The United States constitution is not self-executing. Sadly, in the Age of Obama it is more often honored in the breach. Republicans gain no ground pleading with Democrats to follow a Constitution they have long despised and whining about media bias as an excuse not to exercise its power of the purse.
Yesterday was the 226th anniversary of the signing of the world's greatest and longest lasting governing document on September 17, 1787 at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. America prospers when majorities, as Martin Luther King dreamed, "...rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed." That creed was originally stated in our first founding document, the Declaration of Independence, and probably best expressed by President Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg as "...a new nation conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."
Our second founding document was the Articles of Confederation that sufficed for a people engaged in a Revolutionary War led by General George Washington; but the new nation that emerged from colonial shadows found that it needed federal regulation of interstate commerce lest former colonies become 13 new nations and a unitary Commander-in-Chief to compete with monarchs abroad. So, after Shay's Rebellion, they fashioned a third founding document to put flesh on the bones of the first and correct the errors of the second; and quite possibly the most important provisions of that Constitution of the United States were those that separated legislative, executive and judicial powers.
With the notable exceptions of Dred Scotts, Plessys and Fergusons, the judicial branch waited until they were intimidated by FDR's court packing scheme to succumb to what Robert Bork calls "the tempting" to fashion a fourth governing and first "living" Constitution conceived in judicial activism and dedicated to the proposition that Five Black-robed Lawyers know best. Within two generations the right to life in the womb, farming for personal consumption Liberty and pursuits of Bible-reading-in-school happiness were lost. But at least the Supreme Court must passively wait for cases and controversies.
Until the Age of Obama, the two "active" branches of the federal government were mostly held in check by balancing power with the third. When President Harry Truman seized steel plants, the courts vetoed the unconstitutional act and when President Richard Nixon seized Justice from the Department of Justice, a senator of his own Republican Party asked, "What did the President know, and when did he know it?"
But there is no Howard Baker in today's Democratic Party, and the Republicans so fear the In-the-tank-for-Democrats media that their congressional leaders refuse to exercise what power they still wield under the Constitution we celebrated yesterday to combat unconstitutional acts that majorities of We the People oppose.
I speak, of course, of President Obama's serial violations of the Rule of Law and the reluctance of Speaker John Boehner and a majority of Republicans in the House and Senate to support a budget or continuing resolution that refuses to fund Obamacare. Some GOP ruling class types probably oppose such action because they secretly support the continued viability of the Affordable Care Act as a vehicle they can use either in opposition for election purposes or to amend for purposes of wielding personal political power.
But most Republicans that oppose passing a budget devoid of Obamacare funding do so out of fear that they will be blamed for shutting the government down, even though that will technically not be true.
The ONLY way that a House of Representatives can UNILATERALLY shut down the government is by NOT passing a budget. The House will pass a budget.
The Senate could then unilaterally shut the government down by refusing to pass that budget. Should a compromise budget reach the President, he could try to shut the government down via a veto. But Congress can override and pass the budget with a vote of two-thirds of the members of each house, at which point Republicans could absolve themselves from the supposed greatest sin since Eve bit the Apple, by voting again for the budget.
But truth and the Constitution went the way of buggy whips and hula-hoops long ago. The "reality" too many Grand Old Party members accept, much as did pagan worshipers of Baal in antiquity, is that President Bill Clinton went all Mike Tyson on Speaker Newt Gingrich's head in the first government-shutdown round in 1995 with Democrat-media judges. That Republicans retained control of the House throughout the remaining six years of the Clinton Presidency, which argues for at least a split decision if not an outright Republican victory matters not a whit to the GOP's nervous Nellies.
What matters to Republican pussy cats named Nelly is that the Democrat-media judges are still in place. Never mind that Democrat-media judges have been in place since at least Walter Cronkite falsely claimed the U.S. lost the Tet Offensive to the Viet Cong and JFK was assassinated by an "atmosphere of violence" in the South, rather than a communist named Lee Harvey Oswald.
Yet, despite the continued domination of the media by liberal Democrats before and after the emergence of Rush and Fox News, an emerging conservative majority chose law and order over Chicago and McGovern Democrats; tax-cut-fueled prosperity and peace-thru strength over untrustworthy Carter-Mondale-liberalism; a Contract with America over Hillarycare; and a Cowboy over a Kerry. And speaking of that Contract with America, didn't it require that Congress abide by all laws they foist upon us unclean masses? I thought so.
So, Mssrs. Boehner, McConnell and McCain et al, are you guys cowards; simply not smart enough to win the relatively easy government shutdown argument by passing a budget that funds all of government except for the near-universally loathed Obamacare; or do you secretly favor the institutionalization of government regulation of our right to Life, i.e. health care, as advancing the power of people like you to regulate our every move (or even our decision to NOT move, i.e. buy private health insurance)?
Mike DeVine‘s Right.com
“One man with courage makes a majority.” – Andrew Jackson