April 5, 2011
(Some) Republicans Hate the Constitution, Part II

So there’s a new anti-Constitutionalist Republican vision out there, focusing on the on-going negotiations to cut the federal budget and/or shut it down.

I’ll let the Republicans explain their anti-Constitutionalism for themselves (thanks to The Monkey Cage):

  • "A few hours ago Rep. Hartzler (R-Mississippi) sent out an email to her constituents with the following claim:

    'We've passed a bill known as the Government Shutdown Prevention Act. It states that if the Senate fails to pass a measure before Wednesday to keep the government funded for the rest of 2011, the long-term bill passed by the House in February becomes law.'”

Rep. Hartzler has offered quite a theory of the Constitution here. Apparently, one can eliminate the system of checks and balances—the absolute core of the US Constitution, which (among other things) requires BOTH the House and Senate to pass a bill before it is sent to the President for signature (or veto, with potential over-ride by 2/3 majorities in both the House and the Senate)—simply by saying the system of checks and balances doesn’t, you know, exist.

I get that this is for show—that it is a bit of blow-hardism so representatives can explain to their Tea Partying supporters that they “tried hard” but “couldn’t quite get it done because of the Senate.” And, frankly, it doesn’t really bother me all that much: that politicians spin things to their own good is hardly a profound insight. Since this is going to have no effect, I can’t get too worked up about this creative bit of Constitutional interpretation.

All I ask is this: the next time a tea partyist claims to love the Constitution, just laugh. They do so only when it works to their political benefit. When it doesn’t, interestingly, the Constitution isn’t constitutional. Which is really quite a trick.