Time for a New Party: Rules of the game

With Republicans and Democrats both offering only more, bigger government, what choice is there? Is it time to write some planks? Photo: Associated Press

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 19, 2013 — “[W]hen a government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it.” 

It’s not yet time for that, while there is still hope for a lawful, prudent government. But with the Democrats’ constant and purposeful expansion of government, and especially of executive power, and the Republicans’ new goal (recently enunciated by strategist Karl Rove) of ridding the GOP of “Tea Party” types, it is obvious that freedom-loving and law-abiding citizens, abandoned by both parties, need to create a new platform from which their voice to be heard.

The 2010 “shellacking” of President Obama did nothing to change the direction of the nation’s politicians; if anything, it united them against the common voters. As these voters saw their rights seized and their futures squandered, they voted for a change of direction, not just a change of majority Party. Politicians already in power did not like to see their power challenged; they united against the rabble, and produced tickets that offered two different flavors of the same big-government corrosion.

Since the current political establishment is all pro-big federal government, a party of choice would offer the opposite: a small federal government. Since the current structure is built on trading stolen wealth for votes, the new party would eschew such stealing, and make each officeholder responsible for the wealth he or she was in charge of.

With a principled new party in charge, the new Congress would soon be subject to all of the same laws under which everyone else lives. Congress would receive no pensions, no benefits after leaving service; and retiring senators and representatives would be required to live in their home districts for five years after retirement, to face each day the people whose trust they had exploited.

Under the new party’s quickly-enacted rules, Presidents who failed to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution, and who failed to carry out the laws of the United States would be at the least impeached and removed from office. Presidents (as would be true for all federal employees) would not be immune from criminal prosecution, nor protected from it by taxpayers’ dollars. Serious breaches of the law that do not rise to the level of drawing articles of impeachment (e.g., declaring that certain laws were not to be enforced, or making recess appointments to fill vacancies that do not originate during a recess) would have their effects negated. Such breaches of the law could be criminally prosecuted; and repeated breaches of the presidential oath of office would be grounds for impeachment.

What would a truly different party look like?

First, members of the new party understand that the Constitution is the limit of federal authority. The Constitution would be literally followed, since it was carefully written and is quite clear, clouded only by legal minds who are paid to twist and feed on increasingly-unconstitutional precedents that consistently attempt to stretch and pervert its clear meaning.

Rules:

From time to time, this column will put forth an idea for that new party, along with the rationale for its position. Cogent arguments (not partisan talking points) will be considered in the discussion. Mindless repetition of partisan rhetoric will be flagged as such, and those who don’t think for themselves will be so tagged, their shame forever living on these pages in the Internet.

Every party has house rules. Thoughtful questions and points of view are welcomed. To that end, only those who use their own names will be taken seriously.

When you state a fact, back it up. “Everybody knows” is not often adequate validation of fact. Political parties and politicians are not often reliable sources of facts.

Facts are; they are not someone’s viewpoint of selected statistics. Your opinion follows from facts. Another commentator’s opinion may be used to help explain your position, but it is not a substitute for how you arrived at that position, yourself. “Grover Cleveland said Venezuela is our ally. Therefore, Venezuela is our ally” is not a statement of fact. The fact is that President Cleveland said so; the relationship between the two nations was his opinion. To back the opinion as your own, you’d need more-recent research and some examples, at least. Quoting someone else is fine, but it doesn’t make the statement a fact.

New ideas:

Here’s an example of an idea for the new party to consider as a plank of its platform:

Each ruling of each federal Court is to disregard precedent and consider each case de novo, referring directly to the Constitution. Precedent, if invoked, is to be viewed as a tie-breaker only, not as a continuous path away from the original law. Precedents and laws of other nations have no a priori standing in United States courts.

What this would do is keep decisions always related directly to the Constitution and the relevant law. Too often, a case’s decision is a stretch from the original wording and intent. In that particular case, justice may have been done; but for the next case to start there, and then stretch to yet another conclusion, weakens the law. Poorly-written laws are not an excuse for poorly-rendered verdicts; poorly-written laws will, under this system, come under scrutiny and get rewritten or thrown out as unenforceable.

Further, a string of precedents, starting with a decision that is merely a stretch, will not lead to a ridiculous decision, years down the road, after the original law and intent are completely obliterated by numerous, constantly-twisted precedents.

To illustrate the point: only with precedent could an anti-piracy ruling (The Palmyra) eventually be twisted into a decision allowing a county to confiscate a lady’s automobile when her husband was caught in it with a hooker (Bennis v Michigan). Justice Thomas noted in his opinion that, “One unaware of the history of forfeiture laws and 200 years of this Court’s precedent regarding such laws might well assume that such a scheme is lawless-a violation of due process.” He concurred with the forfeiture, based on precedent and English common law: Innocence is no defense against a third party’s misuse of one’s property. Without increasingly wide precedents, the Court would not have penalized Mrs. Bennis, who was obviously not deserving of further punishment.

OK – what do you think? Share this column, like it, tweet a link – the more thoughtful people who engage in the discourse, the better. A future column will address the ideas behind such a proposal and your ideas regarding it.



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Tim Kern

Tim Kern taught economics for fifteen years, and discovered that understanding life is easy; it’s recognizing reality that takes practice. He holds a music degree, and later earned an MBA in finance from Northwestern University. He has lived across the US, and now makes his home in Anderson, Indiana.

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