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Posted at 3:52 PM ET, 01/ 3/2011

Yes, the bigger the Constitutional argument, the better

By E.J. Dionne

My thanks to Greg Sargent for picking up on a point in my column today that rather than scoff at the new House majority's emphasis on the Constitution, progressives should welcome the chance to have a full-scale debate about the meaning of our founding document in our time.

And I salute him for going me "one better," as he put it. Greg is right to argue that a "debate about the Constitution -- and indeed a broader discussion about the founding -- could provide a chance to undercut the notion that somehow contemporary conservatives and Tea Partyers are more in sync with the founding generation than all the rest of us can claim to be."

I particularly like Greg's taking notice of the fact that "the Constitution is at the center of the argument between the two parties over the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act." He continues:

The Tea Partyers' position is that by opposing the mandate, they are the ones representing the Constitution's true spirit, which is hostility to Federal power at all costs. In fact, the Constitution's real legacy is that it created a framework ensuring that precisely this sort of argument over the proper role of the Federal government could continue to unfold across the generations. And as it happens, some credible legal observers and judges have argued persuasively that the mandate represents an exercise of Federal power that exists comfortably within the Constitution's constraints.

The Constitution is at the center of so many of our debates right now, including what I hope will be an ongoing discussion of the dangers of the Citizens United decision that overthrew decades of precedent in opening the political system to the tens of millions of dollars in corporate money. I do not fault our Tea Party friends for thinking that the Constitution is important. It is important. But I disagree with their interpretation of the document. It is time for us all to argue these differences out.

By E.J. Dionne  | January 3, 2011; 3:52 PM ET
Categories:  Dionne  | Tags:  E.J. Dionne  
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It's all nonsense. These teabaggers and the opportunistic Republicans who used them to get back into office don't sit around reading the Constitution and wouldn't understand it if they did. They just brandish it so they won't have to explain their short-sighted, selfish positions and if anyone challenges them on it, why they must be some elitist, ivy-league liberal socialist. The Constitution doesn't recommend cutting taxes on the rich and cutting benefits for the poor and that's all the Republicans stand for.

Posted by: dnahatch1 | January 3, 2011 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Under the rules of the new (GOP) House, all bills, to be considered, must be accompanied by a statement of constitutional authority for the proposed legislation. I await with much interest the authority upon which they will rely to nullify Roe v. Wade.

Posted by: joeff | January 3, 2011 5:14 PM | Report abuse

dnahatch1; all,

to "dnahatch1": are you REALLY ignorant enough to believe any of the errant nonsense that you posted above? - IF you are that arrogantly ignorant of the Constitution, you are more to be PITIED than DESPISED.
further, can you name any "federal program" for "the poor" that ever "solved the problem" that the program was designed to solve, despite uncounted TRILLIONS of dollars thrown at the problem?
(in over 90% of cases the bureaucrats & "the ruling elites", who "administered the programs", got RICH & the poor got "a few crumbs"!)

we TEA PARTIERS want all the UN-Constitutional nonsense, that the "progressives"/LIBs/DIMocRAT extremists desired/passed, ENDED & the government returned to the lowest possible level, where the ACTUAL problems that face our republic can be addressed & solved. = that place is NOT anywhere near the Congress or the WH. - instead it is in YOUR/MY town/county/parish/state.

to all: AT BEST, "manmade climate change" is a highly dubious theory which is UNPROVEN and perhaps UNPROVABLE, despite the LIES told to "the sheeple" by "the smart set"/unelected federal bureaucrats/"noted academics".
(when i was in grad school in the 1980s, the same sorts of "indisputable proof" were offered, by similar "noted climate experts", to forestall "the coming ice age crisis." - did i sleep though it OR was there NO "ice age" AND is this "new idea" just another massive waste of taxpayers money?)

can anyone explain to me in 500 words or less WHY anyone should believe in the THEORY (absent POSITIVE PROOF!) of "manmade global warming", when "the coming ice age crisis" never happened?
(the theory of "the ice age crisis" was just as good & just as "provable" as "manmade global warming is. = the old saying, "fool me once, it's your fault; fool me twice, it's my fault" comes to mind.)

NOTE to all: IF you are as angry & disgusted at the antics of the leftists/"progressives"/DIMocRATS/bureaucrats as our members are, come join THE TEA PARTY & help us take our government back from "the rulers". - you will be warmly welcomed & put to work to help us return the USA to being a Constitutional republic, "by, for & of the people".

just my opinion.

yours, TN46
coordinator, CCTPP

Posted by: texasnative46 | January 3, 2011 5:24 PM | Report abuse

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