Repealing Common Sense - The conservative mission to destroy the Constitution in order to save it.
A shot heard 'round the legal world it wasn't. It started quietly enough: In April 2009, constitutional scholar Randy Barnett published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal offering proposals by which the Tea Party might amend the Constitution to "resist the growth of federal power." The most radical among them was an amendment permitting two-thirds of the states to band together and overturn any federal law they collectively dislike. Very few people noticed. When tea-infused Republican candidates hit the hustings this year, pledging to topple a tyrannical federal government, they did not avail themselves of Barnett's talking points. As of September, the most prominent elected leader espousing the idea of a "Repeal Amendment" was Virginia House Speaker Bill Howell.The 2010 mid-terms are over so its too late to remind people that Canter and other teatards were all about original intent. Now they seem to do nothing except hold the government hostage unless multimillionaires get a tax break and think of ways to change the Constitution.
Now, just two months after the proposal was a twinkle in a Virginia legislator's eye, the leadership of nine states is showing interest, and the popularity of the amendment's Web site (they have them nowadays) has "mushroomed." And this week, completing the proposal's rapid march from the margins to the mainstream, Rep. Rob Bishop of Utah introduced the amendment in the U.S. House of Representatives, pledging to put "an arrow in the quiver of states." The soon-to-be House Majority Leader, Eric Cantor, said this week that "the Repeal Amendment would provide a check on the ever-expanding federal government, protect against Congressional overreach, and get the government working for the people again, not the other way around." Fawning editorials in the Wall Street Journal and chest-heaving Fox News interviews quickly followed.
For a party (whether of the Tea or Grand Old variety) that sees the Constitution as something so perfect as to have been divinely inspired, the idea that it needs to be altered fundamentally is beyond crediting, something like putting the Fifth Commandment up to a popular referendum. But the Tea Party vision of the Constitution has never been one of fidelity to the document itself, or even to the Framers. Instead, it's a devotion to those scraps and snippets of the Constitution they accept, an embrace of only the Framers they admire, and an eagerness to jettison anything that conflicts with or complicates that vision, including the rest of the Constitution.