Three Major Assaults on the Constitution Since 1973 and This One Is the Worst
Ben Stein
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Look out below. Nancy Pelosi and CNN and the mainstream media just threw the Constitution out the window, and it’s going to make a helluva mess when it hits the ground. It’s actually worse than that: the Constitution is right now on life support guided by Doctor Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

Look at it this way. When the genius Founding Fathers created the Constitution, they went off in a new direction from previous systems.

Clearly the government of the new United States of America was not going to be a monarchy. Nor was it going to be a parliamentary system whereby the legislature could simply dismiss the chief magistrate of the government by a vote in the House of Commons.

Something infinitely more brilliant, more innovative was to be the order of the day: the citizens would vote for super-voters in an electoral college. These people would be apportioned to the states on the basis of many items, but population was clearly one of them.

These electors would then elect the president. This worthy gentleman ( soon it could be a woman, too ) would assume the office of president along with a vice president of the same political party (although parties are not mentioned at all in the founding documents). This person would see that the laws be faithfully executed. He could not be thrown out of office by a simple vote of the parliament as in the Mother Country.

That is, a motion of no confidence could not remove the president. No, to remove the president, the Congress had to vote overwhelmingly by a majority of votes in the lower house (House of Representatives) to “impeach” the president. Then that had to be backed up by a two-thirds vote in the upper body (something like a House of Lords but not hereditary, instead elected).

Crucially, vitally, the impeachment could only be for bribery, treason, and “other crimes and misdemeanors.” It could not be just because the parliament did not like the president’s looks.

Time has passed. Originally voters had to be men of means and white. Thank God that’s been fixed, and now almost anyone can vote. That was the Civil Rights movement. But the Constitution was never changed to say that there needed only to be a lack of confidence in the president as expressed by the legislature to dismiss the chief executive. That would have made the U.S. system the same as the British system. The Constitutional system, which provided for a highly stable president who could only be removed by a legislature confronting truly horrendous misconduct in the White House, is history. We supposedly did not have that and never would. Oops.

But then came the War Between the States and the attempted removal of Andrew Johnson because he had affronted the GOP in Congress, not because of anything truly serious. That was a huge blow at the Constitution. It did not pass by just one vote.

Then came the media/leftists’ attempt to alter the Constitution by impeaching Richard M. Nixon for a series of trivia that infuriated powerful people who had always hated Nixon. RN avoided that by resigning — one of the worst things that’s ever happened to America.

Then, in the late ’90s, the GOP majority in Congress sought revenge by impeaching Bill Clinton for lying about a sexual affair. That went nowhere because the Democrats controlled the U.S. Senate and made sure Clinton could not be impeached and convicted. This was a titanic mistake by the GOP (oral sex is not treason, and politicians lie all the time ), but at least Clinton had done something wrong. He was not just impeached because powerful men and women detested him. He had lied under oath — not to mention making a young girl give him oral sex under the same desk where Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

But now we have a situation in which the leftists are trying to kick out the duly elected president because of some highly dubious allegations about his conversations in which even if Trump did exactly what the leftists said he did, it’s certainly not a “high crime (or) misdemeanor.”

The Left is exactly trying to kick out Trump because they don’t like his looks or his voice or his hair. So now we have a “confidence — no confidence” system just like in Britain. This is exactly what we were trying to avoid and to exceed in quality of governance. But we haven’t. We now have the UK model at work. Dr. McConnell will make sure it doesn’t go through and the baby is not aborted. But we have now had three major assaults on the Constitution since 1973, and this one is the worst.

The Constitution is no joke. To lose it over Nancy Pelosi’s peevish attack on Mr. Trump is terrifying. What’s next? Taking away voting rights from white people in Southern states that seceded 150 years ago? Look out below. The Constitution was always too beautiful to last, a lustrous, glowing pink sunset of the age of enlightenment.

Ben Stein
Ben Stein
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Ben Stein is a writer, actor, economist, and lawyer living in Beverly Hills and Malibu. He writes “Ben Stein’s Diary” for every issue of The American Spectator.
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