Where Was the Constitution in the Debate?

Eleven debaters gathered at the Reagan Library September 16, 2015, to share their plans and visions for our future. Each extolled the virtues of Ronald Reagan and claimed to be more Reagan-like than any of their competitors. Countries discussed included Russia, Iran, China, Syria and Israel. And topics seen to be most important were mostly centered on illegal immigration, Planned Parenthood’s federal funding, and the use of marijuana. But where was the Constitution in the debate?
All were important concerns but minimized was how these and other concerns might be addressed using the Constitution—the government’s rulebook. After all, the next day, September 17th, was Constitution Day throughout the United States. This especially in light of the fact that the last four presidents, two Republican and two Democrats, largely ignored the Constitution in problem solving going far beyond its restrictive boundaries.

Liberty Under Fire carefully took note of who did and did not, use the word Constitution, or references to it, in the three-hour debate. Three: Dr. Ben Carson and Governors John Kasich and Chris Christie, never used or referenced the word. Governor Scott Walker said the word Constitution once but did not attach it to a specific part of the document. Governor Jeb Bush also used the word without attachment but a second use was attached to his support for gun rights. Senator Marco Rubio did not use the word but identified himself in support of the 2nd Amendment.

Carly Fiorina used the word twice but negated both immediately thereafter with comments clearly showing that she had no understanding of the use verses the issue. The issue was the use of marijuana and federal enforcement. One cannot be for the Tenth Amendment, which leaves all areas not specifically mentioned in Article I, Section 8 to the states alone, and advocated the existence of federal authority not in the Constitution. There exists no constitutional authority for drug enforcement on the federal level. She, Bush, and Kasich received serious negatives on their understanding of the Constitution on this point. She did reference Lady Liberty and Lady Justice but made no attachment with respect to the Constitution with either. She is no doubt sincere in her use of liberty symbols but her generalities did not demonstrate depth in what liberty and justice actually mean.

Outside the Bush and Rubio support for the 2nd Amendment, Liberty Under Fire found little hope that these seven presidential candidates would give first consideration to the Constitution in problem solving. At least three of these lacked understanding of the Tenth Amendment. This is very serious. On constitutional issues, based upon this debate at this time, Liberty Under Fire cannot recommend any of these candidates for this office.


Written by Dr. Harold Pease
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