The Widdershins

Rewriting the history that wasn’t…

Posted on: April 15, 2014

Good afternoon Widdershins.

Whatever it is, she's the only one who sees it...

Whatever it is, she’s the only one who sees it…

This past week I recalled Michele Bachmann making a big deal out of being a “constitutional conservative” during the 2012 Presidential campaign. At the time the term “constitutional conservative” didn’t really mean much to me because, well, it was Michele Bachmann.

I was reminded of mis-Michele by another paragon of conservative thought — former Senator and Heritage Foundation President, Jim DeMinted. He, like Bachmann, used the term “constitutional conservative” in the context of the miraculous eradication of slavery not through any efforts of government or a war costing 750,000 lives, but some “beyond the mortal coil mysticism” of the Founders.

My interest was piqued. Come to find out, “constitutional conservative” is like the Carol Burnett earlobe tug — it’s a signal. It‘s code for, “While I don’t like to say too many crazy things out loud, you can bet I’m thinking them.”

Constitutional conservatism seems to have sprung up in 2009 from the fertile mind of a Hoover Institute Fellow and first published in the Wall Street Journal. While the theory doesn’t come right out and denounce democracy, it is clear there is little sympathy for those “other types of people” who are endangering the liberty of those purchasing vast quantities of SPF creams.

Values and Viagra both start with "V"...

Values and Viagra both start with “V”…

Those “other” people are defined as anyone who might have extra melanin, fail to own property, fail to be rich, fail to enjoy a panoply of tax write-offs, fail to adhere to a biblical definition of marriage, fail to forego contraception, fail to believe in corporate personhood, and fail to believe in full-fledged fundamental Protestantism. If that list is a bit overwhelming for you, it can be succinctly abbreviated: Liberals — the scariest people on the planet.

For those using the secret decoder term “constitutional conservative” it seems to be a mélange of conflation with a heaping helping of disassembly. Constitutional conservatives think of America as a sort of ruined paradise — an Eden divinely bestowed upon chosen Americans by a group of demigods who took the earthly form of Founding Fathers.

This is why Bachmann could say, with a straight face, that the Founders “worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States,” blind to the fact that George Washington held slaves and Thomas Jefferson was an innovator in the world of slave torment and slave labor.

People who espouse this constitutional interpretation have to add a heaping portion of the Declaration of Independence to any analysis in order to insert thoughts such as “natural rights” since the Constitution doesn’t contain any such provisions.


Those espousing constitutional conservatism also have no answer for the original divinity of the Founders when it comes to women being second-class non-voting citizens, driving Native Americans from their land, or enslaving African-Americans as a matter of course through protectionism that was a boon to slave-owners. Their greatest obstacle is trying to explain why a divinely inspired document like the Constitution would have provisions for changing it through amendment. Best I recall there was no amendment process in the Ten Commandments.

These are some of the more granular inconsistencies — so let’s swing for the fences. The very North Star Founders who these constitutional conservatives point to were adamantly, diametrically opposed to the ideas they are credited with championing. An ironic situation akin to electing Einstein president of the Flat Earth Society.

The constitutional conservatives’ beliefs around dismantling and reducing the federal government resemble an America governed by the Articles of Confederation. Under the Articles, national government was extraordinarily weak — it could not tax, mint coins, or pay collective debts. The result was an economic disaster and several states were near revolt. The failure of the Articles led to a constitutional convention culminating in a strong central government.

Those favoring the predominance of states and who saw a strong government as a prelude to tyranny were vehemently opposed to the Founders‘ call for a Constitution. So there you have it — the hyperbolic rhetoric of the Tea Partiers is based upon an unadulterated reverence for Founding Fathers who fought against the very philosophy the Tea Party is espousing with constitutional conservatism.

Rewriting history...

Rewriting history…

As with so many things where the Tea Party is concerned, it is based upon a common misperception where the perception then becomes reality. A trick also utilized by Stalin, Mao, Idi Amin, Camar Rouge, and the Taliban — just to name a few.

Even the event supposedly igniting the Tea Party, the Rick Santelli rant five weeks after the President’s inauguration — was fully and totally based on something that did not happen. Santelli had his knickers in a bunch over a supposed mortgage bailout that no one had talked about, no official had ever proposed, and quite simply, to this day has never happened, but it was a perceived fear that became a Tea Party reality.

So if the inception of the Tea Party was predicated on something that never happened and they have a governing philosophy of constitutional conservatism that stands for the opposite of what they believe, it’s easy to see how they can rewrite history that never was.

This is an open thread.


15 Responses to "Rewriting the history that wasn’t…"

I heard Marcia Blackburn excoriating the teachers union for their shameless promotion of Common Core. There appears to be an alternative universe of the Wonderland variant, where up is down and left is right.

Chat, yes, Common Core has become another “Carol Burnett ear tug” in conservative circles. It really doesn’t have a thing to do with educational attainment, it has everything to do with ideology.

Of course when you are rewriting the text books in Texas with dinosaurs in petting zoos — what are you going to do? Here in KY, the state is spending almost a hundred million dollars on building additional roads to the Creation Museum in order to handle the invisible traffic to a yet to be built “Noah’s Ark” — built to biblical specifications complete with an inboard/outboard motor.

Oh I loved this post Prolix! It was such a lovely way of saying the Tea Partiers and constitutional conservatives are full of chit!

I once got into it with a fellow on a listserv about the FF’s because he was attributing all manner of “Christian” labels to them. I told him they hardly ever mentioned Jesus Christ and certainly he isn’t mentioned in any of our founding documents. I cited Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists and said that if they were anything they were, at most, Deists or had a belief in a “creator”. His only reply was to call me a liar. 🙄

Lil Booby made an announcement yesterday that he would get the state of La “out of Common Core”. Which is okay except that he was for it a couple of years ago. I guess he’s like John Kerry and the AUMF: He was for it before he was agin it. LOL!

And yet, Jeb Bush is mentioned again and again as a viable candidate. The Bush family came up with testing theories, Neal peddled the software nation wide, etc. It has been a longterm cash cow of the first order. Oh, and illegal immigration as an act of love. This should be highly entertaining.

No one really mentions ole Neil. And then there was this slick little thing pulled by Babs:

Former first lady Barbara Bush donated an undisclosed amount of money to the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund with specific instructions that the money be spent with an educational software company owned by her son Neil.

Since then, the Ignite Learning program has been given to eight area schools that took in substantial numbers of Hurricane Katrina evacuees.


@3, Thanks Fredster.

I must admit, this was a difficult post to write. I found myself writing sentences that just didn’t make any sense. It is hard to describe something that is so FUBAR’d in its very essence and then try and explain it.

@5, there was a piece in Slate today that said, “No matter what the rabble-rousing Republican base thinks, Jeb has already won the most important primary — the money primary.” Of course, the article also said, Jeb would need to put old Jeb in a witness protection program and change his last name, but he would have the money to do so.

The example was Mitt Romney — after two years of unrelenting opposition to the ACA, what does the Republican Party do but nominate the guy who brought “socialized medicine to the People’s Republic of Massachusetts.”

@5, and this is a question I have never considered, but as far as educational testing in TX goes, what is the educational baseline upon which a student is graded?

Question One: “The Flintstones” was a documentary? Yes or no.

Question Two: Sunday School covered the 2nd Amendment and the 10th Amendment as part of the 10 Commandments? Yes or no

Question Three: San Antonio is full of sinning libruls? Yes or no

Question Four: Jesus gave Rick Perry purdy hair? Yes or no

Question Five: After the drive-by lobotomy, Louie Gohmert better represents my views? Yes or no

@6: She did the same thing in FL.
@7: Yes, but he has to clear the primaries, or do they plan to keep the TPs out with the Dems? This could be delicious.

@9: Spluttering!!! i almost spat out my tea with numbers four and five.

@8: Oh noes! You mean 2016 is going to be Clinton/Bush part deux?

@chat: Oh I didn’t know that about FL.

Yowza! Gonna be below freezing tonight!

From yesterday’s comments, for DYB:

6 | DYB
April 15, 2014 at 9:52 am | edit

I’m floating!

Why were you floating earlier today??

It’s hot and damp here. Oh, wait~ It’s usually hot and damp here.

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