Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Power to Do Whatever Evil They Please

Previously posted at Red County.

Last Tuesday, NPR published a profile of me, one that the interviewer purposefully wrote as a personal profile, not a political analysis. I received some serious hate mail (as did the author, incidentally, for not attacking me in this profile piece). As you can see on my blog, I also received some very angry comments. Most of the attacks consisted of the usual hyperbole and empty, hateful rhetoric of people who presume themselves to be intellectually and morally superior to anyone who does not share a liberal, progressive or left-wing ideology. They demonstrate a proclivity for ad hominem attacks, appealing to prejudice, emotion and irrationality, rather than intellect or reason.

This inability to discuss principles without personal insults is on full display in the comment wishing that I “or somebody very close to [me] gets a serious long-term illness and [I] get to see real close what happens to them in our crappy disjointed medical system.” During the heat and drama of the left’s protests against the Iraq war, I do not recall ever reading a comment by a conservative wishing a terrorist attack on a progressive or their family so that they would better comprehend the need to fight terrorism. This propensity to engage in personal attacks is also seen in the liberals’ efforts to denigrate the Tea Party movement with juvenile name-calling. However, at the end of the day, ad hominem attacks can be ignored.

Of the emails I received, and the comments posted on NPR’s web-site that did contain some substance, one argument appeared repeatedly, expressing the most fundamental of our political differences. Rather than react to each comment separately, I will address the entry written by Frank James on NPR’s blog entitled, “Tea Party Star 'Liberty Belle' Argues With Dead White Men,” as representative of the common rhetoric.

Mr. James’ main argument consists of an accusation that I am attacking representative democracy as embodied by the Constitution and that I am anti-Constitution and anti-government. He bases these conclusions on the quote used by the NPR interviewer Martin Kaste in which I summarized my anger about many of the unread bills being force-fed through Congress by the leadership and this Administration:

I tried to boil down in essence what makes me so angry about it. And it was this idea that he and other people decide what the needs are in society. They get to decide. But in order to fund those things, they have to take from some people in order to give to the other people.

Mr. James chastises me as follows:

Err, excuse me, Liberty Belle but wouldn't that be the essence of the republican (small "r") form of government created by the Founding Fathers?

He then goes on to post the definition of “republican” from, followed by more scolding:

In our representative democracy, some people, elected as representatives of the people, are delegated to decide what's good for the society overall. That's just how it is.

Thank you, Sir, for explaining, “just how it is.” We might want to see what one of the framers of the Constitution, Thomas Jefferson, might have said about a “that’s just how it is” attitude:

It would be a dangerous delusion were a confidence in the men of our choice to silence our fears for the safety of our rights. Confidence is everywhere the parent of despotism. Free government is founded in jealousy, and not in confidence. (--Thomas Jefferson: Draft, Kentucky Resolutions, 1798.)

So, yes, Mr. James, our government is a republic, but it is a government much subject to limits and separation of powers, all of which stem from the sovereignty of the people who must stay vigilant and who can, every election, decide to send packing any scoundrel who oversteps the limits.

The real question is, “What is the proper role of the federal government and of those elected to represent us at the federal level?” Mr. James seems to believe that the role of the federal government, as defined by the Constitution and all those “dead white men” is to determine the needs of society, and to explicitly provide for them. Furthermore, according to Mr. James, it falls to our federal representatives to decide if the needs of some groups outweigh the needs of other groups.

Following his logic, my statement would appear to contradict the ideals of our Founding Fathers, the Constitution, and the process of representative democracy. I am guessing that it is also somehow satisfying for people like Mr. James to paint me as an ideologue in direct opposition to the Founders as I am sure he, and commenters like him, are aware that we in the Tea Party movement actually admire the Founders very much. In fact, he knows the only reason the Tea Party movement exists is because we would like to see a return to the limitations on the federal government initially created and espoused by the Founders. His argument is especially ironic considering how many progressives frequently disparage the Founding Fathers and the founding documents, describing the former as racist white men that we should ignore, and the latter as oppressive and out-of-date, paving the road for their concept of a “living Constitution.”

Surprising as it might be for Mr. James, I understand the Constitution much better and more thoroughly than he would credit, and accept its principles, perhaps more deeply than he does. I read it often, as I did just this week, because I like to review its words and keep them fresh in my mind. Unlike many people on the political fringes, I sometimes pause and question my beliefs and my stances on issues. Rereading the Constitution often, including the Bill of Rights and all its amendments, forces me to perform a constant analysis of the document and the impact, effects, and applications of its words in today’s society. I wonder how often Mr. James reads these documents and questions his own beliefs?

The Founding Fathers did not want anarchy, as I do not, but they also did not envision a vastly powerful federal government. Let us not forget that it was the representatives of the states that created the federal government, not the other way around, and that the Constitution is the contract between the two entities, defining the powers and responsibilities of the federal government. It is precisely this tension between a deliberately limited federal government and robust state governments that propelled the freest, most prosperous, just, and innovative country in history forward, and it is what makes the United States of America truly unique and exceptional.

Mr. James enjoys linking to the Federalist Papers and several of the Founders regarding our republican form of government guaranteed by the Constitution (Article IV, Sec. 4). I, too, enjoy the writings of the Founders for their guidance in the original intent of Constitutional provisions.

For example, James Madison writes in Federalist No. 45:

The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.

It appears that Madison would place “ordinary affairs” within the purview of state governments, rather than under the jurisdiction of the federal government. Thomas Jefferson also writes on this subject:

I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground: That ‘all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states or to the people.’ To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specially drawn around the powers of Congress is to take possession of a boundless field of power, no longer susceptible of any definition.

Question: why did the Founders bother to enumerate specific and particular powers if they used the term “general welfare” as an all encompassing concept possessing no boundaries?

My interpretations stem directly from my understanding of the Founding Fathers’ writings. The NPR quote was a brief synopsis of my frustration with Rep. Norm Dicks (D-WA) and other elected officials that I believe legislate outside of the parameters of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Namely, they govern as though it is their responsibility to determine the needs of individuals in society. Subsequent to that, they proceed to decide who must pay to satisfy said needs. Attending to the General Welfare, as understood by the Founders, referred to functions such as National Security that affect all citizens across the board.

Functions such as health care require tailoring to fit millions of different families and individuals and were never intended as federal government mandates. The Founders never meant for representatives to be able to take money from one group of taxpayers in order to fulfill a political party’s pet causes, ultimately allowing a majority in government to buy votes from certain special interest groups. Yes, we elect people to represent us because pure democracy usually amounts to nothing more than mob rule, but it is a dangerous game we play when we elect people to steal from other citizens in order to receive free benefits for ourselves.

Madison's view of the General Welfare Clause of Article 1, Section 8, is especially enlightening:

… a new Constitutional doctrine of vast consequence, and demanding the serious attention of the public. I consider it myself as subverting the fundamental and characteristic principle of the Government; as contrary to the true and fair, as well as the received construction, and as bidding defiance to the sense in which the Constitution is known to have been proposed, advocated, and adopted. If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one, subject to particular exceptions. It is to be remarked that the phrase out of which this doctrine is elaborated is copied from the old Articles of Confederation, where it was always understood as nothing more than a general caption to the specified powers. (From a letter written by James Madison to Edmund Pendleton on January 21, 1792)

Additionally, these limitations apply to big business and their cozy relationships with big government. Contrary to progressive rants, tea partiers, conservatives, and libertarians, though ardent defenders of capitalism, are not fans of big businesses making deals with the devil and assisting in the transformation of our system from one of capitalism to one of crony capitalism. No company or bank is “too big to fail,” just as any individual is not entitled to immunity from failure. General Motor’s need for a bailout is as constitutionally irrelevant as the individual who needs a bailout on his or her mortgage. The Constitution provided for Congress to formulate Bankruptcy laws; bailouts are not found mentioned anywhere. And do not forget, the bailouts were a bi-partisan breach of our Constitution.

If a word search is performed on the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and all of the amendments, there are zero instances of the word “need” or the word “needs.” Do you not think that if the Founders intended to address individual needs that they would have mentioned it in the Constitution or Bill of Rights somewhere? Mr. James and I have completely different ideas about the role of the federal government. He, and others, attacked my stance based on the most shallow and cursory of analyses. However, it is a debate that must be had, and the sooner the better.

People with views similar to mine are usually attacked as wholly anti-government when in fact we are pro-limited government, especially limited federal government. Progressives often scream about how dangerous conservatives and libertarians are because we dare to debate, for example, the efficacy of the Department of Education, and other such progressive holy grails. Well, why? Why can we not hold real discussions encompassing all public issues and possible solutions? I received many comments asking me if I use public roads, and my answer is, of course I do; I was born in 1979, long after roads were built by the government, leaving me with no alternatives at this time. But the better question to ask is, are building roads a proper function of government?

Could we perhaps go on an intellectual journey together to assess the possible outcomes if government were not involved in building roads? I am open to the suggestion that roads are a legitimate function of government, and I believe it would make for an interesting conversation. Why does the very discussion of ideas like these scare progressives so much? I can only conclude that they must feel their beliefs are rootless, subject to toppling by any wind, if the mere suggestion of limiting the federal government’s hand sends them into apoplexy.

I am more than willing to have these discussions. I am willing to hear Mr. James’ interpretations of the Constitution and his arguments about how the Constitution mandates that the federal government satisfy our individual needs, rather than protect our liberties. I am willing to discuss ideas like single-payer health care. In fact I wish that Nancy Pelosi had been honest enough to just put forth legislation to implement single-payer because that was the intended outcome anyway. Had it been open and transparent, we at least could have had a real debate about it.

So let us put it all on the table to examine. Let us not be afraid to openly and honestly discuss ideas. If you want to change the Constitution, use the process left to us by the Founders - amend it.

Mr. James, far from arguing with our Founding Fathers, I will leave you with a supremely eloquent and concise quote from Thomas Jefferson that exactly expresses my thoughts on the possible danger that looms over us as Senators and Congressmen grow evermore powerful.

It would reduce the whole instrument to a single phrase, that of instituting a Congress with power to do whatever would be for the good of the United States; and, as they would be the sole judges of the good or evil, it would be also a power to do whatever evil they please.. (Thomas Jefferson, 1791)


  1. Hey Tea Partiers!

    Washington State's Own Cap and Traitor Dave Reichert is making a rare appearance in Lakewood this Saturday (sorry for the late notice) at 8:30 AM.

    Tickets to see his Majesty will be $40 but being outside to "greet him" and letting him know how much we appreciate his support of Cap and Trade I assume (unless we now live in China) is free.

    The event will be held at a place called the Great American Casino in Lakewood. I guess quite appropriate considering that he is gambling away our future.

    Bring your signs, bring your cameras, bring your friends!

    The banquet room is where they are going to hold it. I guess it's called "Broadway Joe's". I guess that's where the Pierce County Republicans hold lots of their events. Perhaps there's some connection with the owner or something like that.

    It's located at South Tacoma Way (10117 S Tacoma Way), where I-5 meets Hwy 512.

  2. You're young. You've got a lot to learn. You may be like Jane Fonda and when you get older and wiser, be sorry for what you now do in your youth. Evidently, you are a follower of Machiavelli. His philosophy - bad news.

  3. You are surely aware that if the US Govt returned to the document that the Founding Fathers wrote you would not have this blog, right? You also understand that you would not be allowed to vote and neither would any black person, right? You, of course, know full well that any money and property you have now would belong to your father and in all likelihood you would not be tolerated in polite society because you have chosen to live with your boyfriend and not marry your boyfriend.

    Are you sure you want to drag 200 million people back 200 years so that only landed men have full protection under the law?

  4. If we just hand the federal government over to corporations who no longer operate through competition but rather have monopolies over everything, how is that end result any different than what dictatorships or communist societies have?
    The problem isn't that liberals disagree with conservatives that free market is ideally suited to fix the economy or health care, it is that we recognize when the free market itself is broken right now and needs to be repaired. If there isn't any competition, the free market can't operate as a capitalist system, and thus becomes incapable of fixing anything. So the pattern repeats itself, Republicans get into power, deregulate everything until they break the free market causing situations like the economic collapse we are experiencing today . . . and then we elect a democrat who fixes it so that we can return to free market competition.
    What is so disgraceful about you conservatives is that you have the nerve to call democrats socialists while they are trying to fix the free market that you broke in the first place. You can get away with this precisely because the only way to fix a broken free market is through the federal government, there is no other way (you can't use the free market to fix the free market if the free market is already broken).

    This is why we liberals are skeptical whether you conservatives actually do love the free market, or whether you are just using that as a cloaked catch phrase to disguise your real intent, which is to create a bunch of corporate monopolies and thereby twist our society from a capitalist democracy into a feudal dictatorship. You claim to love the country, but then you turn around and try to turn us into a dictatorship.

    I just don't get you guys, how is spending federal money to buy things from people in OUR society and to put people to work bad, but spending that same federal money on making a war on a people who are completely irrelevant to our lives good? You talk about being fiscally responsible, but where were you while Bush was spending billions just to kill people? How the hell you guys ever got caught the moral majority is a joke . . . you have no morals.

  5. As an unabashed liberal who believes in the eight beatitudes, I enjoy intelligent discourse, I think in some of your writing you lose sight that our Constitution is also a living document.

    I also believe that my good fortune should be shared with those less fortunate than me whether by taxes or by charitable giving. I don't believe everything is either black or white. I could not agree with you more that screaming at each other rarely brings consensus solutions. In fact, I fear that it leads to violence.

    I would suggest that you might want to broaden your reading list to include publications that you may not agree with so that you might even see these other perspectives.

  6. Question...

    Since you believe that Constitution allows for us to keep our freedoms and yet not mandate safety or health for members, what are your thoughts on programs such as the FDA, AHA, ADA? Do you believe that we are entitled to safety via police and fire departments, as we pay them to do their jobs, which is to serve/protect, and if so, how is that not socialism? What is the difference between healthcare and the FDa?

    And lastly, since Im a new comer to the blog, thanks to the profile pieces on you, what are your feelings on pro-choice issues, as well as education and marriage/equality for all? I find that most people within the Tea Party movement have decided there are certain ideals that must remain protected, but for only a certain group of Americans, which is essentially anti-liberty?.

  7. You wrote: "So, yes, Mr. James, our government is a republic, but it is a government much subject to limits and separation of powers, all of which stem from the sovereignty of the people who must stay vigilant and who can, every election, decide to send packing any scoundrel who oversteps the limits.

    The real question is, “What is the proper role of the federal government and of those elected to represent us at the federal level?” (Elected, can be unelected, as you pointed out.)

    You helped prove Mr. James's point. Thank you. And you went on to add more emphasis to his point about the "role" of the federal government. Also, Thomas Jefferson, in his writings, categorically trumped the idea of Randian objectivism/ethical egoism (an oxymoron that would have delighted S. Freud), and wrote:

    “Self-interest, or rather self-love, or egoism, has been more plausibly substituted as the basis of morality. But I consider our relations with others as constituting the boundaries of morality. With ourselves, we stand on the ground of identity, not of relation, which last, requiring two subjects, excludes self-love confined to a single one. To ourselves, in strict language, we can owe no duties, obligation requiring also two parties. Self-love, therefore, is no part of morality. Indeed, it is exactly its counterpart.”

    I am not in full disagreement with the movement, but I think, as the founders thought, that it might be better to think it out for a good period of time and form a strong cohesive movement that is as powerful and intelligent as that of Jefferson, Franklin, and so on.

    Free speech is fine and noble, but the Randian idea presupposes that in a fit of pique, one can shout "fire in the theater," or "everybody down" in a bank. Not so. For a few hundred years, the country has persisted and grown, and the founders thought a long time before spouting off on the steps of some place that is owned by all people, not just the new wave of rebels. Therefore, to speak freely is to run the risk of speaking without the same judicious thought that the founders gave to the will of the people.

    I do not disagree with some of the issues of your movement. Frustration leads to wild talk, which leads to chaos, which leads to someone else governing, who thinks they will do better, but in the end (even as with pre-dictators, such as Aristed in Haiti) the new guy or gal leader corrupts and is corrupted, and the wheel turns to another gal on the steps.

  8. Ms. Belle,

    I have always voted democratic, but I want you to know that your eloquent style of prose has finally cut through a callous built up after so many years of filtering out the hatemongering of the conservative message machine (you, Ms. Belle, are a far cry from Beck and Limbaugh). But I am beginning to understand that I have more in common with your belief system than I ever realized, and your patient, populist, and intelligent ideas have hooked me. You don't seem Republican.
    You don't know me...I'm nobody, so you will likely not take my advice. But here it is: do not get cozy with the Republicans. It was nice of Armey's team to train you on election activism, but I fear they have an unwholesome agenda. Make them come to you, and meet you on your terms. The Tea Party has that power now. You are truly capable of making an independent-style populist conservatism separate from all the babble that has defined both parties for decades. Please follow your compass and don't be co-opted. You will be surprised how many reasonable and knowledgeable people from both parties that you will carry. Best of luck.

  9. Thanks for clarifying that your complaint is not about any specific Federal healthcare initiative per se, but rather whether the Federal government has any right to be involved in anything at all beyond a very narrow definition of 'general welfare'.

    However, as you yourself admit, the American people and their Constitutionally elected representatives, supported by their Constitutionally selected judiciary, have, over 200+ years, systematically expanded the role of the Federal government into any number of areas that clearly don't meet your limited view of 'general welfare'.

    Furthermore, this has occurred despite the fact that, at any time, voters could have refused to reelect their Congressmen and Senators, or else they could have passed Constitutional amendments in their state legislatures aimed specifically at limiting such Federal powers. In fact, with rare exceptions, just the opposite has consistently occurred.

    The real essence of our republic is based on 'we the people', not on quotations from our 'Founding Fathers', who, by the way, are not referred to even once in our Constitution! Clearly, 'we the people' have already spoken clearly on this issue for nearly 15 generations.

    But even ignoring that argument for a moment, suppose (for example) that our Congress decides that, in order to better provide for the national defense, they need to ensure a certain standard of basic health care for all Americans and that, to pay for this, we need a mandatory national health insurance system. Even by your definition, this would apparently be 'Constitutional'.

    In fact, Congress decided to do something very similar in the 1950s when it created what became the National Highway System. A major motivation was to improve the ability of the military to move troops and supplies around the country. It was obviously uneconomical to build a special set of roads just for military transport, so the Congress effectively 'socialized' the interstate highway system to achieve those ends. Over the years, and for similar reasons, it also gave the Federal government significant powers over railroads, airlines, atomic energy, labor unions, etc. etc., none of which were mentioned in the Constitution.

    My point is that your opinion about what properly constitutes 'general welfare' is just that - your opinion. (Even James Madison's opinion on this subject is just an opinion.) Ultimately, it is only the opinion of 'we the people' that really matters, as expressed through the three branches of our representative government.

    Therefore, may I politely suggest to you that perhaps those who disagree with you about the scope of 'general welfare' may not in fact be ipso facto 'traitors', 'socialists', or 'communists'? Maybe, just maybe, they are simply other loyal Americans who disagree with you, and for some very good reasons.

  10. I found your website in a piece tonight. Wow, imagine the liberal NY Times covering your activities! Man what do they think they are? Fair and balanced?? Sheesh.
    Anyway I have been reading your posts and thought processes with interest.
    They are sincere and well written but full of a novice "Palin-like" confusion. It can be quite amusing!
    Example: in arguing your point about limited federal government you quote Madison Federalist 45. OK, so he does speak of small Federal roll in out lives
    but then he says this - "The powers reserved to the several states will extend to all the objects which, in the the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives liberties and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and PROSPERITY OF THE STATE."

    Are you kidding me? That quote wrecks you entire argument, wrecks the very rationale of you movement. He's saying the states shall reserve the power over EVERYTHING including increasing the "prosperity of the state"(!!)

    Oooops!! You sure you wanted to advocate that?
    Man, don't let Rush see that. He may question your "patriotism".
    And we all know he is the ultimate judge of who is pure and patriotic.
    Kind of like the power Kim Jong ILL reserves for himself.

    You want to be taken seriously? Disassociate from the most loony on the right and try this. Get behind the movement to have our elections be completely funded by the people. Funded by taxpayers not private money the buys off our
    democracy. No one should be able to "buy more free speech" than someone else just because they can. When our elections are owned by the people equally then our representative will be owned by the people not the priviledged.
    That is the answer not the shenanagans and dead-end diversions of your Tea

    If you are going to lead, get on the proper road. Honest representatives will lead to honest decisions and that's what we need.

  11. "I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country." - Thomas Jefferson

    Long live the Coffee Party. We're fed up, only we don't work for, whether we know it or not, the rising corporatist state of the right wing.

    Your intentions are good, but the trillion per year going from the bottom 99% of Americans to the top 1% kicked into high gear under Bush. But it's been in place for decades, only slowed a little under Clinton and Carter.

    The effort to demand fair wages, to end illegals being imported to take jobs they'd otherwise export. To end treasonous companies putting a mailbox in Bermuda to dodge taxes.

    The real enemy are unpatriotic corporations doing that. Damning any effort to demand that hard working real Americans get fair treatment as 'socialist' is just serving the corporatist master. Spreading fear of a govt big brother socializing everything, at the bidding of the corporate big brothers.

    Wave pennies the poor who support you will save in 'lower taxes' that Bush mainly handed out to the top 1%. Your movement's hero, Reagan, with the help of Greenspan, raised payroll FICA tax on American workers more than anyone in history. Yet he's considered a tax-cutter?

    Your conservative hero Cheney said debts don't matter while his puppet Bush pushed Medicare Part D at the whim of the pharma giants, all totally not budgeted for, adding an estimated 2-4 trillion to the debt over time, while average seniors pay more for prescriptions thanks to that.

    Who are you 'standing up for'? Who do you want to 'take America back' for? This idea that more being hoarded at the top, taken from everyone at the bottom (the bottom 99%) is the best way to help those it is taken from is silly.

    You heard me right up there, it is a trillion per year. It takes many victim enablers and endorsees of the shift upwards of total wealth, so your work continues. This link is about that trillion. Sorry, it's real data and uses real conservative sources, not neo-con propaganda.

    Tea party echo chambers aren't real discussions how to fix anything. Shouting down others isn't either. The Coffee Party idea is that we need to talk about what we see as 'the wrong direction' America is going in. Why not put that faith to the test?

    Coffee Man

  12. Coffee man,

    It does not follow that someone who opposes one wing of the Ruling Party is a supporter of the other wing of the Ruling Party. Obama is wrong, for the very same reasons that GWB was wrong: he's continuing ALL of Bush's policies, and making them far worse at a furious pace. Bush spent like a drunken sailor, and Obama is spending like all the drunken sailors who ever lived put together.

    Moving on to your second delusion, I will point out that if you believe that government protects you from corporations, you're simply not paying attention. The effect of the regulations that people like you demand, is to make business more difficult for the smaller vendors, and drive consolidation into bigger and bigger entities.

    Finally, you claim that Tea Parties are an "echo chamber". Funny, I hear a constant echo of leftist talking points trying to paint everyone who objects to the relentless expansion of government as a racist or worse.

  13. Keli,

    You are the type of person that makes me fear the future of America.

    What do you hope to achieve? What does the Tea Party hope to achieve? Crush the health care bill? Discontinue stimulus packages? Stop the spending of tax-payers' money?

    At what point will you (or the's for that matter) be content? The government does nothing for no one and Ayn Rand comes back from the dead to encourage everyone to give charitably and help those in need?

    Love to read your response!


  14. Please add this to your home page bio ...

    I am a girl who is getting attention only because I am "a conservative with a lip ring" and because I am too dim or delusional to see the damage I am inflicting on my country by further politicizing a national economic crisis.

  15. I realize being unattractive and of mediocre intelligence does make people angry and resentful, but your views make no sense. You seem every bit the overprivileged, immature child who gives herself credit for overcoming obstacles you haven't faced - I believe the popular term is "born on third base, thinking you've hit a triple." You're a middle-class white woman. What in the world have you ever had to fight in terms of prejudice or discrimination? You don't have children so you don't understand what it's like to fear that someone you love more than life will have to forgo medical treatment because you can't afford insurance. I feel deeply sorry for you. There is obviously some hole in your life that you haven't been able to fill. Maybe Mommy didn't love you enough; maybe it's the fact that you didn't get invited to go to the prom. Who knows. It would have been better worked out in therapy than by doing what you're doing. People who are healthy and compassionate see your antics for what they are - a desperate ploy for attention you couldn't get elsewhere, and an attempt to assign yourself greater importance than you could possibly have attained on your own, as a failed actress. I am sure it feels great to have people fawning all over you - the boys didn't when you were younger, but you've sure got a lot of attention coming your way now! But it won't last, and when it's all said and done, your "accomplishments" will end up damaging many and leaving you feeling just as hollow and meaningless as you did before. We all pay for our actions, in this life or the next, and you will pay for what you are doing, one way or another. How sad that someone would choose to draw attention to herself in such a pathetic and pointless way, rather than trying to feel secure with herself and work to make the world a better place. I'll pray for you.

  16. I am a small business owner and my ideas tend to be liberal but you can get half of liberals to join the tea party and get the most important things you want. Please take just a moment to ponder that if you have not already.

    You can do this making the tea party about one thing: taxation without representation--a government in bed with special interests and corporate power so the fix is always in. We want to end that. Forever. No more cozying up with unions or big corporations.

    As a business owner, I am an ardent capitalist. I believe capitalism is the fuel of our economy. Every liberal I know believes the same. But fuel alone does not make the economic engine.

    I believe government provides (please excuse the awkward metaphor) the steel cylinder in which the fuel of self interest can ignite to drive the engine of an economy. I believe in a tiny, tiny government with really, really big teeth that never falters can do this very, very efficiently.

    I do not believe government can solve social problems by providing anything other than simple, powerful, unambiguous rules. That's it. Just rules.

    The only healthcare reform we need are these federal laws (federal because insurance companies ought not to have to rewrite their business models for each state):

    1) Insurance companies can't yank coverage at the time it's needed.
    2) Insurance companies can't deny coverage for pre-existing conditions.

    Don't tell me there are any unique needs in separate states that don't need this. I suspect you are too honest for that.

    If an insurance company violates these simple rules, it's leaders pay AND do jail time. Do this and insurance companies will find ways to lower medical costs because they'll have to to stay in business.

    The same tiny-government-sharp-teeth thinking can be applied to regulating the financial industry and protecting the environment.

    Two more things:
    1) Build an independent party and stay away from the republicans. You do and you'll get the true conservatives and the true progressives. Democrats and Republicans are owned. End of story.

    Final note:
    Wars on foreign soil, since WW2 have all been about the federal government deciding what my needs are in ways I have never bought into one tiny bit. You've got to deal with that one early.

    You go!

  17. There were lots of angry hateful comments during the Iraq war protests. Don't try to lie and make angry hateful comments a "left" trait. It is an idiot trait and idiots come in all political stripes.

  18. November will determine if all of you
    liberals are corect!

    Kalifornia liberalisn has driven the
    state to the brink of bankruptcy.

    Last year a state tax increase was defeated
    in all 58 counties,in a state ruled by liberals!

  19. Bravo Liberty Belle! To hear the President and the liberal press, all the 30 somethings and under are Obama advocates! It's so refreshing to find a young person that even knows the meaning of the word conservative. Mr James is no different than those politicians who say that seperation of church and state means to push God out of public life. What the founders intended was that we have no state religion like the Chuch of England. What Liberty Belle and others like her is doing is to FINALLY hold our elected
    officials to a higher standard of accountability, and that is making them nervous! In the past, they have had the mistaken idea that once they get into office they are given a rubber stamp to act as they please.....WRONG! True change has begun!

  20. When you're hanging out with your tea party pals, don't you ever look around and think to yourself, "How did I end up with THIS lot?"
    But no, of course you never think this because your little ego is getting stroked, and your "Randian" philiosophy is just so gosh-darn sensible!
    Thank god I don't live in your dog-eat-dog world.
    Tick-tock. The clock is ticking on your 15 minutes of fame. Enjoy the limelight before fading again into obscurity....

  21. It is sad how partisan so many citizens are. "We the people" should not be taken lightly. We are in this altogether, Republican or Democrat. Opening our minds to the fact that we do have problems and searching for answers is not a point to be disparaged because of a philosophical point of view. The most important part of any problem is first recognizing that a problem exists. The next step would be to investigate solutions. Are Conservatives so wrong because they recognize that a problem exists. I find it pathetic that the left of center, feel the need to attack anyone with a different point of view other than their own. Let us listen and explore the many possibilities that will solve these problems. In this day and age there are very few differences between professional politicians who disguise themselves as Democrats or Republicans. Once upon a time these politicians served there country, now they just serve themselves. Case in point, "all men are created equal", well how come we don't receive the same benefits. The politicians receive lifetime health benefits, do the citizens? The longer they stay in office the more powerful they become. The Constitution is a living breathing document. The only thing that has changed since it was written is the concept of time. In the days of the founding fathers it might take months to exchange ideas because of the means of delivering these ideas. In this day and age, it literally takes seconds to exchange thoughts and ideas. We need to have term limits. One term for six years. If you want to be a professional politician you can serve in many ways without becoming entrenched in one. Truly serving your constituents. And lobbying should be outlawed. What a conflict of interest, getting paid by one group while another dangles all the goodies, just so that they or the organization they represent may profit from these legalized bribes. Let us join together and work to resolve our problems, instead of pointing fingers and getting ugly with one another. Whatever happened to civility and respect? Take a look in the mirror, we are all part of this mess and let us join together to solve our problems.

  22. Unfortunately the Tea Party movement was quickly drowned in a wave of discontent, after originally coalescing around the bank bailouts. The fact is these are more economic issues which go back many centuries and are only obscured by current political debate. Two of the most relevant books on the subject would be Douglas Rushkoff's Life inc. and Ellen Brown's Web of Debt.

    What will effect the most change is state governments creating state banks, rather than having money center banks handle and profit from financial management of taxes, pensions etc., as well as the private movement to take deposits from the large banks and put it in credit unions and local banks. Eventually these will have to start loaning it out to local businesses and this will jump start a bottom up economic revival.

  23. Dear Belle,

    Thanks for your very thoughful piece. The liberals who argue for the living constitution ignore that the founders did provide for modification of the constitution which has extended to us many rights, including the right for women to vote among others. Constitutional amendments also allowed for the federal government to raise income taxes. The amendment process, I believe is what the founders wanted us to use to give life to the original document.

    Liberals, however, have grown impatient with the constitutional process and instead have used the courts to circumvent the Constitution. In addition, our legislatures are filled with cowards who don't wish to use powers given to them by the founders. The activism of the Warren court gave an easier and lazier route to change the laws of the land. The failure of the Equal Rights Amendment also changed liberals thinking so as to encourage judicial end-runs.

    Well, thanks again.

    Anonymous coward

  24. Liberalism is a mental disease

  25. Interesting blog and perspective. Already too many people are arguing with some image they have of tea partiers than with any of the actual arguments you've made. Many progressives think any conservative viewpoint is so obviously "evil" on its face that there is no need to discuss it. Why all the mentions of Rand, people? It's actually tiresome reading many of these comments.

    Not all progressives are like this. I am a progressive (or more accurately, I am pretty much a leftist) and I have a number of disagreements with you, but with the point of this post I agree.

    It seems people are confusing representative democracy with elitist oligarchy. The Congress is not to be "our betters" who decide what's best for each and every one of us on an individual level. The federal government is too distanced to handle that level of responsibility with any success. For example, the education system in America is broken. One of the worst problems with the system is the severe disparity in funding between public schools in poor areas and public schools in wealthier areas. The federal government attempts to rectify this, but ties funding to ineffective standardized testing and requires schools to take drastic actions that will make absolutely no difference (though I note that when the Obama administration demands and applauds the firing of an entire school's staff, there is no criticism of him, but NCLB is trumpeted by lib'ruls as some Bushian conspiracy against children). The feds are too removed to do anything but make things worse. They will continue to respond more to the interests of corporations and political cronyism than anything that will really help people.

    Here's a question for people with your point of view. I understand being pro-limited federal government, but it would seem from your understanding of the Constitution and from the reality of this nation's past that the states should have extensive powers. Would you agree that the individual states have the right to introduce healthcare programs, or to buck up failing businesses, or to go in a more conservative direction and support religious institutions (something the states certainly did at the founding of this country)?

  26. Like Mr. King, I too found your site via the New Your Times (via MetaFilter) where Ms. Belle is being ripped a new one.

    Unlike Mr. King, I admire Ms. Belle's thinking.

    Paul King wrote:

    "OK, so he does speak of small Federal roll in out lives
    but then he says this - "The powers reserved to the several states will extend to all the objects which, in the the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives liberties and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and PROSPERITY OF THE STATE."

    Are you kidding me? That quote wrecks you entire argument, wrecks the very rationale of you movement. He's saying the states shall reserve the power over EVERYTHING including increasing the "prosperity of the state"(!!)"

    Mr. King confuses Madison's use of state to mean the federal government, or the central state. When in fact he means any one of the states that give power to the federal government.

    A better argument on the Madison quote that Mr. King believes "wrecks your entire argument" is to simply ask the question, "Doesn't Mr. Madison contradict your point about power concentrated in the central state?"

    By asking a question designed to clarify the thinking of Ms. Belle, a civil conversation revolving around the power of individual states vs. the limited and enumerated powers of our central government could be had.

    But instead we get the very thing Ms. Belle is fighting against: Name calling.


  27. Hey Keli,
    After reading some of the recent posts on your blog I have become very frightened. It looks like government employees are on the offensive to protect their cushy jobs and outrageous benefits. And even worse, it seems that the former federal employees who are now gouging us for consulting fees have joined forces with them to keep their goose that is laying continous golden eggs. The goose that is you and I.
    We have to fight back. Until we cut these bloated federal agencies and rid ourselves of these high wage, low performing employees we will continue to fight an uphill battle. They are on the attack and we have to fight back.

  28. I read an article about this blogger today in the New York Times and decided to check it out. I notice that many of the comments are coming from people trying to convince Keri or others who hold similar views that they are misguided as well they are. It is at least dysfunctional to adhere to an ideology that has no basis in reality if not outright delusional. The teaparty movement as described by her is mostly just a rehash of Reaganomics which includes among other things: no taxes along with no public services, belief in trickle down, de-regulation, dis-empowering the labor movement, etc. It led directly to the "great recession" and has neared it's goal of destroying the middle class in the US. This was, of course its intended purpose and has resulted in the greatest redistribution of wealth from the poor and middle class to the already rich in recent history. The evidence is indisputable to anyone who cares to look. So how does one explain the existence of the teapartiers? And where have they been since 1980 when this disaster was begun. I suggest that those of you who are mystified by their thinking read Eric Hoffer's "True Believers", and then read "Change or Die". Neither book is about politics. Rather they are more about human nature. For example, Hoffer comments on the difficulty of engaging teapartiers by saying "An empty head is not really empty; it is stuffed with rubbish. Hence the difficulty of forcing anything into an empty head." He has a lot more to say as well. "Mass movements appeal to people who want to escape a flawed self by creating an imaginary self and joining a collective whole. Some categories of people who may be attracted to mass movements include poor people, misfits, and people who feel thwarted in their endeavors". Teapartiers are the new poor or thwarted people who have ironically been the victims of Reaganomics. Demagogues of all stripes throughout history have depended on these people to propel their agendas. People like Glenn Beck and Dick Armey who are highly paid apologists for the corporate criminal class takeover of government and its institutions come to mind as modern day demagogues.
    The other book is a practical work on the sociology of change. It is helpful in pointing out that the barriers are nearly insurmountable to real personal or organizational growth and change, even when the stakes are huge. There is virtually no chance that one can convince a teapartier of the flaws in their mistaken notions using facts or reality. So when you find yourself astounded that they are confusing propaganda or brain farts with facts, remember that unless you are an expert in change management and are able to take the "true believer" out of the comfort of the cult, don't bother engaging!

  29. Funny how the constitutional crisis suddenly reached a tipping point only when the black president (socialist! Marxist! not an American!) Obama was elected. All these right-wing nutbags had nothing to say when Bush and Cheney Co. stomped all over that "damned piece of paper" and sold out the country for 8 years.... failed to protect American against an attack it knew was coming, lied the nation into a pre-determined war, paid off favored industries and political contributors with corporate welfare and tax cuts for the richest people int he world, spied on Americans without cause, tortured civilians and POWs, and committed multiple war crimes, all while bankrupting a country that was predicted to have surpluses as far as the eye could see when the administration came into power....

    The adults get put back in power, and suddenly it's all their fault. HOW DARE THEY! SOCIALISTS AND COMMUNISTS!

    What a joke. You read a few Thomas Sewall articles and suddenly you are an economist and political scientist. You are infatuated with simple-minded arguments that simply stoke an underlying (but silent) resentment and self-loathing. You say you read the constitution "often"... when did this habit begin? One year ago? Five years ago? Ten years ago? You make broad arguments that have been addressed over centuries (CENTURIES) of American jurisprudence. I'm sure you're plenty smart (or I'll give you the benefit of the doubt, considering your nose ring and apparent lack of steady work), but for some reason I'm just getting the sense that you are not very well versed on the 2+ CENTURY debate over the role of the federal government.

    By the way, your beef with people who use ad hominum attacks is hypocritical to the extreme.... just look at your own writings. The fear mongering you induce with shrieks of "Socialists and communists" (oh my!)... you can tell someone who has been brainwashed if they're 30 and the most relevant attack they come up with is cold war red-baiting. Pathetic.

  30. To Danielle,

    Police and Fire are not Constitutional (federal) mandates. The state itself can (possibly) mandate it but it is usually the people that say that they want such protection so as vigilanteism (spell check please) doesn't get out of hand. There are also many municipalities that have no paid firefighters as they are volunteer.

    Not trying to star an argument, I am tired of arguing anyway. just clarifying for you some minor points.

  31. Great blog - keep it up. This whole living constitution scares me because America is based on the original Constitution and the early years of being "guided" by its authors. The bastardizations came later. The writer who said blacks and women couldn't vote without a living Constitution is incorrect. Changes can occur within the bounds of the Constitution and its change methods. Their idea of a living constitution has allowed the welfare recipients to vote in people who would violate the Constitution in order to increase the amount of welfare stolen from hard-working individuals and redistributed to the lazy.

  32. This is an article worth serious reading and contemplation; it is fairly scary. I checked out at least a dozen of the 100+ references in the article and the author, Andrew G. Marshall is 'spot on'.


    The Tea Party is an excellent concept which has the potential to be a life-changing event or circumstance for not only U.S., but the world as a whole. I'd love to see if someone has dug in far enough to examine who is doing what in terms of the economies of the world ... where money talks, people listen and obey. Or do they?

  33. "During the heat and drama of the left’s protests against the Iraq war, I do not recall ever reading a comment by a conservative wishing a terrorist attack on a progressive or their family so that they would better comprehend the need to fight terrorism."

    Google "Megan McArdle 2X4 peace protest" ... then realize that those sorts of loathsome comments were utterly ubiquitous between 2002 & 2005, up to & including the sincere wish that hotbeds of liberalism like Boston & San Francisco would undergo a terrorist nuclear attack - & understand that by calling yourself a "Tea Partier" you're supporting more than a few far-right "literalist" folks who'd be quite delighted to take away not only your right to vote but your legal status as a human being.

    "I will not allow corrupt socialists and communists to infect this country without a hard, hard fight."

    This sort of inane hyperbole brings your credibility rating to zero: neither communists nor socialists are ever going to get so much as one seat in Congress, although Bernie Sanders has (incorrectly) identified himself as one of the latter, & the last time America had a signifigant Socialist Party was the 1930s. That's leaving aside your decision to use the paranoid language of "a creeping cancer of Judeo-Bolshevik decadence that threatens the virtue & purity of the Fatherland."

    If, however, you refer to corporate socialism, I've got some bad news for you - you're living in a country that's already infected if not outright terminally septicemic. Corporate ownership of culture is such that its elite can even get otherwise sensible people to protest the unspeakable horror of a 4% tax increase for America's oppressed millionaires & billionaires, after decades on end of witnessing their biggest free ride in history - or to dumb them down to the point where they howl "Get the government out of my Medicare!"

    One has to wonder where all the angry sign-waving "liberty-loving patriots" were back when Bush signed the Patriot Act (which was just renewed for another year) or the Military Commissions Act? Both are lethal assaults to what Bush called "just a goddamned piece of paper" & neither seems to be of interest to this sudden surge of "patriotism" that suddenly broke out right after America elected its first black President. Looks like your right to personal privacy or habeas corpus is disposable once you face an "existential threat" that's successfully attacked America twice in 20 years & is now little more than a historical footnote.

    Those Founding Fathers you express such admiration for also vehemently depsised the concept of a standing army & warned that nothing was more inimical to liberty than the superfluous maintenance of a war-machine in peacetime. Odd that "Tea Party Patriots" don't have a single peep to say about that, despite the vital importance their heroes placed on it as they watched Europe being wracked by constant warfare - or that they also repeatedly & explicitly condemned foreign military adventures as the hallmark of tyranny.

    PROTIP: you won't solve a systemic crisis with selective outrage.

  34. OK Susannah, Ill bite.

    "You are surely aware that if the US Govt returned to the document that the Founding Fathers wrote you would not have this blog, right?"

    Why not? Because the technology didn't exist at the time the government couldnt give the rights to the people? That is the fundamental problem with the way too many look at the constitution and the bill of rights. They assume that the bill of rights are the rights that the government gives the people - wrong. The bill of rights are those rights that the founders found so important that they had to write out exactly those rights that the government would never be able to take away from the people. The constitution is the people giving the government it's rights, susannah, not the other way around.

    "You also understand that you would not be allowed to vote and neither would any black person, right?"

    Wrong again. The US Constitution does not establish for anybody, even white men, the right to vote. Individual states determine how you vote for your representative and senator (who, but the way, you were never supposed to be able to vote for because senators represent the state's interests). You realize that you don't vote for the president, dont you? You vote for your an elector. You see, the founding fathers did not want 50%+1 style democracy. They wanted to protect the rights of the few against the many; the system of checks and balances also created checks against the people and populism but not allowing 100% turnover of our government at any one time. The senate, the supreme court, and the electoral college are all examples of checks against the populace going all gaga over a supremely popular figure or movement and then waking up the next day with a huge "uh oh" hangover and not being able to do anything about it.

    "You, of course, know full well that any money and property you have now would belong to your father and in all likelihood you would not be tolerated in polite society because you have chosen to live with your boyfriend and not marry your boyfriend."

    So is the whole point if your post to talk about government or society? Because the consitution does not specifically say you can live with your boyfriend out of wed-lock doesn't mean it prohibits it. As for the property stuff... Im at a bit of a loss as to why you bring it up, except to try and sway Belle by appealing to her being female.

    "Are you sure you want to drag 200 million people back 200 years so that only landed men have full protection under the law?"

    Straw man argument. Nobody is saying any such thing. I want to drag the federal government back 200 years. Doing that does not require doing the same with society.

  35. Coffee Man,

    One thing I disagree with is that Bush/Cheney being conservative as they are actually Liberals in Conservative clothes.

  36. I love the name Liberty Belle, and I wonder whether the living Belle is aware of the struggle over keeping a restaurant with the same name alive here in Reno, Nevada. The government won and the place is closed, as of a couple of years ago. The Liberty Belle's owner, aged 82 or so, is my neighbor. He fought a valiant battle to keep the Liberty Belle alive, but he lost. Some of his collections are now on display at the state museum. The current Liberty Belle ought to appear here in Reno. She has a built in base of support in the many lovers of the old restaurant. She could appear in the lovely parking lot that replaced the restaurant in front of the socialist architecture of the hideous, spiritless Convention Hall.

  37. Silly Anon is silly.

    "I want to drag the federal government back 200 years. Doing that does not require doing the same with society."

    You fail it - it is PoliSci 101.

    Government & society are not two discrete entities that you can tweak at will with no consequences. They profoundly influence one another in manifold ways.

    Perhaps dragging your federal government into the 21st Century would be a more worthwhile endeavor than dedicating your precious time to a futile crusade to bring back the good ol' days of the 18th Century.

    The fillibuster is a toxic anachronism that is now keeping your Senate locked in a state of nearly total paralysis, even with the biggest majority in many years - the pathetic spectacle of an Administration still trying to get mundane appointments confirmed after more than a year in power would surely have made Franklin or Jefferson nauseous - & an electoral college system that routinely overturns local results in order to flip states solidly toward one party is only "democratic" in Bizarro World.

    The past can be a fun place to visit, but I really don't think you'd enjoy living there very much - it's kind of a rough neighborhood. Read Toqueville's "Democracy In America" to see just what American society in the time of Washington & Jefferson was really like.

  38. In reading your New York Times profile "A Young and Unlikely Activist Who Got to the Tea Party Early," I was disappointed to note that you do not embody what I feel the real Tea Party ought to be effecting: Transcending both major political parties to arrive at a new way of governing. In organizing Tea Party events, you contact only people of a narrow persuasion. Anyone who is anti-Democrat is just another Republican, albeit perhaps a new breed with body piercings. Co-opting the Tea Party designation from what it could be.

    My idea of the Tea Party is to recognize as one famous Republic said, "A House Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand." It has become so obvious that pitting one party against another is simply theater designed by those truly in power to keep it for themselves. This less than 1% of the population are ideologically neither Democrat or Republican, they are simply rich and want to keep it that way through dividing the plebes below them.

    When one takes a stand on one side, s/he actually creates the other side. It's called duality. That is why transcendence is the only way to evolve a new party. Anger just creates opposing anger. What is called for to reach the Founding Fathers' vision is not anger but compassion. When we realize that all are connected, we grasp that what one does for the least of his brothers (i.e., provide health care, affordable housing), one does for himself. This is not religion, this is a universal law of which we are largely ignorant. We all benefit when one person does well, so imagine if the whole population were to have what it needs to fulfill its potential. Some are fortunate enough to be born to parents who provide. It's not like something they did: being decent parents. Yet many cannot understand how others not born in like circumstances must rely on outside help.

    Categorizing people as conservative or progressive is incredibly near-sighted. I tend toward being a liberal Democrat. And I was vehemently opposed to the Fiscal Stimulus Bill. If you know who is really running the country, then you can see right through their schemes. Have you read up on the founding of the Federal Reserve, of which Timothy Geithner was once President? "The Creature from Jekyll Island?" Taxing the citizenry's labor was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, yet Woodrow Wilson signed the Federal Reserve over to the bankers in 1913. TARP was just another heist of theirs, orchestrated to help the rich elite get richer by harvesting the money of the working class, which is done periodically as one would prune a Bush.

    Once one can see the forest for the trees, it is easy to follow the arc. Did you see footage of the Twin Towers falling? Is it possible for anyone to really believe that an aluminum airplane can crash through a building constructed of 47 core 100% steel columns with 236 steel perimeter columns -- and emerge on the other side with the plane's nose perfectly entact? But if one questions what one saw on TV -- which has to be true, right? -- then one has to keep taking it a step further to surmise that the media must also be involved with their amateurish digital video of a plane appearing out of nowhere on a clear blue-sky morning. it goes on and on, but if you're interested, is a humorous treatment. And keep in mind, 9/11 was during a Republican administration.

    My point is, follow the money, and you'll find out who's commandeered this country. But you're an actress, so perhaps you've been hired to be part of the absurd theater. However, if you sincerely want to effect change, it's going to take more than just being a Conservative iteration. It's going to take transcendence, compassion, and truth. This is what I want to see the Tea Party represent, and what it means to me. And from what I gleaned of your participation from the NYT article, you are not it.

  39. Liberty Belle, I thank you for helping launch the Tea Party movement, and this extremely well written and researched post!

    Frankly, I am spooked by the liberals I read here and that I know personally. For some reason, the ideal of limited government and individual responsibility scares the crap out of them. Perpetual teenagers in my view.

    The founders were brilliant. They studied history and political science, and used that vast knowledge to devise the best governmental system ever devised by man. That system has created the freest and wealthiest country in the history of mankind.

    Why do the libs want to mess with a winning recipe? They CAN NOT BE ALLOWED. The constitution is living and breathing document ONLY INSOFAR as We The People amend it, not at a re-interpretation doled out by a liberal court.

    Keep up the great work, Liberty Belle, God bless you and keep you safe.

  40. "You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life." --Winston Churchill
    The attacks can be wearying. Keep your chin up, Liberty Belle.

  41. Keep up the good work, Belle. It drives the "non-constitutionalists" (my word creation) into a state of violent mental agitation. They are not unlike the zombies in the current movie "Zombieland" - virus-infected and with puke spewing from their cracked, misshapen lips as they trip over themselves, clawing and growling hideously, in pursuit of the destruction of the constitution and your ideals. [Frank Rich comes to mind....] You go, Belle! Let freedom ring!

  42. Some day you will probably wake up and smell the coffee, once you grow up and realize that you are being used. You're quite the idealist. As I was when I was as a teenage follower of Barry Goldwater. One day I woke up out of this idealistic dream and realized that these patriotic words are the bunting of the platform only. The people who control the government use them to control the voters. And to control the government they use money, "The mother's milk of politics." Don't fall for the high sounding words of your favorite political pamphleteer. You have to do the work and seek the truth. Take a look around you at your next "Tea Party" function. Do you see people who want to help those less fortunate? Do you see people asking for decency and fairness? Do you see people tolerant of differences in people's background, color, religion or education? Or, do you see gun enthusiasts, conspiracy buffs, thinly veiled racists, and just plain angry people, happy just to have a place to rage? Take a good look and a deep breath before you give yourself over to this movement doomed to provide only the derailment of progress, having no positive program or plan.

    Eric Johnson, Los Angeles, CA

  43. My hat is off to you. I assume that you are able to ignore the more abusive comments. But, please be strong.

    This is from the DSA homepage, which I think pretty much summarizes the "alternative" point of view. Obviously this is a rather elastic philosphy, all done with other people's money. Must be nice:

    Democratic Socialists believe that both the economy and society should be run democratically—to meet public needs, not to make profits for a few. To achieve a more just society, many structures of our government and economy must be radically transformed through greater economic and social democracy so that ordinary Americans can participate in the many decisions that affect our lives

  44. Liberty Belle,
    You have it so right - the federal government was created and granted LIMITED enumerated powers by the states. Most of the issues being debated today and being pushed for codifying in federal law are the purview of the states. The founders viewed the states as the place for experimentation and proving of new approaches. If the Liberals think their ideas are so compelling the Constitution is open for amendment. The simple fact is that over time the congresses have raided and eliminated the reserves of every major U.S. entitlement program and they'll do the same to any potential healthcare legislation to further their vote buying scheme.

    We know that if the founders are calling out from their graves today they are not calling for additional federal involvement in our society. Keep up the fight Liberty Belle - you are standing up for the great principles on which our nation was founded!

  45. The fillibuster is a toxic anachronism that is now keeping your Senate locked in a state of nearly total paralysis, even with the biggest majority in many years...

    Yes, and it is working exactly as designed. The People are not in favor of HCR or any of the other massive 'reforms' that propose to steal from our children and grandchildren. If these bills were popular, they would be voted into law, filibuster or no. But they are not popular, and no amount of whining about toxic procedures will change that.

    Progressives won't have to worry about filibusters for long. In about 200 days, we'll hand them their hats and remind them not to let the door hit them in the backside on the way out. Thanks for demonstrating what happens when truly mediocre minds are put in charge; even with filibuster-proof majorities, they fall short. Fortunately.

  46. Hi -
    Read that very interesting piece in the NY Times on you last night.
    Two questions:
    1 - Who do you work for? I noticed the article said you worked for an organization that helps adults with basic math skills. I think that is a fantastic occupation. However, I've noticed that most organizations that provide those services are funded directly, or indirectly, by the government. Is your organization one of them?
    2 - What is your plan? I noticed from the article that you really did not have a coherent response to the reporter's questions about the looming Medicare and Medicaid deficits beyond just telling people to fend for themselves - i.e "lets kill those programs". Which I can assure you is not realistic and if it became the widely espoused view of the Republican party would guarantee Democratic domination of the political process for another generation.
    I look forward to learning more about whether or not you actually work for the government and if you have any realistic plans for how we finance our country.

  47. " I do not recall ever reading a comment by a conservative wishing a terrorist attack on a progressive or their family so that they would better comprehend the need to fight terrorism."

    I guess it never happened then.

    Boy - aren't you a clever Trevor....

  48. One good bit of news is that the Left is only about 20% of the voting population. Sure, when you add on the hangers on (i.e. the people who are bought by the pols) their support is higher.

    Obviously the comments suggest that most have little to add to a conversation except strawmen and ad homs.

    That is natural...because the only "philosphy" that most have is someone owes me something. As Mark Levin is always saying the Left is a bunch a malcontents.

  49. Hey Keli! A lot of haters, yes? No worries. They are just threatened because you undermine their "evil conservative stereotype" argument (guess we both do). Thanks for the plug mainstream media!

    So proud of you. Keep fightin'.

  50. 3. You also fail to grapple with how the Constitution has been interpreted. Since the Supreme Court ruled in 1937 that the establishment of Social Security was constitutional (_Helvering v. Davis_), Congress's ability to tax and spend for the general welfare has been limited only when it goes beyond the general to the particular. From _Davis_:

    'Congress may spend money in aid of the "general welfare." Constitution, Art. I, section 8; United States v. Butler; Steward Machine Co. v. Davis, supra. There have been great statesmen in our history who have stood for other views. We will not resurrect the contest. It is now settled by decision. United States v. Butler, supra. The conception of the spending power advocated by Hamilton and strongly reinforced by Story has prevailed over that of Madison, which has not been lacking in adherents. Yet difficulties are left when the power is conceded. The line must still be drawn between one welfare and another, between particular and general. Where this shall be placed cannot be known through a formula in advance of the event. There is a middle ground, or certainly a penumbra, in which discretion is at large. The discretion, however, is not confided to the courts. The discretion belongs to Congress, unless the choice is clearly wrong, a display of arbitrary power, not an exercise of judgment. This is now familiar law."When such a contention comes here, we naturally require a showing that by no reasonable possibility can the challenged legislation fall within the wide range of discretion permitted to the Congress." United States v. Butler, supra. Cf. Cincinnati Soap Co. v. United States, ante; United States v. Realty Co.; Head Money Cases. Nor is the concept of the general welfare static. Needs that were narrow or parochial a century ago may be interwoven in our day with the wellbeing of the Nation. What is critical or urgent changes with the times.'

    Indeed, President Washington himself -- another Founder, another Framer -- did not repudiate his Secretary of the Treasury's views, but instead shared this broader view of the "general welfare." For example, look at Washington's farewell address, where he again called for Congress to support a national public university -- something not at all mentioned in the enumeration of Congress's powers.

    4. I am puzzled as to why you think roads constructed with federal money are unconstitutional. "The Congress shall have Power to establish Post Offices and Post Roads." If the roads laid that enable the nationwide transport of the post are also used for other purposes, do you think that makes the establishment of those roads unconstitutional?

    5. Article I, Section 9 lays out limits on Congress's powers. If you are following the text of the Constitution, why should there be limits beyond those enumerated?

  51. 1. Jefferson was not "one of the framers of the Constitution." It's pretty common on the right to conflate the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, but they are very different documents, created for very different purposes. For example, the Declaration calls upon God because the rebellious colonists were engaging in an act of treason, and therefore had to call upon a higher power than their king in order to justify their actions. In contrast, the Constitution nowhere mentions God, because at that point independence had been won and the authority on which the framers drew was the consent of the governed, as represented by the folks they sent to the Constitutional Convention and by the ratification of state conventions. Moreover, Jefferson himself as president often wrestled with the difficulty of overseeing the welfare of the nation without overstepping his Constitutional bounds. Since you seem to have a very literalist interpretation of the Constitution, can you point out which part provided for Jefferson to make the Louisiana Purchase?

    2. You also seem to be under the misapprehension that the Founders were all agreed as to the meaning of the Constitution. On the contrary, there was a great deal of debate and disagreement even among the authors of the Federalist Papers. You quote Madison's letter to Pendleton, but what you leave out is that Madison was responding to a "Report on Manufactures" authored by the Treasury (Alexander Hamilton's bailiwick) that included Hamilton's interpretation of the Constitution -- of which he was one of the Framers, representing New York. Because he feared that the U.S. would have difficulty maintaining its independence from foreign powers if it could not produce what its own citizens needed, Hamilton proposed to push American manufacturing beyond its then-infant stage with various measures, including not only protective legislation on imports and exports (which is clearly covered among the enumerated powers), but also "bounties," or government financial assistance through loans and other subsidies to manufacturers. This would allow them to make the capital investments necessary for a manufacturing base that would render the U.S., at the time an almost entirely agricultural society, economically independent of Europe.

    Why should Hamilton -- also a Founder, also a Framer, also a Federalist -- be ignored in the determination of the meaning of Article I, Section 8? Moreover, if you are truly in search of truth and honest debate, why would you withhold historical information that is relevant to that debate but that does not support your own position?

  52. I am curious about something. I have no issues with the "Tea Party" movement per se, but it seems rather disingenuous to me. So I am wondering....where were you for the past 8 years of the Bush Administration who spent and spent and spent and spent and spent? Where was the outrage of the TARP Bailout (pre-Obama)? Where was the refusal of federal government intrusion of education with NCLB?

    I just feel like the foundations of this movement are a backlash to the election of a Democrat. The 8 years under Bush saw the largest expansion of government authority into our lives without providing any benefits to most citizens. Now the Obama Administration wants to give you healthcare, and now people are losing their minds. I don't get it?

  53. Someone commented on here saying something about how you are quite the "idealist".
    I wonder if that person realizes that idealism is literally another word for liberalism.
    I'm not even kidding you, some of these liberals that comment on here that want to sound intelligent are actually not intelligent whatsoever and try to use big words to sound as if they have a clue.
    Also, people say that you're young and that you don't understand. A big majority of the youth population voted for Obama and Democrats in the 2008 elections, so should they accept the fact that they're "young and don't understand just yet"?
    If you were a 73 year old woman, they would say that you're "old" and that you "can't understand the current times".
    The liberal's real problem is the fact that you don't think the way they do. You have a fundamentally different idea of what the world is like and how you think the government should be run. And just because you hold these fundamentally different ideas, you are labeled as a racist, extremist, idiot, etc. etc. etc.
    I also think it bothers them that you aren't a rich old white man. That is the kind of stereotype liberals like to fit conservative-minded people into, yet since you are the person you are (someone that might look like an Obama voter), they have to demean you in another way.
    I just think this entire country has been taken over by progressives, like taking their teeth and sucking the blood out of every common-sense individual (this is a metaphor, in case some of the liberals on here decide to be like "omgz you is like so freaking extremist and an idiot").
    This is the kind of elitism that we need to discourage.
    I'm a 19 year old college student at The University of Northern Iowa,
    and I applaud you for representing me on this blog.

  54. "During the heat and drama of the left’s protests against the Iraq war, I do not recall ever reading a comment by a conservative wishing a terrorist attack on a progressive or their family so that they would better comprehend the need to fight terrorism."

    Ummm, what about this?

  55. PG, Jefferson was not at the Constitutional Convention but he can certainly be considered a contributor to the Constitution and as a framer/founder of our nation. Jefferson and Madison had correspondence that extended over many years and this included the period during which the Constitution was worked on.

    Gerard Gawalt, an American History specialist at the Library of Congress has noted: Jefferson was of course in France when the Bill of Rights was drafted. But he had written to Madison noting the absence of any specific right of religious freedom. Madison and Jefferson had collaborated on the Virginia Bill of Religious Freedom and so Madison was fully aware of Jefferson's views of the absolute separation of church and state.

  56. I read of you off a featured story on I'm a young conservative in West TN, which isn't that much of a rarity. I commend you for standing up for your beliefs, and supporting them with rational arguments. More importantly, you've coupled your beliefs with action. Thanks for standing for liberty, and not Big Brother.

  57. We lost our "republic" when Lincoln confiscated constitutionally protected property (Negroes) and forced an end* to the rights of Southerners to form a "more perfect union" of their own ...

    *at the point of a bayonet!

  58. Lady B,

    You have tapped into the truth about the Framers and Founding Fathers! Americans of all walks are waking up to the fact that our government has hijacked our fundamental rights! They are starting to understand what is happening and getting mad as hell and are going to take action. Let the truth continue to RING! Keep up the good work!!

  59. Liberty Belle - while I very much appreciate what you are doing and generally agree with the principles that you advocate, I very much have to disagree with your understanding of the Constitution as such.

    If I may, I really think you should consider law school. 2 or 3 semesters on Constitutional law would do wonders for you and your understanding on the subject matter. Good luck.

  60. Term limits for everyone.More taxes is not the answer.They need to learn how to manage our money or lack of money better.And who gave them the power to give themselves a pay raise? I think if they really cared about our country they would take a pay cut like alot of people are having to do just to save their jobs.Maybe then they would have to cut back like alot of us have had to do.

  61. This is my first time here. I've never heard of you until today. I just saw an article on about you. I believe in constructive debate and criticism if necessary and unlike a lot of people on both sides of the us and them game I try and keep the name calling to a minimum. I just have a few questions. I get the sense from a lot of stuff I've read on here, and some of the blurbs and comments that there is fear of something. I read in your latest blog that you said something to the effect of bills getting passed as if in the middle of the night and wondered about why there weren't conservatives saying such nasty things about the protesters when the Iraq War was about to start. Well, I just wanted to make a few comments about that. I'm not exactly sure what you're afraid of now, but the fear was very palpable back in 2002. The Patriot Act was passed in the middle of the night and the next thing you know a lot of people were disappearing off the streets. The media was in fear mode as well, not really trying to investigate all the claims made by the government at the time and the reason people were being more quiet about what they said was because of this pervasive doom over the country at the time lit by orange and red alert systems. In 2004, when Bush was going to speak at a rally, some protesters were arrested for wearing an anti-Bush shirt, yet earlier last year when a guy showed up at a rally Obama was going to speak at in Arizona wearing a loaded rifle, nothing happened to him. Now I'd like to get your opinion on this because if you asked me which government seemed more facist in that act, I'd say it was the former. The word Communist gets used a lot at these rallies, yet we buy products every single day at Wal-mart, products made in China, a Communist country. I guess I'm missing something here. Another question...why now? I know a lot of conservatives that were not happy with how big the government spending had gotten under Bush and yes, there were some protests in late 2008 when the stimulus package was being passed in October under a Republican presidency, yet this movement really didn't seem to take off till a month after Obama took office. I mean, hasn't the system that you seem so disenfranchised with been in place a lot longer than a year ago? What about Ron Paul? Didn't he have a tax 'tea' party back in 2007 and now he seems like a pariah to most of the tea party movement folks. Was it because he did it during a Republican regime? I'd actually have more respect for this movement if I truly believed it was across both parties, yet all I see for sponsorship are people with Fox News, Republicans former and current politicians, and maybe some Libertarians. You complain about all the name calling yet I see a lot of talk about Communists, Lefties, Liberals, what not...what is that? I'm personally tired of all the 'us and them' divide this nation has been in for the past 30 years or more. A house divided cannot stand, yet it seems there's a lot of people out there that would like to see some sort of second civil war, and this group doesn't seem to be against that idea. I see left and right moving farther in their respective directions, yet the times when this country has functioned the best has been when we've worked together. What's so wrong with that? I'd really like to hear what you have to say about this.

  62. Exspouse your believe don't counter those who critiize. Stated beliefs are the common denominaator not counter opinions. Keep up the good work.

  63. As a liberal-minded person, I would like to appeal to other liberal-mind people. Do not post here anymore. You'll find that arguing with conservatives only fuels them more. They want to feel oppressed.

    Remember, Liberals will always be considered UnAmercian for having different views than conservatives. And conservatives will be patriots for having different views than liberals. This is the way they spin it.

    Ignore them and maybe this small group of people will go away.

  64. You are amazing! These haters are just jealous that they never stood up so publicly to voice their own opinions! They are angry that you have the strength to stand up and say what's on your mind, putting it all on the line for real, not just as an anonymous rant on a blog. That's true bravery and dedication :) I have never been more proud of you... Te amo, hermanas para la vida!!!

    BTW here's a video Luke thought you might like in reference to these "individuals."

  65. In reference to federal support of our roads. I think the government building interstates and maintaining them could be within the bounds of the Constitution, but only interstates not all roads. In the Constitution Article 1 Section 8 it states:
    "The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts, and Excises... To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with Indian Tribes."
    The roads allow commerce to flow freely between the states.
    In support of federal support for all roads in the same section it states:
    "To establish Post Offices and post Roads..."
    All roads could still be considered questionable though because I believe at the time individuals would come to collect their mail from the Post Office themselves.

  66. MidnightRider,

    Jefferson is a Founder, but he is not a Framer. If every person who corresponded with someone at the Constitutional Convention and thereby had some influence on how some part of the Constitution was drafted were considered a Framer, David McCullough would never run out of folks to write about.

    Jefferson was well-aware of what his own contributions were and he had them engraved on his tombstone at Monticello:

    Even if we count Jefferson among the Framers, how does that nullify the fact that Hamilton was *definitely* a Framer (and an author of the Federalist Papers), yet his views are given no notice by this blogger? This is the problem with trying to discern the "original intent" of the Constitution: different Framers had different intents, and the good Lord only knows what all the folks at the state conventions that ratified the Constitution had in their minds.

    This is why Justice Scalia, among other constitutional scholars, has disdained the original intent method of interpreting the Constitution. (Everything I'm saying is basic info you get in even an undergraduate con law class, so count me among those who would recommend Carender take one before plunging into such analysis.)

    Madison and Hamilton had very different views of what was covered by General Welfare. Jefferson (who wasn't at the Constitutional Convention) aligned with Madison; Washington (who was president of the Convention) aligned with Hamilton. No one here thus far has presented an argument as to why Madison and Jefferson had the right of it, and Hamilton and Washington were wrong.

    Certainly under the Jeffersonian view, we've been operating unconstitutionally since 1791 when Washington signed legislation establishing the First Bank of the United States (where is "bank" mentioned in the Constitution?). And Madison, who initially was doubtful of the First Bank, then went out himself as president and chartered a *Second* Bank of the United States. When the state of Maryland attempted to exercise sovereignty powers by taxing out-of-state bank notes, it got slapped down by the Supreme Court in the McCulloch v. Maryland decision. The Court held that the Constitution had not only enumerated powers but also implied powers, which were those necessary to achieve goals that were among the enumerated powers.

  67. Our system has a method for determining what the Constitution means: put it to the Article III courts. Since 1937's Social Security case, the Supreme Court has read the General Welfare clause as Hamilton did.

    If you think the Supreme Court is wrong, do what Americans have been doing for 216 years with erroneous Supreme Court decisions: override them through constitutional amendment. When the Supreme Court said in Chisholm v. Georgia that individuals from one state could sue another state in federal court, Americans got their act together and passed the 11th Amendment ("The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.") Americans back then didn't sit around whining about "activist judges"; they just amended the Constitution to state clearly what the limitations on the federal courts were.

    When the Supreme Court said in Dred Scot that people of African descent categorically were not citizens of the United States, we passed the 14th Amendment to override that.
    When the Supreme Court said in Pollock v. Farmers' Loan & Trust Co. that Congress could not tax income, we passed the 16th Amendment to override that.
    When the Supreme Court said in Breedlove v. Suttles that poll taxes were legal in federal elections, we passed the 24th Amendment to override that.
    When the Supreme Court said in Oregon v. Mitchell that Congress did not have the power to set 18 as the minimum age for federal elections, we passed the 26th Amendment to override that.

    If you're going to invoke the grand history of the Constitution, you should read more than the Constitution itself and a few snippets from Founders pre-selected for their views' congruence to your own beliefs. You should understand where all of it came from. The 11th Amendment was not just a random "Hey you know what would be a good idea? Specifying that citizens of state A cannot sue state B in federal court. I mean, we all kinda assumed that, but just in case there's any confusion on the point." It was a response to a Supreme Court decision, but that's not included in the Constitution itself and you won't understand the response without understanding the decision.

    If whatever health care legislation Congress passes (assuming it passes any) is unconstitutional, the Supreme Court will rule it to be so. If the Supreme Court gets that completely wrong, we can amend the Constitution to point that error out. We have a constitutional system. It's worked pretty well for over 200 years. I'm not sure why a system that was good enough for the Founders to live under is not good enough for y'all today.

  68. A letter to the tea party youth

    Simply protesting President Obama for the stimulus bill or health care, and not understanding or refusing to understand the facts of how we got here is unconscionable and dangerous. Political and historical ignorance are not guiding lights for a political movement. This quote speaks to this point “taking many people who were not politically active — it is not uncommon to meet Tea Party advocates who say they have never voted — and turning them into a force that is rattling both parties as they look toward the midterm elections in the fall.”(ny times)

    Proclaiming activism to protect her (95 % of the tea party is white) position of white privilege to fuel the divisions of economic injustice and racism in this country with no factual information in the name of patriotism needs to be addressed by her and the tea party movement! I challenge all new tea party youth to consider this point:

    Who just crashed the economy and sent the middle class down the drain regardless of race? The white boy conservatives of the past ten years. The same people you front for under a new name with your ignorance or refusal to consider or understand the facts!

    See chart

    To perceive President Obama as the problem needs to be called for what it is - old school, racist, white protectionist politics. And if Ms. Carender can’t rap her mind around the history of this country in regards to the founding of it, with its racism and economic disparity, alive and well especially now, when the last 8 years have completely destroyed the middle class with its conservative agenda, lack of accountability, corporate greed and robbery.

    She needs to stop stoking hate and making light of what you consider someone’s “supposed need”. Carender’s statement, “If you believe that it is absolutely moral to take my money and give it to someone else based on their supposed needs...” fuels a divisive us and them mentality, exposing the insulated bubble of privilege she resides within. I challenge her and all tea party youth to take a little time to educate themselves with some facts about where most tax dollars go, and about economic injustice in this country. A good place to start would be to consider that 63% of the budget goes to the industrial war complex. They may also want to ask themselves who is serving in the military and what

    economic class they belong to. Who is dying in the two wars we are waging and who is profiting. It is difficult to discern if we are engaged in a war on terror or a war of greed.

    for corporate interests.

    Jenny Beth Martin, a national coordinator for Tea Party Patriots, “She’s not your typical conservative,” she said. “She’s an actress. She’s got a nose ring. I think it’s the thing that’s so amazing about our movement.” Now that’s deep, and definitely will change things? NOT! If the tea party youth really want to make a difference in evolving this country beyond the patriarchal corporate paradigm that is destroying the constitution and people of this country here and around the world, it would serve them to at least acknowledge how we got here, and speak truth to the power within their group instead of being stooges or fronting for greedy white corporate protectionist politics. Do they really know who and what they are supporting and what they stand for? Or, is it just the same old fear and hate, different day?


    Quotes taken from NY Times article -Unlikely Activist Who Got to the Tea Party Early
    By KATE ZERNIKE Published: February 27, 2010

  69. LB, whatever PG wants to call Jefferson's contribution to the underlying principles of our government, let's get back to the point I understood you to be making about Jefferson which was that he warned citizens not to rest all trust in the people they elected. Your quote, "It would be a dangerous delusion were a confidence in the men of our choice to silence our fears for the safety of our rights. Confidence is everywhere the parent of despotism. Free government is founded in jealousy, and not in confidence. (--Thomas Jefferson: Draft, Kentucky Resolutions, 1798.)"

    This is advice that goes to the heart of our roles as citizens. No elected official is so brilliant, so knowledgeable, so dependable, so impervious to special interests, that we can ever let down our guard. I think this is central to those of us who consider ouselves part of the tea party movement. We took our eye off the ball for too many years. We relied on the media to objectively investigate and report but have come to realize that the media have an agenda and cannot be trusted. If you want it done right, you have to do it yourself.

    The premise of the Jefferson statement you quoted was totally on point.


I believe in free speech, including offensive speech, and especially political speech. Comments that are left on my blog do not necessarily represent my views nor do I necessarily endorse them. I am not responsible for other people's views or comments. That is how the 1st Amendment works.