The Republican communications machine has kicked into high gear trying to paint the GOP as the party of the Constitution. Last week, the incoming House leadership announced an at-best pointless plan to require every bill to be accompanied by “constitutional authority” statement. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) has garnered buckets of press attention for her plan to host classes on the Constitution — including one class taught by Justice Antonin Scalia. Today, the House GOP added to these symbolic acts of reverence for the Constitution by announcing that they will begin the new House session with a ritualized reading of the document itself:
House Republicans will even provide for a reading of the Constitution in the House chamber on the second day of the next Congress. . . .
Taken together, the rules changes appear aimed at addressing complaints that the legislative process isn’t transparent enough, that Congress is rigged to overspend and that lawmakers ignore the Constitution when formulating policy.
There’s only one problem with the GOP’s new image makeover — time and time again, their actions betray their contempt for the Constitution.
Bachmann plans to host classes taught, not just by occasionally-correct Justice Scalia, but also by unhinged radicals such as Christian right crusader David Barton and 9/11 truther Andrew Napolitano. Barton has claimed that the entire federal highway system is unconstitutional, while Napolitano likes to write about how Social Security and the United States Census violate the Constitution when he isn’t busy speculating about whether 9/11 was an inside job.
Other GOP lawmakers have embraced a seemingly endless list of proposals to rewrite the Constitution into something barely recognizable. These range from incoming House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-VA) support for a bizarre proposal to create a new, incredibly cumbersome method to repeal federal laws, to more distressing proposals to strip people of their citizenship, enshrine discrimination into the Constitution, eliminate all federal education programs, and even repeal the New Deal and the Civil Rights era..
Simply put, no amount of ritualized idolization of the Constitution can hide the GOP’s utter disdain for the actual document.