Opinion

A Short Education About What Every Politician Should Know

The following comments are from radio host Jan Mickelson. I’ve been interviewed by Jan in the past. He’s a great spokesman for Christian and constitutional values. Rarely do voters vote in terms of the Constitution.

First, they don’t know what it says.

Second, they don’t know what it means.

Third, they don’t care to know.

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Fourth, they vote their own special interests.

They are also unaware that members of Congress, the President, and Supreme Court Justices take an oath to uphold the Constitution. If the three branches kept that oath there are so many government programs that we would not have.
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I’ve been a radio talk host for a long time. Over the years, I’ve interviewed hundreds of politicians, including many presidential candidates. You’d be astonished to discover how many of them (politicians) are simply collections of bumper stickers and cultural cliches.

Here is how to counter the following fallacies.

1. Article IV, Section 4, “The United States shall guarantee to every state in this union a republican form of government…” The framers hated the democratic impulse with a passion. Alexander Hamilton: “We are a republican government. Real liberty is never found in despotism or the extremes of democracy.” John Adams: “Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” Karl Marx: “Democracy is the road to socialism.”

2. Federalist 51: “…the legislative authority necessarily predominates.” Federalist 78: “The judiciary, on the contrary, has no influence over either the sword or the purse…is, beyond comparison, the weakest of the three departments of power…the general liberty of the people can never be endangered from that quarter.”

3. Article VI. Section 2 of the US Constitution lists three things as “the supreme law of the land:” (1) This constitution; (2) The laws of the United States made in pursuance of it: and (3) All treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States.” You will notice by conspicuous absence, court opinions, because at the time of its writing nobody believed court decisions equaled law. With Blackstone, they believed that court opinion pursuant to law or treaty was “…evidence of law.” And if a judge was mistaken about that law, then according to Blackstone, his opinion was not “bad law, but that was not law” at all.

4. Alexander Hamilton: “Treaties … are not rules prescribed by the sovereign to the subject, but agreements between sovereign and sovereign…the only constitutional exception to the power of making treaties is that they shall not change the Constitution.” Thomas Jefferson: [I]f the treaty-making power is boundless, then we have no Constitution.”

5. 14th Amendment: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are hereby declared to be citizens of the United State and also of the state wherein they reside.” This amendment added to the Constitution after the Civil War was designed to make citizens of former slaves. It has been stretched to create birthright citizenship for anyone born here. However, Senator Jacob Howard, the author of the 14th Amendment, said in Senate debate,

This amendment which I have offered is simply declaratory of what I regard as the law of the land already, that every person born within the limits of United States, and subject to their jurisdiction, is by virtue of natural law and national law a citizen of the United States. This will NOT, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens…

6. James Madison: “If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the general welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one possessing enumerated powers,  but an indefinite one subject to particular exceptions… If Congress can apply money indefinitely to the general welfare, and are the sole and supreme judges of the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their own hands; they may establish teachers in every state, county, and parish, and pay them out of the public treasury; they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the union, they may assume the provision for the poor; they may undertake the regulation of all roads other than post-roads; in short, everything from the highest object of state legislation, down to the most minute object of police, would be thrown under the power of Congress; for every object I have mentioned would admit the application of money, and might be called, if Congress pleased, provisions for the general welfare….”

[James Madison, the primary architect of the Constitution, contended that “general welfare” was defined in the body of the Constitution. This meant that the federal government could only expend money for purposes specifically enumerated in the Constitution. In Federalist 41, Madison writes: “It has been urged and echoed, that the power ‘to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts, and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States,’ amounts to an unlimited commission to exercise every power which may be alleged to be necessary for the common defence or general welfare. No stronger proof could be given of the distress under which these writers labor for objections, than their stooping to such a misconstruction…. But what color can the objection have, when a specification of the objects alluded to by these general terms immediately follows, and is not even separated by a longer pause than a semicolon?… For what purpose could the enumeration of particular powers be inserted, if these and all others were meant to be included in the preceding general power? Nothing is more natural nor common than first to use a general phrase, and then to explain and qualify it by a recital of particulars.” — Gary DeMar]

Apply these arguments with appropriate snarkiness. Honest politicians will give you the deer in the headlights look followed by, “I didn’t know that. Thanks.” Others will go full Nancy Pelosi on you, “Are you serious–are you serious?” Then, they will never speak with you again. Vote accordingly.

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