The Founders believed that human nature is too weak to be trusted with uncontrolled power. A war had just been fought to get away from one-man rule. So, in their new Constitution, they put the House, Senate, Executive and Judiciary in conflict with each other. Under the system they imposed, no individual or department is likely to assume control. Further chains on federal power appeared again when Amendments 9 and 10 were added to the original document -- they clearly limit federal power and emphasize state and people power.
The Constitution was the law of the land during the turbulent 1th century. Then the break-away began.
Theodore Roosevelt bolted the Republican Party in 1912 and that gave minority parties a chance to rally around a well-known champion -- he could legitimize their concerns on the national stage. They were known as the Progressive Party, headed by Roosevelt.
Roosevelt, an outspoken critic of the Constitution, hated the limitations it imposed on the federal government.
Roosevelt's third party election effort ruined the chances of the Republican candidate (Taft), and opened the door for the man, Woodrow Wilson, who became the new father of the progressive movement, which rallied behind the winner of the election. It is alive today under the name of the Democratic Party.
Wilson disrespected the Constitution. His idea of a "living constitution," under which current judges make decisions based on present day circumstances as judges see those circumstances, took hold during his eight-year term.
From that day forward, the judiciary has been politicized.
President Obama is also a critic of the Constitution ("is a living document, and must be read in the context of an ever-changing world"). To him, the Constitution is not law; it is a gaggle of words that judges interpret according to their world view.
Many don't buy this "living constitution" theory because it results in law-making from the bench, instead of legal analysis and interpretation of objective law. They will fight to restore the authority of the Constitution and to thereby limit judicial authority to legislate.
Impeach Obama! This cry is being heard more frequently today. It's understandable. Given the right congressional mix, the same cry could have been raised effectively against FDR and LBJ. But they had a veto-proof Congress to back them up -- to protect them while they mutilated the Constitution.
Is it practical to attack Obama this way? And what would be the consequences of a failed impeachment? Or of success?
Obama has given Republicans the ammunition with which to fight. Like FDR and LBJ, he has frequently acted in ways that are unconstitutional -- manipulations of Obamacare are only the most recent examples of this.
Remembering a few things may be helpful before going further:
• Incident, 1991: Rodney King; alleged police brutality after arrest; police found innocent; riot in Los Angeles; millions of dollars in damage; 53 dead and 2,000 hurt.
• Incident, 1995: O.J. Simpson; found innocent of murder; except for blacks, few believed the verdict; blacks celebrated the victory over "whitey."
• Incident, 2012: George Zimmerman, a Latino, was found innocent of killing a young black (self defense); the entire fleet of black agitators descended on the scene dedicated to causing trouble; the incident was headline news for weeks. Black leaders still point to this case as an example of white injustice.
• Obama gets over 95 percent of the black vote, which includes the black military vote (20 percent of the military); the Black Caucus in Congress (all Democrats who often vote as a bloc) sees legislation first through a racial prism -- the entire black population is loyal to their black president, regardless of his performance.
Let's get back to impeachment. It makes no sense now. Like FDR and LBJ, Obama has congressional mix in his favor. The Democratic-controlled Senate would never find Obama guilty in an impeachment trial.
Republicans should win the House in 2014; if they win the Senate too, the impeachment and trial of Obama could be successful. Then what?
Remember Rodney King, O.J. Simpson, George Zimmerman and the myriad of other incidents that brought blacks violently to the streets? Remember the loyalty of blacks to Obama at the voting booth, including the black military? Remember the Black Caucus in Congress and how they use their bloc voting?
What do you think would happen if the first black president were impeached? -- riots from coast to coast; the Republican Party would be forever labeled racist; Joe Biden would be president; the House of Representatives would be a madhouse. Not a pretty picture. Don't push until you've thought it through.
Robert Kelly, author of several books on baseball and history/politics, is also a freelance, award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in many newspapers. His latest books, The National Debt of the United States and Neck and Neck to the White House, are available at Amazon and the better bookstores. His e-mail address is [email protected]