Did you ever ask yourself why people who watch Fox News are so grossly misinformed about our Constitution? The answer can be found by looking at who FNC considers constitutional experts. Fox doesn’t consider our constitutional law professor president an expert, but they look to such intellectual luminaries as Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin for guidance.
On Freedom Watch today, The Judge referred to Bachmann as a constitutional expert. Here is the video from Media Matters:
The Judge prefaced a question about whether Congress takes the Constitution seriously by referring to Bachmann as, “You are also a well known expert on the Constitution.” Bachmann then babbled on about something called a constitutional conservative, “There are people who do look to the Constitution for guidance, and those who don’t. I would say there is no moral equivalency however. I think the conservatives, the constitutional conservatives, tend to reside overwhelmingly in the Republican Party, and I think going forward this November any candidate who wants to win, needs to run as a constitutional conservative, because that’s what the American people are looking for.”
Notice that the question to Bachmann actually had nothing to do with an interpretation of a constitutional question, but that it was just a chance for her to shill for November disguised as a constitutional question. That’s some Constitutional expert you’ve got there, Fox News. She is so good that you are too afraid to ask her any real questions about the Constitution. Oh, but fear not, Bachmann is not alone as FNC’s constitutional expert, there is help, and the cavalry is arriving in the form of Sarah Palin.
Before Sarah could not figure out what the First Amendment is, she appeared on FNC’s Hannity as the constitutional expert on the healthcare reform bill. Who could ever forget that fateful night when Sarah Palin sounded like she was giving an oral report on the Constitution, but had no idea what is in it?
Palin said, “We’ve learned through America’s history that the government that governs least governs best, and that all political power is inherent in the people. Government originates just from the will of the people. It’s implemented according to the will of the people…The process that Pelosi is pushing right now is unconstitutional. This bill will not have been passed by both houses in Congress, and that’s unconstitutional. It’s cut and dry. It’s white and black. It’s quite clear to most Americans that this isn’t right, and not only again does it go against the will of the people, but it goes against our own constitution. What? Is the Constitution not worth the paper the paper it is written on then?”
Once again, notice that a Fox News constitutional expert, never actually specifically mentioned the Constitution. The Constitution isn’t worth the paper it is printed on if people like Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin don’t bother to read and understand it. Unlike Palin, Bachmann actually has a law degree, but she got it from one of the evangelical techs (Oral Roberts), and it is in tax law, not constitutional law. Bachmann’s legal experience is as a federal tax attorney in U.S. federal tax court. This is not exactly the same as being a constitutional law professor.
One last point, when I heard Bachmann use the term constitutional conservative, as a person with a couple of poli sci degrees, my BS detector went on overload. That sounds like a made up term, I said to myself, and sure enough it would seem that the angry far Right has rebranded itself. This comes from the Constitutional Conservative Blog, “Constitutional Conservatism flows from Judeo-Christian Biblical principles, but is religion-neutral — atheists can be (and are welcomed as) Constitutional Conservatives — Constitutional Conservatism does not seek to set up a religious government (as some conservatives desire). But in agreement with the original framers, freedom of religion is paramount to the Constitutional Conservative.”
The four principles of constitutional conservatism are a textual interpretation of the Constitution, fiscal responsibility, charity, and personal responsibility. In other words, they are the Republican Party. By the way, the charity principle is a nice euphemism for their desire to end the entire social safety net. Instead of the government, they believe that each citizen has a moral responsibility to help the less fortunate. What their principle doesn’t address is how this works when there is more need than private help available, but constitutional conservatives don’t seem too concerned about the future, or reality.
What happens whenever you have people like Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin going on national television and ideologically distorting the Constitution? The result is a couple of million people dangerously wandering the streets of Anytown, USA screaming about anchor babies, mosques, and the First Amendment without the slightest clue of what they are talking about. I would argue that America doesn’t want a constitutional conservative government. They want jobs, and so I urge all Republicans to follow Bachmann’s advice and run on constitutional conservatism, while the Democrats talk about the economy and jobs, because it seems that Bachmann and Palin know as much about the electorate, as they do the Constitution.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association