As the nation steams ahead towards Election Day 2010, we are starting to find out the true meaning of the term common sense conservative. Apparently this term means that the conservative substitutes common sense for actual knowledge of the Constitution, or in the case of Christine O’Donnell absolute ignorance of the Constitution.
The latest example of Tea Party ignorance disguised as constitutional conservatism was now infamous Christine O’Donnell separation of church and state debacle at her debate this morning with Chris Coons.
Here is the video:
O’Donnell was arguing that it was the overreaching arm of the federal government that didn’t allow creationism to be taught in public schools. Coons replied, “One of those indispensable principles is the separation of church and state.” O’Donnell replied with what she thought was a gotcha question, “Where in the Constitution is the separation of church and state?” After Coons let her know that the First Amendment prohibits Congress from making laws respecting the establishment of religion, O’Donnell asked, “You’re telling me that’s in the First Amendment?”
O’Donnell campaign manager Matt Moran released a statement that tried to do its spinning parsing best to cover up the fact that his candidate appears to be an idiot, “In this morning’s WDEL debate, Christine O’Donnell was not questioning the concept of separation of church and state as subsequently established by the courts. She simply made the point that the phrase appears nowhere in the Constitution. It was in fact Chris Coons who demonstrated his ignorance of our country’s founding documents when he could not name the five freedoms contained in the First Amendment.”
Yes, Chris Coons with his detailed explanation of the separation of church and state was the one who demonstrated a completely lack of constitutional knowledge. I understand. Moran has an impossible job. He may be working with one of the least qualified candidates of the last 15 years, but sometimes no statement at all is better than putting out such ridiculous spin, but Christine O’Donnell is just the latest symptom of the Tea Party’s lack of respect for and knowledge of the Constitution.
Right there with O’Donnell on the ignorance scale is Republican Nevada US Senate candidate Sharron Angle who also has a hard time understanding the Constitution. According to Ed Brayton over at ScienceBlogs, Mrs. Angle seems to think that the United Nations is a federal program. In an interview, Angle said, “The United Nations resides on our soil and costs us money. We are – I don’t see any place in the Constitution — in those eight priorities — about the United Nations. So when we start talking about cutting programs, 5-percent per year, I think the United Nations fits into that category, yes.” I hope Sharron has finally figured out that we are part of the UN due to a treaty that was ratified as the Constitution requires.
Lastly we have Alaska US Senate candidate/attorney, Joe Miller and his brown shirt interpretation of freedom of the press:To Joe Miller, freedom of the press means that he has the freedom to have his security handcuff and detain any journalist who dares to ask him a question that he doesn’t like. Carrying a pocket constitution and dressing up like a Founding Father does not make a person knowledgeable about the Constitution. Owning a copy of the Constitution is not enough. One must also understand it, and it is mind boggling that the Republican Party would run a slate of candidates who hold such a tenuous relationship with the very document that forms the basis of the governmental structure of our republic.
How can these people be trusted to legislate, when they don’t even understand, or in Miller’s case willfully ignore, the United States Constitution? These candidates are both a tribute and a disgrace to representative democracy. They are a tribute to the notion that anyone can run for office, but they have disgraced the democratic process and disrespected the American voter by trying to pass off ignorant ideological babble as competency for service to, and entitlement to a salary paid for by the American people.
If candidates like Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell truly loved their country, they would not shame it with their stupidity. If Joe Miller was a true constitutionalist, he would hold the document sacred, and not abuse it. These candidates reveal the not so hidden agenda of the Tea Party. The Tea Party movement was never about a strict interpretation of the Constitution, or freedom, or small government.
It is corporate America’s big play to seize control of our democracy. The money behind the Tea Party doesn’t want intelligent independently thinking candidates. They want Christine O’Donnell, Sharron Angle, and Joe Miller. They need empty headed, ambitious, ideologues that will carry out their war against individual liberties while corporatizing our democracy.
Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a 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
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