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The Problem in Washington Isnít the Constitution
Townhall.com ^ | January 6, 2013 | Rich Tucker

Posted on 01/06/2013 10:12:38 AM PST by Kaslin

It’s easy to pity Kremlinologists. These are people who spent years, even decades, studying the Soviet Union. Their job was to explain why that country did the things it did, even though those actions so often seemed counterproductive. Suddenly, though, the USSR dissolved and the Kremlinologists were out of work.

Louis Michael Seidman hopes to join them on the unemployment lines. He’s a “professor of constitutional law” at Georgetown University. That means students pay more than $60,000 per year to hear him lecture.

Nonetheless, Seidman apparently wants to end his cushy teaching gig. “Let’s Give Up on the Constitution” reads the title of his New York Times op-ed, published on Dec. 30. That sounds akin to a doctor declaring “who needs anatomy?” or a pilot asking “what good is aerodynamics?” But Seidman means it; he really wants to do away with the Constitution.

“Our obsession with the Constitution has saddled us with a dysfunctional political system, kept us from debating the merits of divisive issues and inflamed our public discourse,” he writes. “As someone who has taught constitutional law for almost 40 years, I am ashamed it took me so long to see how bizarre all this is.” Just imagine how all his former students must feel reading that. Can they get a tuition refund?

Seidman writes that he wants to replace our archaic Constitution with something that would allow for quicker response times. His new governing document wouldn’t need to be a document at all; Great Britain and New Zealand are humming along without a written constitution. He’d also keep some of the practical bits, such as the length of the president’s term. After all, “Some matters are better left settled, even if not in exactly the way we favor.”

His essay seems to boil down to: “Keep the stuff I agree with, do away with the rest.”

So why would a Con law prof want to eliminate the document he’s been studying for a lifetime? Seidman explains: “As the nation teeters at the edge of fiscal chaos, observers are reaching the conclusion that the American system of government is broken.”

Oh.

That’s not much of an insight. American political observers have been complaining about our faulty system since the time of King George III. It’s a key reason, as Seidman admits, that the Constitution was written in the first place: because the Articles of Confederation weren’t working well enough for many Americans.

Back then Americans revolted. Today, Seidman doesn’t seem to think we’re revolting enough. “Instead of arguing about what is to be done, we argue about what James Madison might have wanted done 225 years ago,” he writes.

But our country’s problem isn’t the Constitution. Note that Seidman seems to root his piece in the recently-concluded fiscal cliff debacle. Yet nobody involved in that debate relied on Madisonian arguments. It was all about taxing and spending, the sort of thing any government is going to have to do no matter how it’s organized. That’s practical, if not particularly forward-looking, politics.

President Obama, for example, has only one apparent policy: to force “the wealthiest Americans to pay a little more in taxes.” That’s a political decision that has nothing to do with the Constitution. In fact, since he cannot run again, Obama is, constitutionally, in a perfect position to think big and show real leadership. He could propose sweeping solutions to our fiscal problems. He doesn’t seem to have any interest in doing so.

Instead, “Obama refuses to concede that Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are driving future spending and deficits,” notes Robert Samuelson in The Washington Post. “So when Republicans make concessions on taxes (as they have), they get little in return.”

Obama’s desired tax increases will have almost no effect on the budget deficit, which clocked in last year at $1,089 billion. We can’t tax ourselves out of our $16 trillion debt.

There are answers. The Heritage Foundation has designed a comprehensive plan that would allow us to Save the American Dream. Getting there will require political leadership and difficult decisions, but it can be done.

The problem isn’t the Constitution, it’s the people we’ve elected to govern. The Senate, for example, refuses to pass a budget. That’s a political decision made by Senate leadership. We could change the Constitution (some have proposed a balanced budget amendment), but smart, principled leaders could balance the budget without changing the Constitution.

The Constitution isn’t perfect, but it creates a framework under which Americans can determine our own political future. Let’s keep it in place, and maybe even actually read it. That might encourage us to elect different people to represent us in government. We don’t need to go the way of the USSR, and Prof. Seidman can keep his day job.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: collegeprofessors; constitution; governmentspending; laws; liberalprofessors; politics; washingtondc

1 posted on 01/06/2013 10:12:42 AM PST by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

It’s not the Constitution that is the problem, rather those that obstruct it.


2 posted on 01/06/2013 10:20:32 AM PST by unixfox (Abolish Slavery, Repeal The 16th Amendment!)
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To: Kaslin

This rubbish is what passes as intellectual discourse at one of our top universities. This man should be sweeping the floor in a grocery store.


3 posted on 01/06/2013 10:22:25 AM PST by GenXteacher (You have chosen dishonor to avoid war; you shall have war also.)
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To: Kaslin

The Constitution is a lot like paper money, its value is illusory.


4 posted on 01/06/2013 10:24:12 AM PST by gorush (History repeats itself because human nature is static)
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To: Kaslin
The problem isn’t the Constitution, it’s the people we’ve elected to govern.

No. The problem is the people who vote. Reaching a bit deeper, the problem is the government monopoly education system that teaches the people who vote.

5 posted on 01/06/2013 10:33:20 AM PST by ProtectOurFreedom
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To: Kaslin

” That means students pay more than $60,000 per year to hear him lecture”

Not to quibble, but the figure shown is the total amount students pay each year to attend Georgetown, inclusive of room and board etc. But even if it were the tuition amount alone, it would represent the amount the average student pays for ALL the courses taken, not just those of this professor.

However, what’s more important than what any individual student might pay for the privilege of hearing this professor is the total amount he receives to teach each year—an amount that likely is at least double or triple $60K (or possibly even more). The average full professor at Georgetown makes $167K http://chronicle.com/article/faculty-salaries-table-2012/131433 Law professors typically earn more than this average.


6 posted on 01/06/2013 10:45:25 AM PST by DrC
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To: Kaslin
Seidman writes that he wants to replace our archaic Constitution with something that would allow for quicker response times.

Schumer: Surrender to one-party rule or else; Update: Against one-party rule before he was for it

Chuck Schumer on a one party rule (FOX News Sunday, 4/10/05):

“And again, you can’t just have one-party rule here.”

“The point is that there have to be checks and balances here. A check and a balance does not necessarily always mean a majority vote. We have 60 votes before you can do certain kinds of spending increases. The Senate is always supposed to be, Chris, the cooling saucer.”

7 posted on 01/06/2013 10:46:25 AM PST by Libloather (The epitome of civility.)
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To: AdmSmith; AnonymousConservative; Berosus; bigheadfred; Bockscar; ColdOne; Convert from ECUSA; ...

The problem isn’t the Constitution, nor is most of the problem in Washington DC. Thanks Kaslin.


8 posted on 01/06/2013 11:30:01 AM PST by SunkenCiv (Romney would have been worse, if you're a dumb ass.)
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To: Kaslin

This piece of crap is a constitutional law professor?

We are living in bizarro world.


9 posted on 01/06/2013 11:46:03 AM PST by july4thfreedomfoundation (November 6, 2012.....A day that will live in infamy!)
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To: Kaslin

There was no mention of the fact that the Constitution can be amended. Nor was there a mention of judicial activism (the “living document” doctrine). What about making it a bit easier to amend the Constitution?


10 posted on 01/06/2013 11:57:17 AM PST by USFRIENDINVICTORIA
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To: USFRIENDINVICTORIA

“What about making it a bit easier to amend the Constitution?”

Just to clarify, I meant amended by the people — not by activist judges legislating from the bench.


11 posted on 01/06/2013 11:58:37 AM PST by USFRIENDINVICTORIA
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To: unixfox

We haven’t had a Constitution in about 75 years, maybe even 150, so it can’t be that.


12 posted on 01/06/2013 11:59:02 AM PST by Tublecane
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To: USFRIENDINVICTORIA

He’d probably be in favor of it now, when a majority of people might be on his side. If it had happened back in whatever Bad Old Days most scare him, or should popular opinion shift to the right, he’ll suddenly turn into a strict constructionist.


13 posted on 01/06/2013 12:02:57 PM PST by Tublecane
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To: Kaslin

Its the Islamic infiltration dressed like wolves in another breed of wolves clothing to appear as communists.

Yes communism is alive in America and was very much behind Obama but its the Muslim Brotherhood that has infiltrated Washington and now controls the country.

reminds me of a scene from Men in Black where Will Smith crunches the small cockroaches to piss off big daddy space alien cockroach.


14 posted on 01/06/2013 12:09:48 PM PST by Eye of Unk (A Civil Cold War in America is here, its already been declared.)
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To: Kaslin

“When Tyranny Becomes Law
Rebellion Becomes Duty”


15 posted on 01/06/2013 12:19:23 PM PST by BuddaBudd (F U B O)
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To: SunkenCiv

You’re welcome


16 posted on 01/06/2013 12:54:36 PM PST by Kaslin (He needed the ignorant to reelect him, and he got them. Now we all have to pay the consequenses)
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To: july4thfreedomfoundation

That arrogant pos occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave is supposedly also a constitutional law professor. What does that tell you?


17 posted on 01/06/2013 12:57:15 PM PST by Kaslin (He needed the ignorant to reelect him, and he got them. Now we all have to pay the consequenses)
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To: Kaslin

Don’t fall for the “professor” business. Obozo was not a professor, he was a lecturer. He was neither tenured nor was he on staff. He was an adjunct instructor. essentially a “contractor”


18 posted on 01/06/2013 3:15:55 PM PST by Ouderkirk (Obama has turned America into an aristocracy of the unaccomplished.)
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