the Bill of Rights against the states. In my mind, that is irrelevant. The words the framers actually used ("due process") don't in any way articulate such an intent.
-- C.W. Brownell
Greenville, Wisconsin

"Indeed, via the doctrine of 'incorporation,' that is, the application of the Bill of Rights to the states, backed by contemporaneous evidence indicating that supporters of the provisions desired this result, the post-Civil War amendments applied the Constitution's most explicit limitations on -- authorizations of -- federal power to states as well."

My 12th grade Government teacher told my class the essence of this in 1970. I have never seen it practiced. If you doubt me, try to exercise you 2nd Amendment Rights in New York City or most Liberal run cities. Try to use a cell phone while driving in New York or eat Trans Fats. Use the wrong word referring to someone in the Universe of Liberalism and see what First Amendment Rights you have in many Blue States.

If the enumerated rights aren't enforced, they don't exist.
-- Thom Bateman
Newport News, Virginia

Coincidentally, just a day or so before Chief Justice John Roberts suffered his seizure, Senator Charles Schumer was railing against the conservative cast of the Supreme Court. One of the talk-radio hosts played some clips of Senator Schumer's remarks. I was doing something that involved power tools at the time, but I thought I heard the Senator state that he regretted not taking a stronger opposition to Roberts's appointment, that he wished he'd "twisted a few more arms."

Could somebody check that out. Did the Senator really say that? Would "arm-twisting" be considered a violation of the Geneva Convention of torture? Senator John McCain had his arms "twisted" while in the Hanoi Hilton and still can't comb his own hair. Is that what Senator Schumer was talking about? Or was it another kind of arm-twisting?

You guys at The American Spectator have a lot of connections. Could you look into this, please?
-- Jed Skillman
Winfield, Illinois

Editor's note:
Mr. Skillman's power tools didn't affect his hearing, though the specific target of Schumer's ire in the "twist arms" case was Samuel Alito. Reporting on a speech Sen. Schumer delivered on July 27 to the American Constitution Society convention in Washington, Politico included this:

"Alito shouldn't have been confirmed," Schumer said. "I should have done a better job. My colleagues said we didn't have the votes, but I think we should have twisted more arms and done more."

EXPERIENCE MATTERS
Re: John Tabin's New Recklessness at the New Republic:

While reading Private Beauchamp's allegations, one thing instantly became obvious to me: none of the TNR editors have any military experience. As a former Marine and Soldier, I recognized his article as a series of absolutely impossible lies. Any input from a veteran would have stopped the story before TNR became the latest liberal media outlook to embarrass themselves.

For us who have or still serve, it was a short wait to confirm what we already knew -- Private Beauchamp is a liar and a very poor excuse for a soldier. Such a sad sack duped TNR so easily because they want to believe it so badly.
-- Chris B.
Hackettstown, New Jersey

THAWED ICE
Re: Patrick J. Michaels's Ice Cold Bunk:

I believe man-made global warming is a conspiracy between leftist supporters of Al Gore who desire to keep him relevant and the Democrat leaders who wish to keep him occupied so he won't run for office.
-- Dave Petersen

In the 1970s, scientists warned us all to take immediate steps to prevent a new ice age. Okay, we did that. What's all the hand wringing about?
-- William L. Roughton, Jr.
Fairfax Station, Virginia

MASS KILLINGS?
Re: Hal G.P. Colebatch's Orwell's Bad Republicans:

I agree with Mr. Colebatch that the historic whitewash of the Spanish Republic deserves to be refuted. But Mr Colebatch does his cause a great disservice when he makes the claim that "Probably hundreds of thousands of lay people were killed for observing Christian worship or for trying to shelter priests and nuns."

There is no evidence whatever of such mass killings. The Republican killers hated priests, but they were far more interested in killing landowners, businessmen, police and army officers, and rival leftists than in persecuting ordinary believers. Mr. Colebatch himself quotes from the book he is reviewing favorably: "...executions and murders...in the Republic from 1936 to 1939 the total was 72,344."

Mr. Colebatch also should be very careful about extrapolating counter-factual scenarios. It is by no means certain that had the Republic triumphed, it would have become a Soviet puppet. Several countries actually occupied by Stalin's troops -- Yugoslavia, Romania, Albania, and North Korea -- remained autonomous, even though Communized. The Republic had other powerful factions that the Communists could not easily suppress, at least not for several years. It should be noted that the Spanish Civil War ended with a rebellion by the Republic's army against Communist influence in the government. (Which, ironically, was how the war began.)

Even if Stalin was pulling the strings, it is not likely that the Republic would have opened its borders to German troops in 1940.

Stalin was happy to have Germany entangled with the Western powers. Once Germany seemed likely to win, Stalin became much less interested in doing Germany any favors that he could avoid. Spain could not allow a German attack on Gibraltar without entering the war -- a far more drastic step than Hitler could reasonably ask.

Finally, none of the consequences Mr. Colebatch projects from the loss of Gibraltar are certain, or even likely. British forces in the Middle East would not be cut off; nearly all supplies to the Middle East went around Africa. (After the Luftwaffe deployed to Sicily in early 1941, the central Mediterranean was barred to Allied shipping; Malta was besieged.)

Counter-factuals can be amusing, but they are by no means as easy as Mr. Colebatch thinks.
-- Rich Rostrom

Hal G. P. Colebatch replies:
The former editor of the British Communist Party's newspaper Daily Worker, Douglas Hyde, in the chapter "Working for Defeat" in his autobiography I Believed, is one among many who gives details of how Communist parties internationally were given directions to help the Nazis in World War II until Hitler invaded the Soviet Union in mid-1941. I have done considerable research into Communist, Trotskyite, and other left-wing sabotage of the war effort in Australia during that time and have collected a large archive. We do not of course know exactly what would have happened had there been a Stalinist-Communist Regime in Spain under Moscow control, but it is safe to say that at that crucial period of the war, when the British Empire was fighting alone, and rapidly becoming exhausted and bankrupt, it would have had very serious adverse consequences for the anti-Nazi and anti-Fascist cause. For such a government to allow Germany to attack Gibraltar is not of course an absolute certainty, but it would have been an obvious and I think very likely development. That it did not happen was a result of Franco's active opposition to it.

MADD ABOUT NANNY
Re: Eric Peters's Alcohol Nanny Breathalizers:

It seems that the MADD organization just stubbornly refuses to accept a basic fact of civic life: Just about everybody, except for MADDites, believes it's just fine to drink and then drive.

Yes, MADDmen, that's correct. The legislators of every state (and even the "council" of the District of Columbia) approve of drinking adult beverages, and then driving, so long as one is not drunk -- generally defined as having a blood alcohol level of .08 percent or above. And it's fair to presume that if that many legislators are gung-ho for tippling before driving, then so are most Americans.

If we didn't pretty much all agree on the desirablity, or at least the harmlessness, of having a wee dram before getting behind the wheel, we'd see at least a few jurisdictions here and there enact "one-drop rules," under which every driver caught with more than .00001 percent of Demon Rum in his system would be hustled off to the pokey.

But nobody has done that, and the MADDist nannies of course know it perfectly well. They just don't like it, and hope that their whiny incrementalism eventually will wear us down.

Cheers!
-- Doug Welty
Arlington, Virginia

I am all for labeling the overstuffed, cradle-to-grave leviathan of big government, but I have a personal dislike for the term "nanny state." Can we come up with another descriptive term?
-- Doug NANNEY
Memphis, Tennessee

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