Ben Evans writes about the hypocrisy of conservatives on Constitutional issues. The people who go about waving copies of the constitution as badges of their patriotism and call themselves as “constitutionalists” are the same ones pushing for the biggest changes to the document. They not only want to repeal the 14th Amendment, but they also want to revise a lot of the provisions in the main body of the Constitution. They want to require a two-thirds vote to raise taxes, for example (the same provision that is killing California).
Weirdly, some of them are saying they want to change the Constitution to make it closer to what the founders originally intended. The original provisions don’t express what the founders originally intended?
[Republican Rep. Paul Broun of Georgia] who is among the most conservative members of Congress, said he sees no contradiction in his devotion to the Constitution and his desire to rewrite parts of it. … “It’s not picking and choosing,” he said. “We need to do a lot of tweaking to make the Constitution as it was originally intended, instead of some perverse idea of what the Constitution says and does.”
This reminds me of the folks who want to erect monuments to the Ten Commandments at schools and courthouses but who cannot name all ten of the commandments if put on the spot to do so. And of Bible-thumpers who evoke the Bible as their bulwark against Evil but who don’t know the Beatitudes from a McDonald’s dollar menu.
I’ve written before that righties tend to interpret events through myths and symbols rather than facts. Just so, I think they also tend to regard documents such as the Bible and the Constitution more as totems than texts. The documents are cherished as icons of whatever it is they think America or Christianity is, not for what they actually say.
And if you understand that, you can see how it isn’t inconsistent for them to, say, claim they believe in religious liberty while forming a mob to stop the building of what they think is a mosque. “Religious liberty” is something iconic to them, but they don’t understand or appreciate how it is applied to real-world situations.
Along those lines, there’s a “small government” teabagger running for governor of New York (no chance he’ll be elected) who not only promises to use the power of his office to stop the building of Park51; he wants to convert state prisons into work camps for welfare recipients. Apparently “small government” is just another totem, a meaningless phrase that commands loyalty but doesn’t have any fixed meaning.
Sorta kinda related must read: Paul Krugman’s column today.
… our political culture has become not just dysfunctional but deeply corrupt. … What’s at stake here? According to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, making all of the Bush tax cuts permanent, as opposed to following the Obama proposal, would cost the federal government $680 billion in revenue over the next 10 years. For the sake of comparison, it took months of hard negotiations to get Congressional approval for a mere $26 billion in desperately needed aid to state and local governments.
And where would this $680 billion go? Nearly all of it would go to the richest 1 percent of Americans, people with incomes of more than $500,000 a year. But that’s the least of it: the policy center’s estimates say that the majority of the tax cuts would go to the richest one-tenth of 1 percent
He goes on to say that the same kind of campaign of lies and deception that sold America on the Bush tax cuts were then used to sell America on invading Iraq, and now the same kind of campaign is being used to sell America on reinstating the Bush tax cuts for the rich. As I wrote earlier, the Usual Rubes are being scammed into thinking that the Dems want to raise everyone’s taxes.