Nemo me impune lacessit

No one provokes me with impunity

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No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.

Article 1, Section 9, Constitution of the United States

If this is the law of the land...why in a republic (little r) and as republicans, do we allow mere POLITICIANS to the right to use a "title of office" for the rest of their lives as if it were de facto a patent of nobility. Because, as republicans, this should NOT be the case...just saying...

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Overbearing majority

In the Federalist Papers, No. 10, James Madison warns of the "Overbearing Majority" wherein a majority party in Congress would lose sight of it's political mandate and begin enacting legislation that is diametrically opposed by a majority of the populace.  The men who wrote the Constitution put into place a number of procedural safeguards to keep this from happening.  It appears that many of those safeguards were violated when the Democratic Majority passed their "reform" of the health insurance industry.  I believe that this "reform" was more in line with a government seizure of the  health care industry. 

In a Weekly Standard column, Jean Kaufman has begun making an excellent case for this. 
The process by which this bill was passed didn’t just feature corruption and violate traditional ethics. It revealed a president and a congressional leadership that in concert have shown more callous contempt than any in history for the will of the American people, the safeguards against the tyranny of the majority built into the Constitution, and the parliamentary rules by which Congress operates. And there’s every indication that, if need be, the same will be true of cap and trade, immigration reform, or whatever else Obama, Pelosi, and Reid may deem the next morsel they plan to cram down the recalcitrant throat of the American public.


By violating the ethical rules put into place, the majority party has begun to upset the delicate balance that was  installed withing the Constitutional frame work. 
…[M]easures are too often decided, not according to the rules of justice and the rights of the minor party, but by the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority…By a faction, I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adversed to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community…


But the most common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property. Those who hold and those who are without property have ever formed distinct interests in society…It is in vain to say that enlightened statesmen will be able to adjust these clashing interests, and render them all subservient to the public good. Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm…


Men of factious tempers, of local prejudices, or of sinister designs, may, by intrigue, by corruption, or by other means, first obtain the suffrages, and then betray the interests, of the people…
Even after the passage of this bill, when the majority party in Congress claimed that once passed, the bill would become popular.  This has not in fact occured.  Rasmussen Reports and Gallup Polling have both indicated that opposition to the legilsation has increased by more than 4 points with 58% now favouring repealing all of the legislation.  Generally, when one party has gained a huge majority in Congress as well as control over the Executive branch such as now, the  desire to retain that control has, in  the past, kept the majority party from enacting fractious legislation.  Heretofore, that has been the case.

At the present time, that seems to no longer be the case.  The Democratic leadership seems to have taken the consious decision to enact as many of its long desired legislative goals regardless of public opinion. 
(1) Never before have we seen such a drive to pass a profoundly unpopular bill.


(2) Never before has a bill been passed when it has immediately afterward become clear that the best way for candidates to win an election, or to gain traction in the polls, is to say that they will work tirelessly to repeal that bill.

(3) Never before have a party and a president so publicly and boldly discounted the very idea that procedures in the legislature matter.
Mrs. Pelosi, the Speaker of the House has publicly stated that her goal though this bill was to enact much more legislation that has a far greater impact upon the country. 
"My biggest fight has been between those who wanted to do something incremental and those who wanted to do something comprehensive," Pelosi said, according to an account by Washington Post reform advocate Ezra Klein. "We won that fight, and once we kick through this door, there'll be more legislation to follow."


Thus it now appears that this Democratic leadership has decided to commit political suicide in order to utterly wreck the ecnomic system that has been working fairly well for over 100 years.  
Pelosi argued that the debate over health care reform can begin after the bill is passed. "Pelosi said passing the bill would allow Dems to undertake a 'debate' with Republicans over 'what is the balanced role that government should have,'" writes another pro-reform blogger at the Post, Greg Sargent. According to Sargent, Pelosi explained, "We have to take it to the American people, to say, this is the choice that you have. This is the vision that they have for your health and well being, and this is the vision that we have." Again, in Pelosi's scenario, that debate would occur after the bill is passed.
That is completely against the entire American system of checks and balances.  Debate about legislation under our system must take place during the legislative process, not after that process has ended.  This fall's elections will be a referendum, not just on this majority party's platform, but upon it's actions while in power.  Never before has the party in power utterly ignored the will of the people.   Ms. Kaufman defines it well in her closing...
Pelosi’s phrase was profoundly aggressive, although perhaps she used it without complete consciousness of what she might be conveying. But it was no accident. This is an extraordinary way for a speaker of the House to talk, congruent with the Democratic Party’s newly combative attitude towards the wishes of the American people. This approach is (to use one of Obama’s favorite words) unprecedented for a major political party—at least in this country.


The Democratic Party has placed itself in a precarious position...it can either continue with it's precipate agenda, or pull back and attempt to save what it can.  I suspect that the leadership will continue on it's course having decided that it's too late to turn back.

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