Apparently, There’s Some Deep, Hidden, Scary Meaning Behind “Constitutional Conservative”

The New Republic freaks out over Constitutional Conservatism and Michele Bachmann

Michele Bachmann really wants you to know she’s a “constitutional conservative.” The term is featured prominently on her web ads. She mentioned it three times in her announcement speech. It’s in the first sentence of her official bio. But what exactly does it mean? While the term can signify different things to different people, it turns out it’s especially important to Bachmann. As a candidate who doesn’t want to get confined to a social conservative ghetto in an election year that is revolving around fiscal and economic issues–and as someone with a well-earned reputation for extremism–her strong “constitutional conservative” stance indicates, but only to those who are trained to listen, a decidedly radical agenda that is at least as congenial to rabid social conservatives as it is to property-rights absolutists or anti-tax zealots. In short, it enables her to run as a middle-of-the-road conservative who just wants to get rid of ObamaCare and balance the budget, even as she lets the initiated know she has other, more ambitious, plans for the country.

Obeying the Constitution is a “decidedly radical agenda.” Sure thing, chump.

Despite the growing ubiquity of the “constitutional conservative” identifier in the Tea Party movement and the right-wing blogosphere, there’s no authorized definition of the term and some who proudly wear the label doubtless disagree about its meaning. Adam J. White of the Weekly Standard attributes its recent emergence to an influential 2009 essay in the Wall Street Journal by the Hoover Institution’s Peter Berkowitz. The Berkowitz formulation did indeed focus on the need for Republicans to return to first principles, with “the constitutional order” providing the key optic. But he also called “moderation” in the pursuit of liberty an essential constitutional concept, which is not a term one would normally associate with Michele Bachmann or Constitution-brandishing Tea Party activists.

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Much like with “patriotism”, those who are constitutional conservatives do not need a definition of the phrase: we know what it means. But, it’s very much like a liberal to attempt to over-analyze something, when the answer is right there in front of their faces: simply follow the constitution. How friggin’ hard is that to understand? Remember, though, it was a liberal who brought us “kinetic military operations”, “operation overseas contingency”, and “expenditures in the tax code.” Obviously, though, constitutional conservatives despise democracy

…They rarely come right out and denounce democracy, of course, but it’s clear they think their liberties are endangered by people who, say, would like government-guaranteed access to affordable health care.

Except, we have a Republic, not a democracy (funny how liberals don’t like it when actual democracy votes go against them, like with Prop 8 in California), and said republic is based on….a Constitution! All we want is for the document to be followed to the letter. As far as access to affordable health care, we have no problem with that: when do we actually pass legislation that brings it to America?

Where does Bachmann fit into all this? Simply as a whipping girl as The New Republic attempts to make Constitutional Conservatism into something scary, bad, evil, and, of course, sexist and raaaaacist. Plus, hating on the poor. And, they actually *gasp* believe in God. Like Rush says, Liberals always tell us what they fear the most by personally attacking it.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach

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