Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

A Nation Based on a Universal Idea

Ashbrook Fellow Mac Owens has a nice piece on NRO in which he reminds us of the uniqueness of the American nation--one based on the universal ideas extoled by the Founders in the Declaration of Independence. Worth a cup, and a gaggle of fireworks.  

Celebrating America on the 4th of July

Ben Stein celebrates the American regime and expresses his gratitude to the solidiers who have defended our Freedom in the past and do so today. Stein at his best.

Hadley Arkes on Lawrence

NRO has a lot of good stuff today. In particular, Hadley Arkes has a piece about how to respond to the Lawrence decision. A student of Lincoln, he understands the art of prudence in a democratic society better than anyone today. He played a crucial role in convincing pro-life groups to shift focus, from a Human Life constitutional amendment to a legislative strategy focusing on born-alive and partial-birth abortion laws. This was Lincolnian prudence in action. Relinquish the good that is politically impossible to attain, to focus on the less ambitious good that arouses the sympathies and persuades the reason of a voting majority. His reactions to Lawrence manifest the same understanding of prudence and democratic politics.

Dean, dough, & the FEC

The Presidential candidates are required to submit FEC disclosure forms by tomorrow. The New York Times and WSJ’s Best of the Web (citing the Times) both report that Howard Dean is set to disclose that he’s raised $6 million in the last quarter, well ahead of the other Democratic candidates’ fund raising.

A Bad Week: Quotas, Sodomy and a new Entitlement

David Frum sums up what has to be the worst week in American Politics in recent memory: 1st)The Supreme Court’s endorsement of race based admissions in the Michigan Law School Case; 2nd)The Supreme Court strikes down the anti-sodomy law in Texas; and 3rd)the GOP Senate votes a new prescription drug benefit, the greatest new entitlement program in almost 30 years.

Here’s a paragraph on the sodomy decision from Frum: "The court could have written quite a constrained opinion – one that accepted as valid precedent the right to privacy created in the Griswold and Eisenstadt cases of three and four decades ago, and then used that judge-made right to strike down a Texas morality statute that just about everybody agreed was ridiculous. Instead, Justice Kennedy produced an astonishingly open-ended opinion, that seemed to treat as a constitutional offense almost any attempt by a state legislature to enact traditional sexual morality into local law. It’s hard to see how Justice Kennedy can from now on consistently vote to uphold any state law that distinguishes one kind of sexual relationship from another. He’s driven onto a highway with no exit ramps."

This ’Lawrence v. Texas’ case will likely have the greatest political impact. Majority Leader Frist has already called for a Constitutional Amendment to define marriage as between a male and a female. This is necessary Frist argues because the Court’s recent decision virtually calls for a court decision endorsing Same-Sex Marriage.

The whole idea of limited government assumes that human beings can and should govern themselves. Liberty, understood as self-government, assumes the virtue of moderation, i.e., the voluntary restraint of the passions, in its citizens. On the other hand, the right to privacy assumes that liberty (or the right to privacy) is licentiousness (or self-indulgence), i.e., the right of the individual to unrestrained self-expression. This notion of liberty is incompatible with traditional Constitutionalism. Tragic that such a battle will have to be fought.

Bowling for Moore . . .

A filmmaker is producing a documentary entitled "Michael Moore Hates America," which is intended to be submitted to the Sundance Film Festival in January. The description of the project is interesting:

Contrary to its title, Michael Moore Hates America isn’t a hatchet job on the filmmaker. It’s a journey across the nation where we meet celebrities, scholars and average folks alike, all of whom are living the American Dream and proving that America is a great place to be! In the process, we’ll look at Michael Moore’s claims about the country, its people, and its corporations.

Sounds like a good project. (Thanks to Ramesh Ponnuru at The Corner for bringing it to my attention.)

Miller Campaigns For Bush

First a regular spot on Hannity and Colmes, now Dennis Miller is out stumping for the President. Reuters reports that Dennis Miller did his stand up routine for a fundraiser for Bush in L.A.

Speaking of Senator Byrd and his recent stance on the war: "I think he must be burning the cross at both ends." As for Howard Dean, Miller suggested "He can roll up his sleeves all he wants at public events, but as long as we see that heart tattoo with Neville Chamberlain’s name on his right forearms, he’s never going anywhere." Once again, I don’t always agree with Miller, but he is one of the brightest political satirists around.

California: Gray Davis Recall, Budget Woes

This Washington Post article details the budget crisis facing California. The State Legislature has until midnight tonight to come up with a solution to the $38 billion deficit or payments to various agencies will stop and other services will be cut beginning tomorrow, July 1st. While the Dems control both houses of the legislature, passage of the budget requires a 2/3s vote. So far Republicans have insisted that they will not vote for any tax increases to address the budget crisis. Read my lips, anyone?

Here’s an article from Fox News which updates the Recall Gray Davis petition and the increasing pressure on Gov. Davis to resign. Finally, here’s

George Will’s latest thoughts on California and Gray Davis. Will thinks that California needs a new Ataturk to address its problems.

The Dems cry politics, although I don’t think they’ve read Aristotle.

Canada, Gay Rights, and SCOTUS

Peter meant to blog on this before he left for Vermont--it’s an insightful piece on how Canada’s recognition of gay marriages, combined with the recent Supreme Court decision on sodomy laws, are likely to affect the United States.

Trip to Vermont

I am off to Vermont for a meeting next week, so I will not blog until after the Fourth. Johnny and I are riding and we’ll make stops at Cooperstown, West Point, and Fort Ticanderoga. Be back late on the Fourth. I’ll give a full report that weekend. Have a very good Fourth. Here is what Calvin Coolidge, the last president to have written his own speeches, had to say on the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration. Remember.

Thernstrom on the Supremes

Abigail Thernstrom has a few choice words on the Court’s affirmative action decisions, and she suggests what must follow, for the sake of minority children.