Patterico's Pontifications

11/12/2012

Joseph Curl on What to Do Now

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:03 am

Joseph Curl:

The Republican Party — which, by the way lost women to President Obama by 12 points — needs to run away from its archaic stance. Yes, object to abortion. Yes, work to make it rare. But move on: Abortion is here to stay. (And while you’re at it, GOP, it might just be time also to abandon that vaunted “abstinence-only” policy that has been such a dismal failure.)

Second, gay marriage. On this, simply — who cares? America 2012 has enormous problems. Is this really an issue that matters to — anyone? Christians, two men getting married doesn’t affect your marriage in any way. Get over it. The Republicans are on the wrong side of history on this issue, and Mr. Obama swept in millions of young voters by his tolerance. It’s time to walk away.

On both issues, the GOP can make a clean break: As the party of individual freedom, the GOP can simply say it now sees that Americans — especially women — do have the right to choose their own path. In fact, the party espouses the freedoms enshrined in the Constitution, always has, so the turnabout won’t even raise an eyebrow.

Such a recalibration would allow the millions of Americans who believe in the core Republican tenets to give the party a real evaluation at election time.

I don’t think so.

As I said in the last post, my talents do not lie in electoral politics. However, it is increasingly obvious that Romney lost at least in part because he failed to turn out his voters. And many people feel very strongly about these issues. So while Curl’s prescription might go over well with independents, it’s not clear to me that it is the right strategy.

I am more comfortable discussing what I believe in than I am discussing how to win elections.

On state recognition of same-sex marriage, I support it, but I understand those who oppose it on moral and/or religious grounds. I don’t much care what a candidate says on this issue, personally. But to suggest that you give away nothing by abandoning it, as a political matter, seems glib.

I feel more strongly that we cannot abandon voters with strong opinions about abortion. Regardless of how you feel about whether life begins at conception, or whether abortions should be allowed in the first trimester, I think most people are uncomfortable with several planks in the pro-choice lobby’s platform. Partial-birth abortion is repugnant and barbaric. We allow the state to insert itself between parents and their daughters far too easily, passing laws that hide young girls’ pregnancies from their parents and make it easy for girls to get abortions without parental consent. Abortion is allowed way too late in this country for reasons that are far too flimsy. Women can literally abort a fetus at any moment before birth if they can find a doctor to say it’s psychologically necessary.

Yet we put up candidates who allow themselves to be maneuvered into ignoring these winning issues. Instead, they allow the debate to center around their suggestions that abortion not be allowed in cases of rape.

Aargh.

In my opinion, the biggest problem we have is this looming debt bubble that WILL burst, and I think we have to keep talking about it, over and over and over and over and over. That’s our solution: that, getting better judges in office, and persuading people that individual freedom and responsibility — not reliance on the government to protect us — are the principles that made this country great. I don’t think throwing social issues overboard and letting babies get stabbed in the head with scissors for political convenience is the proper path.

But maybe that’s just me.

437 Responses to “Joseph Curl on What to Do Now”

  1. Ding.

    Patterico (8b3905)

  2. Amen, Patrick. If the GOP abandons social conservatives by giving up on these key issues, it will be committing suicide, and likely guaranteeing the formation of a third party. A majority of Americans, when polled, favor far more significant restrictions on abortion than are even allowed under current Supreme Court jurisprudence. Gay marriage, while it had some success this past week, has been a pretty consistent loser on the ballot even in states that are otherwise staunchly liberal.

    The people who feel this way are just as entitled to representation in our democracy as anybody else. For the GOP, which has been the only party to stand for anything like these American social traditions, to abandon them would be to write off a huge portion of the American population.

    Like many liberals (and others), Mr. Curl doesn’t seem to want to worry about the rightness or the logic of any particular cause or position, but simply about the electoral viability. At least one party in our democracy should not be led by the polls, forming coalitions of convenience simply to get elected.

    PatHMV (279402)

  3. Oh, and agree that we need pro-life candidates who are better prepared to speak about the issue, and FAR better at not getting caught up in the traps the media will inevitably try to set for them. I generally admire and prefer straight-forward folks, but there’s a reality that we live in that sometimes require NOT answering the loaded question. If a reporter asks a pro-life, strongly religious candidate about abortion in the case of rape, it’s perfectly ok, preferable even, to NOT answer that question, but to turn the tables, talk about how restricted our legislatures are in dealing with this question because of liberal judges, and so we’re a long way from getting to that issue — so we need to focus on ending the worst abuses which the Supreme Court will currently allow us to legislate about.

    PatHMV (279402)

  4. And if they press the issue, PatHMV, point out that they’re looking for a gotcha that they can parade around everywhere.

    Patterico (8b3905)

  5. My principles and beliefs that I hold dear, that are essentially the core of who I am and cause me to navigate through life with a consistent true north (for lack of better term), are not matters that I am willing to sacrifice for the sake of an election. Everyone has a point where their conscience and cornerstone of their being trumps the electoral possibilities and machinations.

    Perhaps the question becomes, when boiled down, is how much is one willing to compromise? As an individual and as a party.

    Dana (292dcf)

  6. What explains the loss in Virginia, where was no ‘macaca’ moment, or Montana, or North Dakota, where
    the fracking goldmine will come to an end,

    narciso (ee31f1)

  7. See, I think we should be willing to compromise on things like taxes. IF the other side can FIRST show that they are willing cut spending TODAY and not in the future, we should be willing to raise taxes. I subscribe to the JVW view that stubbornly opposing all tax hikes for everyone even in the teeth of a debt bubble is not feasible, and arguably irresponsible if it keeps us entrenched in a posture that keeps us from solving the problem.

    We MUST fix this problem. We can’t tax our way out of it, and I will NOT agree to tax people today in return for future spending cuts which we all know will never happen.

    But you show me a two-year track record of slashing spending in a meaningful way — and that means entitlement reform — and I’ll give you tax hikes once you have proven it.

    For the Children.™

    Patterico (8b3905)

  8. What Joseph Curl refers to as an “archaic stance”, specifically with regard to abortion, a great number of us refer to it as a moral imperative. It’s not easily distilled.

    Dana (292dcf)

  9. Comment by PatHMV — 11/12/2012 @ 9:16 am

    Comment by Patterico — 11/12/2012 @ 9:17 am

    Agree. When the question is about rape, talk about the rape, and what a horrible thing it is. Don’t go all Biblish.

    nk (875f57)

  10. Romney failed to turn out his voters largely because his turn-out-the-voters group had their heads up the rears.

    1) their entire operation was dependent on a super-double-secret central computer system which largely didn’t work, given real users (who were never trained ) and was never tested on the Internet until election day.

    2) the ground game folks were amateurish — they didn’t know, for example, that you needed prior credentialing to enter a polling place and check who had voted.

    They had some 30 thousand volunteers on election day, but these volunteers had no access to polling places and no access to the campaign’s data. The whole GOTV failure was the fault of management, not a failure of voters.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  11. Marriage…
    The “State” should be completely divorced from this issue.
    Take recognition of marriage out of any and all laws.
    If you, as in individual, wish to extend special recognition to someone, whether a spouse or child or …., write a contract, signed by all parties, enforceable under the laws of the land.
    No Marriage Licenses issued by The State, no Civil-Unions sanctioned by The State – those are the jobs of religious or non-religious organizations. The State’s purpose is to ensure that the law protects the rights of citizens to enter into contracts – get it in writing!

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  12. Kevin M:

    I have seen that as well. Doesn’t speak much for his vaunted management abilities.

    Patterico (8b3905)

  13. If either due to rape, incest or just not being “careful”, susie Q decides to get a safe early term abortion (and I don’t have to pay for it) why should it matter to me. In a free country why do I deserve to have a say over what susie Q does to, and with her body and her soul? Based on religion I may fervently believe she’ll end up in hell, but it’s not my call to make here on earth for her. It’s God’s call. Who knows–maybe nature’s God even sees nuance with respect to this matter. So, as far as I am concerned it’s between God and Susie Q– not me and susie Q.

    elissa (5e610d)

  14. …Oh, and BTW, that means The State has no right in telling The Church of Latter Day Saints that it cannot promote/encourage/endorse/allow Polygamy.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  15. Tell me about it, Kevin M. Democrat precinct lieutenants in Chicago pick up and drive voters to the polling place. Organization.

    nk (875f57)

  16. “In my opinion, the biggest problem we have is this looming debt bubble that WILL burst, and I think we have to keep talking about it, over and over and over and over and over.”

    - Patterico

    I think that’s absolutely right. The one thing I’d add is that the GOP needs to stop sounding political about it, and start sounding panicked. It cannot sound like boilerplate political BS (i.e. “spending resulting from bloated entitlement programs is unsustainable at currents levels yada yada yada…”) if it’s going to be effective. There needs to be a note of panic (i.e. “We are about to go over a f*cking cliff”) in the voice of every GOP speaker who addresses the issue, because that’s what the issue merits – panic.

    I’ll also note that it will look like boilerplate political BS if the GOP goes around talking about a fiscal precipice and then rejects another 10-to-1 spending cut/revenue hike deal.

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  17. Patterico:

    I largely agree with what you wrote here, except where you wrote: “On state recognition of same-sex marriage, I support it, …” Clearly, you are changing the definition of marriage, and driving a square peg into a round hole. Changing definitions, changing the meaning or words, is how the far left works to slip in its bogus concepts and to get power, and more power, to change us from The United States of America to The Diverse States of America. As a student of the law, one should always consider if we do this, What is next? What are you going to do when a so-called bi-sexual states, I want to marry one of each?

    California bent and bends over backward being fair to same sex partnerships (and everyone else, including illegal aliens and sanctuary cities), so there is no problem of fairness, prejudice or so-called discrimination. The problem is we can not afford all this “fairness” as long ago we were broke and all is largely does is divide us further and further. Have you heard of or seen the HBO movie “The Second Civil War” (1997)?
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120086/

    Below is a 1998 review by The Daily Telegraph of the book FAKING IT: The Sentimentalisation of Modern Society (1998) by British authors Digby Anderson and Peter Mullen. (Below that is some further information on the book.)

    Although it was written in 1998, it remains timely and is a very good review and the points to some clear reasons why we then, and continuing today, are experiencing so many problems in the American & Western cultures. Short version. As the cartoon character Pogo, looking a a mirror suddenly realized, then stated: ” We’ve seen the enemy. It’s us.” _________________________________________________

    Review of the book FAKING IT: The Sentimentalisation of Modern Society from The Daily Telegraph, April 17, 1998

    A new ingredient is dominating modern politics and cultures. It largely explains the rise of Bill Clinton and Tony Blair’s spin-and-gesture politics. It accounts for the changes in matters as diverse as health, schooling and environmentalism. Above all, it is the flavour that dominated the extraordinary events around the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales; events that were somehow a defining point of the new Britain. It is the rise of sentimentality. A book published today, Faking It, charts the march of sentimentality through the institutions of modern society.

    That funeral itself provides a suitable basis for an initial exploration of sentimentality. In the “mob grief” at the Princess’s funeral, sentimentality was personified and canonized. It displayed the elevation of feelings above reason, reality and restraint. This sentimentality is, in its scope and intensity, a new phenomenon. Traditionally, movements in politics and cultures have been explained by changes either in “ideas” or “interests”. Government policies change because politicians have new or different ideals, arguments and analyses. Or because they represent or are captured by an interest group – such as the business interest, the union interest, the intellectual class interest. Cultures too – attitudes and habits about health, food, education, music, animals – until recently have been explained by changing ideas and interest.

    But, increasingly, modern societies are dominated by something quite different – by feelings. And not deep, committed feelings, but displays of feelings. Sentimentality is about public demonstration of feelings. And that includes feeling people do not, in fact have. Politicians are concerned with what sounds good, what looks good, with what will play well, rather than with reality. Clintonism and Blairism are media-led politics: the politics of affect, not effect.

    In our attitudes to culture, too, we are concerned with what feels good rather than what is good. So there are schools that make lots of reassuring warm noises about caring for children, but have little real education within them. They operate with a view of children as innocents who ought to be indulged with play, allowed to find themselves and their esteem bolstered, whether they have done anything worthy of esteem or not. It is at odds with the reality, which is that children have a potential for good and for evil, and need firm discipline and judgment. But then it is the hallmark of sentimentality that it denies, and runs away from, reality, especially the more unpleasant realities of a fallen human nature.

    This sort of reality denial exists in our attitudes to health. Mainstream medicine in modern society is more science-based than ever before. Never before have the doctor’s diagnosis and treatment been so firmly based in scientifically established reality, in biology and chemistry. Yet never before have so many patients been unwilling to accept unpleasant verdicts from their doctors. Instead they run off to someone – anyone – among the “alternative” quacks and counsellors who will give them happier, if bogus, news. It is the mark of the adult to accept authoritative bad news and bear it with fortitude. Today’s patient tries to deny it – and even to persuade himself that denying it is brave.

    Health behaviour shows another feature of sentimentality, which is the indulgence of feelings. The contemporary generation is healthier and longer lived than any previous one. Is it grateful for lives painless and long to a degree undreamt of by its ancestors? Is it content? On the contrary, it is obsessed with health. It constantly casts around, suspicious of which food, which pleasure, which activity might threaten so much as a few days of its interminable life. Its prime topic of conversation is its own health.

    If we can’t tell genuine health prospects form self-indulgent obsessions, it is because sentimentality is generally useless at distinguishing the real from the fake. There are fake churches to join, fake politics and fake schools. The modern church certainly looks like a church. It has a cross on top, altars, services and all the external paraphernalia of Christianity. But it is largely empty of doctrine, tradition and rules. Empty a religion doctrine, tradition and rules and what is left is sentimentality. Doctrine, tradition and rules direct the worshipper away from self and to what has been established and to God – a loving but also a judgmental God. The modern worshipper does not want to look to God but to self. He does not want judgment, or to feel the fear of God, but to be affirmed, to feel good about himself, to be hugged by his neighbour.

    Sentimentality will sustain an institution that has been intellectually discredited. The Left now accepts, as well as the Right, that the giant welfare system is not a welfare system. It does not provide welfare, but a dependency trap to those in need. It undermines self-respect and responsibility that are indispensable if men are to be “well”. The facts are there. But the system goes on, sustained by sentimentalist, apparently compassionate talk. Compassion, if it is genuine, must be grounded in reality, not just in good intentions, still less in a show of good intentions. But no one dares appear compassionless.

    Look at these contemporary institutions, and at others: the self-indulgent romanticism of the environmental movement, which denies the realities of material progress. Or examine the omission of facts and tends in the base mass media in four of sloppy and unrepresentative “human interest stories”. In all these, you see the many faces of sentimentality. You see escapism from reality, a childish petulance that wants things to be as they “should” be, you see narcissism and show. And sentimentality is even worse in what it drives our. It drives out a respect for truth and reality, an admission of the waywardness of man and the need for reason and restraint.

    Sentimentality confronts conservative-minded people in particular with the crucial temptation. Today, it wins elections and sways the people. Diana’s funeral showed the sheer mass attraction of sentimentality. The modern media work on sentimentality; and conservatives need the media. Yet sentimentality is the enemy of everything conservatism stands for. It political and cultural conservatives join in an competition to be sentimental, they will surely destroy their own cause.
    __________________________________________________

    FAKING IT: The Sentimentalisation of Modern Society (1998)
    Penguin Books by Digby Anderson and Peter Mullen

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Faking-Sentimentalization-Digby-C-Anderson/dp/0140280731

    gzerman (a10726)

  18. The fight has yet to begin. Romney wasn’t much of a fighter. He given up in the second and third debates. He didn’t do the job. Obama is an empty seat, but Romney proved to be an empty suit.

    I didn’t give any money to Romney’s campaign. I was afraid of being disappointed. Now, I’m glad. I suppose Adelson and Wynn feel ripped off.

    Much needs to be done; however, enough of the articles on why Republicans failed. There needs to be more indepth research. We need to take a close look at how the Republican message is a turn off to both its base of registered Republicans and the Democratic voters.

    How can we win if we turn off our own base?

    MyOpinion (4ff715)

  19. I’m done voting for lifeydoodles

    They’re just too retro

    happyfeet (31bce3)

  20. If a reporter asks a pro-life, strongly religious candidate about abortion in the case of rape, it’s perfectly ok, preferable even, to NOT answer that question, but to turn the tables, talk about how restricted our legislatures are in dealing with this question because of liberal judges, and so we’re a long way from getting to that issue — so we need to focus on ending the worst abuses which the Supreme Court will currently allow us to legislate about.

    Ron Paul has the right answer.

    “If it’s an honest rape, that individual should go immediately to the emergency room, I would give them a shot of estrogen.”

    Rape-related pregnancies should be very rare considering the existence of remedies.

    Michael Ejercito (2e0217)

  21. Patterico, there is a difference between opposing something on moral grounds, and using the political process to further that opposition.

    I may object to eating meat, say, but that does not mean I should make eating meat a crime. Instead I would try to channel my proselytizing into person-to-person or leading-by-example patterns. [typed while eating bacon -ed]

    The abortion battle cannot be won in the political arena. We’ve tried for 40 years and the next victory will be our first. It is time to move on to things that CAN be changed.

    The real problem with same-sex marriage to me is the belief that, by and by, the government will force churches to conduct same-sex ceremonies. Just like they force the Catholic Church to provide contraception in their health plans. The rest of it, even the word “marriage” which sets so many people off, isn’t very interesting. There are so many things that are more important.

    We also need to get in front of the immigration problem, since we have too many illegals and nothing we can really do about it except accept them one way or another. Their children will be voting soon. (My best plan is to force a treaty with Mexico which gives Americans long-denied rights in Mexico in exchange.) But whatever, we cannot just say Nyet. We need to regularize the US-Mexico border as we have done with Canada. Treating Mexican immigration the same as immigration from Surinam is silly and unworkable.

    There, not only do I agree with Curl, I go him one better.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  22. We will see how much support for some of these things there are when the advocates have to actually start paying for them.
    It has long been a truism that if you want to be rid of a noxious law, start enforcing it good and hard.
    For too long, The Left has had the luxury of advocating policies that don’t impact them in any way, for the costs were diffused widely throughout society. We now have been given a window-of-opportunity by that Left (which is predominately Upper-Middle to Lower-Upper Class) to impose those costs directly upon the policy advocates – Good and Hard!

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  23. I may object to eating meat…

    The Los Angeles City Council has declared “Meatless Monday’s”.

    Only in LaLaLand!

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  24. Babies are wonderful things*, and if you don’t want yours, I’ll take it.

    *And it’s amazing how they enlarge your breasts.

    I also have problems with govermental coercion versus gentle persuasion on some pro-life questions. Casey bothers me, when it comes to rape or incest. Most rapes are not reported for fear of the stigma, including not going to an emergency room for help. Tripled in the case of an underage girl.

    nk (875f57)

  25. “I’ll also note that it will look like boilerplate political BS if the GOP goes around talking about a fiscal precipice and then rejects another 10-to-1 spending cut/revenue hike deal.”

    Leviticus – I would urge the GOP to continue to reject 5-to-1 spending cut/revenue raise deals if the spending cuts are pushed out to future years when they can be reversed by other Congresses but the tax hikes are implemented today. This is the shell game Democrats have too often gotten away with.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  26. Is there anyone here who feels that there is hope in POLITICKING abortion? Do you really think that the Court is interested in this anymore?

    It has been 40 years. THREE generations of women have come of age under Roe. This is a losing fight and it is trashing our party’s real concerns: personal and economic freedom.

    If there were such a thing as Republican triage, this would not be the first casualty I’d try to save.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  27. Abortion and other life issues, are a proxy for other issues,

    narciso (ee31f1)

  28. I agree with daley, any tax-for-spending deals have to be concurrent. Ending the waiver of the 90-day limit for food stamps in situations not involving children would save billions. Right now. It’s not if we can, it’s if we will.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  29. The latest large Gallup polling on abortion over the summer showed women pretty much evenly divided in this country in terms of classifying themselves as pro-choice or pro-life, roughly 46/45%, as I recall. According to that metric, Democrats are as out of step with national sentiment as Republicans.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  30. Leviticus – I would urge the GOP to continue to reject 5-to-1 spending cut/revenue raise deals if the spending cuts are pushed out to future years when they can be reversed by other Congresses but the tax hikes are implemented today. This is the shell game Democrats have too often gotten away with.”

    - daleyrocks

    Fair enough.

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  31. Don’t go after those entitlements – they are a social issue, and look at how popular they are!

    You can’t hide from unpopular social issues. If the Republicans abandon the social issues, they abandon adults like me. All of this will crash, both economically and demographically. I have no intention of supporting craven lunacy just to say I was on the winning side for a few cycles.

    Amphipolis (d3e04f)

  32. “Ending the waiver of the 90-day limit for food stamps in situations not involving children would save billions. Right now. It’s not if we can, it’s if we will.”

    - Kevin M

    I cannot f*cking believe that’s what we want to talk about cutting when we have a TRILLION dollar a year military budget.

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  33. Elmo, the first pedophile muppet

    Icy (f750a9)

  34. If the pols wish to “means test” benefits for Seniors, so that “Main Street Bill” is not paying for Warren Buffet’s Medicare, then I see no reason why Family Planning procedures cannot also be “means tested”.
    In fact, all Government largesse should be.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  35. Rape-related pregnancies should be very rare considering the existence of remedies.

    Comment by Michael Ejercito — 11/12/2012 @ 9:44 am

    Sigh. The victims fear the stigma of the knowledge of the rape more than the consequences of it, Michael. They do not report it, they do not seek treatment. They take a hot shower and crawl under the covers to hide their pain. And then the next pain comes.

    nk (875f57)

  36. Rape-related pregnancies should be very rare considering the existence of remedies.

    Comment by Michael Ejercito — 11/12/2012 @ 9:44 am

    Sigh. The victims fear the stigma of the knowledge of the rape more than the consequences of it, Michael. They do not report it, they do not seek treatment. They take a hot shower and crawl under the covers to hide their pain. And then the next pain comes.

    nk (875f57)

  37. @elissa – your argument that the woman’s choice of an abortion is none of your business can just as easily be applied to infanticide, or to murder of her husband, or any other crime.

    Protection of the innocent is, of course, a function of government. It is one of the must fundamental of those functions.

    So the issue is how the innocent is decided, and when the clash of rights between an unborn human being (once defined) and the mother allows killing that unborn human. The latter is why rape is such a juicy topic for lefty press – it creates a clash between involuntary servitude and involuntary death, but for the left, that death is of an uninteresting clump of cells (even at 37 weeks of gestation).

    Mesocyclone (3f1a01)

  38. I cannot f*cking believe that’s what we want to talk about cutting when we have a TRILLION dollar a year military budget.

    Food stamps aren’t a legitimate issue?

    Patterico (8b3905)

  39. However, it is increasingly obvious that Romney lost at least in part because he failed to turn out his voters

    That kind of begs the question “who were ‘his voters’”, doesn’t it?

    Exit polls showed that Romney actually fared better than “the Republican brand”. In other words, down ticket Republicans actually did worse than Romney. That seems to me that Republicans ought to reconsider their stance on certain issues, rather than thinking that Romney himself was the problem.

    Kman (5576bf)

  40. Because, the military is actually a legitimate function of government, constitutionally spelled out,how about that.

    narciso (ee31f1)

  41. $1T/yr for military?
    I don’t think so.
    Facts and Figures, please.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  42. I thought loser romney’s declaration that defense spending was off limits demonstrated that he was a wee bit out of touch with fiscal reality, which was ironic cause he’s like supposed to be this super smart business person

    happyfeet (31bce3)

  43. I feel similarly what Rico says of himself, ‘No answers for elections but capable of talking about what what matters to me’.

    Obviously, Romney didn’t lose on social issues, he didn’t talk about them except to deny they were part of his agenda.

    I don’t believe Down Low won because of social fears conjured among his base and those willing to submit.

    Supposedly, 12% made their decision in the last day or in the booth.

    Turnout was down, in Blue states in particular.

    The whole strategy behind the choice of Romney failed. Not to say a winning candidate was available. If a winning strategy was available it never surfaced.

    Ditching the base, once and for all, is bat-shit-crazy. They are the foot soldiers, show me a war won and territory held without grunts.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  44. Down-ticket Republicans did worse than Romney….

    Which is why the GOP picked up Governorships, and increased the number of State legislative bodies that they control.

    kmart still lives in an alternative universe.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  45. “Food stamps aren’t a legitimate issue?”

    - Patterico

    I guess I would say that it’s chickensh*t to tackle the molehill when there’s a perfectly good mountain available. It’s not illegitimate to discuss it – just irrational.

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  46. Leviticus,

    Could you tell us where you get the idea that we have a trillion dollar military budget?

    Patterico (8b3905)

  47. “Because, the military is actually a legitimate function of government, constitutionally spelled out,how about that.”

    - narciso

    I seem to recall something about “preserve the general welfare.” Does feeding those who can’t feed themselves not qualify?

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  48. If u add in veterans spending maybe?

    happyfeet (31bce3)

  49. Sorry. PROMOTE the general welfare. Even more proactive.

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  50. My guess is Obama has spent about $160 billion more on food stamps than Bush did.

    MAYBE we could cut the military budget — which I do not believe to be a trillion dollar annual budget — by $160 billion a year. (Or, more easily, over four years.)

    But we are NOT comparing mountains and molehills.

    Patterico (8b3905)

  51. Well, Kman, I think exit polls are nonsense.

    As far as “downticket”, it’s not unprecendented. Nixon won reelection with an overwhelming majority for him, and a Democratic Congress which impeached him and his Vice-President.

    BTW, have you looked at the governorships?

    nk (875f57)

  52. Does feeding those who can’t feed themselves not qualify?

    Do you believe everyone with an EBT card really can’t feed himself?

    Patterico (8b3905)

  53. daleyrocks, here’s the part of the issue that I think a lot of people don’t “get”: If asked in a simple poll “are you pro-life or pro-choice?” I wouldn’t know how to answer. Because for me, you see, for my body and my personal values I am pro-life. But when it comes to criminalizing or outlawing abortion, (a plank in the Republican platform you may recall) I am pro-choice because I think that option should be available to others who may not think as I do, or believe as I do, or whose life circumstances I am unable to know. Perhaps some polls out there capture this dichotomy, but I am not sure that they do–and I don’t think my dual position on this is all that unusual among women of all ages in our society.

    elissa (5e610d)

  54. BIG difference between “provide” and “promote”.

    TV ads Promote that you do something;
    coming to your house and giving you stuff is to Provide.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  55. elissa is like not holding back at all with the wisdom

    It’s nice to see that

    happyfeet (31bce3)

  56. But elissa, as someone who is conservative but politically pro-choice, how do you feel about the issues I raised in the post: partial-birth abortion, parental notification, etc.?

    Patterico (8b3905)

  57. “Provide for the common defense”, Leviticus. [Slap upside the head]

    nk (875f57)

  58. $750 billion for the DOD alone, plus $50 billion for Homeland Security, (say) ~$30 billion for foreign military aid, plus about $100 billion of interest.

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  59. Homeland Security is NOT military, those are all civilian employees.
    Foreign Aid is not military – it’s regulated by DoState.
    The interest paid on the National Debt is certainly not military when Entitlement spending is at least twice what DoD is, and every bit of it is borrowed now that both SocSec and Medicare/Medicaid are underwater.

    Facts & Figures, please!

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  60. Leviticus: PROMOTE the general welfare. Even more proactive.

    A very old trope. How old? Madison addressed it directly in Federalist #41, I believe. But what did he know?

    beer 'n pretzels (6ef50f)

  61. “My guess is Obama has spent about $160 billion more on food stamps than Bush did.

    MAYBE we could cut the military budget — which I do not believe to be a trillion dollar annual budget — by $160 billion a year. (Or, more easily, over four years.)

    But we are NOT comparing mountains and molehills.”

    - Patterico

    Okay. That’s fair enough, too. I guess my core point is that the military budget (even if I’m overestimated it slightly) is too big to be left off the table in any serious deficit reduction discussion.

    ““Provide for the common defense”, Leviticus. [Slap upside the head]”

    - nk

    I know that. Someone was claiming that military spending was legitimate and welfare spending wasn’t – their omission, not mine. It was “‘Promote the general welfare,’ narciso. [Slap upside the head].”

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  62. All of those micro lifeydoodle issues should be handled at the state level Mr. P I think

    happyfeet (31bce3)

  63. I guess my core point is that the military budget (even if I’m overestimated it slightly) is too big to be left off the table in any serious deficit reduction discussion.

    Did someone suggest that in this thread?

    There is a difference between “we should also consider my issue” and “how dare you bring up your issue when my issue is the only one that matters.”

    Patterico (8b3905)

  64. 58. So we borrow $1.4 Trillion per year.

    IOW, We eliminate the DOD and confiscate the 1%ers income and we balance the budget, just.

    Now, about the off budget items, oh yeah, and 2014. Revenue in the next year prolly not going to be all that.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  65. Google Search….wiki…
    Dod…(Discretionary/Mandatory)…$683B / $5B
    HHS…………………………. $84 /$789

    Amounts are for FY-2012

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  66. “I’ll also note that it will look like boilerplate political BS if the GOP goes around talking about a fiscal precipice and then rejects another 10-to-1 spending cut/revenue hike deal.

    Comment by Leviticus”

    The trouble is that most of us have been through this rodeo before. The spending cuts NEVER happen. Having said that, I don’t care anymore. Just make sure everyone knows who raised their taxes and brought the depression on.

    Mike K (326cba)

  67. “A very old trope. How old? Madison addressed it directly in Federalist #41, I believe. But what did he know?”

    - beer ‘n pretzels

    Even accepting that Federalist #41 somehow argues against welfare spending, your argument is premised on an originalism that I do not accept. James Madison – who I think was a genius, for the record – does not live in modern America. The genius of the Framers was in their process, not their substance.

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  68. Well I’m sure, Mike, that the media will tell us.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  69. All of those micro lifeydoodle issues should be handled at the state level Mr. P I think

    Let me ask, if you believe this, then would you also say that gay marriage should be handled at the state level?

    I believe that they should be handled at state level, however, then there is the messy issue of federal/state laws contradicting each other (marijuana), and how does that help anyone?

    Dana (292dcf)

  70. “There is a difference between “we should also consider my issue” and “how dare you bring up your issue when my issue is the only one that matters.””

    - Patterico

    You right, you right. My bad.

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  71. So, because they had no concept of modern communications (as is argued about weaponry), there should be no 1st-A protections for electronic media?

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  72. I’ll also note that it will look like boilerplate political BS if the GOP goes around talking about a fiscal precipice and then rejects another 10-to-1 spending cut/revenue hike deal.

    I’ll take a 5-to-1 deal. But the spending cuts happen FIRST.

    To prove they mean it.

    Like Mike K says, the spending cuts never happen.

    Patterico (8b3905)

  73. gay marriagings should be a state issue for sure

    doma is stupid

    happyfeet (31bce3)

  74. Leviticus: your argument is premised on an originalism that I do not accept

    No kidding.

    The genius of the Framers was in their process, not their substance.

    I’m assuming an invitation to expand on this would not be an exercise in futility. Prove me right.

    beer 'n pretzels (6ef50f)

  75. preserve the general welfare

    That’s General Simon E Welfare, and he died in 1793, but is very well preserved.

    Oh,wait. The actual line is “promote the general welfare”, but Simon was already a General, so that’s not very useful.

    But seriously… SERIOUSLY?

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  76. Kevin – I corrected myself two comments later. I don’t know why you guys are getting on my case for getting the wording wrong (and then immediately correcting it, because I knew it was wrong) when you all seem so intent on forgetting the whole clause.

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  77. 2016 is going to be an electoral bloodbath.

    For Democrats.

    They will be saddled with 8 years of Democrat failures without Obama’s cult of personailty. And no one to step up.

    I am looking forward to it.

    SPQR (45809b)

  78. I’ll also note that it will look like boilerplate political BS if the GOP goes around talking about a fiscal precipice and then rejects another 10-to-1 spending cut/revenue hike deal.

    In addition to what others noted, it would be nice to see actual cuts, effective immediately, as opposed to reductions in the rate of growth, decades in the future.

    JD (185efa)

  79. Even accepting that Federalist #41 somehow argues against welfare spending, your argument is premised on an originalism that I do not accept.

    What is your view of proper Constitutional interpretation?

    Patterico (8b3905)

  80. “I’m assuming an invitation to expand on this would not be an exercise in futility. Prove me right.”

    - beer ‘n pretzels

    How much expansion do you need? It’s checks and balances vs. the 3/5ths clause. One has survived the test of time a lot better than the other.

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  81. “What is your view of proper Constitutional interpretation?”

    - Patterico

    Pragmatism, I guess. In the William James sense.

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  82. Leviticus : I don’t know why you guys are getting on my case for getting the wording wrong

    It’s an issue of substance — so who cares, right?
    We should all be discussing the process of the Constitution anyway.

    beer 'n pretzels (6ef50f)

  83. I would look to Kmart for advise on Team R politics about when I would turn to , well …. never. Why do mendoucheous trolls think their bad faithed advise is relevant? Just because their principles are tied to polls and electoral politics does not mean we should abandon ours.

    JD (185efa)

  84. Leviticus, it’s because the preamble is largely throat-clearing, explaining why the government exists but it keeps getting imbued with meaning. For example I’m pretty sure that the term “welfare” used in 1787 did not mean the same thing when LBJ used it (but “common defense” pretty much did).

    Bringing the “welfare” phrase up in a discussion of government spending is ripe for derision.

    As for the instance you blew up over: the waiver of limits on welfare (not only food stamps) might have made sense in the depth of the recession, but the President asserts loudly that we’re well into recovery, so why the uproar over ending an emergency measure?

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  85. I like Scalia’s textualism better than Thomas’ originalism.

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  86. “But when it comes to criminalizing or outlawing abortion, (a plank in the Republican platform you may recall) I am pro-choice because I think that option should be available to others who may not think as I do, or believe as I do, or whose life circumstances I am unable to know.”

    elissa – I understand your point, but in reviewing the platform, it supports a human life amendment to the constitution, strengthening born alive infant protections, banning sex selective abortions, supports parental consent and some other stuff. Apart from the constitutional amendment which won’t ever pass, what is controversial?

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  87. I gotta back out for a bit or I’m gonna lose my temper – not with you, Patterico. I’ll be back in an hour or so.

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  88. They will be saddled with 8 years of Democrat failures without Obama’s cult of personailty.

    They’ll nominate Michelle.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  89. Leviticus,

    And, yes, at the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan the military might have been spending $1T/year. But … deficits were much lower than that and pretty much equal to the wars’ added costs.

    It’s much less now, but the money saved is being spent on other, domestic, things now. The President doesn’t speak of reducing the deficit with these savings, but what other things we can “invest” it in (cue Inigio Montoya).

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  90. Leviticus: I like Scalia’s textualism better than Thomas’ originalism.

    But I’m guessing you like neither.

    beer 'n pretzels (6ef50f)

  91. I like Scalia’s textualism better than Thomas’ originalism.

    Even Scalia doesn’t change the meaning of the words to match modern usages.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  92. Pragmatism, I guess. In the William James sense.

    Why should you consider yourself required to submit to my view of what is pragmatic (or vice versa)? What is the principle that requires us citizens to submit to judges’ view of what is most “pragmatic” for the country?

    Patterico (8b3905)

  93. Lewis Carroll is in heaven.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  94. Scalia is an originalist too.

    Patterico (8b3905)

  95. Apart from the constitutional amendment which won’t ever pass, what is controversial?

    That it is, therefore, pandering pure and simple.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  96. Leviticus,

    My advice: ignore whoever is making you angry and concentrate on talking to the rest of us.

    Patterico (8b3905)

  97. Food Stamps….

    “…at 47.1 million, this was not only a new all time record, but the monthly increase of 420,947 from July was the biggest monthly increase in one year…”
    H/T- Instapundit

    Gee, I wonder who they voted for?

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  98. Here is a link to the annual Gallup polling to which I was referring.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  99. What is the principle that requires us citizens to submit to judges’ view of what is most “pragmatic” for the country?

    Isn’t that what Congress is for, if not pragmatism? Constitutional principles are a fairly blunt instrument to make daily rules from. The Court is a bound on the power of the legislature, not the legislature itself.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  100. There was a posting over the weekend on immigration (can’t remember what site) but it linked to two papers written by an American academic associated with PAN, and the Fox administration.
    In these two papers, one written in 1993, the other in 2004 IIRC, the writer talked about political corruption in Latin America, and how it has altered the culture (or vice-versa), and he noted that the State of New Mexico is closest in political corruption/culture to what we see in Latin America, where merit is obscured by familial connections (It’s not what you know, it’s who you know!).
    He then pointed to the administration of Bill Richardson….

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  101. …more…
    He also noted that he and his colleagues had talked to 40-50 legislative figures in DC and in the Border States about immigration, and that the lying and pandering about positions on this matter was incredible, and quite insulting to the intelligence of The Country Class towards whom it was directed.
    Angelo Codevilla, call your office.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  102. daley,

    Heck, by that rule, I’m pro-life since I don’t much care for most abortion. Yet over the years I have advised two people (neither of whom I was sleeping with) to obtain one, given their difficult terrible circumstances.

    Other polls over the years have consistently shown that the extreme positions (always legal vs always illegal) net about 15% on either side, which most everyone at some hedge in the middle.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  103. I think the answer is to transcend Roe. The Republicans should offer an Amendment guaranteeing the right of an adult woman to obtain an abortion during the first trimester and delegating all other abortion issues to the states.

    Even if the Democrats (likely) balked, it would radically change the dynamics of the abortion question. Such an amendment would also remove the incredibly bad Roe decision from the equation.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  104. Kevin M – Here is a link to the 2012 GOP Platform for your perusal.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  105. I kind of doubt that liberals will face an electoral blood bath any time soon. The GOP doesn’t seem fazed at the apparent voting shenanigans in some states. Yessir, those dems are correct, no voter fraud. Romney received ZERO votes in 59 Philly divisions. Here in Florida, port St. Lucie county had way more votes cast than voters registered. And yet no one seems to care. And how about the military voting mess?

    calypso louis farrakhan (f00049)

  106. Grunts aren’t supposed to vote, they’re just supposed to die for the Motherland.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  107. Leviticus: How much expansion do you need? It’s checks and balances vs. the 3/5ths clause. One has survived the test of time a lot better than the other.

    And…? I would submit that neither has stood the test of time, though in the former case not based on merit. But how is this process, as opposed to substance?

    The founders included language that allowed for a remedy of the 3/5ths clause via amendment. The 3/5ths clause was actually a result of the process, not ultimately the substance of the constitution. I think you have things backwards.

    When you’ve returned from your cool down session, maybe you can explain how I’m wrong.

    beer 'n pretzels (6ef50f)

  108. ==Apart from the constitutional amendment which won’t ever pass==

    Exactly daley! So why is it still there in the platform in 2012 like a honkin’ magnetic spotlight? Reasonable, non-controversial positions on partial birth/late term/born alive protections, etc. already have traction and considerable support (including many on the left) as part of a legal, safe, and rare policy. This needs to be exploited and pushed hard on the right. But instead, these important positions to save viable babies get masked and over shadowed by the scorched earth politics of the Akins and Mourdocks and Walshes and the visible “threat” of an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that sits right there in the Republican platform for the democrats to use to scare women with–an amendment which, as you point out will never come up, let alone pass.

    elissa (5e610d)

  109. Team R needs to disabuse themselves of the fantasy that anyone is super eager to let them scribble their social con drivel into the constitution

    when they talk like that it’s just sad

    they come across as grandiose and supremely unselfaware

    happyfeet (31bce3)

  110. Abortion is such an integral part of the milieu, that funding for cancer research can be sacrificed
    on its altar, as the Susan G. Koman instance found out,

    narciso (ee31f1)

  111. Just because their principles are tied to polls and electoral politics does not mean we should abandon ours.

    I don’t the progressive’s principles are tied to polls, and neither do you. Polls show that the country is simply not as far to the political right as conservatives think.

    I think conservatives can benefit in two ways:

    (1) Abandoning principles that aren’t truly conservative (i.e., government oversight of the bedroom) and

    (2) Do better at persuading people of conservative principles.

    As for #2, the best thing conservatives can do is stop demonizing those who disagree with them, stop generating candidates who do the same, and don’t applaud pundits who are ugly. When Limbaugh attacks Sandra Fluke as a whore, conservatives should attack Limbaugh, and then make the argument as to why religious institutions should be exempt from contraception requirements.

    For some reason, conservatives think they can continue to insult women, gays, labor, Hispanics, and the bottom 47% of the economic scale, and still prevail as the majority party. You’re never going to get people to vote for you that way.

    Kman (5576bf)

  112. Remember who is the white house science advisor, a character straight out of Dr. Moreau.

    narciso (ee31f1)

  113. I don’t know who on the Right is standing at the foot of my bed, but I do know who on the Left has no concern for a fetus that is delivered alive following a late-term abortion, and then allowed to die.
    In civilized countries, that is called Infanticide!

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  114. Patterico,

    I know Scalia is an originalist too, but you know better than I do (and better than most) that the fine distinctions of that split are important.

    I don’t think I was getting mad at anyone in particular – any one of those comments in a vacuum would have been totally fine. It’s just hard to field questions from three or four people at once; the (neurotic) obligation to respond becomes a source of frustration when you suspect that they’re not interested in a productive discussion. Plus I put myself off-balance from the get-go by overestimating the annual military budget.

    beer ‘n pretzels,

    I realize that the subsequent amendment of the 3/5 Clause can (and should) be viewed as a victory of the Framers’ process, but only because the process was designed to allow substantive protections to shift as societal values changed. That fact that the 3/5 Clause was removed was a victory of the process; the fact that it was in there in the first place was a failure of substance.

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  115. Kman: For some reason, conservatives think they can continue to insult women, gays, labor, Hispanics, and the bottom 47% of the economic scale, and still prevail as the majority party.

    Notice the new definition of “insult”, i.e., “failure to pander”.

    beer 'n pretzels (6ef50f)

  116. “Why should you consider yourself required to submit to my view of what is pragmatic (or vice versa)?”

    - Patterico

    Why should I consider myself required to submit to your view of what the original intent of the Framers was, either? I guess I don’t understand what you’re getting at. My problem with originalism is that it allows atavistic values (or non-values) to affect modern outcomes.

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  117. For some reason, conservatives think they can continue to insult women, gays, labor, Hispanics, and the bottom 47% of the economic scale, and still prevail as the majority party. You’re never going to get people to vote for you that way.

    Insult is now redfined as not pander to. Again, Kmart, I think Team R should seek your guidance never.

    JD (185efa)

  118. “Even Scalia doesn’t change the meaning of the words to match modern usages.”

    - Kevin M

    I would have thought that it was obvious that I did not take “promote the general Welfare” to mean “promote the local welfare office.” But the words obviously mean something, express some intent, and I’m curious as to why you think they should be ignored as “throat-clearing” while “provide for the common defense” should be honored as something more.

    I feel like the association of the two terms matters.

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  119. Leviticus: the process was designed to allow substantive protections to shift as societal values changed.

    Sorry, but you’re playing semantics games. The process wasn’t designed — the Constition was designed, i.e., the substance. And, the fact that the Left has made a habit of shifting the Constition’s meaning outside of these “substantive protections” (i.e., amendments) is something I’m sure you’ll concede.

    That fact that the 3/5 Clause was removed was a victory of the process; the fact that it was in there in the first place was a failure of substance.

    Again, you have it exactly backwards. But that’s fine. We understand each other.

    beer 'n pretzels (6ef50f)

  120. the best thing conservatives can do is stop demonizing those who disagree with them

    Given what you wrote, and the way the left and the MFM misrepresent and lie about their political opponents, that was freakin’ hysterical, Kmart. Thanks for the laugh.

    JD (185efa)

  121. “As for #2, the best thing conservatives can do is stop demonizing those who disagree with them, stop generating candidates who do the same, and don’t applaud pundits who are ugly.”

    Kman – What do you recommend conservatives do when Democrat leaders falsely call them racists, Nazis, woman haters and the like?

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  122. Leviticus : I feel like the association of the two terms matters.

    It the difference between a preamble and the content of enumerated powers in Article 1, Section 8. Again, Madison — Federist 41. Oh, but we’re talking substance here. Why do you care?

    beer 'n pretzels (6ef50f)

  123. Leviticus,

    I’m trying to understand your thinking. Let’s start here. Do you feel you owe an allegiance to the Constitution? If so, why?

    Patterico (8b3905)

  124. Any discussion of 2016 is premature, we needs to drag the carcass of a once great Nation thru to 2014 elections.

    2008 we spent 7% of revenues on debt interest. 2011 we spent 15%.

    I got one prediction for revenues following substantial increases in taxes and fees at local, state and federal levels.

    They will continue to contract.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  125. “Sorry, but you’re playing semantics games. The process wasn’t designed — the Constition was designed, i.e., the substance.”

    - beer ‘n pretzels

    No I’m not. The Constitution has procedural provisions and substantive provisions. Saying that you can override a Presidential veto with a 2/3 vote in both houses of Congress is a procedural provision. Saying that you can’t quarter troops in someone’s house without their consent is a substantive provision. There are plenty of admirable substantive protections in the Constitution; but I think that the true genius of the Framers was in their focus on process.

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  126. “Joseph Curl on What to Do Now”

    I don’t know what Joe’s going to do, but I’m going to have another cup of coffee, and slag off the Democrat Party on the Internetz (as per usual).

    Dave Surls (46b08c)

  127. Provide/Promote…

    Art-I,Sec-8
    “The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States…”

    Nowhere does it say that Congress (the Federal Government) is obligated to defend any particular person, nor is it to provide welfare for same, but to do so for the UNITED STATES.
    Further, Art-1, Sec-8 (11) Congress shall have the power “To raise and support Armies…”‘ but nowhere in this list of enumerated powers is any mention of a Department of Health and Human Services, or Urban Development, and no mention either of a Department of Agriculture and its Farm Price Supports or Food Stamps.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  128. Why should I consider myself required to submit to your view of what the original intent of the Framers was, either?

    That’s not my argument. My argument is that we should both strive to understand and apply the original understanding (not intent) of Constitutional provisions. We might disagree as to what it is, but that should be our touchstone. The idea is that there is a correct answer and we’re both seeking it.

    Pragmatism has no touchstone because what is pragmatic is necessarily a matter of opinion. It’s a value judgment. So why should anyone defer to an unelected judge’s value judgments?

    Patterico (8b3905)

  129. “Do you feel you owe an allegiance to the Constitution? If so, why?”

    - Patterico

    I suppose I do, though I’m not sure I’d phrase it that way; and I suppose it’s primarily because it’s a document that effectuates due process as the ultimate check on government.

    I would add that I feel I owe allegiance to certain manifestations of the Constitution over others – e.g. non-slaveholding manifestations, suffrage-maximizing manifestations, manifestations demonstrating recognition of substantive due process (and of limits to it). The Constitution has evolved over time, and it would be lying if I said that I feel any sort of allegiance to some of its manifestations.

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  130. Leviticus: but I think that the true genius of the Framers was in their focus on process.

    Ummm… okay. I guess I can’t knock anyone who finds something of worth in the Constitution, however arcane.

    beer 'n pretzels (6ef50f)

  131. “If either due to rape, incest or just not being “careful”, susie Q decides to get a safe early term abortion (and I don’t have to pay for it) why should it matter to me.”

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men…

    I don’t care if it matters to you, but it ought to matter to the government.

    Dave Surls (46b08c)

  132. What I meant was that I don’t understand your normative argument for using the Framers’ original understanding as the proper interpretive touchstone. I don’t understand why you think that should be the touchstone anymore than you understand why I think pragmatism should be the touchstone.

    I’m willing to debate the value of pragmatism as the proper interpretive touchstone, but I’d like to know your thoughts on value of originalism.

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  133. kmart….”…When Limbaugh attacks Sandra Fluke as a whore, conservatives should attack Limbaugh…”

    He didn’t, he called her behaviour “slutty”, which it seems to be.
    So, another lie by the K-man.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  134. Oh, and conservatives don’t generally attack people for the “crime” of telling the truth.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  135. 133. I’m sizing neighbors up as to whether I will have to shoot them or grab something quickly to bash their skull in and some are still worried about offensive speech applied to offensive people.

    Whatever floats your boat.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  136. gary, two recommendations:
    1911, and a fungo-bat.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  137. Can’t recall where it was, but there was a mention that the vote tally in St.Lucie Co FL showed more votes than voters.
    Grabbed this from the county website:
    Registered Voters….173K
    Votes cast for President….123K

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  138. “It the difference between a preamble and the content of enumerated powers in Article 1, Section 8. Again, Madison — Federist 41. Oh, but we’re talking substance here. Why do you care?”

    - beer ‘n pretzels

    Good point. I think that the government should help feed people who can’t feed themselves – regardless of what the Framers thought about it.

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  139. 138. County governments have been feeding the destitute for a long, long time.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  140. Good on them.

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  141. How much expansion do you need? It’s checks and balances vs. the 3/5ths clause. One has survived the test of time a lot better than the other.

    Comment by Leviticus

    It always amuses me that lefties don’t understand the 3/5 clause. It was a compromise to get the Constitution ratified. If the cotton gin had not been , would have disappeared with the civil war.

    Mike K (326cba)

  142. I would add that I feel I owe allegiance to certain manifestations of the Constitution over others – e.g. non-slaveholding manifestations, suffrage-maximizing manifestations, manifestations demonstrating recognition of substantive due process (and of limits to it). The Constitution has evolved over time, and it would be lying if I said that I feel any sort of allegiance to some of its manifestations.

    Do you feel that you owe allegiance to the current Constitution, with all its amendments?

    Patterico (8b3905)

  143. I’m willing to debate the value of pragmatism as the proper interpretive touchstone, but I’d like to know your thoughts on value of originalism.

    My thoughts are that the Constitution’s very legitimacy depends on interpreting its words according to the common understanding of those words at the time the words were adopted.

    This is why I ask questions about whether you feel you owe an allegiance to the Constitution, or whether you simply feel that you owe allegiance to any parts of it that you happen to agree with. Because the latter, in my view, isn’t allegiance to the Constitution, but rather merely allegiance to your own opinions.

    Do you feel you owe an allegiance to the Constitution with its amendments?

    Patterico (8b3905)

  144. “Do you feel that you owe allegiance to the current Constitution, with all its amendments?”

    - Patterico

    Yes, reluctantly with regard to the 17th and with the reiterated stipulation that I probably wouldn’t phrase it as “allegiance.”

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  145. It always amuses me that lefties don’t understand the 3/5 clause. It was a compromise to get the Constitution ratified. If the cotton gin had not been , would have disappeared with the civil war.

    Ask anyone talking about the 3/5 clause whether it should have been 5/5. Then ask who wanted it to be 5/5 and why.

    Patterico (8b3905)

  146. Yes, reluctantly with regard to the 17th and with the reiterated stipulation that I probably wouldn’t phrase it as “allegiance.”

    How would you phrase it? Do you consider yourself to be bound by its provisions?

    Patterico (8b3905)

  147. I acknowledge the validity of the whole document and have great respect for most of it.

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  148. I’m not asking whether you agree with it, but whether you consider yourself bound by it.

    Patterico (8b3905)

  149. But do you consider yourself to be personally bound by its provisions?

    Patterico (8b3905)

  150. If so, why? If no, why not?

    Patterico (8b3905)

  151. This is not intended as cross examination, by the way. It’s intended to explore your beliefs. You can ask me questions too, to explore my beliefs, and I’ll answer them. Did I miss any?

    Patterico (8b3905)

  152. I heard about a method of discussing political arguments wherein each side attempts to understand the other’s point of view, rather than attempt to persuade the other. Supposedly it leads to more respectful discourse.

    Patterico (8b3905)

  153. 18. Romney wasn’t much of a fighter.

    Comment by MyOpinion — 11/12/2012 @ 9:41 am

    I have to disagree with you. I have to give the Mormon some credit. He ran against Kennedy in the ’90s. He ran for President in ’08.

    Knowing the kind of crap he was going to get, he ran again for President in ’12.

    I’d say he was a fighter.

    Steve57 (7a880e)

  154. To expand on my thoughts on the “value” of originalism: I consider that power derives from the People. Governmental power exists only because we as a People have agreed to be bound by the Government, and the Constitution sets forth our agreement and the manner in (and extent to) which we have allowed government to infringe upon our inherent freedoms for the common good.

    But for that agreement to have legitimacy, our written compact must be interpreted in a manner consistent with the common understanding of the words at the time the provisions came into existence.

    Patterico (8b3905)

  155. I think that the government should help feed people who can’t feed themselves

    Private Charity is more effective at helping, and getting people back on their feet and not having to rely on assistance, than the government; and it costs less per person helped.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  156. “I think that the government should help feed people who can’t feed themselves”

    I think governments ought to stick to doing what they do best: killing folks, and stealing.

    Dave Surls (46b08c)

  157. In my view, the words set forth the social compact. The meaning of the words is what was understood at the time the provisions took effect. That is the only thing that gives our government legitimacy.

    Any time we give judges the power to reinterpret those words, not according to the true meaning of the words, but according to what the judges find “pragmatic,” then we have lost any legitimacy in the agreement. Rather than the agreement standing for the social compact as embodied in a document, the agreement becomes whatever today’s unelected judges believe to be “pragmatic.”

    I didn’t agree to that and I don’t think the American people ever did.

    Patterico (8b3905)

  158. Private Charity is more effective at helping, and getting people back on their feet and not having to rely on assistance, than the government; and it costs less per person helped.

    I agree.

    Patterico (8b3905)

  159. Leviticus: I think that the government should help feed people who can’t feed themselves – regardless of what the Framers thought about it.

    Yeah. And I can imagine someone coming along thinking that free speech isn’t such a hot idea “regardless of what the Framers thought about it.” (Yes, I’m equating the two from a conceptual standpoint.)

    In a nutshell, it’s not that the Left has a problem with the Constitution per se. It’s that they have a problem with the rule of law.

    beer 'n pretzels (6ef50f)

  160. Pragmatism has probably killed more people in the 20th-century than anything else.

    Munich was Pragmatic, and that turned out so well.
    “...From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an iron curtain has descended across the Continent...” and that Pragmatism worked so well for the peoples of Eastern Europe.

    Most of the Great Power moves were derived from Pragmatism, and most of them were failures at a tremendous cost in human suffering and lives.

    I’m personally sick of Pragmatism!

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  161. Mitt Romney sure did let a lot of people down

    happyfeet (b07c5f)

  162. “I heard about a method of discussing political arguments wherein each side attempts to understand the other’s point of view, rather than attempt to persuade the other. Supposedly it leads to more respectful discourse.”

    - Patterico

    I’ve heard of that method somewhere myself – and I’m glad to be implementing it here. It doesn’t feel like a cross-examination: these are the sorts of discussions that your site has traditionally been great at facilitating; it’s exciting to be engaged in one.

    (As a disclaimer, I’ll be in and out of class over the next few hours, so the timing of my comments might be a little disjointed).

    So:

    Yes, I consider myself bound by the Constitution in its current manifestation – the way I consider myself bound by any law, and more so. I consider myself bound by it because the process that it implements has proven remarkably effective for the protection of substantive rights that I value – and because that process has proven to be flexible enough to recognize the substantive errors of the past.

    The problem I have with your argument for originalism at #153 is that it seems premised on a notion of “take it or leave it” tacit consent that I don’t entirely buy – the idea that we as self-governing people can be bound to respect a meaning giving to words by “We the People” 220 hundred years ago. I think the consent of the governed comes from debating the Constitution, rather than simply living under it.

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  163. In other words, neither you nor I ever agreed to be bound by the interpretation of the Constitution held by the Framers. In fact, no one ever asked. I nonetheless consider myself bound to it for the reasons expressed above, and because I have actively consented to it by virtue of engaging it rather than rejecting it outright.

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  164. I’ll also note that it will look like boilerplate political BS if the GOP goes around talking about a fiscal precipice and then rejects another 10-to-1 spending cut/revenue hike deal.

    There was no deal ever offered that contained even a symbolic $1 of spending cuts. All offers were only to increase spending by less than the Dems’ original plans.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  165. 150. …You can ask me questions too, to explore my beliefs, and I’ll answer them. Did I miss any?

    Comment by Patterico — 11/12/2012 @ 12:58 pm

    That’s the thing. Joseph Curl gets it wrong. People have asked me questions, and in the face of all that I’ve stuck to certain of my positions. I’m not incapable of changing my mind. But when I don’t it’s for a reason.

    Maybe I do actually believe that life begins at conception. And asking me to compromise on the abortion issue is something like asking me if it’s just Ok if you kill Romanians.

    Sorry, gay people. I really don’t dedicate my life to harshing your mellow. I’ve had it to here with the notion that marriage isn’t about having kids.

    I don’t think at this point it’s important to go into why I disagree. If you want that discussion we can have it later. At this point I’m just observing I have that disagreement for a reason. I don’t have some bottomless pit of hate I draw on for these purposes. Maybe, pace Joseph Curl, after years of questioning I decided it was the right thing.

    The easiest thing I could do would be to compromise.

    Steve57 (7a880e)

  166. I consider myself bound by the words (and meanings of those words) used by The Founders, as that agreement was purchased by the sacrifice of countless thousands who raised their right-hands and proclaimed (as did I):
    I, (NAME), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  167. Leviticus: Yes, I consider myself bound by the Constitution in its current manifestation

    When the amendment process has been abandoned, as it has, and changes are done by judicial fiat (or “debating the Constitution”, as you put it)there is no “current manifestation.” This is the point.

    beer 'n pretzels (6ef50f)

  168. Steve57 – compromising, or giving up, is always easier.

    JD (185efa)

  169. The problem I have with your argument for originalism at #153 is that it seems premised on a notion of “take it or leave it” tacit consent that I don’t entirely buy

    I made that comment at #153.

    I didn’t have anything to say about originalism. Just that Mitt Romney has proved himself to be a fighter.

    Steve57 (7a880e)

  170. I think the consent of the governed comes from debating the Constitution, rather than simply living under it.

    Does debating mean redefining according to contemporary ideals here?

    JD (185efa)

  171. #154, I mean.

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  172. “Does debating mean redefining according to contemporary ideals here?”

    - JD

    Potentially, but not necessarily.

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  173. 168.Steve57 – compromising, or giving up, is always easier.

    Comment by JD — 11/12/2012 @ 1:37 pm

    Yeah, and I’m not against taking the path of least resistance when I can take it and still look myself in the mirror. Sometimes I can’t.

    Steve57 (7a880e)

  174. If either due to rape, incest or just not being “careful”, susie Q decides to get a safe early term abortion (and I don’t have to pay for it) why should it matter to me. In a free country why do I deserve to have a say over what susie Q does to, and with her body and her soul?

    Because she’s not doing to her body or soul, she’s doing it to an innocent child. Or rather, she’s hiring a hit man to do it. It’s your business and mine for the exact same reason that any murder-for-hire is our business. The proposition that it’s OK to kill a minor if you have a parent’s permission is from the dark ages. Back then murder was a matter between the killer and the victim’s family; if the family was OK with it then the law took no interest. Thus it was a simple matter to dispose of your own relatives. A civilised society stands up for the victims who have nobody else to stand up for them.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  175. “When the amendment process has been abandoned, as it has, and changes are done by judicial fiat (or “debating the Constitution”, as you put it)there is no “current manifestation.” This is the point.”

    - beer ‘n pretzels

    The judiciary has been changing the meaning of the Constitution by fiat since 1803.

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  176. That, by the way, is a point that I haven’t heard Republicans make enough: abortion isn’t something mothers do, it’s something strangers do with the mother’s permission. The pro-abortion movement frames it as something women do themselves, as if the abortionist is a mere tool, rather than a moral agent. I don’t want to imprison women for having their children aborted, especially if they were desperate for whatever emotional reason they had; I want to imprison the abortionist they hired, who was not desperate, and did it either for the money or out of pure bloodthirst. If there are no hit men, there will be no hits.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  177. The Robed Wonders, in their infinite wisdom, have determined that the 1st-trimester is a “sorry, didn’t mean it” period, where you’re allowed a do-over, no harm-no foul, and that’s the fact Jack!
    It is not one of their Shining Moments.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  178. Potentially, but not necessarily.

    This is where the hurdles are. Or pitfalls. And where the process becomes one where the robed figures get to redefine at will.

    JD (185efa)

  179. “This is where the hurdles are. Or pitfalls. And where the process becomes one where the robed figures get to redefine at will.”

    - JD

    Yes, I agree.

    I should state at this point that I have more faith in judges than I have in legislators under this piece of sh*t two-party system. If we had an actual representative system of government, I might be less of a fan of judicial activism.

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  180. The problem seems to arise where they have, instead of basing their ruling on a firm foundation of the written Constitution, propounded on emanations from penumbras, and other such silliness.

    But, if they didn’t jerk the law out of their a$$, there would be no room for their heads.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  181. “A civilised society stands up for the victims who have nobody else to stand up for them.”

    - Milhouse

    I agree.

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  182. With regard to pre- and post-natal human life.

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  183. Yes, democracy is a terrible form of government, it inconveniently just happens to be better than all the rest.
    But, it doesn’t matter whether they are Federalists or Republicans (original Jeffersonians), Democrats or Whigs, Rights or Lefts, Ins or Outs, Mods or Rockers; any group of people will disagree over certain things and will have to come to a working agreement over those differences. The saving grace of America is that we have only had one SERIOUS disagreement – but what’s 600,000 men among friends.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  184. I lost track of the strawmen in that post, Milhouse. I don’t believe anyone is asking you (or Steve57) to compromise or to change your minds or to violate your religious principles with respect to marriage or abortion. No one is even asking you to stop thinking other people are evil if they see things differently than you do if that’s what floats your boat. But please, just remember that there are a lot of people who don’t agree with you– and they’re not liberals– and they would like to win an election at some point over the next thirty years or so.

    elissa (5e610d)

  185. I waited 40-years for the GOP to retake Congress, I don’t think I have another 30 in me.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  186. Go all in for issues like school choice. Good for kids, parents, and the GOP. And it’s not obvious. That’s how the Dems succeeded, right? Triangulation?

    Patricia (be0117)

  187. “Ending the waiver of the 90-day limit for food stamps in situations not involving children would save billions. Right now. It’s not if we can, it’s if we will.”

    - Kevin M

    I cannot f*cking believe that’s what we want to talk about cutting when we have a TRILLION dollar a year military budget.

    The military budget is what the federal government is for. There’s surely waste in it that can be cut, but it’s the core function of the USA, and one has to accept that it will be inefficient because anything government does is inefficient, but it’s necessary.

    When cutting the household budget, you don’t even consider the kids’ health insurance until you’ve looked at everything else. Sure, there may be a cheaper and better plan you could shift to, that will save some money without damage to the kids’ health, but first you cut the cruises, the jewelry, the entertainment budget, the dining out, etc., and only then do you gingerly try to save money on health insurance. The military is the same. Remember, there’s nothing so expensive as the second-best armed force.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  188. 184. …I don’t believe anyone is asking you (or Steve57) to compromise or to change your minds or to violate your religious principles with respect to marriage or abortion. No one is even asking you to stop thinking other people are evil if they see things differently than you do if that’s what floats your boat. But please, just remember that there are a lot of people who don’t agree with you– and they’re not liberals– and they would like to win an election at some point over the next thirty years or so.

    Comment by elissa — 11/12/2012 @ 2:02 pm

    Stop me if I’m wrong, elissa, but didn’t I just get called a whole bunch of name?

    And I must humbly protest that the HHS is asking me to change my religion.

    Steve57 (7a880e)

  189. “…and they would like to win an election at some point over the next thirty years or so.”

    That’s why the gloom and doomers are so absurd. Since 1995 the Republicans have won MOST of the national elections.

    The Republican Party is stronger than it’s been at any time since the 1920s, and conversely, the Dems are weaker than they’ve been since the 1920s.

    So, if winning elections is what it’s all about…don’t be in such a big hurry to go changing.

    Dave Surls (46b08c)

  190. Uh,no Steve, I don’t think I called you anything at all and I specifically tried to make the point that I was not arguing with you or asking you to change your position. But then again, maybe I said something I didn’t think I said. Like a dog whistle or something.

    elissa (5e610d)

  191. 187. …There’s surely waste in it that can be cut…

    Comment by Milhouse — 11/12/2012 @ 2:11 pm

    I’m not so sure about that. When the requirement is that it’s got to work at 50 below or submerged in a river or after it gets dropped from 30 thousand feet, the toilet in your P-3 ends up costing 20 grand.

    Steve57 (7a880e)

  192. or whatever.

    Steve57 (7a880e)

  193. Leviticus: The judiciary has been changing the meaning of the Constitution by fiat since 1803.

    True, though irrelevant. There’s a difference between recognizing a reality of history, and advocating it. It’s the latter part that we disagree on.

    beer 'n pretzels (6ef50f)

  194. “The Republican Revolution, Revolution of ’94 or Gingrich Revolution is what the media dubbed the Republican Party (GOP) success in the 1994 U.S. midterm elections,[1] which resulted in a net gain of 54 seats in the House of Representatives, and a pickup of eight seats in the Senate. The clear leader of the so-called revolution was Republican congressman Newt Gingrich, who became Speaker of the House as a result of the victory. The day after the election, Democratic Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama changed parties, becoming a Republican.”

    “The gains in seats in the mid-term election resulted in the Republicans gaining control of both the House and the Senate in January 1995. Republicans had not held the majority in the House for forty years, since the 83rd Congress (elected in 1952).”–wiki

    And, they did it with an anti-abortion plank in the party platform.

    Since then the Republicans have had Congressional majorities much of the time, the Dems have controlled Congress exactly once. Each party has won two close presidential elections.

    Maybe it’s time for the Dems to change THEIR position.

    Dave Surls (46b08c)

  195. elissa, you didn’t ask me to do a thing. I’m not suggesting otherwise.

    I got called a lot of names over the past few months. I’m not saying you were the one calling me those names.

    I don’t deal in dog whistles. Unless I’m working with a dog. I leave that nonsense to other people.

    Steve57 (7a880e)

  196. I have not read all of the above posts, and I did not read all of the linked article, but here is the beginning:
    The Republican Party did not lose last Tuesday’s election. It was obliterated, crushed, slaughtered, massacred, squashed, annihilated — and, let’s hope, extinguished.
    And here is the end:
    If the Republican Party continues to press the notion that its biggest difference with Democrats is that it will fight to outlaw abortion and gay marriage, the GOP is done for good. Simple as that.

    With those as the bookends I’m not sure if anything in between is worth reading. He looks like he is trying to rival Obama for making arguments by setting up straw men then knocking them down. I’m not sure who in the Repub party ever thought it was defined by abortion and gay marriage issues.

    Reagan talked about the 3 legged stool of social issues, economic issues, and strong defense, IIRC. The challenge for the party is to incorporate strong enough stands in all 3 without undue alienation of any one group.

    But as some have said above, and I agree, some people want to win elections for the sake of having power and doing what they want. Others have principles they live by and try to champion them and show how they are the best for running the country.

    You want to run a candidate who is for SS marriage and has no issue with abortion? Isn’t that about what Scott Brown’s position is? And he lost to a lying fraud. Some people want to find a reason to dump social conservatives- hey, guess what, you want that go ahead and promote candidates in the primaries or as a third party if you have to, no one is stopping you.

    Meanwhile, as long as the electorate makes decisions based on perceptions which are not true but the result of media manipulation you can pick any candidate you want and have whatever policy decisions you want, it won’t any blankety blank difference.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  197. But….but….Dave….Progressives are the Vanguard of the Proletariat, and represent the Future.

    FORWARD!

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  198. Comment by MD in Philly — 11/12/2012 @ 2:39 pm

    Well said.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  199. “True, though irrelevant.”

    - beer ‘n pretzels

    It’s not irrelevant to a discussion of originalism.

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  200. I seem to recall something about “preserve the general welfare.” Does feeding those who can’t feed themselves not qualify?

    No, it does not. As Madison, who I think you will agree knew a thing or two about the constitution, said: “I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents”. He also said: “The government of the United States is a definite government, confined to specified objects. It is not like the state governments, whose powers are more general. Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government”. And here is his account of how the “general welfare” clause ended up in the text of the constitution.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  201. Government should make it easy to be good and hard to be bad, it cannot make anybody be one or the other.

    For example, govt should not get in the way of making food donations to homeless shelters.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  202. “With those as the bookends I’m not sure if anything in between is worth reading.”

    I read it. It’s a bunch of Chicken Little tosh.

    Dave Surls (46b08c)

  203. For all the talk of being the “big tent” party, we’re fatally fragmented and divided. Social cons don’t want to accept the new crop of young cons, like myself, who tend to be socially liberal, but fiercely fiscally conservative. They see us as a threat to traditional American values and unbefitting of the fight to install conservatism. Hardcore libertarians don’t want to play with anyone except Ron Paul and Gary Johnson, meanwhile blaming everyone else for what ails America. Moderate Republicans may as well be turncoats because they are viewed with scorn and disdain as the embodiment of why we’ve failed. As long as these striations remain, our hopes of political dominance will be nothing more than that – hopes.

    We all too willingly impose ridiculous purity tests on people we agree with 90% of the time. Not everyone we elect will be the next Reagan, and guess what? That’s OK. Different communities and demographics have different needs, all of which can be successfully addressed by conservatism, and it’s not always going to look the same. We’ve wandered down the very road we lambast the left for traveling — homogenization of ideas. ”Either agree 100% with what we have to say or get out.” Yet we sit around baffled that we were annihilated Tuesday. ”We don’t care who you are, where you’ve been, what you believe or what you do in your own time, we just want government to leave us alone.” Or at least that’s what we say. So why do we bother squabbling about any of the aforementioned anyway?
    ……
    We have to not only accept, but understand that we’re not always going to agree with one another. But… and here’s the good part, because of who we are and what we believe, we’re perfectly suited to be the “big tent” party. It’s time we start acting like it, time we started practicing what we preach. God help us if we don’t.

    http://www.therightscoop.com/is-the-gop-really-the-big-tent-party/

    elissa (5e610d)

  204. Leviticus, the preamble doesn’t grant any powers. It’s just a statement of the general purpose that the constitution is designed to achieve. Or do you think that there’s a separate power to “Secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity”?

    Congress also has the power to lay taxes in order “to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States”; that’s a taxing power, not a spending one; Congress needs a separate grant of power to spend money on any particular thing that it might think is in the general welfare of the US.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  205. 189. …That’s why the gloom and doomers are so absurd. Since 1995 the Republicans have won MOST of the national elections.

    The Republican Party is stronger than it’s been at any time since the 1920s, and conversely, the Dems are weaker than they’ve been since the 1920s.

    So, if winning elections is what it’s all about…don’t be in such a big hurry to go changing.

    Comment by Dave Surls — 11/12/2012 @ 2:19 pm

    I didn’t know Doherty or Woods. But the next time it could be someone I know.

    Hence the doom and gloom.

    The deal always was we’d show up. Or that was what I thought the deal was, as I sat in my nuclear powered splendor drinking coffee. I was no SEAL. I was no Marine. But the idea that someone thinks “Can’t tonight; I’m washing my hair” was the right answer on 9/11/2012 chaps my hide.

    This has now become personal.

    Steve57 (7a880e)

  206. The Republicans are on the wrong side of history on this issue

    Weird — they said that about slavery, eugenics, and communism, too.

    Rob Crawford (e6f27f)

  207. Yes, democracy is a terrible form of government, it inconveniently just happens to be better than all the rest.

    Except for a Republic. Which is what we’re supposed to have. Democracies are mob rule.

    Rob Crawford (e6f27f)

  208. All of those micro lifeydoodle issues should be handled at the state level Mr. P I think

    Which they can’t be until Roe and Casey are overturned.

    Though there’s a decent 14th amendment case for Congress banning abortion.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  209. your argument is premised on an originalism that I do not accept. James Madison – who I think was a genius, for the record – does not live in modern America. The genius of the Framers was in their process, not their substance.

    What possible authority could the fedgov have, except that which the constitution grants it? Where could such authority come from?

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  210. gay marriagings should be a state issue for sure

    doma is stupid

    DOMA is what keeps it a state issue.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  211. Patterico and Leviticus,

    I suppose we could consider John Marshal either a usurper of powers or a preserver of the common law system.

    I understand the “living Constitution” disenchantment. I also understand stagnation — we cannot live like Daniel Boone anymore.

    But, and it is written in Article III, the federal courts’ composition and jurisdiction (with minor exceptions) is dependent on Congress? That’s our safety valve.

    nk (875f57)

  212. Roe and Casey can’t be overturned cause people keep choosing the abortion candidate for president over the cookie cutter abortion police republican lifeydoodles what keep losing losing losing

    happyfeet (b07c5f)

  213. Maybe, just maybe, we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be defined by our opponents. And maybe, just maybe, the faction that foisted McCain and Romney on Team R should not complain so loudly when their more electable candidate gets beat. They got their way, and got beat. Twice.

    JD (185efa)

  214. don’t blame me I voted for bachmann

    happyfeet (b07c5f)

  215. Kevin M – Here is a link to the 2012 GOP Platform for your perusal.

    And who read it? Apparently not any reporter. All anyone saw is “no exception for rape or incest” (mainly because it also didn’t call for abortion to be illegal) because that’s what the AP wrote.

    Part of our problem is that we keep expecting the press to report things fairly, but part of the problem is also that we didn’t want to make our position clear lest someone ask “WHY don’t you want to make abortion illegal?”

    We need to be clear and do what Clinton did: triangulate the bastards.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  216. That came across as more harsh than I intended.

    JD (185efa)

  217. socially liberal, but fiercely fiscally conservative

    elissa, I see this trope all the time, and it’s still a pile of c..p.
    If you are “socially liberal” you want to do things to “better your fellow man”, but those things require you to spend your fellow tax-payer’s money, which ends up not being fiscally conservative.
    If you’re “fiercely fiscally conservative”, you’ll teach that man how to “fish”, and stop giving him a “fish” every day. Teaching you can do on your own (in fact, one person can teach many), but giving someone anything usually requires resources beyond the scope of the individual.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  218. “It’s just a statement of the general purpose that the constitution is designed to achieve.”

    - Milhouse

    My point is that a statement of general purpose really matters when it comes to assessing what’s a proper exercise of (say) Art. I Sec. 8 enumerated powers.

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  219. elissa, I see this trope all the time, and it’s still a pile of c..p.
    If you are “socially liberal” you want to do things to “better your fellow man”, but those things require you to spend your fellow tax-payer’s money, which ends up not being fiscally conservative.

    askeptic, I’m with you man. I’m definitely at a loss here. My choice is between a bunch of people who want to spend money on socially liberal things and a bunch of peeps who want to spend that money smarter.

    Fiscal conservatives.

    I’d rather not spend the money at all, but then that requires social conservatism. Which is a non-starter, apparently, so now my nieces and nephews each owe something like a cool quarter of a million.

    Steve57 (7a880e)

  220. Kevin M- from the 2012 platform:

    The Sanctity and Dignity of Human Life
    Faithful to the “self-evident” truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.

    There is much important policy stuff later in this plank. But it’s the simple call for the constitutional amendment here that more than suggests to most careful readers that abortion would be made illegal in the USA with no exceptions noted should the platform amendment ever be carried out and ratified as stated.

    elissa (deba82)

  221. ____________________________________________

    The latest large Gallup polling on abortion over the summer showed women pretty much evenly divided in this country in terms of classifying themselves as pro-choice or pro-life, roughly 46/45%, as I recall.

    Exactly.

    Similarly, I saw some pundits claiming that anti-illegal immigration policies were making many Latino voters turn off Romney. In actuality, surveys indicated their real problem with him was that he was seen as not touchy-feely enough — that he was perceived as being in too much in a bubble of wealth and privilege — towards the working stiff.

    I often focus on left-leaning biases because those are the dominating factors in what makes people (including voters) tick. And the foolish belief ascribed to by many folks that liberals and liberalism are imbued with great compassion and wonderful generosity, and just the opposite is true of conservatives and conservatism.

    It’s a gut reaction that is pervasive among youth and younger adults, and doesn’t being to dissipate in a fair number of humans until they’ve experienced (and observed) decades of trial and error, and seen the real world for what it really is.

    Regrettably, a fairly sizable portion of humanity — no matter its age — closes its eyes, pretends that Santa Claus is alive and well and living in the North Pole — and still favors “mommy” (ie, liberalism) because she’s easygoing and a pushover, and, in turn, resents “daddy” (ie, conservatism) because he sets the rules and is a party pooper — and consequently never grows up.

    Mark (5bf7b1)

  222. I have never seen Team R suggest that abortion should be illegal, or criminalized.

    JD (185efa)

  223. Steve and askeptic–I don’t think “socially liberal” meant to the author that I quoted above in the “big tent” article the kind of redistibution and “taking care of” that you guys are defining as “socially liberal”. But maybe I am misreading her intent or maybe because I read the whole article I got a different flavor. It’s almost funny how we on the right can’t even seem to agree on what certain terms mean anymore!

    elissa (deba82)

  224. Good point. I think that the government should help feed people who can’t feed themselves – regardless of what the Framers thought about it.

    Why? Since this is something that can be done by those who choose to do it, why should it be done by government? And by what right is it done by government (which is to say, by force)?

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  225. JD–just curious–how do you interpret the constitutional amendment language that would be based on the 14th amendement in the current platform if it is not to ban abortion? I believe the platform committee chaired by the Gov. of VA stated this was an item on the “to do list” aand he was proud of it, although he hinted that he knew it would never come to fruition. That is my whole point. Why is it there, then?

    elissa (deba82)

  226. Suggested strategy;

    1) Buy some damn media, and then dictate the editorial policy. All news is biased. There is no excuse other than laziness for NOT getting YOUR bias out there.

    2) Attack Democrat strong points where they are weak; don’t go after Abortion. Go after abortions being paid for with taxes. Make the issue be whether the government can force people to pay for what they believe to be mass infanticide. Stick to that point, and hit it HARD. The Democrats will be so offended at being accused of forcing their morality on others that their defense should be a mess, at least at first.

    3) Stand out for more accountability in government. There are a LOT of cases where ‘lawr ‘n’ owada” has come to mean that the police and the prosecutors can pull any dirty trick they want to. Making it a campaign point to make sure that the people convicted of crimes are actually guilty will make it hard for the Liberals to depict the Republicans as anti-minority.

    4) Obama’s green pork is a stink that is going to hang around the Democrats’ necks for a while, if the Republicans are willing to hit it hard. Make an issue of how, for the Left “Alternative Energy” somehow always means “Energy that isn’t ready for prime time and will cost the poor more.” Yes, it will cost the Rich more too, but hammer on the cost top the poor. The Democrats are not friends to the poor, no matter what they claim. Challenge them on it.

    5) When the Democrats claim that you want to over roast Big Bird, demand that they explain why the National Endowment For The Arts and similar federal programs should pay for ‘art’ that largely pleases the intellectual class….who by and large aren’t hurting for money.

    Just some thoughts.

    C. S. P. Schofield (fdfc57)

  227. I think a party platform is worth a little less than a warm bucket of spit. I don’t think valuing the sanctity of a yet to be born life is any more extreme than allowing unsuccessfully aborted babies to die after birth. Or partial birth abortion for that matter. I object to ceding the framing of the issue.

    JD (185efa)

  228. In other words, neither you nor I ever agreed to be bound by the interpretation of the Constitution held by the Framers. In fact, no one ever asked. I nonetheless consider myself bound to it for the reasons expressed above, and because I have actively consented to it by virtue of engaging it rather than rejecting it outright.

    We don’t get asked if we agree with particular laws, either, but most of us accept that we are bound by them. If someone argued that they were no so bound, we would have a different discussion, but you and I agree we are bound by the Constitution — whether we agree with every provision or not.

    My view is, what gives this document legitmacy? Because the People embodied in it their agreement to surrender some of their inherent freedoms to form a government. I may be repeating myself, but if the actual document is to have any meaning, how can it have any meaning other than what was understood by the people at the time it was enacted?

    And if we are to give someone a roving warrant to reinterpret provisions to mean something different than they meant at the time, how is it legitimate to give that power to unelected judges? From whence comes the power to reinterpret and thus rewrite provisions? Why would judges be better at deciding what is “pragmatic” and how our values have “evolved” than legislators?

    Patterico (8b3905)

  229. ______________________________________________

    The Republican Party — which, by the way lost women to President Obama by 12 points — needs to run away from its archaic stance.

    Meanwhile, the wonderful, beautiful, humane, generous and decent Democrat Party has come to be symbolized by this:

    Democrats “boo” God.

    I’m not being sarcastic when I now realize that a good portion of the left really doesn’t mind the “goddamn America” history and sentiments — the Jeremiah-Wright-connection — of Barack Obama. Why? Because in their sophisticated view of the world, God isn’t all that he (or she, or it) is cracked up to be. So who gives a, er, uh, damn what he (or she, or it) believes and thinks.

    Mark (5bf7b1)

  230. The judiciary has been changing the meaning of the Constitution by fiat since 1803.

    1. The easy answer is, if so they had no right to. An old lie is still a lie. The constitution means what it means, not what someone says it means. Telling a lie cannot change reality.

    2. The better answer is, no, they haven’t. I don’t accept that any judge in 1803 thought he had the power to change the constitution by fiat. Marbury v Madison wasn’t about changing the constitution, it was two sides honestly trying to figure out what the clause in question actually meant. They were all originalists; the idea that someone might not be originalist never occurred to them. But originalists differ all the time on what the original meaning of some clause is, and they had those differences then too. And all the court said in Marbury was that the judiciary has to follow its own understanding because there’s nothing else it can do. Others may try to persuade it that their view is correct, but at the end of the day if it believes the constitution really says A, it can’t rule B. That is originalism.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  231. ==I think a party platform is worth a little less than a warm bucket of spit==

    On this you and I are in total agreement, JD. However, it was this constitutional amendment language in the Republican platform that launched or fleshed out a thousand marketing programs related to the Dems’ war on women. I know, because I received two mailers and at least three robocalls that specifically mentioned it. When Akins Mourdock and Walsh piped up in imprudent ways it only reinforced the message the Dems already had out there about the “amendment to ban abortion” and it had an effect. Sorry. I know you don’t want to hear it but it really did.

    elissa (deba82)

  232. given the coming chaos and other conditions in the US, if abortion is fought against by NO ONE, I foresee more violence against abortionists.

    their are many vehement objectors to Roe v Wade and to the easy access to abortion. That the Democrats seem comfortable with not relaxing their stance of abortion up to the final minutes in the womb, it’s strange that Republicans are seen a intransigent because they only wish for more humane regulation.

    In the face of Republicans abandoning the pro life plank, many militant christians will see no need to show any further restraint. They have held themselves in abeyance so far as they pinned their hopes on legally restricting abortion.

    Faced with abandonment, they will see no reason to refuse to follow their consciences any longer. they’re beginning to understand that they have nothing to lose and will be harassed and persecuted no matter what.

    The faithful and fervent believers of any religion can be a powerful force. Add to that the firm belief that abortion is murder, they feel they are within their faith to prevent murder by the murder of the person doing the murder.

    This will not end well for the country, the GOP or the Christians.

    Jcw46 (f23062)

  233. Elissa – I have no problem hearing it. I agree what Walsh and Akin said were stupid, Moyrdock less so in its context. Regardless, this issue as a whole registers about a 2 out of 84135789442588421578 on my list of critical issues in 2012. It ranks #1 to Dems, apparently. Maybe, just maybe, Team R can learn to talk about it better. Or point out that it is not the role of the effin federal government. Or point out the actual extreme positions of the enthusiastically pro abortion left.

    Regardless, I am positive of one thing, the MFM and the type that wrote the article that prompted this post would be tickled that we are arguing amongst ourselves about their pet divisive issue. They would much rather discuss abortion than their myriad of epic failures on the economy, deficits, debt, foreign policy, fast and furious, Benghazi, etc

    JD (318f81)

  234. ==given the coming chaos and other conditions in the US, if abortion is fought against by NO ONE, I foresee more violence against abortionists==

    Oh good allah. No one is talking about getting rid of the whole plank which is three paragraphs long or completely demolishing our party’s historic pro life philosophy which promotes education, admonitions and many strong protections with respect to late term, born live, and and partial birth abortions and parental notification. Can people honestly not see the difference between being on record with this type of reasoned approach which takes into account facts on the ground and some exceptions, and being on record with a full blown constitutional amendment to ban abortion?

    elissa (deba82)

  235. Oh good allah.

    I see what you did there :-)

    JD (318f81)

  236. It is entirely possible that the leftists don’t have the best interests of the GOP or conservatives at heart when giving such advice.

    If the GOP turns away from pro-life, traditional marriage, controlling immigration, free markets or any number of traditional GOP positions, they will fragment immediately and go the way of the Whigs.

    Now, certainly, the leftists aren’t trying to hasten that event.

    The problem with Boehner and McConnell is they are stupid enough to believe this is good, heart-felt advice…..

    WarEagle82 (97b777)

  237. All I heard from conservatives for months was how passionately devoted they were to kicking Obama to the curb come November 6th. If that was the case, where was all that ardent passion on election day???

    JEA (fb1111)

  238. We don’t get asked if we agree with particular laws

    Sometimes we do get asked.

    “Code of Conduct:

    Article I

    I am an American, fighting in the forces which guard my country and our way of life. I am prepared to give my life in their defense.

    Article II

    I will never surrender of my own free will. If in command, I will never surrender the members of my command while they still have the means to resist.”

    I agreed to those laws. So did Doherty and Woods.

    Steve57 (7a880e)

  239. We should just scrap the Constitution, and allow ourselves to be ruled by an oligarchy of community organizers and lawyers.

    Elephant Stone (65d289)

  240. Let’s see, our number one issue, jobs and the economy is a meh, an we’re fighting over social issues ’cause the Marxists are laughing they azzes off and need to pee in their pants too to acheive ecstasy.

    Who really thinks making the tent any bigger than Colin hangs with Farrakhan is a blueblood.

    Endorse amnesty of illegals, subsidized abortion, card checks for employees, legal pot(taxed naturally), etc., and tell us, honestly, how many votes you’re gonna bank.

    You’re the sucker born.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  241. :(

    Dustin (73fead)

  242. The republicans should sign on to whatever the regime wants.
    That way we can get this economy to the bottom. The republican party is over. Next election there will be 6 million registered conservatives that are going to flip the finger to rove and the rest of these progressive republicans. Aces and 8′s.

    mg (31009b)

  243. Jedidiah:

    http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2012/11/12/GOP-Time-to-Get-With-It

    Fortunately events will be schooling with hard knocks.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  244. The idea that the GOP would see a net gain in votes from abandoning the pro-life stance is erroneous, so I don’t see any point in discussing whether they should do that as a winning strategy.

    Bad recommendations can come out of thinking that what was a fairly close election means the GOP can never win again. There were several odd factors that contributed to the Democrat win, that (maybe) won’t be repeated, including a huge technical and GOTV superiority, the fact that the Obama campaign was able to buy ad time more cheaply, the ability to hammer the GOP nominee for months without a strong response, and hurricane Sandy, among other things. Then there is the strange affinity parts of the electorate have for Obama, not just blacks.

    The Romney campaign made some errors in their (overoptimistic) assessment of where they stood and what type of campaign was needed to win. Okay maybe that type of error will be repeated – this is the Republicans after all.

    So while the GOP does need a strategy to get more Hispanics, youth and women, it’s not time to hit the panic button.

    Gerald A (f26857)

  245. The republicans hit the panic button when mittens became their nominee.

    mg (31009b)

  246. “I cannot f*cking believe that’s what we want to talk about cutting when we have a TRILLION dollar a year military budget.

    Comment by Leviticus — 11/12/2012 @ 9:59 am

    The military portion of Federal spending is currently 25%. Not historically very high at all.

    Meanwhile, we actually have no “budget”. The Democrats refuse to pass one for four years now, remember?

    SPQR (768505)

  247. “We don’t get asked if we agree with particular laws, either, but most of us accept that we are bound by them. If someone argued that they were no so bound, we would have a different discussion, but you and I agree we are bound by the Constitution — whether we agree with every provision or not.”

    - Patterico

    Yeah, but the whole idea behind a Constitution is that you do ask the people, directly, if they agree with it so that you don’t need to ask them if they agree with each law promulgated under its paradigm. That’s why they sent the Constitution directly to the people who would live under it. (That’s also why Jefferson thought that constitutions needed to be visited every generation). I don’t get asked whether or not I agree with particular laws because of the legal fiction that I consented to the constitutional system by which they came to be. But I didn’t – no one ever asked me. The fact that I happen to think of the document as valid is a happy coincidence, and a conclusion reached by another line of reasoning.

    Leviticus (17b7a5)

  248. Nobody has said anything that changes my opinion that 2016 is going to be a disaster for Democrats.

    They will become a minority party completely, legislatures, governorships, House – as they are now – but also Senate and will lose the Presidency.

    All because of the amount of damage that Congressional Democrats and Obama are doing today to their “brand”. Obama did not get reelected on the basis of any platform, of any policy proposals, of any of his actual “success – obviously since he’s a failure.

    He got elected on a combination of personal cult of personality and fear. And his own war to the knife with all of Democrats’ national figures.

    And when he’s out in 2016, Democrats will be slaughtered.

    SPQR (768505)

  249. The importance of the Constitution, and of reasonably objective interpretation of it, is not whether or not people “agree” with it.

    The importance is that the rules are known. That the actions/powers/restrictions are predictable.

    Stability is far more important than any particular “right” or “power.

    SPQR (768505)

  250. “My view is, what gives this document legitmacy? Because the People embodied in it their agreement to surrender some of their inherent freedoms to form a government. I may be repeating myself, but if the actual document is to have any meaning, how can it have any meaning other than what was understood by the people at the time it was enacted?”

    - Patterico

    I think that discussion about what gives the document legitimacy is the key one, too. But I think that the reference to “the People” adopting the Constitution obscures the fact that it governs other (living) people who never did. Unless we accept that the (long dead) People’s adoption of the Constitution (in and of itself) establishes the Constitution’s validity and binds us to its provisions, the (long dead) People’s understanding of what those provisions meant when they were written isn’t authoritative. We have to look for an alternative foundation for the Constitution’s authoritativeness; and when we find that foundation, it will direct us to the proper interpretive touchstone accordingly.

    Leviticus (17b7a5)

  251. “The importance of the Constitution, and of reasonably objective interpretation of it, is not whether or not people “agree” with it.”

    - SPQR

    It’s important to me that I agree with it; otherwise I’m left wondering how I am a self-governed man who nonetheless finds himself governed by others.

    Leviticus (17b7a5)

  252. You are deliberately avoiding the point.

    SPQR (768505)

  253. And as I keep saying, I do agree with it; but it’s important to figure out why I agree with it so that I can figure out how to interpret it.

    Leviticus (17b7a5)

  254. No I’m not. If anything, you’re making a pragmatic point that supports my argument more than Patterico’s.

    Leviticus (17b7a5)

  255. ==And when he’s out in 2016, Democrats will be slaughtered.==

    What makes you think that with 4 whole years to work with David Axelrod and a compliant motivated media cannot create out of whole cloth still another “glamorous”, “historic” updated Potemkin candidate like Obama for 2016 consumption? The execrable Elizabeth Warren for instance.

    elissa (deba82)

  256. Comment by Leviticus — 11/12/2012 @ 6:32 pm

    There is no mechanism to change our collective “understanding” of what the provisions mean. It certainly isn’t the courts. The constitution can be amended if anything in it is considered seriously inadequate. That’s why this complaint about adhering to the understanding of long dead people has no logical foundation.

    Gerald A (f26857)

  257. 249 – Isn’t obama the alternative foundation for the constitution’s authoritativeness?

    mg (31009b)

  258. We have to look for an alternative foundation for the Constitution’s authoritativeness; and when we find that foundation, it will direct us to the proper interpretive touchstone accordingly.

    Comment by Leviticus — 11/12/2012 @ 6:32 pm

    The proper interpretive touchstone is as it was written. The founding fathers gave us the means to interpret it differently if we choose to do so. It is called the Amendment Process.

    peedoffamerican (ee1de0)

  259. Leviticus, well that confirms that you miss the point entirely.

    SPQR (768505)

  260. “The proper interpretive touchstone is as it was written.”

    - peedoffamerican

    See, that’s not helpful.

    Leviticus (17b7a5)

  261. “Leviticus, well that confirms that you miss the point entirely.”

    - SPQR

    Well then clarify it for me.

    Leviticus (17b7a5)

  262. What makes you think that with 4 whole years to work with David Axelrod and a compliant motivated media cannot create out of whole cloth still another “glamorous”, “historic” updated Potemkin candidate like Obama for 2016 consumption? The execrable Elizabeth Warren for instance.

    Comment by elissa — 11/12/2012 @ 6:39 pm

    Is she thinking of running or are you just using her as an example?

    Gerald A (f26857)

  263. elissa, I don’t think any other candidate has the ability to remain a blank slate for the electorate to paint with their feelings like the Empty Suit(tm).

    Warren is a f’ing idiot and can’t pull of the trick of looking intelligent enough to order her own coffee drink unassisted. See the recent press conference she held.

    SPQR (768505)

  264. “The proper interpretive touchstone is as it was written.”

    - peedoffamerican

    See, that’s not helpful.

    Comment by Leviticus — 11/12/2012 @ 6:43 pm

    Not helpful to what exactly?

    Gerald A (f26857)

  265. The number 1 issue for the GOP in 2016 is not to get blamed for what Obama and Co will “accomplish”.

    That will also be the number 2 through 10 issues.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  266. Leviticus, the most important part of governmental institutions are stability and predictability. If you look over what governmental forms have a reasonable lifetime, that’s what you’ll find.

    Even if the people don’t “like” a provision of the Constitution – and there has always been controversial portions of it during US history – its the stability and predictability of it that are important. People know how to accomplish what they must within it. People know that others are constrained by it and know the boundaries within which the governing class must operate.

    That’s been its strength, a strength only tested – and literally to the breaking point – once in our history.

    SPQR (768505)

  267. lieawatha and her voting comrades have made the decision to leave the commonwealth easy.

    mg (31009b)

  268. See, that’s not helpful.

    Comment by Leviticus — 11/12/2012 @ 6:43 pm

    How is it not helpful? The only stable method of interpretation of a constitution or a law is how it was written at the time. It cannot be an interpretation that is ever changing based on the whims of a non-elected judiciary. If it is based on that, then it has no meaning whatsoever. That is why the amendment process was outlined.

    peedoffamerican (ee1de0)

  269. Elissa, how would you prefer the plank to have been worded? That we would write exceptions into the fourteenth amendment? That we recognise everybody’s right to the equal protection of the laws, except the children of rapists?! Whom else shall we then exclude? Perhaps illegal immigrants. Make them fair game; hunting them can be a sport. And Moslems; they’re at war with us, after all. The 14th amendment by its nature can’t have exceptions; either everyone is protected or nobody is.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  270. Comment by Leviticus — 11/12/2012 @ 6:43 pm

    He’s right it’s not helpful if you just don’t like the interpretation and don’t think you could marshall something approaching a consensus to formally change it. Any governing document’s not helpful under that criterion no matter when it was adopted.

    Gerald A (f26857)

  271. Question: where would black people be if American judges had always strictly adhered to originalism?

    And how would their situation have improved? Amendment?

    Is that right, either way?

    Leviticus (17b7a5)

  272. I agree—the Constitution is bad for the middle classes, and bad for America.

    But I do like free ice cream, and watching sunsets on the beach. And high taxes—everyone loves high taxes because they know the money is going to help victims of society. Or something. I think Oliver Wendell Holmes made that point. Or was it said by his brother, Sherlock ? Maybe it was actually from a soliloquy in “King Lear.”

    Elephant Stone (65d289)

  273. “It cannot be an interpretation that is ever changing based on the whims of a non-elected judiciary.”

    - peedoffamerican

    It always has been, as far as I can tell.

    Leviticus (17b7a5)

  274. Question: where would black people be if American judges had always strictly adhered to originalism?

    And how would their situation have improved? Amendment?

    Is that right, either way?

    Comment by Leviticus — 11/12/2012 @ 7:01 pm

    Originalist interpretation of what exactly?

    Gerald A (f26857)

  275. Do you have something to add, Elephant Stone? Or are you just mugging for the audience?

    You’re very cool and savvy. Here’s a cookie.

    Go away.

    Leviticus (17b7a5)

  276. “It cannot be an interpretation that is ever changing based on the whims of a non-elected judiciary.”

    - peedoffamerican

    It always has been, as far as I can tell.
    Comment by Leviticus — 11/12/2012 @ 7:05 pm

    So what’s your point?

    Gerald A (f26857)

  277. Question: where would black people be if American judges had always strictly adhered to originalism?

    They’d be very well off; why wouldn’t they be? What part of the original understanding of the constitution is detrimental to black people?

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  278. why come I never get a cookie there is not an equitable distribution of cookies

    happyfeet (b07c5f)

  279. Question: where would black people be if American judges had always strictly adhered to originalism?

    And how would their situation have improved? Amendment?

    Is that right, either way?

    Comment by Leviticus — 11/12/2012 @ 7:01 pm

    Yes through amendments, you know like the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments. Slavery didn’t end because of the Civil War or because of some judges interpreting it out of existence. It was ended by the 13th amendment, and full rights guaranteed by the 14th and 15th amendments.

    peedoffamerican (ee1de0)

  280. Gerald A: of our Constitution, with regard to (say) Art. I Sec. 2.

    Leviticus (17b7a5)

  281. Leviticus: It always has been, as far as I can tell.

    Marbury v. Madison, therefore Roe v. Wade. Is that it?

    Sorry, no originalist rules out the role of judicial interpretation. This does not equal judicial whim.

    To assert that the level of judicial activism we have seen in recent years is somehow a historical norm is ridiculous.

    beer 'n pretzels (6ef50f)

  282. “Slavery didn’t end because of the Civil War.”

    - peedoffamerican

    My understanding is that under the Reconstruction Acts, the defeated Southern states would not be admitted back into the Union (and would be ruled by martial law) until they voted to ratify the 14th Amendment. I believe it was characterized as having them ratify the amendments “at the point of a bayonet.” So I’m a little skeptical.

    Leviticus (17b7a5)

  283. More recently don’t forget about the letter from Birmingham jail.

    elissa (deba82)

  284. You still miss the point. If the constitution can be changed just because some judges want it to mean something else, then it has no stability and means absolutely nothing. Remember, if one side can interpret to mean whatever, then the other side when it comes to power can do the same. Say goodbye to Freedom of the Press, or Free Speech rights, and all of the other rights that follow. Just because they are written that way, is not what that actually means, then under judicial interpretation. What, we can’t have a dictator for life under the Constitution? Well, yes we can if a future Supreme Court is just allowed to interpret the Constitution by “evolving standards”.

    peedoffamerican (ee1de0)

  285. “They’d be very well off; why wouldn’t they be? What part of the original understanding of the constitution is detrimental to black people?”

    - Milhouse

    The part where they weren’t counted as full people (say, for purposes of apportionment)?

    Leviticus (17b7a5)

  286. Sorry, no originalist rules out the role of judicial interpretation. This does not equal judicial whim.

    To expand: “interpretation” means doing your honest best to discern what the text you’re reading actually means. What you wish it said, or what it would say if you were writing it, is irrelevant. When a court starts saying that “since we have the sole power to determine what it means, we can say whatever we like and nobody can gainsay us”, then they are not engaged in interpretation, they’re engaged in fraud. Wickard, for instance, was a fraudulent decision; none of the justices actually believed that’s what the commerce clause means, — that the states who ratified the compact and surrendered their sovereignty understood themselves to be subjecting their people to federal rule of anything to do with commerce — they just said so because it suited them. They were amending the constitution, not interpreting it. And that is not within their power.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  287. “What, we can’t have a dictator for life under the Constitution? Well, yes we can if a future Supreme Court is just allowed to interpret the Constitution by “evolving standards”.”

    - peedoffamerican

    That’s the nice thing about the judiciary having “neither force nor will, but merely judgment” right? If they say anything that ridiculous, we can tell them to go f*ck themselves, a la Andrew Jackson.

    I have more faith in this system’s judges than its legislators. That’s the big thing.

    Leviticus (17b7a5)

  288. The part where they weren’t counted as full people (say, for purposes of apportionment)?

    1. There is nothing in the constitution about black people counting less than white ones. There is a bit about slaves — black, white, or brindled — counting less than free people, again of any race or colour.

    2. Again you raise this clause; please tell us what you think it should have said instead. How many fifths should slaves have counted as? If you say 5/5 you lose. The correct answer is 0/5, they should not have been counted in the census at all. But if the north had insisted on that there would never have been a USA at all, so they compromised. You’re all about compromise, aren’t you? You want us to trade tax rises for spending cuts. So why not give the south a little extra representation, to which they were not justly entitled, in return for their agreeing to a union so the British didn’t come and retake both north and south? But you can’t point to this clause as being somehow unfair to slaves, let alone to black people. Being counted in the census was not in the slaves’ interest.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  289. Milhouse,

    You asked “what part of the original understanding of the constitution is detrimental to black people?” I answered “[the 3/5 clause].” You answer “There is nothing in the constitution about black people counting less than white ones.” But we’re talking about “original understanding,” and the original understanding of the 3/5 clause – that it was MEANT to address the issue of black slaves (as the notes on the convention make perfectly clear) – was in fact highly detrimental to black people.

    Leviticus (17b7a5)

  290. That’s the nice thing about the judiciary having “neither force nor will, but merely judgment” right? If they say anything that ridiculous, we can tell them to go f*ck themselves, a la Andrew Jackson.

    I have more faith in this system’s judges than its legislators. That’s the big thing.

    Comment by Leviticus — 11/12/2012 @ 7:36 pm

    No you couldn’t because under your belief, they have the right to interpret it willy-nilly on today’s understandings, and not on the historical basis of when it was written. If it can be interpreted under societies’ evolving standard, then any interpretation is valid. And you must not be a very big believer of the founding fathers either! They were and I am, highly skeptical of unelected judges. They expressed great fear of even establishing a judiciary with interpretive powers for fear of establishing an unelected oligarchy.

    peedoffamerican (ee1de0)

  291. I feel like we’re off-topic. The key question, as I think Patterico has expressed it, is the question of legitimacy.

    What makes our Constitution legitimate?

    Leviticus (17b7a5)

  292. By the way, I think the framers of the 14th amendment section 2 got it wrong. They should have simply provided that only those eligible to vote under state law may be counted in the census. Women (where not enfranchised), minors, aliens, disenfranchised felons and rebels, none of them should have been counted. Then there would have been no need for the 15th amendment, or the 19th or 26th. States that extended the franchise would see their representation increase, and those who restricted it would soon feel forced to compete.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  293. It is legitimate as written because it is a continuing pact with ‘We The People’, it is not legitimate if it can be interpreted to mean whatever society wants it to as evolving standards.

    peedoffamerican (ee1de0)

  294. “It is legitimate as written because it is a continuing pact with ‘We The People’.”

    - peedoffamerican

    I’m sorry. I’m not trying to be a dick, but I don’t know exactly what that means.

    How is it a “continuing pact”? What continues it? With which People?

    Leviticus (17b7a5)

  295. Well it is a continuing pact because “We The People Of The United States” have not yet withdrawn the consent of the governed.

    peedoffamerican (ee1de0)

  296. But we’re talking about “original understanding,” and the original understanding of the 3/5 clause – that it was MEANT to address the issue of black slaves (as the notes on the convention make perfectly clear) – was in fact highly detrimental to black people.

    I don’t believe you. I think you are making this up. The language is perfectly clear, and I don’t believe there was any discussion of race in the debate on this clause. From the very first census it was applied to all slaves and to no freemen, regardless of race.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  297. We have to look for an alternative foundation for the Constitution’s authoritativeness; and when we find that foundation, it will direct us to the proper interpretive touchstone accordingly.

    Comment by Leviticus — 11/12/2012 @ 6:32 pm

    I don’t understand the above at all. Doesn’t the authoritativeness of any law or statute derive from the time it was written unless amended or superceded?

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  298. Why would you have more faith in judges than legislators?
    Judges are, by their nature, anti-democratic since they do not have to answer to the People.
    Legislators, due to their desire to be re-elected, have to please at least 50%+1 of the people they represent.
    A judge, once confirmed by the Senate, has to answer to no one.
    That is why Mr. Jefferson had such a low regard for the Judiciary, especially after Mr. Marshall took onto the Supreme Court the power to undo legislative acts – a power which may, or may not, have been intended in the Constitution (it was probably hiding in some penumbra of an emanation).

    elissa, on the matter of social liberalism:
    I understand that to mean undertaking programs to “benefit” certain segments of the population that are seen as unable to fend for themselves, or to advance within society. The Housing Bubble is probably a very good example of a “socially liberal” program, and is very instructive on how it can be destructive to many more than it can, or did, help.

    askeptic (2bb434)

  299. Leviticus is making a decent point here; see Lysander Spooner’s No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  300. Yes, but if we are all free to follow our own dictates, doesn’t that lead to anarchy?

    askeptic (2bb434)

  301. Milhouse,

    “Mr. Butler & Genl. Pinkney insisted that blacks be included in the rule of Representation, equally with the Whites: and for that purpose moved that the words “three fifths” be struck out.

    Mr. Gerry thought that 3/5 of them was to say the least the full proportion that could be admitted.

    Mr. Ghorum. This ration was fixed by Congress as a rule of taxation. Then it was urged by the Delegates representing the States having slaves that the blacks were still more inferior to freemen. At present when the ratio of representation is to be established, we are assured that they are equal to freemen. The arguments on the former occasion had convinced him that 3/5 was pretty near the just proportion and he should vote according to the same opinion now.

    Mr Williamson reminded Mr. Ghorum that if the Southern States contended for the inferiority of blacks to whites when taxation was in view, the Eastern States on the same occasion contended for their equality. He did not however either then or now, concur in either extreme, but approved of the ratio 3/5.

    On Mr. Butler’s motion for considering blacks as equal to Whites in the apportionment of Representation: [Motion Failed]

    Mr. Wilson did not well see on what principle the admission of blacks in the proportion of 3/5 could be explained. Are they admitted as Citizens? then why are they not admitted on an equality with White Citizens? are they admitted as property? then why is not other property admitted into the computation? These were difficulties however which he thought must be overruled by the necessity of compromise. He had some apprehensions also from the tendency of the blending of the blacks with the whites, to give disgust to the people of Pennsylvania as had been intimated by his Colleague [Mr. Governor Morris].

    Mr Governor Morris was compelled to reduced to the dilemma of doing injustice to the Southern States or to human nature, and he must therefore do it to the former. For he could never agree to give such encouragement to the slave trade as would be given by allowing them a representation for their negroes, and he did not believe those States would ever confederate on terms that would deprive them of that trade.”

    Madison, Notes of Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787 268 – 76 (W.W. Norton & Company, Bicentennial Edition 1987).

    Leviticus (17b7a5)

  302. I believe that if Mike D’antoni can persuade that international coalition of Kobe Bryant (grew up in Italy for a number of years), Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol (Spain), Steve Nash (Canada), and Metta World Peace (a different galaxy ?) to put aside their partisan differences and work together for a shared goal of a championship, there’s no telling how far they can go. On the other hand, is it reallly fair for the Lakers to add yet another championship pennant to the rafters ?
    Maybe they should re-distribute some of their victories to the less fortunate teams.

    At the very least, Staples Center should re-distribute some of their over-priced concessions to hungry and thirsty westside liberals who pay hundreds of dollars for a ticket to see a game at Staples Center. I mean, isn’t a violation of the Constitution to sell stadium watered-down beer (only 3.2% alcohol content !) for ten bucks a cup ? And on what planet does a plate of nachos have a market value equal to two gallons of gas ?

    I just don’t understand why former Chief Justice Earl Warren didn’t foresee such a dystopia unfolding, fifty years ago.
    Maybe if he’d done more to facillitate the left wing welfare state, there would be fewer victims of a heartless society in 2012. Or something.

    Elephant Stone (65d289)

  303. The way this Lakers team is playing, the beer concession will do very well.

    askeptic (2bb434)

  304. happy feet,

    It’s that Cookie Monster over on Sesame Street who is hoarding all the cookies. And he’s probably going to end up with more cookies now that PBS’ funding is going to inevitably increase.
    But I hear that Bert and Earnie are trying to introduce him to a healthier diet of smaller-sized cokes, and carrots with ranch dressing.
    Ok, and that Mayor Bloomberg person has something to do with it, too.

    Elephant Stone (65d289)

  305. The Constitution is a contract Leviticus. And as a contract, it has to be interpreted in the usage of language that was in force at the time of the contract’s acceptance. If it is not, then it is not worth the paper that it is written upon. No one gets to redefine the meaning of is, and, free, or any other words included in the contract except by the way that the contract specifies that it can be amended. Any ruling by the judiciary that is contrary to this is invalid. I do admit that there have been several. If it continues, ‘We The People’ have every right to withdraw the consent of the governed. We already have that right under egregious over-reaching by the federal government already.

    peedoffamerican (ee1de0)

  306. “reasoned approach which takes into account facts
    on the ground and some exceptions”

    Great Satan’s scrotum!

    Reasoned approaches have been attempted in a number of states all to be rebuffed and ridiculed and protested as infringements on a woman’s right to murder a child by the peace loving peoples of the Democrat Party.

    I’m not in agreement with the sentiment of violence, I’m just drawing a conclusion from what I see as a growing frustration of Christians with the Republican party and their continual dancing around the subject. I actually agree that the Republicans should be honest and take it out of their platform. They’re obviously, like yourself, uncomfortable with absolutes. But they understand, unlike many I’ve seen trying to blame SoCons for not showing up, that without the Christian right, the Republican party might as well call themselves Democrat Party 2.0 and they’ll never win anywhere except local red state elections.

    I foresee even that going away as SoCons decide if they’re going to be marginalized, better to be marginalized on your own terms and not some God hating group of NE CC Repubs in white shoes and white belts.

    Jcw46 (f23062)

  307. I don’t know anything about this Curl fellow, but I do know he is full of what is usually excreted.

    Ag80 (b2c81f)

  308. Comment by Leviticus — 11/12/2012 @ 7:01 pm

    Question: where would black people be if American judges had always strictly adhered to originalism?

    And how would their situation have improved? Amendment?

    Steven Spielberg just made a movie about that.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lincoln_%282012_film%29

    Of course the passage of the 13th amendment wasn’t done completely honorably and legitimately. There was some corrupt dealing involved, and the states that had seceded weren’t counted – unless they approved maybe – but that was more with the 14th and 15th amendments.

    Lincoln preferred to leave unsettled the question of whether the states that seceded had ever really left the union.

    Sammy Finkelman (b7434f)

  309. Comment by Kevin M — 11/12/2012 @ 9:34 am

    The whole GOTV failure was the fault of management

    Who selected that management?

    Sammy Finkelman (b7434f)

  310. The problem isn’t even abortion, the problem is pretending you can do something very much about it.

    If you can’t, why let the Democrats go around claiming you will?

    Sammy Finkelman (b7434f)

  311. Leviticus, OK, so there was discussion of race. But the language that made it into the constitution was racially neutral. So of what relevance is the discussion? How does it support your contention that the original understanding of the constitution was detrimental to blacks?

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  312. mom said cookie monster is cool beans but elmo is stranger danger

    happyfeet (e976dc)

  313. That’s why the 13th includes “involuntary servitude” meaning servitude for a term of years (indentureship) and apprenticeship (servitude until coming of age. Cf. Slaughterhouse Cases.

    nk (875f57)

  314. Knock it off, Milhouse. Chattel slavery in antebellum America was race-based. Some states had the one-drop rule, some did not. Hell, Jefferson’s sister-in-law, his wife’s sister, was his slave, a wedding gift.

    nk (875f57)

  315. There never was more vile slavery than North European/Anglo-Saxon slavery.

    Take the good with the bad. Be proud of your country warts and all.

    nk (875f57)

  316. The substance behind the fakey “science” of Jefferson committing blood-mixing is that Sally Hemmings was Martha Wayles’s sister. Same DNA. Also, who’s to say that his daughter was not fond of dark meat. She and Sally sailed to France, and Sally came back with a black baby.

    nk (875f57)

  317. I do know the word “miscegenation”, BTW, and whoever invented it should be … I leave it up to Satan.

    nk (875f57)

  318. A quick search brings up Wiki on 2012 budget (always with a grain or two of salt). US National Defense budget for 2012 is $716.3 Billion. According to Wiki, this is about 41% of the total of world military spending. China’s spending is about 1/5 of the US – 2.0% of their GDP v. 4.7% of ours. The DOD number does not include VA, which is separately $129.6 Billion.

    The main point to me about defense spending is in the prescient speech made by Dwight Eisenhower in 1961 in his last address to the nation. The whole speech is a fascinating read and I recommend it. With regard to the military he said clearly it was the foundation of our freedom, but warned that the defense industry needed to be closely monitored, so that it would not have too much influence in our society. What Ike said was:

    “A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction.

    Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea.

    Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. …

    This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

    In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

    We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”

    I think today we see how his concern has played out. It’s very hard politically to cut defense because the defense industry is woven now into the economic framework of every state in the country and, even though the Cold War has been over for a generation, the question, can we ever have too much defense, rarely gets a dispassionate review.

    Ichabod (4efee7)

  319. I’m with you and Eisenhower, Ichabod. He saw America rising to the task to outproduce Germany and Japan, and equip Britain and Russia. And then he saw the sweat and blood of American workers bulldozed into the sea for the sake of new production (and new profit).

    nk (875f57)

  320. @ peedoffamerican. “The Constitution … has to be interpreted in the usage of language that was in force at the time of the contract’s acceptance.”

    If you take this severe a line on Constitutional interpretation how do you avoid an argument that the 2nd Amendment ["A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."] does not protect any right of the people to bear arms today because we do not have, nor consider necessary, a well regulated militia for defense and, even if you get past that, all you could have was a flintlock musket and pistol, a knife, sword, etc., because that’s what arms meant in 1787. If you don’t revise the meaning of the amendment to reflect the changed circumstances brought about by centuries of change, it becomes a useless document to my mind.

    Ichabod (4efee7)

  321. Chattel slavery in antebellum America was race-based

    No, it wasn’t. There were black and white freemen and black and white slaves.

    Some states had the one-drop rule, some did not.

    And in no state did that affect your freedom. Certainly not in the 1780s. In some states things got bad after that, as abolitionist arguments took hold and the supporters of slavery needed to create a rationale for what had previously been unquestioned.

    Hell, Jefferson’s sister-in-law, his wife’s sister, was his slave, a wedding gift.

    And therefore? What had that got to do with her race?

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  322. ally, I have yet to see anyone notice exactly how it is that the GOP will get in power, if ALL the other arguments fail. And it is likely to occur within 5 years….

    Ahminajad gets nukes, he uses them, boom. The Dems are out. Period. NO ONE trusts Dems to actually prosecute a war any more. At its heart, not even Dems. They just stick their heads in the sand and claim the war isn’t reeeeeeeally necessary. And that’s one of the reasons no one trusts them to prosecute a war… because most people grasp that there are times when war is needed.

    Smock Puppet, 10th Dan Snark Master and Aviary Enthusiast (8e2a3d)

  323. @ nk – I don’t think Ike would be quite so harsh given what he said. He saw the real need for the defense industry, which continues today, but worried that it would become so politically powerful that its size and scope would be difficult to contain and a danger to the country. I wonder what he would say, if we could ask him, about what to do about the size of the defense budget today, given the dangers we face and the role we play in the world’s affairs. Would he do what Obama is doing, shifting forces East and about to make a multi-nation state visit of SE Asia, all to offset China’s growing power? I think yes, but that doesn’t mean he would have Ok’d the size of the Defense budget today.

    Ichabod (4efee7)

  324. @ peedoffamerican. “The Constitution … has to be interpreted in the usage of language that was in force at the time of the contract’s acceptance.”

    If you take this severe a line on Constitutional interpretation how do you avoid an argument that the 2nd Amendment ["A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."] does not protect any right of the people to bear arms today because we do not have, nor consider necessary, a well regulated militia for defense

    1. Says who? 2. Irrelevant, since that is the preamble, not the operative clause; it says why it’s important the right not be infringed, it doesn’t affect the fact that it must in fact not be infringed.

    and, even if you get past that, all you could have was a flintlock musket and pistol, a knife, sword, etc., because that’s what arms meant in 1787.

    Bulldust. “Arms” meant in 1787 exactly what it means today. This argument you’re making (or quoting) is thoroughly dishonest. You might as well claim that “food”, as the word was used in the USA of 1787, did not include guavas or macadamias, because they were not included among the types of food known in that time and place. And the next step down your chain of illogic is to claim that even the bread I bought this morning is not “food” in the 1787 sense, because it was baked yesterday and so didn’t exist then!

    If you don’t revise the meaning of the amendment to reflect the changed circumstances brought about by centuries of change, it becomes a useless document to my mind.

    Nonsense built on more nonsense. A dagger manufactured today is an instance of the class “arms” as it was defined in 1787; and so is a machine-gun or a pocket laser.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  325. H/T: Neo-neocon, for a link to this excellent piece on what to do now.

    http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2012/11/11/How-to-Win-in-Blue-State-America-Lessons-from-South-Africa-s-Opposition

    The author was part of an effort to get a white woman elected mayor in South Africa. Surely a more daunting task than electing someone from the GOP in a Blue state…

    Smock Puppet, 10th Dan Snark Master and Aviary Enthusiast (8e2a3d)

  326. “I think yes, but that doesn’t mean he would have Ok’d the size of the Defense budget today.”

    Ichabod – Defense spending in Eisenhower’s day accounted for roughly twice the share of the overall federal budget than it does today.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  327. @ Milhouse – White based slavery? Do you mean indentured servants? My ancestor was one in 1637; not quite the same thing. Once he’d worked his seven years and paid off his passage, he could do what he liked and wound up with a nice farm in CT.

    Interesting quote from Jefferson in a LATimes letter this past weekend: Letter to one of his overseers, Bowling Clarke, 9/21/1792, Jefferson writes: “I do not (while in public life) like to have my name annexed in public papers to the sale of property. …[I]t will be best to carry them to some other sale of slaves in [another] part of the country to be sold.” The letter writer states that Jefferson is trying to hide the sale to protect his public image.

    To my mind it is impossible to understand some parts of the Constitution and the history of the country prior to the Civil War without seeing the centrality of slavery as a political issue. In the Constitution, for instance, you find the republican structure of the Senate, which for the next 70 years the South fought to keep evenly balanced in the number of “slave” and “free” states to protect their “peculiar institution;” the counting of “three fifths of all other Persons,” meaning slaves, to increase representation of the South in the House and their votes in the Electoral College; the provision requiring a “person held to service or labour in one state, … escaping into another, … shall be delivered up,” to deal with fugitive slaves; and the protection of the slave trade for 20 years: “The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight.”

    As you say, slaves and slavery were never mentioned in the Constitution, but the explanation is that those opposed to slavery did not want to give any validity to an argument that federal law sanctioned the practice, so all references were very consciously limited – to “other persons,” for example, when the only other persons were slaves, etc.

    Ichabod (4efee7)

  328. does not protect any right of the people to bear arms today because we do not have, nor consider necessary, a well regulated militia for defense

    My GOD, how many times do we have to refute this DUMBASS BULL S H I T interpretation?

    Madison, in writing the Federalist papers (#46) states it so OVERTLY even YOUR dumbfuck ASS can understand:

    The highest number to which, according to the best computation, a standing army can be carried in any country, does not exceed one hundredth part of the whole number of souls; or one twenty-fifth part of the number able to bear arms. This proportion would not yield, in the United States, an army of more than twenty-five or thirty thousand men. To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties, and united and conducted by governments possessing their affections and confidence. It may well be doubted, whether a militia thus circumstanced could ever be conquered by such a proportion of regular troops. Those who are best acquainted with the last successful resistance of this country against the British arms, will be most inclined to deny the possibility of it. Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of.

    Got that? Militia==Half a million citizens… or every able-bodied male in the country at the time.

    STILL too complext to understand?

    Here, this is about as unambiguous as you can get (emphasis mine):

    Richard Henry Lee (writing under the pseudonym “The Federal Farmer”):

    “A militia when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves, and render regular troops in great measure unnecessary.”

    Now sit down, and STFU until you can actually manage to rub two thoughts together to come up with a worthwhile idea. YEESH.

    IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States (8e2a3d)

  329. @ daleyrocks – Yes, I understand that. Eisenhower notes in the speech that in 1961 we had “three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment,” and that included about 2.5 million active duty. Today that number is more like 1.5 million active. But there was an obvious reason for that large force at the time and the question I am concerned that we don’t ask enough, perhaps because of the power of the defense industry politically Eisenhower warned of, is just how much defense we need today.

    Ichabod (4efee7)

  330. “the question I am concerned that we don’t ask enough, perhaps because of the power of the defense industry politically Eisenhower warned of, is just how much defense we need today.”

    Ichabod – Who do you believe does not ask just how much defense spending we really need today frequently enough for your satisfaction?

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  331. @ Milhouse – guess we won’t agree on that one, my friend. I agree I was making an extreme argument for effect, but doesn’t “originalism” at its most extreme, as argued by Justice Thomas for instance, get you into some of those very difficult corners.

    What would you do with Plessy v. Ferguson, for instance, which interpreted the Constitution to allow separate but equal facilities for the white and Negro races (streetcars), since that was obviously the way it should be in the 1890′s, to be finally overturned in Brown v Board of Education in the 1950′s. Are both those cases right, both wrong, one right, one wrong, based on originalism. Plessy, by the way, was Negro under Louisiana law at the time because one of his great grandparents was Negro, he was 1/8th black – not quite the one drop rule, but close. Interestingly, the whole slavery issue played out much differently in South America because the Catholic Church never would allow any people to be treated as property, for the right of marriage not be honored and upheld in law, etc.

    Ichabod (4efee7)

  332. @ daleyrocks – Well, thinking about it, I think I mean voters who have not already decided the issue on grounds other than reason. I’m an independent and see a lot to dislike about both parties, at the far right folks saying the military budget cannot be questioned and must be increased without question and on the far left that it’s inherently evil and we need to cut it by 90% and put flowers in the tank cannons. I don’t really see much of a rational discussion going on. Sort of what’s going on about now how many ships we should have. The public discussion is mostly political posturing to the respective bases. I’m sure our armed forces have the needs well thought out based on what they expect they will be asked to do, but I’m not sure we think enough about and rationally discuss enough what we should ask them to do, and so therefore what is should cost.

    Ichabod (4efee7)

  333. @ daleyrocks – good talking to you. tomorrow’s another day. Vaya con dios.

    Ichabod (4efee7)

  334. Leviticus: “I feel that the Government should help feed people who can’t feed themselves, regardless of what the Framers thought about it”.

    Leaving out whence you derive the moral authority to impose this feeling on me, let me ask a practical question:

    Even if the outcome is millions of hopeless helpless entitled and millions of illegal immigrants doing the jobs they won’t do because they’re not hungry?

    The Framers had a decent regard for the Gods of the Copybook Headings, who charge very dearly indeed for hubris. “Ending hunger in America” qualifies. We’ll see cannibalism at the endpoint.

    phunctor (35c9da)

  335. …at the far right folks saying the military budget cannot be questioned and must be increased without question…

    Umm k. I’m about as far right as they come, as it’s currently defined. And I’ve never said that. I don’t even know anyone who’s ever said that.

    Steve57 (7a880e)

  336. Erm. Apologies for misquote, Leviticus said thinks, not feels. My bad.

    phunctor (35c9da)

  337. I think today we see how his concern has played out. It’s very hard politically to cut defense because the defense industry is woven now into the economic framework of every state in the country and, even though the Cold War has been over for a generation, the question, can we ever have too much defense, rarely gets a dispassionate review.

    Well, except among people who actually know what they’re talking about. That is, not you

    Clinton eviscerated the Defense budget, but, instead of lowering taxes and/or decreasing the budget with most of that, he just shunted the vast majority of it over into various HEW programs. The defense budget was halved, the budget for HEW tripled under Clinton.

    It’s only as Bush came into office that some percentage of the defense budget was restored. Not all, but enough, because the evidence is that the Defense budget was too low, we were allowing our defense network to get too weak. Unfortunately, Bush did this without related cuts in HEW to keep the budget neutral.

    IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States (8e2a3d)

  338. Ichabod, there’s no question you’re wrong about “the right” and its attitude towards the defense budget. Some of us can see the looming issues that are in the near future — a nuclear Iran, an emboldened Islam with a chip on its shoulders, Islamic Fascism in Europe… And then there’s Chinese Saber-rattling in the Pacific. The coming decades are hardly likely to be empty of a need for the US military, despite the end of the Cold War.

    Many of us actually consider the needs ahead and realize that Reagan was right:

    ‘Of the four wars in my lifetime, none came about because the U.S. was too strong.
    - Ronald Reagan

    IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States (8e2a3d)

  339. 322. Certain DOOM.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  340. The part where they weren’t counted as full people (say, for purposes of apportionment)?

    Comment by Leviticus — 11/12/2012 @ 7:30 pm

    If slaves had been “counted as full people”, we would never have had a 13th Amendment or a 14th Amendment because we’d still have slave states. That is because being “counted” would mean that slave states would have dominated Congress and the electoral college permanently.

    SPQR (768505)

  341. What SPQR said. Indians not taxed were not counted at all, chattel slaves were counted as 3/5 for purposes of apportionment and not counted at all in any other respect.

    Milhouse, you may be right that white chattel slavery existed in America. Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Kidnapped” and “David Balfour” were based on the true story of a young earl who was kidnapped by his uncle and sold into slavery in the Carolinas for twenty-eight years before he escaped.

    It certainly existed in England and in its Caribean colonies under the “bondage” system. Which is why the 13th includes the phrase involuntary servitude.

    As for Martha Wales and Sally Hemmings, they both had the same father. The SOB gave the girl with the white mother to be the wife of a President and the girl with the black mother to be a slave. It’s an obvious point.

    nk (875f57)

  342. The Left has never really understood the illogic of their own argument about the 3/5′s rule, due to their usage of “feelings” over “facts”.
    Not even the fact that it was the “slave owners” who wanted a full accounting in the Census, and it was the those above the Mason-Dixon Line who wished to deny the recognition of the slaves their humanity.

    askeptic (2bb434)

  343. Right, remember they used the whole ‘Sally Hemmings’ gambit, to excuse Bill Clinton, back in ’98, subsequently they found their research was faulty.

    narciso (ee31f1)

  344. Nature, the British magazine who did the Y chromosome thingie with Sally Hemmings’s and Jefferson’s supposed descendants, has beclowned itself more than once, narciso.

    nk (875f57)

  345. Milhouse,

    You asked “what part of the original understanding of the constitution is detrimental to black people?” I answered “[the 3/5 clause].” You answer “There is nothing in the constitution about black people counting less than white ones.” But we’re talking about “original understanding,” and the original understanding of the 3/5 clause – that it was MEANT to address the issue of black slaves (as the notes on the convention make perfectly clear) – was in fact highly detrimental to black people.

    Comment by Leviticus — 11/12/2012 @ 7:43 pm

    Since that’s not in effect today and has not been in effect for a long time, it doesn’t help your argument about something that was agreed to by long dead people. When it was in effect it was accepted.

    I feel like we’re off-topic. The key question, as I think Patterico has expressed it, is the question of legitimacy.

    What makes our Constitution legitimate?

    Comment by Leviticus — 11/12/2012 @ 7:47 pm

    Then why did you shift the topic to discussion of the original understanding being detrimental to blacks?

    The 3/5 clause demonstrates what makes the constitution legitimate. It was accepted while it was in effect and then later superseded by amendments. Maybe it was bad but it wasn’t something being imposed on the people by other long dead people.

    Gerald A (f26857)

  346. I have more faith in this system’s judges than its legislators. That’s the big thing.

    Comment by Leviticus — 11/12/2012 @ 7:36 pm

    Well that pretty much gives the game away, as if there was any doubt.

    Gerald A (f26857)

  347. so yeah basically Mr. Curl is bang on

    happyfeet (b07c5f)

  348. I kind of tend to share King Leonidas’s view, talking to Xerxes, too, BTW, Leviticus: If you really knew what is worthwhile in life, you would not desire power over the lives and property of other peple.

    nk (875f57)

  349. “Leviticus, OK, so there was discussion of race. But the language that made it into the constitution was racially neutral. So of what relevance is the discussion? How does it support your contention that the original understanding of the constitution was detrimental to blacks?”

    - Milhouse

    That’s your reaction to that excerpt? That the language is racially neutral, so the intent behind it doesn’t matter? I can pull some more material from the Notes, if you want.

    Our original Constitution understood that blacks were legitimate objects of slavery because they were black – which is why your repeated emphasis on the fact that there were black and white slaves/indentured servants is a sleight of hand. If you were white, you could only be enslaved for a reason; if you were black you could be enslaved for living on the wrong part of the African coast. Our original Constitution accepted this – possibly embraced it.

    Leviticus (17b7a5)

  350. Our original Constitution understood that blacks were legitimate objects of slavery because they were black

    False, Leviticus. The Constitution certainly recognized the existence of slavery. And that assumption that blacks were appropriately slaves was the assumption of the slave holding classes and many non-slaveholding people of the time. But the race assumption is not explicitly written into the Constitution itself.

    SPQR (768505)

  351. Comment by Leviticus — 11/13/2012 @ 7:06 am

    I feel like we’re off-topic. The key question, as I think Patterico has expressed it, is the question of legitimacy.

    What makes our Constitution legitimate?

    Comment by Leviticus — 11/12/2012 @ 7:47 pm

    Off topic again!

    Gerald A (f26857)

  352. . Our original Constitution accepted this – possibly embraced it.

    BS

    JD (318f81)

  353. Hell, yeah, our Constitution embraced slavery. It was a pact with the Devil to keep thirteen colonies together as a nation. And we renounced the pact in 1863-1865, paying for the renunciation with the lives of 500,000 Americans.

    nk (875f57)

  354. 345. Thread winner?

    So here we are. Millions of Americans voting Dhimmi get to keep their health insurance and cost of living increases, while 52%, not employed by government, now have a partime jobs and a $2000 surtax for their trouble on top of sh*tty care.

    Glad I no longer commute across the cities for work.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  355. Ease back, Leviticus. Even Scalia brings pre-American common law into his “originalist” interpretations. But, but, but … as Oliver Wendell Holmes said, the law is based on experience.

    nk (875f57)

  356. General Sherman’s letters are worth reading. He did not burn the South because he was a cruel man. He burned it because he did not want another series of “revolutions” and wars the way Mexico turned out.

    nk (875f57)

  357. “The race assumption is not explicitly written into the Constitution itself.”

    - SPQR

    We are talking about INTERPRETATION. To say that the notion of black inferiority wasn’t “explicitly written into the Constitution itself” completely misses the point – it was the understanding at the time, and that’s what the originalist appeals to: the understanding behind the words on the page.

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  358. “Well that pretty much gives the game away, as if there was any doubt.”

    - Gerald A

    Um. Yeah. That’s why it’s there – to facilitate full disclosure. I’m not trying to hide the ball, here.

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  359. Another take on this from John Hindraker at Powerline.

    He argues to de-emphasize abortion, talking only about those aspects within legislative reach line infanticide, and to emphasize marriage, of whatever kind. Families need to be strengthened and single motherhood is a poor outcome for all concerned. He thinks that we should not opposed gay marriage, but insist it be handled by legislation, not courts.

    Then he says that the most pressing social issue, one that we’ve been ignoring, is the resurgence of mass welfare. And see marriage.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  360. slavery

    I think there’s a peculiarly American version of Godwin’s Law about bringing “slavery” into a political discussion.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  361. So which comes first?

    http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2012-11-11T11:29:00-06:00&max-results=3&start=3&by-date=false

    Cali withdraws from the Union and declares bankruptcy, or

    http://www.iris.edu/seismon/last30.html

    She gives birth to the 52nd state and auctions the decedents’ property?

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  362. 357. Oikophobic oligarchy, rule by cosmic fluke.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  363. Ichabod:

    @ Milhouse – White based slavery? Do you mean indentured servants? My ancestor was one in 1637; not quite the same thing. Once he’d worked his seven years and paid off his passage, he could do what he liked and wound up with a nice farm in CT.

    No, I don’t mean indentured servants, I mean slaves. There was no law in any state specifying that slaves must be black. There were plenty of white slaves available in the world slave markets, particularly in North Africa, and any such slave who was imported to America was regarded by the law in exactly the same way as it did black slaves. The only reason most slaves in America were black was because the main purpose for which slaves were originally imported was for plantation work, and whites were physically ill-suited to that.

    Interesting quote from Jefferson in a LATimes letter this past weekend: Letter to one of his overseers, Bowling Clarke, 9/21/1792, Jefferson writes: “I do not (while in public life) like to have my name annexed in public papers to the sale of property. …[I]t will be best to carry them to some other sale of slaves in [another] part of the country to be sold.” The letter writer states that Jefferson is trying to hide the sale to protect his public image.

    Yes. What has this got to do either with race or with slavery? The fact that the property he wanted to secretly sell happened to be slaves, who were undoubtedly black (or at least somewhat dark), is irrelevant. It could as easily have been furniture or any other movable property. (It would be impossible to sell land secretly.)

    To my mind it is impossible to understand some parts of the Constitution and the history of the country prior to the Civil War without seeing the centrality of slavery as a political issue.

    Of course; but that’s not the topic here. We’re discussing race, not slavery, and Leviticus’s claim that if the constitution were to be interpreted according to its original understanding blacks would be worse off. How does your long discussion of slavery affect that?

    As you say, slaves and slavery were never mentioned in the Constitution,

    I said nothing of the sort. They are mentioned, with euphemisms to satisfy the northern conscience. What I said, and you refuse to address, is that race is not mentioned, alluded to, or in any way dealt with. From the very first census, black freemen were counted at their full weight (even where state law didn’t allow them to vote), and white slaves (if any) were counted at 3/5.

    But there was an obvious reason for that large force at the time

    And there isn’t now?! Is the danger now that much less than it was then? If we were to disarm, just how quickly do you think the Chinese would take over East Asia, the Russians Europe, and the Islamists whatever they could grab? If we weren’t fighting the Islamists in their home, can you really claim with a straight face that we wouldn’t be fighting them in ours?

    re:the 2nd amendment:

    @ Milhouse – guess we won’t agree on that one, my friend. I agree I was making an extreme argument for effect, but doesn’t “originalism” at its most extreme, as argued by Justice Thomas for instance, get you into some of those very difficult corners.

    I am not your friend. You are a dishonest person, making dishonest arguments. You cannot possibly believe that the word “arms” changes meaning every time a new weapon is invented or introduced; it is dishonest to pretend that you do. And originalism does not get you into difficult corners; the law means what it means, and what it has always meant, and if you don’t like it change it. What you’re advocating is simply pretending the law says what you want it to say, in which case anybody can do the same thing. For instance I may pretend the law permits me to punch you in the face and take your wallet. Who is to say I’m wrong, except my own conscience?

    What would you do with Plessy v. Ferguson, for instance, which interpreted the Constitution to allow separate but equal facilities for the white and Negro races (streetcars), since that was obviously the way it should be in the 1890′s, to be finally overturned in Brown v Board of Education in the 1950′s.

    First of all, the issue in Plessy was not whether separate facilities were allowed, but whether a state could require them. And it was not decided because “that was obviously the way it should be”; if it were that obvious the case would never have been brought, would it? Why would the streetcar company even want to have only one section if it were that obvious that there should be two? Plessy was decided as it was because the majority of judges, looking honestly at the text of the 14th amendment, could not see anything in it preventing a state from imposing whatever separations it liked, whether white/black, smokers/non-smokers, men/women, short/tall, or anything else.

    Brown was a political decision, which explicitly said that segregation in public schools was constitutional in the 1870s but not in the 1950s, purportedly because the nature of public education had changed in the interim. Note that even under Brown, if schools were to go back to the function they had in the 1870s then mandatory segregation would be constitutional.

    Plessy, by the way, was Negro under Louisiana law at the time because one of his great grandparents was Negro, he was 1/8th black – not quite the one drop rule, but close.

    Yes, he was chosen deliberately for that reason. In real life the company could simply have said they thought he was white, and there would have been no case. They chose a plaintiff who looked white, to highlight the absurdity of the law that required them to refuse him entry to the white section. And it was absurd, but absurdity does not in itself invalidate a law.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  364. nk:

    There never was more vile slavery than North European/Anglo-Saxon slavery

    What arrant nonsense, nk. By the standards of history, modern European slavery was almost benign. For one thing, it was almost the only slave-holding culture in which an owner did not have the right to kill his slaves. That was the case in ancient Israel, but not in Greece or Rome or Scandinavia or pretty much anywhere else. Even in modern times it was not the case in West Africa, from where America bought its slaves. Those slaves, once they entered American jurisdiction, enjoyed more legal protection than they ever had (at least since they were enslaved).

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  365. “Leviticus, OK, so there was discussion of race. But the language that made it into the constitution was racially neutral. So of what relevance is the discussion? How does it support your contention that the original understanding of the constitution was detrimental to blacks?”

    - Milhouse

    That’s your reaction to that excerpt? That the language is racially neutral, so the intent behind it doesn’t matter?

    We’re discussing originalism, right? What is originalism concerned with, but the language of the law, as it was passed, and as it was understood at the time? There is no question that the language is racially neutral, and was universally understood as racially neutral, and there is no honest way to read a racial interpretation into it. The motives of some people who may have participated in the discussion leading to the law’s framing is irrelevant under any theory of interpretation.

    Our original Constitution understood that blacks were legitimate objects of slavery because they were black No, it did not. That is a blatant falsehood.

    – which is why your repeated emphasis on the fact that there were black and white slaves/indentured servants is a sleight of hand. If you were white, you could only be enslaved for a reason; if you were black you could be enslaved for living on the wrong part of the African coast.

    Absolutely false. I don’t know where you get such things. For one thing, no Americans ever went and enslaved people, for living in the wrong place or for any other reason. They went to legal markets and bought products that were legally for sale; every slave who was imported to America was already a slave before the importer ever laid eyes on him. And the laws of the countries they bought from were not racial — the lawmakers were just as black as the slaves. There were white slaves, and nothing preventing a white person from becoming a slave in exactly the same way as a black person; the reason white slaves were rare in America was simply a practical one. There was little demand for them, and the places where they were most readily available were dangerous.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  366. Comment by Milhouse — 11/13/2012 @ 11:35 am

    Our original Constitution understood that blacks were legitimate objects of slavery because they were black No, it did not. That is a blatant falsehood.

    The constitution didn’t recognize the legitimacy of slavery at all. It used euphemisms:
    Constitution of the United States

    Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.

    No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, but shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due.

    The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a Tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.

    Article. V.

    The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  367. “The only reason most slaves in America were black was because the main purpose for which slaves were originally imported was for plantation work, and whites were physically ill-suited to that.”

    - Milhouse

    Yikes. Just… yikes. The only reason, huh?

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  368. The Constitution certainly recognized the existence of slavery. And that assumption that blacks were appropriately slaves was the assumption of the slave holding classes and many non-slaveholding people of the time. But the race assumption is not explicitly written into the Constitution itself.

    Or into the laws of any state, at least in the 1780s. And a half-century earlier nobody even held such a notion; it arose only as a reaction to abolitionism. Through most of human history, until the 18th century, everyone accepted slavery as natural and just, so there was never any need to justify it in racial terms. It was taken for granted that prisoners of war were slaves, people sold by their fathers were slaves, the courts could enslave people for crimes or for their or their fathers’ debts, etc.; no further justification was needed. So there was no reason to come up with a philosophical reason why slaves were slaves and free people were not. Slaves were just people who had had bad luck, and anybody might one day be enslaved if his luck turned. It was only when slavery started to be questioned that slave-owners had to come up with a reason why they were free and their slaves were not. In Europe Christianity was the justification, and the holding of black Xian slaves began to be seen as not quite legitimate. In America the most obvious distinguishing characteristic of slaves was their race, so theories of racial inferiority came up to justify their status. As abolitionism grew stronger in the 19th century, the need for such justification grew greater, and some states entrenched these racial theories into law, to the terrible detriment of black freemen.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  369. I don’t agree with everything in the following article:

    Earth to GOP: Get a Grip by Bret Stephens Tuesday, November 13, 2012 Wall Street Journal


    In January I was rebuked by some readers for predicting that the GOP would lose, and for saying it deserved to lose, too.

    “It doesn’t matter that Americans are generally eager to send Mr. Obama packing,” I wrote. “All they need is to be reasonably sure that the alternative won’t be another fiasco. But they can’t be reasonably sure, so it’s going to be four more years of the disappointment you already know.”

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  370. The Republicans elected in 2010 ran on jobs and then once in office pivoted to abortion.

    That’s a bait and switch. If you want to make obtrusive laws to monitor every single pregnancy in a jurisdiction, putting women and doctors in jail for having abortions, say that on the campaign trail.

    If candidates are up front, the democratic process will decide the winner, not one person.

    Mahalia Cab (c8e3fe)

  371. Hell, yeah, our Constitution embraced slavery.

    Yes, it did, but that isn’t what Leviticus falsely claimed it embraced.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  372. ==The Republicans elected in 2010 ran on jobs and then once in office pivoted to abortion==

    That’s BS.

    elissa (59e20f)

  373. Bret Stephens thinks there will be another recession because the Federal Reserve Board will not be able to avoid it. I don’t think so.

    What I really like this is this:

    On the subject of idiocy, can someone explain where’s the political gold in demonizing Latin American immigrants? California’s Prop 187, passed in 1994, helped destroy the GOP in a once-reliable state. Yet Republicans have been trying to replicate that fiasco on a national scale ever since.

    If the argument is that illegal immigrants are overtaxing the welfare state, then that’s an argument for paring back the welfare state, not deporting 12 million people. If the argument is that these immigrants “steal” jobs, then that’s an argument by someone who either doesn’t understand the free market or aspires for his children to become busboys and chambermaids.

    And if the argument is that these immigrants don’t share our values, then religiosity, hard work, personal stoicism and the sense of family obligation expressed through billions of dollars in remittances aren’t American values.

    He needs one more thing:

    And if the argument is that some immigration was illegal, and can’t be legitimized, then they should also enforce the drug laws to the hilt, and the laws against the importation of prescription medicines, and the copyright laws. And Prohibition of alcohol..

    Rush Limbaugh is right though, about one thing. It’s going to be very hard to escape this albatross. Whatever they do, the Democrats will always take a more extreme position, and portray the Republicans as anti-people.

    So the key thing is get strongly attacked by Numbers USA.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  374. We are talking about INTERPRETATION. To say that the notion of black inferiority wasn’t “explicitly written into the Constitution itself” completely misses the point – it was the understanding at the time, and that’s what the originalist appeals to: the understanding behind the words on the page.

    And that is absolute bulldust. Everyone at the time understood “person held to service” as code for “slave”, but nobody understood it as code for “black person”. If you’d gone into any court in 1790 with such an argument you’d be laughed out of it immediately.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  375. She gives birth to the 52nd state and auctions the decedents’ property?

    Which is the 51st?

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  376. Puerto Rico voted for entry. >54%.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  377. The Republicans elected in 2010 ran on jobs and then once in office pivoted to abortion.

    Abject nonsense from the serial Moby.

    JD (318f81)

  378. You’re not doing much with all that stuff I read you from Madison’s notes, are you? All of those guys are using the terms “black” and “slave” interchangeably.

    Again: if you were white, you could be enslaved – for a reason. If you were black, you could be enslaved for NO reason.

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  379. “The Republicans elected in 2010 ran on jobs and then once in office pivoted to abortion.”

    Mahalia Cab – Delusion

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  380. The constitution didn’t recognize the legitimacy of slavery at all. It used euphemisms:

    Yes, but everyone understood them to be euphemisms. Whether you call it a bathroom, a lavatory, a water closet, or a necessary, you still do the same thing in it. What it didn’t recognise, whether explicitly, implicitly, or in sign language and dog whistles, was race. So to claim that black people would be worse off under it is false.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  381. Again: if you were white, you could be enslaved – for a reason. If you were black, you could be enslaved for NO reason.

    This does not ring true.

    JD (318f81)

  382. Yikes. Just… yikes. The only reason, huh?

    Yes. That was the only reason. There were white slaves in America, and nobody was squeamish about it; there just weren’t a lot of them, and the only reason was practical.

    In fact as I understand it the first court case in America to recognise lifetime bondage, i.e. slavery, was between a black owner and a white bondsman.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  383. “[Governor Morris] could never agree to give such encouragement to the slave trade as would be given by allowing them a representation for their negroes.”

    - James Madison

    Why in the world did Governor Morris think that allowing representation for blacks would be an encouragement to the slave trade? Where’s he getting this crazy connection between blacks and slavery? Why isn’t he objecting that allowing representation for whites would be an encouragement to the slave trade?

    It’s an unfathomable mystery.

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  384. The Republicans elected in 2010 ran on jobs and then once in office pivoted to abortion.

    No, they didn’t. You lie.

    If you want to make obtrusive laws to monitor every single pregnancy in a jurisdiction

    Who has ever proposed such a thing? When was there ever such a thing in the pre-Roe past?

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  385. Question: to which races was Taney referring to when he discussed the “slave races”?

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  386. Puerto Rico voted for entry. >54%.

    No, it didn’t. There was some bad reporting that claimed this, but it didn’t happen. Of the people who voted on the second part, a majority chose statehood from the options given. That does not amount to a mandate for statehood, and it isn’t going to happen any time soon, if at all.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  387. Or does he not count? I can see the objection that he might not count.

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  388. You’re not doing much with all that stuff I read you from Madison’s notes, are you? All of those guys are using the terms “black” and “slave” interchangeably.

    How is what those guys did in their discussion at all relevant to originalism?

    Again: if you were white, you could be enslaved – for a reason. If you were black, you could be enslaved for NO reason.

    That is just not true.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  389. Cab sure does make up crap.

    SPQR (f910c8)

  390. Question: to which races was Taney referring to when he discussed the “slave races”?

    Taney was a framer?!

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  391. What arrant nonsense, nk. By the standards of history, modern European slavery was almost benign. For one thing, it was almost the only slave-holding culture in which an owner did not have the right to kill his slaves. That was the case in ancient Israel, but not in Greece or Rome or Scandinavia or pretty much anywhere else. Even in modern times it was not the case in West Africa, from where America bought its slaves. Those slaves, once they entered American jurisdiction, enjoyed more legal protection than they ever had (at least since they were enslaved).

    Comment by Milhouse — 11/13/2012 @ 11:24 am

    Are you serious, Milhouse? Really? The Jews had servantry for only seven years, and then they had to set the servant free with a dowry/stake.

    Did Crassus decorate a highway with rebellious slaves? Still, in Rome the child of a freed slave could become consul.

    In Islam, if a slave woman had the child of her master, she and the child would be free.

    In America, slave owners sold their children down the river, and whipped them to death if they tried to escape.

    You are right about Greece. The Spartans were animals towards the helots. And there is a Platonic dialogue about a son who accuses his father of murder — the father killed an overseer who killed a slave.

    nk (875f57)

  392. See #387, Milhouse.

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  393. “[Governor Morris] could never agree to give such encouragement to the slave trade as would be given by allowing them a representation for their negroes.”

    - James Madison

    Why in the world did Governor Morris think that allowing representation for blacks would be an encouragement to the slave trade? Where’s he getting this crazy connection between blacks and slavery? Why isn’t he objecting that allowing representation for whites would be an encouragement to the slave trade?

    It’s an unfathomable mystery.

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  394. Why are you defending slavery? I love America, too. I am not ashamed of her bloody past. You put stuff behind you, but you remember it and learn from it.

    nk (875f57)

  395. “[Governor Morris] could never agree to give such encouragement to the slave trade as would be given by allowing them a representation for their negroes.”

    - James Madison

    Why in the world did Governor Morris think that allowing representation for blacks would be an encouragement to the slave trade? Where’s he getting this crazy connection between blacks and slavery? Why isn’t he objecting that allowing representation for whites would be an encouragement to the slave trade?

    It’s an unfathomable mystery.

    And yet the clause that emerged did count blacks for representation (by whites), so long as they weren’t slaves. And it counted whites at a 40% discount, if they were slaves. (And again, the correct fraction, for both slaves and disenfranchised free blacks, should have been zero; the 3/5 of slaves who were counted were not really represented in Congress, they were counted to give their owners more representation.)

    The operative word in the sentence you quote is “their negroes”. The slaves they held happened to be overwhelmingly black, not for ideological reasons but for practical ones. But in any case this account is irrelevant to the topic we’re discussing, which is the original interpretation of the constitution that was actually ratified, not of whatever alternative proposals were discussed.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  396. Dont pretend to be an idiot Leviticus. Because he’s talking about repesentation not the actual vote. Such would strengthen the political strength of the slave owning states as I pointed out already and you pretend not to understan

    SPQR (f910c8)

  397. Why isn’t he objecting that allowing representation for whites would be an encouragement to the slave trade? Why is he restricting his concern for slave-trade encouragement to blacks?

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  398. Now you are just incoherent.

    SPQR (f910c8)

  399. Who is leading the white reparations movement?

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  400. Do not philosophize about law, Leviticus. It is not an intellectual exercise, it is a tool. Like a hammer. And the Constitution is merely another law.

    And it’s also a ton of fun. ;)

    nk (875f57)

  401. i’m in charge of the white people reparations you’re on my list but you have to promise to return the casserole dish when you’re done

    happyfeet (b07c5f)

  402. Leviticus, the most these discussions you quote show is that, in informal talk, people of that time used “black” as a way of saying “slave”; but what you’re trying to prove is the opposite, that “slave” was a code word for “black”, and these quotes don’t do anything for that argument.

    Bottom line: in the very first census, in 1790, were black free people counted at 3/5? And were white slaves (if any) counted at 5/5? Surely you are not claiming that. But if you aren’t, then what happens to your argument about originalism? Will you claim that the courts reinterpreted the constitution some time between 1788 and 1790?!

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  403. What just occurred to me is how little this discussion matters: even if Milhouse were right that “slave” had no particular link to “black” (which he isn’t), why should I be an originalist when the Framers thought slavery a valid institution, regardless of race?

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  404. why should I be an originalist when the Framers thought slavery a valid institution, regardless of race?

    Plenty of framers did not think slavery was a valid institution. But the United States would never have won its independence from England had the states fought over the issue. Further, in the years right after the revolution, had the states been so divided over the issue that they couldn’t come to agreement, England would have recaptured one or more of the former colonies.

    Chuck Bartowski (11fb31)

  405. Excuse me, just why are we dissecting the History of Slavery, which ended 150-yrs ago, in the United States, after the final-devotion of over a half-million of our citizens?
    If anyone has an overwhelming need to combat slavery in the modern, contemporary world, hie thee-self to Africa, and the Arabian Peninsula, where this practice still survives.
    It’s over, done.
    The country has more pressing issues to deal with.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  406. akeptic, because Leviticus is uncharacteristically emulating troll like behavior – Squirrel! – that’s been so common around here with the election.

    SPQR (768505)

  407. He sounds quite like he did four years ago.
    When does the maturation process begin, after passing the BAR?

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  408. askeptic, what were your previous handles?

    nk (875f57)

  409. lawyers don’t mature after the bar. lawyers mature like cheese, sitting in the dark, alone, developing a rind.

    SPQR (768505)

  410. Good lawyers never mature, nor grow old, they’re cowboys forever.

    nk (875f57)

  411. “Good lawyers never mature, nor grow old, they’re cowboys forever.”

    nk – You mean they have sore azzes and are full of beans?

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  412. “Excuse me, just why are we dissecting the History of Slavery, which ended 150-yrs ago, in the United States, after the final-devotion of over a half-million of our citizens?”

    - askeptic

    Good point. I agree. It’s irrelevant.

    And if by “mature” you mean “come to think more like you” – which a lot of you guys seem to think “mature” means (lookin’ at you, Mark!) – then you’re right. I have not matured much in the past four years.

    Leviticus (17b7a5)

  413. nk – You mean they have sore azzes and are full of beans?

    Comment by daleyrocks — 11/13/2012 @ 4:40 pm

    As kind a way to put it as any, I guess.

    nk (875f57)

  414. And pretty accurate too.

    SPQR (768505)

  415. If only I could end a motions hearing argument with that …

    SPQR (768505)

  416. What just occurred to me is how little this discussion matters: even if Milhouse were right that “slave” had no particular link to “black” (which he isn’t), why should I be an originalist when the Framers thought slavery a valid institution, regardless of race?

    Because the interpretation of a contract, law, or any other document does not depend on the character of its authors or adopters. If your great-great-grandfather signed a lease on a piece of property and its terms are still being followed, it’s still in force and means exactly what it meant all those years ago, and it makes no difference what sort of people your gggf or the landlord were.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  417. Um. Yeah. That’s why it’s there – to facilitate full disclosure. I’m not trying to hide the ball, here.

    Comment by Leviticus — 11/13/2012 @ 8:37 am

    So why pretend to question where the constitution gets its legitimacy or why we should be bound by something from long dead people? You’re against the rule of law in general or at least laws made through legislators, unless judges who think the way you do also happen to like those laws. That’s pretty much it right?

    Now we should ask where judges get THEIR legitimacy, and I guess the answer would be…from YOU (or anyone who agrees with you). And we’re actually supposed to take this seriously…

    Gerald A (f26857)

  418. I think we should forfeit our representation via Congress, and instead acquiesce to being ruled by an oligarchy of un-elected Judges, lawyers, and community organizers. Since they wouldn’t need our votes, they wouldn’t need to to offer us cookies, free birth control, and other goodies that populism demands.

    They would then be able to focus all of their attention on doing what’s best for us !

    Elephant Stone (65d289)

  419. “Because the interpretation of a contract, law, or any other document does not depend on the character of its authors or adopters.”

    - Milhouse

    Yeah, except that the parties bound by a contract usually, you know, signed it.

    Leviticus (17b7a5)

  420. Nobody is forcing you to live under the burden of this inherently racist document.

    JD (185efa)

  421. Sorry, that was more flippant than you deserve.

    JD (185efa)

  422. Gerald A,

    I said I 1) have more faith 2) in this system’s judges 3) than its legislators – qualifications put in specifically to keep you and others like you from making the kind of bullsh*t generalizations you and others like you nonetheless feel entitled to make. If I lived in a true representative democracy – the republic everyone loves to hoot about, where I wasn’t restricted to an artificial choice – then I would feel differently. But if I’m faced with the choice of being ruled by one group I have no control over or another, I’m going to choose the group that’s studied the law over the group full of dishonest, pandering morons.

    Leviticus (17b7a5)

  423. “Nobody is forcing you to live under the burden of this inherently racist document.”

    - JD

    Tell that to the Confederacy.

    Leviticus (17b7a5)

  424. “Yeah, except that the parties bound by a contract usually, you know, signed it.”

    Leviticus – Are you suggesting that you are not bound by newly passed laws (or even old ones) of the town or city or state in which you live because you did not personally sign or have the opportunity to vote on the laws?

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  425. “Leviticus – Are you suggesting that you are not bound by newly passed laws (or even old ones) of the town or city or state in which you live because you did not personally sign or have the opportunity to vote on the laws?”

    - daleyrocks

    No, because I live under a legitimate Constitution. But I’m taking issue with the notion that the legitimacy of that Constitution has anything to do with its roots.

    Leviticus (17b7a5)

  426. If you think our Republic sucks, its suckitude would pale in comparison to a representative democracy.

    JD (185efa)

  427. Yeah, except that the parties bound by a contract usually, you know, signed it.

    1. The question isn’t whether you’re bound by it but how it should be interpreted, and the only honest method is to stick to its original meaning. You’re not bound by Danish law or by my apartment lease, but if you ever have occasion to interpret them you still have a duty to do so according to their honest meaning, not according to what you would like them to mean.

    2. It’s not true that everyone bound by a contract must have signed it. If a company signs a contract and then you take it over, you’re bound by that contract according to the original understanding of the people who signed it. Or if your great-great-grandfather signed a lease 100 years ago for a house he owned, and you inherited it, you’re bound by the lease, which means what your gggf and the original tenant thought it meant.

    3. in what sense are you personally bound by the constitution? It doesn’t tell you to do anything. It’s not about what you should or shouldn’t do, it’s about what Congrefs and the Prefident and the Courts and the States should do. You’re not any of those things, so as an individual the constitution is irrelevant to you. You’re not bound by it, any more than you’re bound by the judicial canons. The only context in which you are called on to respect the constitution, and its original interpretation, is when you advocate that Congrefs etc. do something; in other words when you talk politics.

    Congress etc. are bound by the constitution and must obey it because it’s only by its virtue that they exist. The constitution is all that separates Barack Obama from me: Why is he president and I am not? Because the constitution says so. So if in his capacity as president he violates it, then who the hell is he? What gives him the right to do whatever he does that doesn’t accord with the constitution’s original meaning?

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  428. “No, because I live under a legitimate Constitution. But I’m taking issue with the notion that the legitimacy of that Constitution has anything to do with its roots.”

    Leviticus – Well at least you agree it is legitimate. Earlier you said you were looking for a different touchstone for its legitimacy or authority than its original text. I’m lost and still have no idea what you are looking for.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  429. “No, because I live under a legitimate Constitution. But I’m taking issue with the notion that the legitimacy of that Constitution has anything to do with its roots.”

    Leviticus – Well at least you agree it is legitimate. Earlier you said you were looking for a different touchstone for its legitimacy or authority than its original text. I’m lost and still have no idea what you are looking for.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  430. I have a younger cousin who is in medical school. Last Thanksgiving, he could do nothing but talk about what potential ailments he might have, based on the textbooks he was reading that semester. My Aunt and Uncle (his parents) are warning everyone ahead of Thanksgiving that our aspiring physician is now in the stage of lecturing everyone about the ailments they might have, based on the textbooks he’s been studying this semester. “Aunt Sue, you say you’re often fatigued, yet you have no superficial symptoms—maybe it’s lupus !” “Uncle Jack, you need to eat more carrots, if you want your dry, flaky skin to heal !” etc.

    If he starts lecturing Cousin Oliver to eat his broccoli, I’ll tell him to sit down, drink a beer, and enjoy the football game.

    Elephant Stone (65d289)

  431. ES–maybe next Thursday you can set your cousin off on a mission to diagnose Barack Obama! There’re quite a few clues there for him to work on–no?

    elissa (59e20f)

  432. elissa, yes, fortunately, my cousin has already determined that Obama needs a psychiatrist, and that the country will need a proctologist by the time Obama’s done reimagining the Constitution.

    Elephant Stone (65d289)

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