Time magazine author totally misrepresents US Constitution

What a hit piece on the Founding Fathers. I could barely get through three of five pages of Richard Stengel’s article in Time magazine online today. He twists the US Constitution like every good liberal always does. This is nothing new. Democrat and liberal politicians have done this for years. Time to call out the BS again…

Here is a link to Stengel’s article, with a hat tip to John Pitney at NRO’s The Corner. Stengel – managing editor of Time – writes…

People on the right and left constantly ask what the framers would say about some event that is happening today.

Ask that question all you want – especially since it makes you sounds so damn intellectual –  but it’s one of those questions that can never be answered. That said, the Founding Fathers really did take the future into consideration. They did so by strictly limiting the document to defining what the federal government could do, not what it could not do.

Get the distinction?

What would the framers say about whether a tax on people who did not buy health insurance is an abuse of Congress’s authority under the commerce clause? Well, since James Madison did not know what health insurance was and doctors back then still used leeches, it’s difficult to know what he would say.

So in other words, since they were not smart enough to envision this issue, their opinion and the document itself and other reference material including the Federalist Papers really should not be considered? Is that what Stengel’s trying to say? By the way Richard, physicians are still using leeches.

The framers were not gods and were not infallible. Yes, they gave us, and the world, a blueprint for the protection of democratic freedoms — freedom of speech, assembly, religion — but they also gave us the idea that a black person was three-fifths of a human being, that women were not allowed to vote and that South Dakota should have the same number of Senators as California, which is kind of crazy. And I’m not even going to mention the Electoral College. They did not give us income taxes. Or Prohibition. Those came later.

What conservative, Republican or TEA party member has ever said the framers were gods? That’s a blindly stupid statement. I’ve often referred to them as being damn smart and even genius primarily for one reason. They limited the powers of the federal government and let all other functions rest with the states and the people. That’s right, as a conservative I really do believe – as an example – residents of a state, through their state legislature and executive branch could institute a single-payer health insurance program that demanded every resident chip in for the costs.

Whether it would work is not the point. The fact is some states could do that and other states could come up with a different approach that may work better – competition. The beauty – and yes genius – of what the Founding Fathers did comes right down to that simple fact; We are a group of united states, who have chosen to create a federal government with limited authority and power.

The “black person was three-fifths of a human being” argument is so often used Stengel either believes it or is purposely perpetuating the myth all Founding Fathers figured blacks were sub-human. In reality, the Constitution specifically deals with the subject of “free Persons” and “all other Persons.” (Certainly most slaves were Black, but neither the Constitution or the Bill of Rights refer to Negros or Blacks.) In short, Article 1, Section 2, Clause 3 actually penalized the south when it comes to representation in the US House of Representatives for having slaves.

Article 1, Section 9 specifically dealt with a second issue, the slave trade. Although many from the north wanted unrestricted congressional power to regulate the slave trade, southern delegates were concerned regulation could be used to restrict or outlaw the slave trade. The compromise – keeping in mind Article 1, Section 2 – did recognize congressional power over the slave trade – yet restricted until 1808 – and allowed a $10 federal tax on the importation of slaves. Yes, slave owners and states were penalized for owning and allowing the slave trade to continue.

Are kids in US History classes taught that?

Don’t get me started on having two Senators per state and the Electoral College. You think it’s “kind of crazy,” when in reality it makes a lot of sense, but since you don’t give a crap about the people in South Dakota and prefer the liberal ways of California, you’d be perfectly fine forcing the views and opinions from heavily populated states and cities on the people in South Dakota. Do a bit of research instead of calling it “crazy.”

Stengel continues, with my emphasis in bold.

If the Constitution was intended to limit the federal government, it sure doesn’t say so. Article I, Section 8, the longest section of the longest article of the Constitution, is a drumroll of congressional power. And it ends with the “necessary and proper” clause, which delegates to Congress the power “to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.”

Oh yes it does! Certainly, the creation of the federal government by definition expanded the role of the federal government, but in doing so the Founding Fathers were very specific about its role.

Stengel calls it a “drumroll of congressional power” yet completely ignores the tightly defined list in Article 1, Section 8. Since he ignored it and thinks the necessary and proper clause is so broad, here is the complete section.

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

  • To borrow money on the credit of the United States;
  • To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;
  • To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;
  • To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;
  • To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;
  • To establish Post Offices and Post Roads;
  • To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;
  • To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;
  • To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations;
  • To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
  • To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
  • To provide and maintain a Navy;
  • To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
  • To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
  • To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
  • To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings; And
  • To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

I highlighted the phrases frequently referred to by lefties. When discussing the general Welfare of the United States, this meant the general welfare of the entire country. My analysis posted in Oct. 2009 covers that, so I won’t repeat it. And the last clause referencing creating laws necessary and proper to execute the foregoing powers is specific to what is listed in the section itself!

Not only does Article 1, Section 8 cover the specifics, the Bill of Rights added the 10th Amendment. Heck, some legislators at the time did not even think the 10th was necessary since Article 1, Section 8 was so damn specific!

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

After that first page in Time, Stengel goes on for five more pages taking his original flawed premise on page 1 to argue for everything from health care, to the debt ceiling, to illegal alien rights, to the War Powers Act and more.

Feel free to go read his drivel, but keep in mind his entire article is based on his false premise outlined on the first page. And get this … at the end of the article he’s got the nerve to tell us what the Founding Fathers would say.

Update: The article by Stengel is getting a bit more play after the cover story was announced yesterday morning. Doug Powers at Michelle Malkin’s blog has a post this morning, and The Daily Caller published yesterday.

Update 2: More analysis and a slap into reality for Stengel by David Azerrad at The Corner. Sister Toldjah links to Aaron Worthing at Patterico’s Pontifications who notes…

Seriously, this piece in Time Magazine is either utter bullsh-t, or he is literally incapable of reading and understanding the words of the Constitution and other related laws.  I was so stunned to read this drivel in Time Magazine that I then looked up who the hell Richard Stengel is, and apparently he is their Managing Editor!  And by the time you are done reading this post you will be stunned with the cluelessness on display.

Worthing tears Stengel apart word-by-word and although his post is long, it’s totally full of win.

Exit question: Will the managing editor of Time allow for a conservative like Worthing have five pages of content space in Time for a rebuttal? Not holding my breath.

5 replies
  1. Jeff S
    Jeff S says:

    The left’s favorite argument against the founding fathers is that of the 3/5 clause, without understanding why that particular rule was implemented.? Also forgotten is that senators were supposed to stand for the rights of their respective state and?appointed by the states’ legislature, but that was changed with the 17th amendment which made the senate pretty much an enhanced representative with a longer term in office.? It was made equal representation so that states like Rhode Island and Connecticut will have the same voice as a Pennsylvania or Virginia.

  2. GdavidH
    GdavidH says:

    When one side has no regard for facts and no respect for the truth, there can be no debate.?this?Time article was obviously intended as propaganda for the left.

  3. Dimsdale
    Dimsdale says:

    Stengel ought to heed the old adage “it is better to remain silent (0r managing editor of Time) and be thought a fool, than to open one’s mouth (or write a demonstrably idiotic article) and remove all doubt.”? Why do lefties go so far out of their way to prove that they are not that bright?
    I doubt the founders would have suspected that our “representatives” would be applying figurative leeches to our economy, in an attempt to “save” it by draining it of all its lifeblood anymore than they thought medicine would have stagnated at the level found in the 18th/19th centuries.

  4. Lynn
    Lynn says:

    OMG, Dimsdale you nailed it! “Figurative leeches”…LOL It can’t get any better than this, so I’m off and will save the rest for the PM.

  5. Don Lombardo
    Don Lombardo says:

    Amazing – the people who hate the Constitution the most are the ones that use its rights the most. In a lot of countries these jokers would be shot for the crap they write.

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