When can we do away with the absurd notion that Republicans stand for constitutionally limited government?

Most don’t. And it becomes more and more clear every day.

Oh, Republicans talk a good game. They quote founding fathers and blast Democrats for their belief in a living-breathing Constitution. But when it comes down it, the vast majority of Republicans act just like the vast majority of Democrats. They abandon constitutional fidelity when it stands in the way of their preferred policies. In some ways, you have to respect the Democrats more. At least they don’t pretend to revere the founders and champion the Constitution. At least they ignore the Constitution honestly.

Take Republican Steve Hale for instance. He’s running for the Tennessee legislature (District 94) and he recently made it abundantly clear that his views on abortion trump the Constitution.

In a recent Facebook thread, several people argued that the federal government should protect life. One individual asserted that it was the purpose of government to secure life and liberty. I explained that Congress lacks the constitutional authority to legislate on abortion, along with many other areas that the federal government sticks its nose into.

The Constitution delegates specific, enumerated powers to the federal government and leaves all others to the states and the people. Just because philosophically ‘the role of government is to secure these rights’ doesn’t mean the federal government can do anything and everything to accomplish this goal. It can only legitimately act within the scope of the powers delegated. Legislating marriage, abortion, health care and education are not among those delegated powers, and are therefore left to the states and the people.

Hale disagreed (making sure I knew he was a “real lawyer”), pointing to the Constitution’s preamble. When I challenged him to specifically point out the enumerated power delegating the protection of life to the federal government, he provided the following response:

Mike I quoted the preamble in my first remark. I have to leave for work in 8 minutes. I’ll return but don’t forget the 2nd half of my argument…. This issue trumps the constitution. Even if the document did insure the right to abortion, I’d stand firm on the belief that the federal govt has the DUTY to defend life.

Did you catch that? The issue trumps the Constitution. And the last sentence qualifies as a logical nightmare. Hale essentially argues that even if the federal government was constitutionally empowered to protect a “right” to an abortion, he would still stand firm in believing the exact opposite.

I followed up with founding era documentation showing that the preamble does not constitute a delegation of power and that the federal government was to remain constrained within its specifically enumerated powers. I also pointed out that he was using liberal reasoning with a conservative twist. He brushed me off.

Mike it would be hard for me to care one iota less about any label you assign to me… you are as irrelevant to me as the millions of murdered babies are to you….

Sadly, I see this type of attitude from Republicans on a daily basis. They don’t care about limiting government. They don’t care about constitutional fidelity. They only care about wielding power to their own ends. And these people keep winning elections. The brave souls who actually stand firm on constitutional principles typically get trampled by their own party. The truth is, Hale probably has a good shot of winning his race.

So please, let’s just stop pretending. The mainstream position of the Republican Party is liberal with a conservative twist.

Mike Maharrey

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