Seth Lipsky’s better idea: A debate on the Constitution

The most important thing that has happened in the last two years is the states have learned that they don’t have to do what the federal government tells them to. The turning moment was when then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) turned on a reporter who asked if her House bill was in compliance with the Constitution and shouted, “Are you serious? Are you serious?”

The Tea Party brought it, but the MSM media tries its best to push it aside. Hope there’s not a Tea Party debate here on out, because the redneck rant doesn’t help anyone. Don’t encourage them. Seth Lipsky has a better idea. In The Wall Street Journal today he calls for a televised debate on the Constitution.

“America's fundamental law, raised as a flag in this campaign by the Tea Party, has been eddying in and out of the debates. So why limit it to glancing references?” he writes. “Why not make at least one of these televised debates about the Constitution itself. Let the candidates really get it on over how they understand the document that whoever wins the presidency will swear to preserve, protect and defend. How would the Constitution guide them should they become president of America?”

This would change not only how we understand government and practice it, but even how we compose and utilize the Supreme Court. The Tea Party might have found a spirit father in Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who brought states' rights to the fore. But questions arise as to why the long silence on states’ rights? When it was first proposed here in New Hampshire and Vermont five years ago that our states could go our own way, and NH state Rep. Dan Itse brought it national with his constitutional challenge of ObamaCare in February 2009, most up here thought it was impossible, illegal — or why had no one thought of it before?

“Take the question of treason,” writes Lipsky. “This word is being thrown around in the debates like confetti. Gov. Rick Perry has suggested that using the Federal Reserve for political purposes would be 'almost treasonous,' and Jon Huntsman has asserted that Perry's suggestion that we can't control the southern border was a 'treasonous comment' ... How do these candidates comprehend the prohibition in the Constitution on defining treason as anything other than levying war against the United States or adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort? Do they really believe that treason is a context in which they want to talk about immigration and money?”

And this: “How about talking of the Federal Reserve and Ben Bernanke not in terms of treason but in terms of the Constitution? One of the candidates, Ron Paul, reckons the Federal Reserve Act is unconstitutional on its face. Do the other candidates agree? Where do they feel Congress gets the power to delegate monetary authority to the Fed?”

You can hear these questions discussed nightly now on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s “Freedom Watch” with regular visitors like GOP Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Rand Paul of Kentucky. The judge’s “Presidents Day” show this year was unforgettable. Two classics of the rising genre: Thomas Woods’s Nullification: How to Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century and Rick Perry’s Eagle Scout manual for governors and citizens, Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America from Washington.