In 1978, Senator Sam Ervin of North Carolina appeared on William Buckley’s “Firing Line.”
The two had a memorable exchange about “backbone:”
SJE: “Frankly, I think the big trouble in public life is there are too many people in public life with the anatomy of the jellyfish. They haven’t got much backbone, and I think they need more backbone in government …”
WFB: “You think they should hang tough?”
SJE: “Well, I think they ought to get a backbone some way instead of being so much like jellyfish.”
WFB: “Like Gordon Liddy?”
SJE: “Well, Gordon Liddy has a little too much backbone. I’ll have to admit that I have a sort of sneaking admiration for a fellow like Gordon Liddy that does have an excess of backbone. His backbone exceeds his intelligence, really.”
Buckley tried to deflect what Ervin was saying. Ervin thought and argued throughout his career that too many people in Washington D.C. ignored the Constitution, including Richard Nixon.
That started as soon as he assumed office in 1955. For the next twenty years, Senator Sam fought against the consistent “shredding of the Constitution.”
The problem was that the progressive left and right never called it that.
In fact, they insist that the only way to save the Constitution is to shred the Constitution. It doesn’t work because it ties the hands of the central government and gives too much power to minorities, also known as “conservatives”, in small States.
You read that right. The progressive left wants to hammer political minorities.
As an aside, funny how the left never complains about Vermont, or Delaware, or Rhode Island, as having too much influence in the Senate. Only Wyoming. I wonder why?
We’ve all known this, but now that the progressive left is losing, at least sometimes, they are trying to figure out a way to openly game the system.
I would argue they’ve been doing this for over 100 years.
It’s always been open season on the Constitution, and most honest people recognized that fact.
Progressives just thought they were abiding by the document because the federal court system told them they were through several bad decisions.
This made for good podcast fodder, so I discuss it on episode 714 of The Brion McClanahan Show.
You can listen to it and download it here.
- The tyranny of the majority? - January 15, 2023
- Federalism Is Beautiful! - October 25, 2022
- Flipping the Constitution - October 10, 2022