Bipartisanship, Nullification and a Republican form of Government

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.

Details

Yes, Usually it’s Partisan; Get Over It

One criticism leveled against nullification is that it is usually a “partisan thing.”

In other words, most of the proponents of nullifying Obamacare are Republicans.  Also, a vast majority of proponents of nullifying the war on drugs are Democrats.

This is a true statement.

With most nullification efforts now underway, the effort is partisan.  This is not a real argument against the movement; it is simply an observation.  In reality, any effort, with certain exceptions, will of necessity be partisan. (As it will be nullifying an act of the federal government controlled at the time by one party or the other).

Of course, these same critics would hold up the Patriot Act (passed by a Republican, and sustained now for five years by a Democrat) as some shining example of good governance.  To these people, the fact that an act passed Congress, the Senate, and was signed by the president, gives automatic legitimacy, as long as some of the people who passed the bill were on both sides of the “aisle.”  They would have you believe that the acts of Congress all represent the consensus  of the nation at large.

But what is consensus?

Details

Bipartisanship, Republic, and Nullification

Often times, when politicians do something that is illegal (for the feds the word illegal is a synonym with unconstitutional), they attempt to defend their actions by claiming it’s “bipartisan.”

This status is supposed to put their actions beyond suspicion. This tactic is used by Republicans, and Democrats alike. It is an amusing exercise to examine the issues that are bipartisan. Usually, these are the things government is doing that has the least support amongst the citizenry. Things like going to war or spying on citizens, are usually bipartisan. The Patriot Act was bipartisan when it passed. So was 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 the 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 that are 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.

Details