Michele Bachmann Continues to Display her Impressive Confusion About the Constitution
There was quite a gathering at the National Press Club late yesterday for an event called the "Tea Party Town Hall," organized by a group called the Tea Party Express. A variety of Republican lawmakers showed up to sing the praises of their activist base, and repeat the usual far-right talking points.
I was especially interested, though, in what Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) had to say. After the usual palaver -- did you know Democrats want to extinguish the "torch of liberty and freedom"? -- the bizarre lawmaker offered a noteworthy take on the Constitution.
Asked via a Web questioner whether her Tea Party rhetoric might be considered divisive, Bachmann said that "far from being divisive in any way, what we're trying to do is bring together a great unity." The source of that unity? The Constitution and the Bill of Rights, documents about which differing interpretations are apparently of little use. "Our founding documents, they cannot be improved upon," said Bachmann, giving an almost Biblical rendition of the work product of the nation's first generation of politicians.
At the risk of being overly literal about this, I'm a little surprised Bachmann believes the Constitution "cannot be improved upon." Isn't the right's line that the Constitution must be improved upon?
It's why congressional Republicans push radical constitutional concepts that were discredited generations ago -- because they're unsatisfied with the existing legal framework of the American government.
It's why congressional Republicans sponsored 42 constitutional amendments in the last Congress, and are likely to do the same in this Congress. (Indeed, Bachmann is already sponsoring a constitutional amendment of her own.)
It's why the new conservative agenda is focused on scrapping the 17th Amendment, repealing the 16th Amendment, getting rid of at least one part of the 14th Amendment, and "restoring" the "original" 13th Amendment.
If the Constitution "cannot be improved upon," maybe Bachmann and her ilk can leave it alone?