Shouldn’t a US Senate Candidate Know the First Amendment?

With only 13 days left before the mid-term elections, it’s looking more and more like the democrats might well lose control of the US House of Representatives, according to a new Wall Street Journal poll.

Although democrats are favored over republicans for congress among registered voters by 46% to 44%, among likely voters the GOP leads the democrats by 50% to 43%.  Thus, according to the poll, that seems that in the 92 most competitive congressional districts, the GOP is likely to pick up as many as 53 congressional seats.  This would far exceed the 39 seats they need to take from democrats in order to retake control of the House in January 2011 that they lost in 2007.

It’s almost as though Americans have been struck with massive amnesia regarding the causes of the recent financial disaster. They need to remember that the recent deep recession occurred as a result of republican policies when the GOP controlled both houses of congress until the 2006 elections when the GOP lost control of the House of Representatives to the democrats.  They also controlled the presidency, doncha know….remember GW Bush??

Adding to this amnesia is the apparent willingness of many people to believe the dirtiest and most hateful (and dishonest) political campaign ads to ever be aired over the  US mass media.  While both political parties of guilty of this tactic, it is the GOP with massive amounts of money from anonymous billionaires and organizations that has been able to dominate the media with these expensive ads.

Inject into this environment the virtual deification of stupidity and ignorance, and you have a recipe for what may well be a rout of congressional democrats on November 2, 2010.  And there is no shortage of stupidity ignorance right now.

First, Sarah Palin, GOP ex-US vice-presidential candidate, possible candidate for US president in 2012 and self-appointed supreme commander and goddess of the conservative wing of the GOP continues to demonstrate that she and her followers think ignorance and stupidity are things to be proud of, and to distinguish them from the “Ivy League elitists” like President Obama.

Then, Christine O’Donnell, GOP candidate for US senate in Delaware states publicly on the record that she didn’t know that the First Amendment to the US Constitution states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion“.  She actually asked the question publicly and on the record, “That’s in the First Amendment…?

It turns out that both she and Sarah, as well as another GOP candidate for US senate from Nevada, Sharron Angle, support the religious doctrine of creationism to be taught in public schools as a “science”.  They seem oblivious to the fact that that this issue has already been litigated in several US courts and the judgment has consistently been that creationism is religious doctrine, not science.

Sometimes you just have to scratch your head at the discouraging realization of how many people still support these extremist folks and their lack-of-knowledge-based weird ideas, and say “WTF!!!!”

However, in the long term it may not be a completely bad thing for the democrats if the GOP takes control of the House of Representatives.  After all, if recent history is any indicator, the GOP will simply continue their obstructionist tactics and nothing will get done in congress.  The more the GOP obstructs, the more the democrats can point the finger at them and identify them as obstructionists.  The GOP tactics would probably anger the US voters even more,  just in time for the democrats to use that as a campaign issue in the 2012 general elections.  Independent voters who helped the GOP get elected may well be the ones to get the most annoyed, and switch back to the democrats.

Furthermore, if the GOP also wins control of the senate, then the only two choices they will have are both bad for them:  either cement their obstructionism even further, or compromise with the Obama administration.  If they choose the former, they lose the independent voters.  If they choose the latter, they will be perceived by some in their own party, such as the wingnut Tea-baggers, as traitors to the conservative cause, and lose them.  Either way, Obama and the democrats may reap a huge political benefit after two years of no progress in congress with the GOP at the congressional helm, just in time for Obama’s re-election bid.

The only piece of the political puzzle that still needs some work is that so many people forget that the GOP that controlled the government and its policies until the 2008 election.  But the picture is a bit more complex.  Without the jobs picture having improved significantly since the democrats took control, many voters who voted for democrats have become disappointed and discouraged, and have decided to sit this election out.  That has energized the political right like sharks smelling blood in the water, which explains the difference in the above Wall Street Journal poll between registered voters and likely voters.

What is absolutely certain is that at some point, the massive infusion of anonymous money pouring in that is funding mostly extremist political ads has got be addressed…not so much because of their extremism, falsehoods and hate-mongering…but because so many stupid, uninformed, and lazy people actually believe them.

7 thoughts on “Shouldn’t a US Senate Candidate Know the First Amendment?

  1. Once again, Howie, you alert the public to what REALLY is going on behind politics. If people continue to be blind to the mechanisms in use by these right wingnut extremists, government will never truly represent the people or the true ideals of democracy.

  2. Can you answer her question? Where does the Constitution say that? Thomas Jefferson wrote it, but he was not a signatory of the Constitution, nor did he help write it.

  3. Hey Mike, what question? Where the first amendment says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”? Or her question whether the first amendment actually says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion“?

    And by the way, the Supreme Court has the constitutional right to interpret the constitution and has done so for over 220 years. Whether you agree with the Supreme Court or not, that’s the way it is. That court has clearly established over and over that church and state are separate. If you want to change that, get your Tea Party to propose a constitutional amendment that guts the first amendment!!

    • Mike, as RealApache tried to explain to you, the US Supreme Court has many times over the years interpreted the US Constitution. In the instant case, they have interpreted the phrase in the first amendment “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion“ as meaning that church and state are to remain separated. This is very clearly established in years of Supreme Court case law.

      Conservatives call it “legislating from the bench”, whenever they personally disagree with a decision.. But the fact is that the US Supreme Court does, in fact, have the power and authority to interpret the constitution. If you want to argue this further, you’re going to have provide a Supreme Court case law cite that contradicts the separation of church and state doctrine.

      Or…you can simply bad-mouth the US Supreme Court. That’s easier, but not very effective among the educated. 🙂

      • “Conservatives call it “legislating from the bench”, whenever they personally disagree with a decision..”

        Howie, and what do liberals call it when they don’t agree with a decision, such as the recent Supreme Court ruling in “Citizens United v Federal Election Commission”?


        • I can answer that. Liberals call it a difference of opinion, and then they do something the far right wingnuts don’t: They study the details of the decision closely, read the court’s opinions and justifications, and try to understand the thought process of the court. If they still feel very strongly about it, they might attempt to formulate legislation in congress to correct whatever is still seen as a issue, while still being conscious that the language of the bill must ultimately comply with the Supreme Court decision.

          The wingnuts’ reaction is far different, and much simpler: Insult the court members, accuse them of legislating from the bench, and foment hate and fear.

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