In our time political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible. George Orwell
Advocates of the “living” Constitution like to argue that the original document is outdated because it was written, they allege, for life in the 18th century. The problem with the Constitution, as Senator Obama once stated, is that it
… is a charter of negative liberties, says what the states can’t do to you, says what the federal government can’t do to you, but it doesn’t say what the federal government or the state government must do on your behalf.
According to the President’s political ideology, the things government must do are legion. To do them, however, it is necessary to abrogate the limits imposed by the Constitution. Of course, that is not something the President says publicly.
Perhaps it is unrealistic to expect him to understand that the principles embodied in the Constitution are based on human nature and are, therefore, timeless. For one thing, Progressives don’t agree there is such a thing as human nature. They view humans as endlessly malleable clay to be molded to the specifications of an all-wise government … for their own good, of course.
Martin recently reviewed a biography of Stephen Decatur written in 1821. The author, Samuel Putnam Waldo, elaborated on one of those timeless principles and his words directly apply to the notion that the Constitution outdated.
With a nation, as with an individual, it is infinitely easier to increase than to diminish expenses; and with either, when a system of expenditure has been adopted, although it was entirely unnecessary at the time, it is extremely difficult to abandon it, or even retrench upon it afterwards. It is scarcely possible to observe too much caution in guarding against the extension of the public expenditure. If there is any one axiom in politics, established by universal history, it is, that all governments, whatever may be their form or spirit, tend to a constant increase of expenditure. We need not imagine that the United States forms an exception to this principle, inasmuch as that for the first year after the organization of the federal government, its revenue was but between 3 and 4 millions, and the present year an estimated revenue of more than 20 millions, leaves a deficit of more than the whole revenue at the period referred to.
President Obama is the poster child for the relentless tendency to increase expenditure. Far from wanting to abandon unnecessary expenses, he would augment them through euphemism and subterfuge. Both are politically necessary as opinion polls reveal widespread rejection of both his ideas and results.
Thus, he no longer speaks of spending taxpayers’ money, he is “investing” it. The term stimulus has altogether disappeared from the President’s vocabulary and been replaced by a welter of high-minded generalities.
Tax increases are now “revenue enhancements.” “Spreading the wealth” sounds better than confiscating earnings. “More jobs for teachers and construction workers” is easier to sell than union payoffs. And, although not part of his tax and spend rhetoric, the most dangerous of all, “man-caused disasters” to avoid calling Islamic terrorism by its name.
Finally, James Carvel is wrong to blame advisors for Obama’s tanking approval ratings. All the credit belongs to the President. He staffed the White House with political soul mates. There is no diversity there.