In watching countless hours of debate over “healthcare” rarely, if ever, do I hear the U.S. Constitution mentioned in the discussion. I was speaking at event recently when a very eloquent and entertaining doctor got up and spoke of the dangers of this bill – to her industry and the American people. Agreed 100% with everything Dr. Daliah Wachs said. She knocked it out of the park and used humor and brilliance. We need people who understand those specifics, and she does. I’m no doctor, but I do know our Founding Documents. Following her speech I stood up and said, “I don’t like the thing because it’s not constitutional!” The crowd went crazy.
The Constitution resonates. The Constitution, when used properly, connects with the American people. We’ve spent 100 years running away from this inspired document, it’s long past time that we began our sprint back toward it.
The media doesn’t know the Constitution, or if they do, they don’t care about it. They love the banter back and forth. They love the fight over minutiae and polls. The media, who don’t have time to cover context, love to spend forever talking about whether the “healthcare” bill (not sure which healthcare bill they are talking about) will be reconciled or not reconciled, or cost more or cost less, or has death panels or doesn’t have death panels, or will cover your dentures or not cover your dentures so that you can will them then to your sister in New York when you die. Gotta fill those 24 hour news cycles on cable. I guess I wouldn’t be a very good guest on those shows. I’d just say it’s not constitutional, and I’d elaborate if asked to do so. Let me get to that in a moment, but this first.
I heard Bill Clinton speak recently at the Coliseum at Caesars Palace. Brilliant speaker, no teleprompter needed.
He spoke of legislation that was presented to him when he was President and said that his prerequisite for considering any legislation was that it “be good for the American people.” His idea was that if he thought it was good, it got his signature, presumably if he thought it was bad, it would not. Oh how I wish there would’ve been a Q&A segment after his speech. “Mr. President, you took the Oath of Office to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. At what point does that document figure into whether you sign legislation?”
Then I’m watching E.J. Dionne of Washington Post fame on Meet the Press on Sunday. E.J. is a brilliant writer. Been to all the right schools, all the right degrees, been doing this for years at all the right papers. He should know better than this, but he went there anyway. Addressing Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, Dionne was talking about how the Republicans responded to public polls then, and now.
I find it astonishing that so many Republicans who, when President Bush surged troops into Iraq, against the polls, said this is a courageous act, and when President Obama tried to push a healthcare bill against the polls, this is a terrible thing.
Oh, I’ve been waiting for somebody in the media to make this comparison. I didn’t think somebody so brilliant would do it on such a large stage, but he did, so here goes. E.J., do you know what the Constitutional responsibilities of the President of the United States are? Seriously, do you know? I know I’m just a little ol’ former TV guy and radio talk show host, but let me help you with this. Constitutionally, the POTUS is duty bound to protect the nation. That is priority number one according to the Constitution. You can read it in Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution. Regardless of what you think of Bush and the Iraq War, it is irrelevant to this discussion. It was certainly within his power to go “against the polls” in Iraq. Constitutionally, healthcare is not part of the President’s job description.
Some have used the “general welfare” clause in the Preamble to the Constitution to make the case for healthcare. It goes something like this; “since it says in the Constitution that the government should promote the general welfare, then that clearly means the government should do what it’s supposed to do to help us citizens.”
First, it’s in the Preamble to the Constitution. The Preamble was never meant by the Founders to be legally binding and never has been. It was used once in an insignificant case, but precedence has never been established. Second, what does “promote the general welfare” mean? Does it mean healthcare? What about food for everybody? How about housing? Wouldn’t it promote the general welfare if we all had transportation? How about free Ferris wheel rides?
Promoting the general welfare, as written in the Preamble to the Constitution was so vague as to be meaningless to anything specific. Here’s James Madison on that. It’s a long quote, but always relevant.
If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare, and are the sole and supreme judges of the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their own hands; they may appoint teachers in every State, county and parish and pay them out of their public treasury; they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union; they may assume the provision of the poor; they may undertake the regulation of all roads other than post-roads; in short, every thing, from the highest object of state legislation down to the most minute object of police, would be thrown under the power of Congress…. Were the power of Congress to be established in the latitude contended for, it would subvert the very foundations, and transmute the very nature of the limited Government established by the people of America.
Thank you President Madison. You were soft-spoken and regarded by some as “no bigger than a piece of soap,” but your words pack a punch—especially today. People just need to read them.
Occasionally you will hear Republicans say this healthcare bill is unconstitutional, but they do not say it nearly enough. Democrats never say it. In fact, I don’t recall hearing Democrats say much about the Constitution lately. It’s packed away in that glass case in the National Archives.
Healthcare is unconstitutional for at least two reasons. 1) You can’t tell Americans they have to buy something. This bill does that. You go to jail and/or pay fines if you do not. 2) The Tenth Amendment. That says if it ain’t written specially in this document, then you leave it to the states to do it. Read Madison’s quote again if this is confusing to you. Or, better yet, read the tenth amendment and tell me that it doesn’t say what I just paraphrased for you.
If Democrats want healthcare, they should amend the Constitution. FDR tried a similar plan in 1944 with his “Second Bill of Rights”, although he didn’t want to go the Constitutional route; he wanted to go the legislative route. He knew it wouldn’t survive the rigorous amendment process. Democrats know that today, that’s why they will never discuss making healthcare part of the Constitution. They will try to ram it down our throats and use their Leftist Activist Media Boobs (LAMBS) to do it. Republicans should suggest the Democrats try the Constitutional route on healthcare.
Now that would be some real entertainment for the cable shows. Certainly it would fill that 24 hour cycle.