Many thanks too Richard Latimer of Falmouth, for his brilliant letter to the Boston Globe this morning. I am taking the liberty of copying the entire piece here, because it is short enough to fall within Fair Use and because it is important enough to have a life online after the usual expiration of online letters sections.
It ran on today's Editorial page under the title
Anti-tax pledge drove Republicans from duty to serve
JOSHUA GREEN attempts to blame the Democrats for Republican obstructionism in assessing the budget impasse (“Picking up pieces after ‘super’ fail,’’ Op-ed, Nov. 24). Try reading both the congressional oath of office and Grover Norquist’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge before laying blame here. Governing a democratic society is necessarily about pragmatic compromise, where many diverse interests must be harmonized.
“We the people,’’ contrary to the libertarian ideology of rugged individualism, is a collectivity, as are the common defense and general welfare listed in the preamble to the Constitution. That collectivity is what every member of Congress is sworn to serve when taking the oath of office, to “bear true faith and allegiance’’ to the Constitution, and to do so “without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion.’’
The mindless Norquist pledge, however, requires both a mental reservation and ideological evasion as it pertains to Congress’s fundamental duty to pay the national debt by raising revenues, as stated in Article 1, Section 8, of the Constitution. Ideologically driven Republican intransigence against this clear congressional mandate is what drives the budget impasse.
Richard K. Latimer
The essential message here is that the Constitution should guide members of Congress, all too many of whom seem to be guided primarily by Norquist's political playbook and Ayn Rand's fantasies. Libertarianism as currently practiced is closer to anarchy than it is to conservatism and closer to nihilism than to patriotism. Actual conservative Republicans (and many millions still exist) who wonder why their party is increasingly distrusted and even reviled should consider how far certain "movement" members of their party have departed from the country's founding principles and from the ideals of the party's great leaders, from Lincoln to Roosevelt to Eisenhower.