Often times, when politicians do something that is illegal (for the feds the word illegal is synonymous with unconstitutional), they attempt to defend their actions by claiming it’s “bipartisan.”
This status is supposed to put their actions beyond suspicion, and the tactic is used by Republicans, and Democrats alike.
It is an amusing exercise to examine the issues that actually do illicit bipartisanship. Usually, they involve things government is doing with the least support from the citizens. You know, actions like going to war, or spying on citizens. These are usually bipartisan. The Patriot Act was bipartisan when it passed. So were TARP, bailouts, the Iraq war, etc.
In reality, of course, mere bipartisanship does not elevate government actions above the law. For instance, no amount of support for the 2012 NDAA can reconcile kidnapping citizens without due process (or even outright assassination, depending upon the interpretation by the president) with the Constitution. No amount of agreement can justify the invasion of a foreign country by the president without congressional action. No amount of proper procedure and agreement among parties can justify the blanket violations of life liberty and property endemic to the Obamacare bill. No amount of agreement, even among citizens, can justify a violation of the Constitution. Period. If the necessary agreement does exist, an amendment still must pass to make the action legal. That is what it means to live in a republic.
If we lived in a democracy, then simple agreement could justify such things. If we lived in a democracy, a vote to steal our neighbor’s possessions because he has more than we do would be sufficient to justify theft, and a vote to assassinate a fellow citizen because he scares us would be sufficient justification to kill him. In fact, a 50 percent+1 majority would be sufficient to do anything the majority wanted. Indeed, these are the reasons that a democracy is eternally at war with itself.
So, back to the bipartisan label. Remember when judging legislation to distinguish between lawfully passed, and lawful. To be lawfully passed, an act simply needs to garner a majority in the House, a majority in the Senate, and get the president’s signature. For this, bipartisan makes a difference. On the other hand, to be lawful, a bill needs to be “in pursuance” of one of the powers granted to the federal government in the US Constitution. It does not matter that both Democrats and Republicans voted for it, or that the president signed it, or even that the Supreme Court validated it. All of those federal employees have a conflict of interest when it comes to determining “constitutionality.” When Congress is being “bipartisan,” we need to understand that we are at these times ruled by a one party system. In reality, we should cherish the infighting between the parties. Right now, with the people we have in charge, this infighting is the only thing that stands between us, and totalitarian rule.
Luckily, the Constitution contains within it “enforcement clauses.” Most people do not know about this enforcement clause, or they call it by a different name. Some people probably think it is Article3 (the Supreme Court). This is absurd. The founders would never have been so foolish as to trust the limits on the power of the federal government to the (federal) Supreme court. The enforcement clauses are in reality the Ninth and Tenth amendments. These provisions reserve powers to the states, and limit the scope of powers delegated. The states have the powers necessary to enforce the Constitution on the feds through non compliance, nullification, and other stymieing methods.
This process has only been recently rediscovered after a century of disuse. The feds have grown obese with power they were never intended to exercise. During that time, alternate methods of limiting the feds’ power were tried, including “throwing the bums out,” the left right political battle – left protecting civil liberties, and right protecting economic liberties. This method almost always results in new people doing the same old bad things. Then there is suing in federal court to try to limit the power of the feds. This usually results in increased power in federal hands. And the feds simply ignore petitioning to stop what they are doing.
The one effective method of limiting government is nullification. It is the only method that relies upon government doing what it does best – taking more power. Elections rely upon a new member of government willingly relinquishing power. Suing in the federal courts relies on federal judges appointed by the president (federal), confirmed by the Senate (federal), and part of the federal government to limit the power of the federal government. And petitions rely upon federal agencies and the federal government to willingly relinquish power.
Nullification relies upon state governments protecting their power from other government entities (federal).
Any time you ask the feds in any form to give up power, you are expecting them to do something that it is axiomatically opposed to their own self interest. Don’t fall for the rhetoric when it comes to “bipartisanship.” Bipartisan is simply government doublespeak for stealing your liberties.