The November elections were a wake up call for the Democrats in Congress. They went from the 257 seats under Speaker Pelosi to 193 in one day. Those elections propelled John Boehner to the Speaker post and has the potential of bringing President Obama’s far reaching agenda to a halt.
After their designated election cycles, members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, as well as the President of the United States, swear to defend the U.S. Constitution. In the vast majority of cases, it appears they are lying. This year the GOP added additional fanfare to the importance of the Constitution by having members of the House read the document at the beginning of the session. This is a first in US history. In addition, Republicans passed a rule that members of Congress have to cite specific provisions in the Constitution to every bill they introduce. The idea is simple, if it is not in the Constitution, it should not be introduced to Congress.
Now the burden falls on the majority of Americans who have not read the dozen pages that make up that lean, but important, document. They haven’t noticed Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution that limits Congress to around 20 powers. These are real exciting things like post offices, standard weights and measures, and post roads. If they expect their members to respect the Constitution, average Americans will need to become students of it.
Very few members of the previous Congress cared about these mandates, and to support them as the scope of government makes them seem little more than eccentric (or worse) in the eyes of their colleagues. For years it has not been trendy to support the law they swear to defend. When I think of such, I consider my own U.S. Senators, John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchinson, both of whom are Republicans. One of them, Cornyn, is consistently ranked in the top 10 percent of the most conservative by groups that rate voting records. I don’t consider this a badge of honor, but an indictment of how liberal Republicans and the Senate have become. The shake up in the House could be a warning call for both parties in the Senate in 2012.
John Cornyn, for example, is among the many who voted for TARP in 2008. Instead of being a true leader and representing his constituents, he chose to be a cheerleader and tried to win favor from the GOP leadership. The bill he voted for began in the U.S. Senate (unconstitutional according to Article I., Section 7, which states that “All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.”) TARP included provisions for raising revenue. Where it started was grounds for being unconstitutional. I won’t even begin to list the many other areas that it fails to uphold the Constitution.
Many who brand themselves as “conservative” use their colleagues with very liberal agendas as the benchmark for their own philosophy. The reality is, it simply means they are willing to take their time as they stroll down the road to serfdom. I believe the American people prefer those who are honest about their agendas (liberals) than those who are dishonest (so-called conservatives). The 2008 elections seemed to prove that fact. The 2010 elections seem to give a reprieve to the GOP to prove themselves for 2012. They certainly have plenty to prove.
The only way to solve this problem is to set a different standard for our elected officials. It is time to select politicians who are strict constructionists when it comes to the Constitution. People who have sworn to defend it and a voting record that reflects that they have done just that. Many call themselves “strict constructionists,” even George W. Bush who paved the way to much of the socialism the U.S. has been pursuing at a breakneck pace. That is where seriously examining one’s political record matters. Instead of “conservatives,” I’m looking for candidates who describe themselves as “restorationists” (of the Constitution), and can back it up with their actions.
Holding politicians to the standard of the Constitution will lead to more honest government, less government, and restoration of America’s greatness. But this can only happen by holding those we elect accountable and by reminding them what is and what is not Constitutional.