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Disrespect for the law and Constitution
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By Rick Holmes
Sept. 30, 2013 12:01 a.m.

A fresh thread to ponder what Rob likes to call the philosophy of the Tea Party. I see no coherent philosophy at all.

Why I’m really trying to understand is the Tea Party’s philosophy about the rule of law. The talk about the Constitution as if they were the sole owners of that document, but don’t show much respect for it. They certainly don’t respect elections, or voters, who expressed themselves pretty clearly in support of this president and his health reform bill.

The House Republicans have proven they don’t care about the legislative process. They don’t have the votes to repeal Obamacare or to defund it. So they shut down the government rather than legislating. The administration, charged by law with deciding about the Keystone Pipeline, is frustrating the Koch brothers, so the Tea Party Republicans make Keystone a non-negotiable demand for raising the debt ceiling. When did extortion become a legitimate constitutional tactic?

Under the Constitution, Congress spends money, but the Tea Party doesn’t have enough respect for its own legal obligations to pay the bills Congress has rung up.

Michael Gerson, no fan of Obamacare, argues that compromise itself, which is so reviled by Tea Party members, is a bedrock principle of constitutional government. Quoting Jonathan Rausch, Gerson writes:

Rauch argues that Madison had two purposes in mind as he designed the Constitution. The first was to set faction against faction as a brake on change and ambition – a role that tea party leaders have fully embraced. Madison’s second purpose, however, was “to build constant adjustment into the system itself, by requiring constant negotiation among shifting constellations of actors.” Following the Articles of Confederation, America’s founders wanted a more energetic government. But they made action contingent upon bargaining among the branches of government and within them. “Compromise, then, is not merely a necessary evil,” argues Rauch, “it is a positive good, a balance wheel that keeps government moving forward.”

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