Was The Constitution Passed In a Sleazy Manner?


Rick Hertzberg of The New Yorker writes about the process behind the passing of the Constitution, and similarities to that of Health Care Reform passage.

He writes.

“It occurred to me the other day that the Constitution itself was ratified in much the same way that health-care reform finally got passed.

The ratification fight was a few months shorter than the health-care fight, but it was at least as contentious. In many states approval was far from a sure thing. The ideological lines weren’t the same then as they are now-the French wouldn’t invent “left” and “right” for another couple of years-but some of the issues Federalists and Anti-Federalists tussled over still echo. Some skeptics of the new charter feared a big expansion of centralized power. Some worried that their liberties would be put in peril.

What emerged during the process was an informal but unmistakable promise by proponents to make adding a bill of rights the new national government’s first order of business. At the New York ratification convention-the one that the Federalist Papers were written to influence-Hamilton struck a deal to make ratification conditional on a recommendation that a bill of rights be appended. Even so, the thing passed by just three votes out of fifty-seven. Without a lot of such slip-slidey maneuvering the whole effort would have collapsed.

In other words, pass and patch. In other words, reconciliation.”

Were the Founding Fathers Sleazy deal makers? I think not, what is interesting here is this occurred before the French even invented, the political Right and Left.

Which sheds light on an argument we have been having since the beginning of our Nation. The argument about the role of Government will forever be the flash point of partisan bickering, but just because one side succeeds within the framework of our political rule, much like those who ratified the Constitution, it doesn’t make them Anti-American, or Socialists.

Medicare, Social Security, were battles fought almost exactly the same way. Ronald Reagan said this about Medicare.

“Write those letters now. Call your friends, and tell them to write them. If you don’t, this program I promise you will pass just as surely as the sun will come up tomorrow. And behind it will come other federal programs that will invade every area of freedom as we have known it in this country, until, one day…we will awake to find that we have socialism. And if you don’t do this, and if I don’t do it, one of these days, you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children, and our children’s children, what it once was like in America when men were free.”

Reagan makes a passionate plea to stop the passage of Medicare. Which is fine, but he was wrong. Medicare is a government social safety net that makes our nation collectively stronger. Reagan knew that when he was President. That is why he never tried to repeal Medicare, a program he fought to stop. Because it works.

Of course these programs are not perfect, what in life, not just government life, is perfect? Things need to be adjusted and tweaked all the time. These programs are no different. But to say we are not as free a people because of Health-Care Reform, or Medicare, is simply rhetoric from an ultra free society.

Only the freest society in the world complains they are losing freedoms when the government passes a Health-Care Reform bill, that helps insure the uninsured and discriminated against.

Instead of using our children as a fear mongering tactic in terms of debt. Why don’t we teach our children how to lose gracefully within the rules, so our next generation of leaders can bring politics back to a more civil era. We all too often teach our children, winning is everything. I would say many of the GOP leadership was taught that same lesson, and this blind attempt for political victory clouds their judgement toward what their job description actually entails. They are supposed to represent the people, not lie to them for their political gain in a mid term election.

My son and daughter will be taught how to lose gracefully, and win with respect. They will be reprimanded if they ever act like John Boehner who called Health Reform “Armageddon” when he knew the bill was going to pass. His actions were worse then my 5 year old when he loses at UNO MOO. The problem is I can teach my five year old how to lose with class.

But who will teach Representative Boehner?