Patterico's Pontifications


Day Eight of Stengel-gate: Why Was Richard Stengel Presented as an Expert on the Constitution on NPR?

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 9:30 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.  Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]

To give a quick review, on June 23, Richard Stengel wrote a cover story* for Time magazine rife with factual errors.  Eight days ago, I published a piece here outlining thirteen of those errors in that story.  The next day, I published a substantially similar piece at Big Journalism, and by then the list of errors had grown to fourteen.  I said at the time that I considered it a journalistic scandal that such an error-ridden piece appeared at Time magazine as its cover story and ever since I have been crusading to more or less embarrass them into a correction.

Surely they know by now what an embarrassment that article was; some of them probably knew before the article even went to print. This is reaching the point where I think it is safe to say that their reaction—or lack thereof—is becoming as much of a problem as the initial mistake.  It’s one thing to make the mistake in the first place but to leave it uncorrected as word gets around that Time published such inaccurate garbage only deepens the embarrassment.  Time has already harmed its reputation by publishing the piece in the first place; now the only question is whether they can salvage their reputation by admitting finally they made an error.

But truthfully I understand that for the staff at Time, this puts them in an awful position.  He is the Managing Editor, after all.  How do you go to your boss and tell him that he is not only wrong, but incompetently, embarrassingly wrong, on a subject that he claims to be an expert on?  (And if you think that characterization is hyperbole, I suggest you read this piece and decide or yourself.) They do need to confront, but on a human level you can understand why they are hesitant to do so.  He is their boss, after all.

But that raises the question…  what is NPR’s excuse?  Here is a blurp for a show entitled Talk of the Nation that aired on July 4:

In the fierce debates over health care, Libya, debt, gay marriage and other issues, Americans have been getting a lecture on the meaning of the Constitution and the intentions of its authors. Andrea Seabrook speaks with Richard Stengel of Time magazine and Yale law professor Akhil Amar about the political divide over the Constitution and how an 18th-century document applies in a 21st-century world.

(emphasis added.)  Now you might remember Professor Amar from a fisking I gave him a while back and you might even remember that I have a personal reason to despise the man that has little to do with the quality of his legal analysis.  But I am not going to focus on Amar except to say that for all his faults, Amar is a reasonable choice as a liberal Constitutional expert and to note that I really took one for the team in listening the entire show, and his placid, condescending voice.  God, he’s an irritating man.

But as the other expert, we have Richard Stengel. Really, Andrea Seabrook?  You actually read that article, and thought he was an expert?  He told us that the original Constitution contained no limits on federal power, that the Constitution was not law, that the framers of the Fourteenth Amendment intended to end slavery and racial discrimination in the franchise (that as actually the Thirteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, respectively), and none of those statements set off any alarm bells?

And that also raises another question.  Why wasn’t there any conservative voices in that discussion?  You couldn’t find one conservative who could stick up for actually following the constitution as it was written?  Really?

So if you listen to the whole thing (and seriously, dear reader, don’t do that psychological damage to yourself) you get Richard Stengel consulted on issues such as gay marriage:

MICHAEL: I’m a gay person in a committed relationship of 10 years, and although we’ve done all the legal paperwork to make our relationship as legal as possible, we’re traveling to Vermont this summer to become married.

My question is: As I understand Article IV of the Constitution and the 14th Amendment, how possibly could a conservative court uphold the DOMA, as I see it just clearly – despite what anybody feels morally or socially – clearly DOMA is unconstitutional.

SEABROOK: DOMA meaning the Defense of Marriage Act. Let’s turn to you, Richard Stengel. What do you say?

STENGEL: Well, it’s a good question. I don’t know the answer to it, because the court can decide whatever it wants. But I would put your question in the context of what we were talking about in terms of originalism and the limits of originalism, because I think the framers would certainly not really understand the idea of same-sex marriage.

Marriage, of course, is not mentioned in the Constitution, nor is privacy, as Akhil mentioned it. And I do think that we have evolved socially, in terms of different things that we now believe are morally correct and morally true, and we have to – the Constitution has to adapt.

I mean, I would say that the original vision of the framers, as interpreted, is that they did want equity for all Americans and that they wanted, you know, fairness before the law. And you could argue that, you know, if Madison or Washington or Jefferson were alive today, they would be in favor of same-sex marriage.

Now this caller, Michael, knows something of what he is talking about, but Stengel is clearly clueless.  That is right, the caller seems to know more about the Constitution then this so-called expert.  First, the reference to Article IV, is almost certainly a reference to what is known as the Full Faith and Credit Clause.  It reads:

Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State.

In other words, the caller wanted to know how, consistent with the Constitution, Texas could refuse to recognize a gay marriage performed in Connecticut.  That is a good question and Mr. Stengel utterly fails to even recognize that this is the question being asked.  Instead he launches into a discussion about what he imagines Washington, Jefferson and Madison would say about gay marriage generally.  The problem with that analysis it twofold.

First, Jefferson is not one of the framers of the Constitution.  He was in France at the time.  The closest he came to a contribution to the process was to convince Madison that it was wise to add a Bill of Rights.  He didn’t write any of it.

(Washington is also a dubious choice when talking about “framers” but I will give him a mulligan on that since Lincoln did the same thing.)

But more importantly, Madison and Washington are not the correct framers to consult when discussing how they would “feel” about gay marriage because they would tell you that the original Constitution said nothing on the subject of marriage—it was the sole dominion of the states.  The provision that allows Federal courts to pass judgment on state marriage, in a sense, is the Fourteenth Amendment (which the listener also alluded to), which was written after Madison and Washington and the entire original founding generation was long dead.  The “founders” on that topic were men like Thaddeus Stevens and Charles Sumner to name only a few.  So in his attempt to channel the spirits of the founders he wasn’t even focused on the right people.

Later on we get his wisdom on the constitutionality of banning pot:

SEABROOK: Okay. Let me try you on this one, Richard Stengel. A man from the Marine Corps – he’s Darryl(ph) in Bend, Oregon – writes that he uses cannabis daily to treat both his symptoms of PTSD and chronic pain, no narcotics, no alcohol. He wants to know, he uses it responsibly, and he believes that cannabis is – the prohibition of it is unconstitutional for many reasons. Your thoughts?

STENGEL: Well, of course the high court did prohibit the use of alcohol as an amendment, and then that was overturned. I’m not sure that the Constitution says very much about that. But if you look at the use of alcohol and medication, you know, state courts right now, you know, have the predominant opinion about that. And if the states can legalize marijuana, as some states have, then, you know, that’s – you should probably live in one of those states.

Oy, where do I start with that answer?  First, contrary to his suggestion, the prohibition of alcohol was not enacted by the Supreme Court.  The Supreme Court didn’t ratify the Eighteenth Amendment.  “We the people” did.  Nor was the Eighteenth Amendment “overturned.”  The correct answer is that it was repealed, again by “we the people.”

Secondly, the current Supreme Court says that even if a state legalizes pot, the Federal Government can still outlaw it and arrest people for violating those laws even if the state specifically makes that usage legal.  That was determined in a recent case entitled   Gonzales v. Raich, a fact that Stengel is apparently blissfully unaware of.  He seems to think that states can prevent federal enforcement of anti-drug legislation.  He is, as a matter of black letter law, wrong.

In order to reach that conclusion in Gonzales, the Supreme Court relied on…  (drum roll please)… the Commerce Clause.  So it is useful to compare what Stengel said on the application of the Commerce Clause to the growth and consumption of Pot, to his view of the application of the Commerce Clause to the “act” of not buying health insurance in his Time cover story:

One would like to think that the decision to buy health insurance — or not — is a private one. If you’re young and healthy, you might just say, I’d rather spend my money on something else. That’s your right — and it may well be a rational decision. But it’s hard to argue that not buying health insurance has no interstate economic consequences.

So according to him, all you need are interstate economic consequences in order to justify federal regulation.  So how is that not present in the growing or consumption of cannabis?  His own enunciated principles, if he managed to remember them and apply them evenly, would have led him to the same conclusion reached by the Supreme Court: the Federal Government can stop you from growing or using pot, even if your state purports to legalize it.

Meanwhile, later on, in discussing Citizens United, he makes this clueless statement:

Again, another area where the originalist vision is not necessarily perfectly 20/20. I mean, there were – there was no money in politics in the 18th century.

But actually that wasn’t the case.  Mass media wasn’t suddenly invented in the Twentieth Century with the advent of radio.  In the 1700’s, it was cash to start newspapers to praise your side and smear the competition (the ideal of an unbiased press didn’t come until much later), but it was indeed money in politics.

And then he talks about the public debt:

STENGEL: Well, yes. The – these – I think a little-known clause of the 14th Amendment, Section 4, basically says that the public debt of the U.S. can’t be violated. It’s one of the only kind of full, you know, 100 percent prescriptions in the Constitution, and it’s not something that people pay that much attention to. And I believe that the president could say that in fact the U.S. defaulting on its public debt is unconstitutional, and therefore I, as president, will take these extraordinary measures to avoid that from happening.

And I think certainly if you, again, look at the original intent of the framers, I think, they certainly didn’t want the U.S. defaulting on its debt, and part of the reason that the Constitution was created in the first place was to have an organization, a central government that could actually pay off the debts from the Revolution.

First, he is misstating what the Fourteenth Amendment says.  Here’s what he said about it in his Time magazine piece:

There are those in Congress and beyond who suggest that the U.S.’s not raising the debt ceiling and defaulting would be a lesson to a spendthrift government not to borrow more than it can repay. But the idea that we can default on our debt is not only reckless; it’s probably unconstitutional. No one is saying the debt is wise and prudent — far from it — but defaulting on it flies in the face of one of the few absolute proscriptions in the Constitution, Section 4 of the 14th Amendment: “The validity of the public debt … shall not be questioned.” The idea is that the U.S. shouldn’t weasel out of its debts.

Saying the debt shall not be questioned has very little to do with whether Congress must pay it and by what means.  He goes on to argue that based on this little clause in the Fourteenth Amendment, that the President can unilaterally place America even further into debt, writing in the same Time article:

But if in the end Congress seems intent on allowing the U.S. to default on its debt, the President can assert that that is unconstitutional and take extraordinary measures to avoid it. He can use his Executive power to order the Treasury to produce binding debt instruments that cover all of the U.S.’s obligations around the world. He can sell assets, furlough workers, freeze checks — heck, he could lease Yellowstone Park. And it would all be constitutional.

(emphasis added).

So, according to him, this clause empowers the president not merely to pay the debt, but to incur more debt.  I mean that is the crazy place we are in, where somehow Washington has agreed that it is impossible to make our payments on our debt without borrowing more money.  But what Mr. Stengel failed to notice is that another part of the Constitution specifically reserves the right to Congress and Congress alone to put us into debt.  In Article I, Section 8, Paragraph 2, it states that “Congress shall have the power… [t]o borrow money on the credit of the United States[.]”  That means Presidents don’t have the power to do so, the Court doesn’t, and only Congress does.  And nothing in the language of the Fourteenth Amendment suggests that they were granting to the President the right to take us further into debt without Congress’ consent.

None of these errors are as egregious as the fourteen errors I found in his Time cover story.  But still any person who tuned into that show was  positively miseducated by Stengel’s clueless commentary.  Despite his evident incompetence on the subject of the Constitution—obvious to anyone who read his Time cover story—he was held up as an expert on the Constitution, and his disinformation was launched on unsuspecting listeners as gospel.

Which makes the message of the last caller they had on the show unintentionally ironic:

MIKE: First of all, I just got to give you guys a big shout-out and thanking you for this sort of civic discussion. This is the sort of thing that, frankly, some little bit of public funding is appropriate because it’s the sort of civic discussion you just don’t get in any other media. So thumbs up to NPR on Fourth of July. It’s very appropriate.

That’s right, dear reader, Richard Stengel was allowed to spew his nonsense on the radio and you had the privilege of paying for it.

At the very least, NPR owes its listeners an apology and a correction for each of his repeated errors.

And yes, you can be sure I will be writing the Ombudsman about this.


* Please note that I am no longer going to link to his story directly.  You can find a link to the pieces listing the serial errors he made if you want to fact check them, but I am no longer going to increase that site’s traffic directly.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

66 Responses to “Day Eight of Stengel-gate: Why Was Richard Stengel Presented as an Expert on the Constitution on NPR?”

  1. Well, of course the high court did prohibit the use of alcohol as an amendment, and then that was overturned.
    [sound of jaw dropping to floor]

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (24256b)

  2. SCOTUS is as a baseball umpire in that for whatever requires a decision: It is what “they” say it is.

    Ed from SFV (7d7851)

  3. Aaron–

    There is no possible way that Engel has not already read your excellent “13 errors” piece after its wide internet distribution and after the hundreds of comments that were left on Time’s website about his article. There is simply no way he was not intrigued enough to read your piece to see what all the fuss was about.

    But I don’t think he’s going to say “oops” and thank you for schooling him. No. I’m sorry to say I’m increasingly sure that Time, Engel, NPR, etc. do not ever intend to admit Engel is wrong or make any corrections–because I don’t think Engel or most on the left believe he is wrong. He is still introduced and viewed in the media as an expert. If you saw his performance on This Week last Sunday (which I linked here yesterday) and saw his sparring with the brilliant George Will, you would not be encouraged. He appeared on NPR and on ABC This Week after your piece came out. There was absolutely no sign–no hint– that Engel has re-thought even a single word of his crappy Time Magazine essay. He just does not revere the plain language of the Constitution or consider it the law. He is one of those people who find it easier to view the U.S. Constitution as a suggestion. I have never before been so aware of how differently the left and right in this country see the role of the Constitution.

    elissa (30d6f0)

  4. Aaron – The answer is simple. Stengel is the type of “expert” who fits the views of NPR’s audience.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  5. Man, I read that NPR transcript, and now I have a splitting headache.

    Dave Surls (8e8d37)

  6. ________________________________________

    Richard Stengel was allowed to spew his nonsense on the radio and you had the privilege of paying for it.

    I can’t help but be flip and sarcastic about Stengel when Aaron provides very detailed, concise points on why Time’s managing editor is such a dummy, perhaps intentionally so. The reason? I bet Stengel believes that left-leaning biases shower a layer of kindness, generosity, humaneness and sophistication upon him and like-minded folks, and so he’s allowed to be disingenuous — or even purposefully a bit stupid — regarding the Constitution. Either that or he, in fact, truly is somewhat mentally incapacitated.

    Mark (411533)

  7. You couldn’t find one conservative who could stick up for actually following the constitution as it was written? Really?

    But they did have a balanced discussion! They had one guy who took the position that the Constitution was old and obsolete, and they had another guy who took the position that the Constitution was obsolete and old. What more could you ask them to do?

    Murgatroyd (fd5fcd)

  8. He was presented as an “expert” because his views mesh with those of NPR senior management.

    Any more questions?

    Icy Texan (c3206e)

  9. It’s simple, really. The progressives must get this meme “out there” with the public starting to accept it because they have seen it so often. Then they can do literally anything they want and declare it “constitutional”.

    It’s our job to tell the truth and somehow get it out there. I wish I knew how. Fox might be a start. (Get Judge Napolitano started on it.)


    JD [not the regular JD. -Aaron] (99eed4)

  10. It’s simple, really. Change your effin handle like Patterico has (way too patiently) asked you to do.

    What are you? Deef???

    Icy Texan (c3206e)

  11. Icy,

    be nice come on

    EricPWJohnson (2921b6)

  12. Eric, I click on the Recent Comments by “JD” specifically hoping to find a comment by our male friend, Indiana JD, not this female from-wherever, and never EVER responds to the responses to her posts, JD.

    And like I said, our host has asked her more than once to change her handle. A little respect, eh?

    Who is the one that is not being nice?

    Icy Texan (c3206e)

  13. Icy

    Wow, just wow

    look just email JD in wherever if you want to chat with him THAT badly

    and some people dont respond – its not a rule nor rude IMO

    EricPWJohnson (2921b6)

  14. So according to him, all you need are interstate economic consequences in order to justify federal regulation.

    I think ou undersell this, AW. To the leftists, interstate economic consequences justifies federal mandates.

    Bugger off, epwj.

    JD (25ebf9)

  15. So if the contract is so old it needs to be re-thought … then what about all those other contracts like Social Security?

    Sponge Bob Square Pants (786e37)

  16. Such awful gobbledygook!

    “Well, of course the high court did prohibit the use of alcohol as an amendment, and then that was overturned.”

    That really was the most painful sentence. Sounds like a slow 3rd grader trying to explain the Constitution.

    And when he expresses certainty in his constitutional “analysis” it is utterly absurd.

    “But it’s hard to argue that not buying health insurance has no interstate economic consequences.”

    Nobody is contesting that. Nobody. If only there were a constitutional expert to explain how that fact might be relevant to whether the constitution allows regulation of the things we don’t do.

    Crispian (70c05e)

  17. If the fake JD continues to post under that name just ban her.

    BT (74cbec)

  18. In my Conflicts of Law class, the case book did touch upon marriage law between states. There was a Michigan (Minnesota?) case involving Hasidic first cousins who married in Rhode Island. At the time, it was legal in RI, but illegal in MI/MN. Wife dies, kids don’t want dad to inherit anything, so they sued to declare the marriage illegal & invalid in MI/MN. IIRC, (don’t have the casebook with me, and even though I’m in an academic law library, we don’t have the book either) the court would normally not recognize the marriage as being valid, but they twisted away from that result as it was the kids wanting their parents’ marriage to be invalid so they could inherit more. So at the rime of the creation of the Constitution, and even through the 14th Amendment, states would not always recognize foreign marriages that were against that state’s public policy.

    rbj (487e2c)

  19. Quite right, rbj. If I remember right, marriage does not neatly fit into the constitutional categories of “public acts, records, and judicial proceedings.” But there is a public policy exception. There is also the clause:

    “and the legislature shall, by general laws, prescribe the manner in which such acts, records, and proceedings, shall be proved, and the effect which judgments, obtained in one state, shall have in another.”

    See DOMA.

    Certainly a complex topic worthy of discussion by real constitutional experts.

    Crispian (70c05e)

  20. They’re so proud of the article they’re selling it for $2.99 on Amazon:

    Average Joe (c780a0)

  21. I really can’t thank you enough for your coverage of Stengel’s Angles. My best friend’s two favorite sources of news are NPR and Time. He’s a liberal who believes that parts of the constitution should be changed, but he wants the debate. I’ve never seen a liberal get so pissed at an article that seemed to take their side. He said, “the problem is, he’s bypassing the debate, which makes my side look like a bunch of fuckin liars.”

    to which I responded, “well, yeah. I’ve been telling you that your side is full of [deleted] for years…”

    But seriously, he told me he won’t be renewing his description to Time. “I don’t pay to be lied to.”

    So to add NPR to the list… Well, my heart smiles just a little.

    [Please don’t curse. That is filtered automatically. –Aaron]

    a different Mark (282023)

  22. You ask why NPR still considers Stengel an expert? Last I heard they still consider Paul Erlich an expert! Explain that, and you’ll easily see why one takedown can’t affect their opinion of Stengel.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  23. The thing is, NPR and Time were bound to get an ‘expert’ who didn’t even respect the constitution well enough to try to cover his spin with even a veneer of plausibility. They whole point is to be a propaganda arm for democrats, and frankly, their view of the constitution has gotten more and more absurd.

    What’s the big constitutional issue now? Whether they can intrude into my private medical decisions to order me to handle all my health care via their approved insurance. If I just mind my own business, I’m breaking the law, they say.

    This is contrary to the very idea of limitations on government, but it’s also contrary to the democrats 20 years ago who said privacy over medical issues was so paramount that you can’t outlaw killing your unborn child.

    Richard, Time, and NPR are symptoms of a disease, and that disease is that the propaganda they need to shove down America’s throat is so absurd they might as well just print a photograph of the constitution being run through a shredder.

    Oh wait, they did that too?

    They know they are wrong. They probably didn’t expect someone like Aaron to have the stomach to catalog their errors, and I admit I’m surprised they haven’t attempted a correction, but perhaps they know there is no hope for their credibility outside the informed.

    The real problem remains education. That’s what was so impressive about the left’s generations long effort to dominate public education. Most high school graduates would read Time’s constitution shredding (figuratively and literally) argument and then be more disposed to roll their eyes when Republicans take their ‘free health care’ away just because some crusty old document says something.

    Dustin (b7410e)

  24. Richard Stengel was allowed to spew his nonsense on the radio and you had the privilege of paying for it.

    Clearly Richard Stengel will never attain the levels of Constitutional scholarship attained by his justly famous father, Casey.

    sherlock (44cc74)

  25. NPR portrayed Richard Stengle as a constitutional expert (on the 4th of July) as part of the Obama Administration’s program to undermine the principles which guarantee American freedom, liberty, and independence. When our elected leaders ignore their oath to defend the Constitution, and instead conspire to betray it and the people it protects, good men must come to the aid of their country.

    It’s time for the American people to directly intervene in government. If Egyptians, Tunisians, and Libyans can assemble and call for the removal of failed and unresponsive leaders from power, so can we.

    ropelight (8c2323)

  26. Stengel is obviously no “expert” whatsoever. But the media blathers on and on about “experts” — who are apparently needed for media outlets to say anything. “Run out and get me an expert!” is the order of the day — and thus they end up with characters like Stengel.

    But over and above all this I am heartily sick of constant references to the “Founding Fathers” as if they were God Herself. Much comedy in this as Michelle Bachmann apparently doesn’t understand that John Adams and John Quincey Adams are two separate (albeit related) people.

    David Ehrenstein (2550d9)

  27. Errorstein is a racist imbecile.

    JD (25ebf9)

  28. The broader attack on the Constitution must also be understood as a targeted, ahem, subtle attack on those icky and backwards Tea Partiers who are very annoying, loud, and rather fond of a more traditional interpretation of the Constitution/ limited role of Federal government.

    elissa (c14551)

  29. Michelle Bachmann apparently doesn’t understand

    You guys always have to throw in some weird slur about how stupid a Republican is. It’s really pathetic. I don’t know what gaffe you’re talking about, but most of them lately have been BS, and it’s not as though we couldn’t name plenty of Biden or Obama gaffes that were dramatically worse.

    Hell, you guys didn’t know Paul Revere warned the British, or what year the Boston Tea Party was. You probably have no idea who John Adams was either. You just think this is a clever way to change the subject.

    The founding fathers’ view of the constitution is important, because it is, after all, the constitution of our government. It’s not calling them God to expect the law to stay the same until it is changed legally.

    But the media blathers on and on about “experts” — who are apparently needed for media outlets to say anything.

    The point lately is to show that the constitution doesn’t matter. So when the evil Rethuglikkkans steal your ‘free health care’ just because of some point in that silly old constitution, you can whine about how you’re being oppressed. The idea of following the law is being spun as arbitrary adherence to this crusty old silly constitution Time has no respect for… might as well send through the shredder. It’s brilliant imagery and propaganda. It wouldn’t work if we had a decent public education system.

    David, you act like Time just randomly happened upon an expert who sucked, but they really filtered out all the experts who wouldn’t say exactly what Time wanted to say.

    Dustin (b7410e)

  30. I’m guessing his credentials for the discussion are contained here:

    National Constitution Center

    Stengel became the president and CEO of the National Constitution Center, a museum and education center in Philadelphia on March 1, 2004.[4] He left his role as national editor of Time in February 2004[10] to replace Joseph M. Torsella as CEO of the center,[4] with the role of raising the center’s profile, adding to its endowment, and increasing the number of visitors.[4] At the Constitution Center, Stengel was responsible for starting the Peter Jennings Institute, offering constitutional training for journalists;[11] Constitution High, a charter school for students interested in history and government; summer teacher institutes; and brought the Liberty Medal to the organization.[12]

    Leading the NCC probably means, to most people, that he knows something of the document.

    Your opinion that his legal interpretations are wrong and his factual are material (both of which are subjective…one can write a short essay on the Constitution and elide over the fact that the three amendments passed and ratified at the end of the war did what one said the 14th did without changing the material meaning of the interpretation. Look up “harmless error.”

    While you’re at it, look up “Don Quixote” for the most famous time someone tried what you keep doing and failed.

    The horse you are flogging has been buried by now and, if you think Richard Stengel, trite portrayer of DC conventional wisdom, is going to deign to address your antiquarian notions of the Constitution, then you really are dreaming.

    timb (449046)

  31. Personally, I don’t take any position, on any issue the left argues as genuine. Rather, I view the issues pushed from the left as rationalizations designed to progressivly errode the pillars of our society. Let’s face it, a socialist simply does not believe in the ideals that this country was founded on. So why should we be surprised at the disingenuiness of their positions.

    cap'n john's nephew (28dda5)

  32. *?*

    cap'n john's nephew (28dda5)

  33. shorter timb: who cares if the news gets things right? 13th amendment, 14th, 15th? amendment shamendment, who cares about getting things right?

    And whether the constitution limits the federal government is not up for reasonable debate, nor is whether the constitution is law. These are not matters of opinion, but fact as are the remaining errors in his piece.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  34. Rather, I view the issues pushed from the left as rationalizations designed to progressivly errode the pillars of our society.

    I wouldn’t go so far as to say the entire left is doing this, but I totally agree that’s what’s going on in this case and many many others.

    The point here is to erode the importance of upholding the constitution. The imagery, the completely awful errors, the even worse attitude of ignoring such a blatant and massive need to correct, which Aaron has made extremely public and impossible to deny.

    Your opinion that his legal interpretations are wrong

    HAHAHAHA, Timb. This is absolutely pathetic. No, Richard Stengal is wrong. This is not an opinion.

    Dustin (b7410e)

  35. Yes, ‘Aristotle was Belgian, and the London Underground was a political movement’ just don’t say that line, and there are two Mount Kilimanjaros

    ian cormac (d380ce)

  36. “Because he could be.”

    Is this a trick question?

    Bigfoot (8096f2)

  37. What was the “spirit” and intent of the founders?

    What is the spirit and intent of the modern democratic left?

    Dustin, I believe that we as a nation, are perhaps
    living and facing the most serious constitutional crises in our history. ( I can hear the arguments
    about the civil war already). I can’t think of a time in which the very foundational principles of the constitution have been so broadly and steadily undermined as in the last 40 to fifty
    years. Which is why I am so supportive of what Aaron is doing here.

    cap'n john's nephew (28dda5)

  38. Well said, cap’n. We live in pivotal times.

    Dustin (b7410e)

  39. Perhaps, I should have said… “broadly and steadily attacked with the intent to undermine….

    cap'n john's nephew (28dda5)

  40. Amar, makes that same point, as cap’n, but obviously
    he dismisses the other side of the argument.

    ian cormac (d380ce)

  41. “MIKE: First of all, I just got to give you guys a big shout-out and thanking you for this sort of civic discussion.”

    Yeah, Dude, it was awesome.

    But, it would have been so much more awesome if NPR would had all three stooges giving their opinions about the Constitution instead of just two.

    Dave Surls (7bf26f)

  42. Mike was Curly wearing a sock.

    cap'n john's nephew (28dda5)

  43. Stengle’s asinine observations are repudiated by the very words themselves on the document he so intentionally misrepresents. He’s an intellectual pipsqueak and an enemy of the people.

    Arron’s responses to Stengle’s article are accurate and irrefragable.

    ropelight (8c2323)

  44. You know, Aaron, Stengel also appeared on This Week spouting very similar drivel. Here’s a link to video on Tom Lewis’ site

    Chipper (fe8b5a)

  45. chipper

    i saw. i will mention in a bit, because abc was innaccurate too. oy.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  46. Let me summarize Timb’s (liberals) line of reasoning — “I want the Constitution to be whatever I want it to be when I want it to be so that way I can do whatever I want to do when I choose so.

    Sponge Bob Square Pants (786e37)

  47. Ok here we go!!This constitutional thing gets me. Upon further research I discovered that the Annenberg foundation sponsors the ” National Constitution Center”. Things that make you go hmmmm? Same organization that gave money to the Chicago Annenberg challenge-to spend money that would hope to increase test scores in the public schools of Chicago. Barrack Obama served with the unrepentent anarchist terrorist Bill Ayres that took $50 million and got $50 million more from other organizations then blew it. No increase in grade anywhere. Schools were forced to be allies of Barack and Bill or they would be refused funding. Nice. They stole the money for their own radical organizations. ACORN for Obama and “The Peace School” for Uncle Bill. What was the “South Shore African American Collaborative”? Obama’s collective. He helped funnel money to his good friend Jeremiah Wright-the devout racist who hates Jews and White people. Remember Obama remembers nothing about him or his hate speech filled sermons every Sunday??? He send money to Trinity Church-was that covered by ABC? CBS?NBC?CNN? MSNBC? Uh no-none did. They covered it up like everything else. Barack and Uncle Bill then gave mone to “The Arab American Action Network”. Oh and that was for his terrorist friend Rashid Khalidi-the radical professor at Columbia University who like Obama, Jeremiah Wright and Khalidi hate all jews and whites.
    Oh and Michele “My Bell” Obama arrives in the picture and she invites Uncle Billy to participate in a panel with her huisband. Those nice center of the road Obamas!~!~! None of this matters right?
    Astaggering note to ponder. The Annenberg foundation has given over $200 million to Public Broadcasting and NPR over a number of years. These guys are not one sided are they. By the way no improvements were made in the Chicago public school system in fact things got worse. Oh and Obama and Uncle billy shared an office for 3 years but really, seriously, Barry never knew him. Just passing throught the city one day and met a radical anarchist terrorist who still believes what he did was right. Obama did not disown him until forced to. Same goes to Uncle Jeremiah. We fools. We dumb fools.
    I am making the suggestion that people who are working in the upper eshelon of “The National Constitution Center” are radicals themselves. David Eisner, current president comes from: Americorps which is a solid front group for all community orgqanizing groups to get redistribution of wealth money from Obama. Wow just go to their website and you shall see. He was also with Senior Corps(Retired Senior Volunteer Program) and VISTA-Volunteers in Service to America. Both groups well funded and dedicated to fighting poverty. That is going well eh?? Right now there are so many subsidiaries under Americorps your head will spin. A former community organizer teaching about our constitution by tryin to rewrite it??? Ok great what’s next? Oh man are we in trouble-

    Peace out-

    The Paullywog

    Next research-David Eisner, more Americorps, Woods Foundation, Joyce Foundation ad nmore CAC

    paullywog (cb3eba)

  48. “Let me summarize Timb’s (liberals) line of reasoning”

    TimB engaged in reasoning???

    Get serious.

    I’m pretty gullible, but not gullible enough to believe that.

    Dave Surls (3db74f)

  49. Your opinion that his legal interpretations are wrong and his factual are material (both of which are subjective…one can write a short essay on the Constitution and elide over the fact that the three amendments passed and ratified at the end of the war did what one said the 14th did without changing the material meaning of the interpretation. Look up “harmless error.”

    Good Lord, timb–did you lose a bet with the other moonbat trolls to be designated as the one to post this pile of steaming BS? Are you also saying that his claim that the Supreme Court was somehow responsible for imposing (then, apparently, later overruling) Prohibition is somehow only “subjectively” in error?

    Keep making the rubble bounce, Aaron–the cockroaches haven’t stopped coming out yet.

    MSE (8a3179)

  50. timmah’s use of the word “antiquarian” says it all. In the world that he and Stengel inhabit one must have a “progressive” view of the Constitution.

    Remember, it failed to anticipate Lady Gaga!

    Icy Texan (cf66fd)

  51. STENGEL:Marriage, of course, is not mentioned in the Constitution, nor is privacy, as Akhil mentioned it. And I do think that we have evolved socially, in terms of different things that we now believe are morally correct and morally true, and we have to – the Constitution has to adapt.

    — What a perfect leftist defense of, NOT gay marriage, but that other bastion of liberalism: Abortion. He thinks that one of the cornerstones of the Roe v. Wade decision, the “it isn’t in the COTUS but it should be” interpretation of ‘right to privacy’, is something that we have ‘evolved’ to now believe. No need to bother with a pesky thing such as an Amendment when you can just have the Supremes declare that it was there all along . . . no doubt hiding beneath the document’s “antiquarian” language.

    Icy Texan (cf66fd)

  52. Dustin, to criticize Michelle Bachmann for the inane things she says isn’t a “weird slur.” Moreover to criticize Bachmann isn’t to criticize all Republicans. Current Presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney, to give but one example, speaks in clear complete sentences and has yet to traffic in any of the nonsense so common to Bachmann.

    David Ehrenstein (2550d9)

  53. It is okay for a leftist like David Errorstein to be a racist and misogynist.

    JD (109425)

  54. fitty seven states, ehrenstein…

    ColonelHaiku (822dce)

  55. timmah is just one more self-anointed, leftwing “enlightened being” in a long line of same.

    There is no “there” there.

    ColonelHaiku (822dce)

  56. Well said, cap’n, in post #32. Nearly everything the left does has a severely deleterious effect on the fabric of our society… from their “it takes a village” (read: State) to raise our children to the types of individuals/lifestyles that are promoted by Hollywood and the MSM, from the abrogation of even the most fundamental of parental responsibilities (feeding/clothing/housing) to the soft racism and bigotry of lowered expectations.

    It is ALL about power for them and they will use any means necessary to grab it, or hold on to it.

    ColonelHaiku (822dce)

  57. Stengel is Jewish.

    You think maybe a little ethnic networking helped him on to where he is today?

    Its like that old Gilda Radner “Jewess Jeans” bit from Saturday Night Live: “you don’t have to be Jewish… but it wouldn’t hurt.”

    stari_momak (d5f987)

  58. The 18th century document has a provision allowing for amendment.

    Michael Ejercito (64388b)

  59. stari sees Jooooooooooooooooooossssss!!!!!!!

    Icy Texan (73cea7)

  60. Ehrenstein is misogynist against both women & those that love them.

    Icy Texan (73cea7)

  61. That is 4 minutes of my life that k will never get back, thanks to Ehrenstein.

    JD (318f81)

  62. Bachmann seems pretty darn intelligent to me. I probably won’t vote for her to be president, because I assume a candidate with a better resume but acceptable politics will come along (Perry), but still, she’s easily more articulate than Obama.

    I grant, David, that Mitt Romney is an exceptionally gifted politician. In the debates, he’s the best, if you don’t know anything about them. Unfortunately for him, it’s 2011 and we know all about him. But I hope the other candidates watched his debate performance, because he did a great job distilling the case against Obama.

    Dustin (b7410e)

  63. ……To give a quick review on June 23 Richard Stengel wrote a cover story for Time Magazine rife with factual errors. On June 29 I published a here recording fourteen clear factual errors in that story. I said at the time that I considered it a journalistic scandal that such an error-ridden piece appeared at Time Magazine as its cover story and ever since I have been crusading to embarrass them into a correction..But what is also embarrassing is that other media outlets have treated Mister Stengel as though he was an expert on the Constitution. Consider for example this blurp for a show on NPR entitled that aired on July 4 ..In the fierce debates over health care Libya debt gay marriage and other issues Americans have been getting a lecture on the meaning of the Constitution and the intentions of its authors. emphasis added ..Now I may not like Professor Amar personally and I may vehemently disagree with him on many points but I think it is fair to consider him an expert on the Constitution..But as the other expert we have Richard Stengel. Really Andrea Seabrook? You actually read that article and thought he was an expert? Because it is important to stress that many of these errors are obvious to any lay person. You don t need three years of law school to know it is simply incorrect to say i f the Constitution was intended to limit the federal government it sure doesn t say so. You only have to know that there is such a thing as the First Amendment or the Second. Nor do you need complicated legal instruction to know that it is incorrect to say that the Constitution is not law most people learn in elementary school that the Constitution is the supreme law of this land. And one doesn t need a particularly deep understanding of the Constitution to become concerned when one sees Stengel declare that i n drafting the 14th Amendment Congress wanted to emancipate blacks and allow them to vote. I consider it fairly common knowledge that it was actually the Thirteenth Amendment that ended slavery and the Fifteenth that outlawed racial discrimination in the franchise. These errors should have been obvious to anyone reading Stengel s piece and utterly undermined any claim he could make to be an expert..A reasonable radio host doing due diligence would have realized that they only had two options with Mister Stengel.

    hemp (11adbd)

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