My Friday column was inspired by a press release for a Center for American Progress event fretting about the Tea Party. They followed that up with another interesting rendition of the U.S. Constitution titled “Tea Party would produce disastrous consequences for every American” (CAP isn’t much for subtlety).
Why, they’ve even come out with a new report about this: “What if the Tea Party Wins? They Have a Plan for the Constitution, and it isn’t Pretty.” The report’s author says, “The Tea Party’s agenda is not simply one of the most radical in generations, it is also the most authoritarian. They do not simply want to eliminate decades of progress; they want to steal away ‘We The People’s’ ability to bring it back.”
According to the press release, “the report explains that it is difficult to count how many essential laws would simply cease to exist if the Tea Party won its battle to reshape our founding document.” But here’s a short list anyway:
• Social Security and Medicare
• Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and other health care programs
• All federal education programs
• All federal antipoverty programs
• Federal disaster relief
• Federal food safety inspections and other food safety programs
• Child labor laws, the minimum wage, overtime, and other labor protections
• Federal civil rights laws
A few questions here, all of which may have been answered by their Friday event rather than in a viewing of Boogie Nights, but I doubt it:
Do you seriously dispute that many of the health and welfare functions of the federal government were widely considered unconstitutional prior to the 1930s?
In the absence of constitutional amendments, what therefore changed to suddenly make them constitutional?
How many politicians, Tea Party or otherwise, actually favor either repealing or having the courts strike down the full list of legislation listed here?
How is a policy that reduces government “authoritarian?”
If limiting what a democratically elected legislature can lawfully enact is “authoritarian,” then isn’t any form of constitutional government by definition authoritarian?
Since that would be an idiosyncratic definition of “authoritarian,” do you actually know what the word means?