The Tea Party, Conservatism, and the Constitution (Part 3) – Hubris and Nemesis (II)

In the last article, I mentioned how Kesler spoke about how defending Obamacare brings out the very worst in liberals. Kesler goes on to say that the Tea Party needs a strategy to clarify and achieve its worthy ends., going back to the Constitution as an example.


What the Tea Party needs now is a strategy — something it has so far conspicuously lacked — to allow it to achieve its worthy ends. Thinking through a strategy will help clarify those ends: What is it, exactly, that the Tea Party means by limited government? Limited to what? And limited by what? Clearly the Tea Party’s form of conservatism points back to the Constitution as the basis for restoring American government. But how practically to move in that direction?

The Tea Party rightly concluded from the battles over Obamacare that what we are seeing in our politics these days is not two clashing interpretations of the same Constitution, but increasingly two different Constitutions in conflict: the old Constitution of 1787 and a “living” Constitution that is not just a different approach to the original, but an alternative to it. The extraordinary fight the Tea Party was willing to put up arose from this fact—that Obamacare amounted to a colossal battle between two different ways of government. And it was the Tea Party and President Obama who shared a clear understanding of the stakes; mainstream Republican leaders understood them with much less clarity and intensity.

It is interesting to note that the main difference between liberalism and conservatism is how they view the Constitution. It is such belief that is the main divide of the nation today and we had seen it in the Senate during the filibustering of George W. Bush’s judicial nominees back about 2005 which led to the Gang of 14 being formed.

Liberals believe the Constitution is a “living” Constitution. That is to say that the basic foundation of the Constitution is made to adapt to the times. They are called Loose Constructionists or Living Constitutionalists.

Conservatives, on the other hand, view the Constitution as a static document that is not living but CAN be amended. That is to say that the basic foundation of the Constitution is not to be altered. They are called Strict Constructionists or Adherents to Original Intent.

(SIDENOTE: Now to be totally fair, there COULD be some liberals who are strict constructionists and some conservatives who are loose constructionists, but they are few and far between. For the purposes of this editorial series, we will focus on liberals being loose constructionists and conservatives as strict constructionists.)

UnitedStatesConstitution Because of this battle over strict construction vs. loose construction, many battles have been waged. One of which is over Obamacare. Obama is using his power of pen and phone to try to bypass Congress and the Constitution by saying it is a living document which should be adapted to the times and pass executive orders and also change Obamacare (or rather ObamaDoesn’tCare) at will. The Tea Party is out to thwart him at every point, concluding that we are fighting two different Constitutions in conflict: The Constitution of the strict constructions (aka the 1787 Constitution) and the Constitution of the loose constructionists (aka the 2014 Constitution which Obama changes at will).

As we ramp up for the midterm elections of 2014, one question to ask yourself is this: Are you a strict constructionist adhering to the Constitution of 1787 under the Founding Fathers, or are you a loose constructionist adhering to the Constitution of 2014 under Obama?

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