The Patriot Post® · O'Rourke's Coming Constitutional Crisis
While Robert “Beto” O'Rourke is regularly in the news, it’s interesting to hear these particular words from him: “I trust the wisdom of people. And I’m confident — especially after having traveled Texas for two years — people are good, fundamentally, and if given the choice to do the right thing, they will; to do the good thing, they will.”
O'Rourke may or may not be running for president in 2020, but we can be certain that neither his previous comments on the “exhaustion” of the Constitution nor his favored “progressive” policies square with that bit about trusting people to do the right thing. Naturally, conservatives have had a field day criticizing Beto’s notion that the Constitution is an outdated document, but they’re also giving some thought to the state of our government and whether it’s even trying to keep the checks and balances that were designed into it. For example, Congress has repeatedly ceded authority to the president because it’s easier than taking tough votes.
Is congressional oversight really a thing of the past? For the cynic, perhaps so. Even the progressive Left gets it. This passage comes from one of their political bibles, the Indivisible Guide:
Constant reelection pressure means that MoCs [members of Congress] are enormously sensitive to their image in the district or state, and they will work very hard to avoid signs of public dissent or disapproval. What every MoC wants — regardless of party — is for his or her constituents to agree with the following narrative: “My MoC cares about me, shares my values, and is working hard for me.” [Emphasis added.]
Our nation came into being because men with deep foresight and a love of Liberty wanted to live their lives free from tyranny. They carefully set up a government with three co-equal parts in the hope that this would maintain a balance and keep one branch from dominating. But that freedom came with the vital responsibilities of diligence and morality, and as we became ever further removed from the generation that founded our nation, we backslid away from those twin supports. “It’s not my job” practically became the national mantra.
In the case of Congress, it meant figuring out ways not to have to take unpopular votes — and risking electoral defeat — by delegating its authority. Something had to fill the vacuum, and ambitious progressive chief executives have too often been happy to do so, winning elections on the emotional appeal of promising a life of ease to those who didn’t mind ceding just a little bit more of their freedom and fortune in the process.
Perhaps the earliest example of this was President Woodrow Wilson, whose election in 1912 (by a mere plurality of the vote thanks to a Republican Party torn between its own Roosevelt progressives and its Taft conservatives) ushered in a plethora of radical changes in the form and powers of government. In Wilson’s first term, the Constitution was changed to allow for taxation of income and direct election of senators, and the Federal Reserve was formed. Wilson’s second term brought with it Prohibition and women’s suffrage. All those changes, enacted within an eight-year period, permanently altered the direction of the American republic and set the stage for a century of eroded Liberty by way of, among other things, the New Deal, the Great Society, and ObamaCare.
Some might call what Wilson began “fundamental change,” but the problem with its evolution from Wilson to Barack Obama is something we’ve addressed before: “If you believe government has whatever power it desires and is the answer to every problem, as Obama clearly does, you should at least competently run it. Instead, systemic bureaucratic corruption and craven political considerations rule the day.” Career bureaucrats have thus jettisoned the Rule of Law for the rule of men.
Those who — perhaps naively — believed the days of incompetent progressive government were over when Donald Trump rolled into town have certainly been disappointed with his lack of progress in draining the Swamp. Surely many of those Trump believers were also confident the Tea Party would restore the vision of our Founding Fathers based on a single election only to be disappointed by the buck-passing excuse that their House majority only gave them control of one-half of one-third of the government. But that House majority added the Senate four years later and grabbed the White House in 2016.
So, the good people thought, finally, all the pieces are in place for reform that would restore our constitutional republic. But then the goalposts were moved again. The Republicans, we were told, would need 60 votes in the Senate to override Democrat obstructionism.
And then came the 2018 midterms.
Given those grim electoral results, one might wonder whether the people even want a constitutional republic. In the midst of the 2017 ObamaCare battle, writer W. James Antle pointed out an inconvenient truth about modern America: “In practice, the American people want a much bigger federal government than the Constitution currently authorizes. Not long ago, a conservative wag quipped that if a president actually tried to enforce the Constitution’s limits on federal power, he or she would be impeached.”
On Jan. 3, 2019, articles of impeachment against President Trump were introduced in Congress. While it’s claimed that the impeachable offense is obstruction of justice, the reality is that Trump was obstructing the transfer of power to the unelected bureaucrats amassing their fiefdoms and making their favored friends wealthy on the backs of the long-suffering taxpayer. It’s a process that results in a few well-connected “haves” lording it over the many hapless “have-nots.”
If power is ceded to the unelected few, or if differences in philosophy become so great as to be irreconcilable, the last resort becomes violent revolution — and our nation has already tried that, twice. The harder and more necessary responsibility is for good people to demand that their elected representatives return to honoring their oaths of office and abiding by our foundational documents. Nothing short of that will suffice.