• Twitter
  • Facebook
News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

A novel approach

Some members of Congress vow to follow the Constitution, and that's so unusual it's considered news:

When Republicans take over the House next week, they will do something that apparently has never been done before in the chamber's 221-year history:

They will read the Constitution aloud.

And then they will require that every new bill contain a statement by the lawmaker who wrote it citing the constitutional authority to enact the proposed legislation.

Call it the tea party-ization of Congress.

"It appears that the Republicans have been listening," said Jeff Luecke, a sales supervisor and tea party organizer in Dubuque, Iowa. "We're so far away from our founding principles that, absolutely, this is the very, very tip of the iceberg. We need to talk about and learn about the Constitution daily."

I think a history professor quoted in the stsory has it about right, though:

"I think it's entirely cosmetic," said Kevin Gutzman, a history professor at Western Connecticut State University who said he is a conservative libertarian and sympathizes with the tea party.

"This is the way the establishment handles grass-roots movements," he added. "They humor people who are not expert or not fully cognizant. And then once they've humored them and those people go away, it's right back to business as usual. It looks like this will be business as usual - except for the half-hour or however long it takes to read the Constitution out loud."

That's what the establishment will try, at any rate. But I think those who see the tea party members as "not fully cognizant" are underestimating them. The rubes are not in the mood to be patted on the head and


William Larsen
Thu, 12/30/2010 - 6:15pm

That is good news. One of my campaign statements was to add wording that authorized a particular bill as well as a paragraph identifying the purpose and objective.

I think the "Tea Party" are more honorable than the standard politician who has been in there a long time. It is not a hand full this time, but a large fraction who seem to be very out spoken. I wonder how the "old politicians" will take it after a year? Will they give up and quit or will the "Tea Party?" My bet is the Tea Party has longer legs.