Free Men Bear Arms

Herschel Smith · 15 Dec 2014 · 3 Comments

Mike Vanderboegh: You know the Founders were as suspicious of unrestrained democracy as they were of absolute monarchy. Both can be tyrannical. Both can be deadly. Both are threats to life and liberty and property. This is why they crafted a constitutional republic. The Founders knew that the mob could be manipulated by cynical elites to rob other citizens of their liberty, their property and their lives – cynical elites, wealthy men, powerful men, with unceasing appetites for more and more…… [read more]

When Getting to the Super Bowl is Not Enough: Republicans, Grow Up

BY Glen Tschirgi
2 years, 6 months ago

Hat tip Hot Air.

In an interview with The Daily Caller, Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) expressed profound regrets about the four years during the George W. Bush presidency when Republicans had control of Congress:

“During the Bush administration, they had four years where the Republicans controlled the House, the Senate and the executive branch. We had a great opportunity to do great reform to fix what was wrong with this country. We didn’t do it — that’s where careerism comes in,” Coburn told TheDC.

“Careerism isn’t just a problem for Democrats. It’s a problem for Republicans too. When the number one goal is to make yourself look good at home, rather than fulfill your oath and fix what the country needs to have fixed, you’re actually adding to our downward spiral, and so I think it was a missed opportunity of tremendous proportions that the Republicans didn’t embrace what they said they believed in during those times.”

***

In his new book, “The Debt Bomb: A Bold Plan to Stop Washington from Bankrupting America,” Coburn writes about a phone conservation he had with President Bush.

“The night of my victory in 2004, I received a call from President Bush. After he congratulated me, I said, ‘Mr. President, I’m looking forward to helping you cut spending.’ There was nothing but silence on the other end,” Coburn writes.

“By the end of 2004, Republicans were becoming increasingly agitated about President Bush’s excessive spending. I was determined to follow through on my campaign promise to go after earmarks and wasteful spending even if it meant clashing with my own party.”

Good of Senator Coburn to express these sentiments some eight years later.  Better late than never, I suppose.  But Coburn does not quite capture the essence of those times.   The problem then (as now) is not politicians trying to “look good” to the voters back home.  The problem is much deeper and more parasitic.

The problem, first and foremost, is the overwhelming power that has been invested, over the last 100 years, in the central government in D.C.  Our Founding Fathers could never have imagined the sheer size and scope of the Federal Leviathan today.   If so, it is doubtful that they would have proceeded with the Constitution as written.  This enormous power hopelessly corrupts all but the most invulnerable persons who spend any length of time in the Capitol.   It is not about looking good, Senator Coburn, it is about wielding power and influence that garners great wealth, special treatment, exemption from the laws that apply to the rest of us citizens, incessant flattery from hordes of sycophants and an almost irresistible temptation to hang onto to this power at all costs.

If there is anything like a glimmer of light at the end of this long, dark Debt Tunnel, it may be the election of principled conservatives to Congress who will not cave in to the “careerists” in Congress already infected with the power disease.

The danger is that new Congress Critters may fall into the same psychological trap that many an NFL team has fallen into when they make it to the Super Bowl: Just Happy To Be Here.

It is fine to talk about changing Washington and restoring the Constitution while on the campaign trail and let’s grant that all the talk is sincere and deeply authentic.   Nonetheless, like those hapless NFL teams that struggle against all odds to appear in the championship game only to be trounced by a veteran opponent, it is an open question whether freshmen in 2013 will be awed just to walk the halls of Congress and forget all about playing for keeps.

Obama’s Recess Appointments: Living in a Post-Constitutional Era

BY Glen Tschirgi
2 years, 11 months ago

Hat tip to Powerline and its post concerning the illegal and un-Constitutional recess appointments made by Presidente (as in Banana Republic) Obama, quoting an article by former Judge Michael McConnell:

On January 10, I published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal stating that I could see no plausible legal argument to support President Obama’s recent recess appointments to the Consumer Financial Protection Board and the National Labor Relations Board. I noted that the Administration had not relied on any opinion from the Office of Legal Counsel, and inferred that it must not have obtained such an opinion. http://www.advancingafreesociety.org/2012/01/10/democrats-and-executive-outreach/

Today, January 12, 2012, the Administration released an Office of Legal Counsel opinion, dated January 6, opining that the recess appointments were constitutional. The Opinion concludes that the pro forma sessions of the Senate conducted every three days during the December and January holiday are not sufficiently substantive to interrupt a Senate recess, meaning that the Senate was in recess from December 17 well into January.

I compliment the Administration for releasing the opinion, while still wondering what was their reason was for delay. It is reassuring that in this instance the Administration followed proper legal channels before taking a controversial constitutional position at odds with recent precedent (precedent established in 2007 by Senate Democrats, including then-Senator Obama).

I have not had time to give careful study to the 23-page OLC Opinion, but my preliminary reaction is not to be convinced. The Opinion makes arguments that are not frivolous, but it seems to me the counterarguments are more powerful.

Please read the full article concerning the merits of the OLC Opinion and McConnell’s counter-arguments.   My take on this, however, is that McConnell gives El Presidente too much credit when he concludes that the Administration “followed proper legal channels before taking a controversial constitutional position at odds with recent precedent…”   It is quite clear that this Administration has no compunction whatsoever about hiding documents from Congressional inquiry, lying to Congress, ignoring the Constitution and violating existing law.   Why should they bother to follow “proper legal channels” now?   It is far more likely that the public outrage about the appointments caught El Presidente by surprise and then some DOJ attorney was given a post haste assignment to cobble together a 23 page justification, back dating it for good measure.

More disturbing, however, is the fact that some commenters are pointing to these recess appointments as an indication that Obama is trying to subvert the foundation of America as a nation of laws, not men.

I must point out to the contrary that, sadly, we ceased being a nation of laws quite some time ago, the precise moment being up for an interesting but largely academic debate.   Presidente Obama does not get credit for transforming America into a nation run by fiat, he has merely taken advantage of the many opportunities presented to him by the long erosion of Constitutional limitations.

It does not take, for example, a Ron Paul to point out that when the Commerce Clause can be re-written to mean whatever Congress and the President want it to mean, the Constitution ceases to be an effective brake on power.  When whole privacy rights are invented out of thin air and “penumbras” the Supreme Court ceases to function in its Constitutional role.

We have been living in an era for quite a few generations now that does not take the Constitution seriously.  To those with power and ambition, it is a quaint relic that can be safely ignored or re-engineered.   To those standing in the way of such abuse, the Constitution is an aging, impotent parent that lacks any means of restraining the nefarious acts of its children.   The Tea Party Movement has been a sort of cry of frustration from the younger siblings, an appeal to somehow revitalize the Constitution, but just as a parent, once pushed aside and mocked, cannot return to authority, so, too, the Constitution is beyond recall absent some miraculous Reawakening.

It is tempting to take comfort by imagining a day when a Republican is in the White House and Senate Democrats will be victims of the same, illegal “recess” appointments.  This is illusory.   For one, Republican presidents, by and large, lack the kind of insolence and audacity to make such, obviously illegal appointments.   Call it a weakness or a virtue, either way it won’t happen.   Second, even if a Republican president might take such a step, there is no, real comfort in seeing the country plunge further into the swamp of lawlessness.

In times such as these, the only course is to try to limit the pace of lawlessness while preparing for the consequences sure to come.


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