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Saturday, July 30, 2011
Beldar and Krauthammer agree: The Constitution must dictate — and is indeed dictating — conservative strategy and timing in the budget struggles
Dr. Krauthammer's latest column makes the point I've been making again and again since April, both on my own blog (in most thorough detail, here), and in comments I leave on many other blogs (e.g., on Patterico's, here):
The current struggle over spending, the deficit, and the debt ceiling absolutely must be viewed in the context of a four-year struggle that began the day Barrack Obama was elected. It is a struggle that cannot be completed in less than four years because of structural features of our Constitution — features that conservatives should cherish, protect, and continuously keep in mind for use to best advantage. In his words:
We’re only at the midpoint. Obama won a great victory in 2008 that he took as a mandate to transform America toward European-style social democracy. The subsequent counterrevolution delivered to that project a staggering rebuke in November 2010. Under our incremental system, however, a rebuke delivered is not a mandate conferred. That awaits definitive resolution, the rubber match of November 2012.
I have every sympathy with the conservative counterrevolutionaries. Their containment of the Obama experiment has been remarkable. But reversal — rollback, in Cold War parlance — is simply not achievable until conservatives receive a mandate to govern from the White House....
... [U]nder our constitutional system, you cannot govern from one house alone. Today’s resurgent conservatism, with its fidelity to constitutionalism, should be particularly attuned to this constraint, imposed as it is by a system of deliberately separated — and mutually limiting — powers.
Given this reality, trying to force the issue — turn a blocking minority into a governing authority — is not just counter-constitutional in spirit but self-destructive in practice.
Neither Dr. Krauthammer nor I are being terribly clever in pointing this out. It's junior-high level civics. Even the math is dirt simple, since one can figure out the entire situation without having to deal with any numbers greater than 435. But this is a truth that no amount of speech-making or clever posturing or principled defiance or back-room deal-making can change. So my warning to fellow conservatives from last April is now, I submit, even more urgent and apt:
We must not be foolish by being short-sighted, not even with the best of intentions. We must maintain discipline — and as with any discipline, this will be unpleasant to tolerate in the short term.
We're fighting about FY2012 and beyond, and the White House is using Twitter to try to sway public opinion. We are very modern and instantaneous and networked. But we're using exactly the political mechanisms that were envisioned and debated, and crafted in dynamic tension, and balanced and paced, by the framers of the Constitution in Philadelphia, oh so many decades ago. And from the depths of history, our Founding Fathers aren't calling today's precise tune, but their handiwork is certainly still dictating its stately (four-year) pace.
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