In an amazing piece of masochism and anti-historical argument, The Center for American Progress has dubbed those who support the Tenth Amendment “Tenthers,” an obvious play on “birthers.”
Empirically, it is fair to say that liberals now oppose the Second and Tenth Amendments of the Constitution and don’t give a damn about the Fourth Amendment as long as a Democratic president is dismantling it.
Dumping two thirds of the Bill of Rights hasn’t saved the liberals, however. They have become futile complainers under a Republican administration, and indentured servants of a conservative Democratic one. They regard themselves as wiser and smarter than most Americans, but are unable to tell the difference between being elite and becoming extinct.
The latest attack is written by CAP’s Ian Millhiser who compares those who support the Tenth Amendment as Tea Partiers. While there is indeed a strong anti-federalism abroad in the land these days, it ranges from the extreme right to the devolutionary left to people who just believe in the Constitution. To lump these together is either dishonest or dumb.
The Tenth Amendment states that the “the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
It is one of the most important provisions in the Constitution but one that has become routinely ignored as both Democratic and Republican centralists have demanded ever more federal power – not for the common good of all Americans, as with civil rights legislation – but to extend a Washington bureaucracy that mainly serves the grad school drones it increasingly employs.
Millhiser, however, apparently doesn’t understand the difference between passing civil rights legislation and subsidizing huge health insurance companies by requiring Americans to buy policies from them. Or a health care bill with so many new federal boards, commissions and committees that the Congressional Research Service admitted that it can’t even count them.
As liberals love to do these days, he finds a haven in the commerce clause, a device cleverly used to get some good and important legislation passed but hardly a constitutional principle equal to the Bill of Rights. But Millhiser doesn’t understand this difference, either.
“A provision of the Constitution known as the ‘commerce clause’ gives Congress power to ‘regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes.’ There is a long line of cases holding that this provision gives Congress broad power to enact laws that substantially affect prices, marketplaces, commercial transactions, and other economic activity.”
Apparently his view of constitutional government might also require you to buy a new car or TV every two years. That would fit nicely into the commerce clauses as well.
The sad thing is it’s not only bad law, it’s lousy politics. And one more reason to ditch conventional liberalism in favor of a new progressive politics that still cares about people more than it does about legislative sub paragraphs.
SAM SMITH is the editor of the Progressive Review, where this column originally appeared.