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Rep. Issa Says President Obama Wants To ‘Convert’ The Constitution ‘To Some South African Constitution’

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"Rep. Issa Says President Obama Wants To ‘Convert’ The Constitution ‘To Some South African Constitution’"

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Conservative conspiracy theories have had a fun ride since President Obama took office.

First, Barack Obama was a Muslim. Then, he was born in Kenya instead of the United States and only served as president via a forged birth certificate. Then, his decisions as president can only be understood through the frame of “Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior”.

Now, according to the latest tale, courtesy of House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA), President Obama wants to “convert [our Constitution] to some South African Constitution.”

Issa made the curious accusation Friday at the California Republican Party’s Spring Convention in Burlingame:

ISSA: We’re going to establish a very different policy. One, that we have a president who will respect the Constitution, not try to convert it to some [inaudible] South African Constitution. [Applause]

Listen to it:

Issa likely conflated the erroneous accusation that President Obama wants “some South African Constitution” with and equally erroneous accusation that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg prefers the South African Constitution that has recently infected right-wing commentary.

Earlier this month, Ginsburg told an audience in Egypt that other countries’ constitutions may be better models for their burgeoning democracy than the United States Constitution because more recently drafted constitutions are often more precise in laying out individual rights. If Issa had bothered to the entire interview, however, he would have heard her stirring praise for the First Amendment, her references to the “genius” of our Constitution, and her statement about how powerful it is that our Constitution places power in “We the People.” Moreover, if Issa paid attention to the views of Ginsburg’s conservative colleagues, he would know that conservative Justice Antonin Scalia made a similar point when he testified at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing that the Soviet Union’s bill of rights “was much better than ours.”

Yet, even if Ginsburg had claimed that South Africa’s legal traditions are inherently superior to ours, her comments are hardly indicative of President Obama’s views because Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is actually an entirely different person than Barack Obama. To help Issa understand this difficult concept, ThinkProgress has prepared the following visual aide:

Hat-tip: @lhfang

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