Let’s say that you view Rick Perry’s endorsement of a federal marriage amendment and an amendment restricting abortion (a position that’s been in the party platform for some time) as a violation of his pledged support for states’ rights under the 10th Amendment. I can certainly see your point of view, and I’m tempted to be persuaded by it.
But there seems to me to be a large overlap between the people decrying Perry’s support for an abortion amendment and an FMA as being hypocritical on 10th Amendment grounds, and people who would vote against those amendments as a matter of policy preferences. What I’d like to figure out is whether the people using the 10th Amendment as a club against Perry are serious about it, or whether it was simply the first weapon at hand to attack something they disagreed with on policy grounds.
So here’s the question I’d like you to answer: Which of the 17 post-Bill of Rights amendments would you have opposed because they ran afoul of federalist principles?
Looking at them, the 14th Amendment is an obvious and undeniable limit on the power of states. With its imposition of the Bill of Rights onto the states, this amendment severely undercuts the 10th Amendment.
The 13th, 15th, 19th, 25th 24th, and 26th Amendments set national policies for matters that had traditionally been left to the states.
So I’ll make a list: 13, 14, 15, 19, 25 24, and 26. Which of those would you have voted for and which would you have voted against on federalist grounds?
Personally I would have voted against 19 and 26, and I’m undecided on 25 24, even though I support the policies that these amendments achieved. I like 13, 14, and 15, but then I’m obviously a fair-weather federalist because I’d support an amendment restricting abortion, and might vote for a well-crafted FMA.
Apollo posted this at 12:39 PM CDT on Saturday, August 13th, 2011 as Philosophy, Politics, The Past Is Never Dead--It Isn't Even Past
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Every now and then, E.J. Dionne lets fly a howler [emphasis added]:
Of the current GOP bunch, former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty is the Dukakis of 2012. I say this as someone who is fond of Dukakis and believes he was an excellent governor of Massachusetts. He just wasn’t a great presidential candidate. The strength Pawlenty and Dukakis share is the absence of any glaring shortcomings. Dukakis was the remainder candidate, the guy most likely to be left standing. That looks like Pawlenty’s role this year. But it’s also hard to see Pawlenty escaping Dukakis’s eventual fate in a general election.
This man actually wrote a book, Why Americans Hate Politics, the discussed the Dukakis and Horton fiasco. To recap: Massachusetts had once passed a law that gave weekend furloughs to thugs with life sentences who had no chance of parole; Horton was a convicted murdered who left the state on his furlough, raped and murdered a Maryland woman; after this crime, the Massachusetts legislature repealed the furlough program and Dukakis vetoed the bill. That struck many people, from Al Gore to Lee Atwater, as a glaring shortcoming.
Perhaps opposition researchers should dig into Pawlenty’s past and see if there’s a Horton. E.J. Dionne doesn’t think there is, but he wouldn’t notice: Dionne specializes in his own glaring shortcomings.
Hubbard posted this at 10:01 AM CDT on Thursday, April 21st, 2011 as The Past Is Never Dead--It Isn't Even Past
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People tend to see what they want to see in political figures. Consider this old Goldberg file about three old Reaganites: Joshua Muravchik, a foreign policy specialist; Irwin Stelzer, an economist; and Michael Novak, a theologian. Each of them had a very different view of Reagan:
In the course of his answer, Muravchik said that the Reagan movement was primarily a foreign-policy cause united around defeating Communism. I don’t want to put words in his mouth, but I recall [he said this]. At this assertion, an “au contraire” was offered from Irwin Stelzer, Ronald Reagan’s former director of regulatory affairs. He said that Reaganism was essentially an economic philosophy and while anti-Communism was surely a vital part, foreign-policy activists were simply another wing emanating from the core of the true Reagan coalition. Seconds after Stelzer made his comments, my friend Michael Novak — one of America’s leading Catholic intellectuals, former Templeton Prize winner and an ambassador-at-large under Reagan — begged to differ. While, of course, fighting for free markets and against the Red menace was vital to Reaganism, these policies were largely outgrowths of a moral and religious vision, which is why the Reagan movement was essentially a religious cause.
In each case, what Reagan was got a heavy dose of coloring from the perspective of whoever was telling the story. Robert Samuelson comments on and falls prey to this today:
We are deluged with Ronald Reagan celebrations and retrospectives, but most are misleading. They omit Reagan’s singular domestic achievement and the wellspring of his popularity: the defeat of double-digit inflation. In 1979 and 1980, inflation averaged 13 percent; by 1984, it was 4 percent — and falling. Without subdued inflation, the economy would have remained a mess and Reagan might have lost his 1984 re-election bid. He certainly wouldn’t have won his 58.5 percent to 40.4 percent landslide.You will not find this in most of today’s Reagan appraisals, which tell us more about the appraisers than about Reagan. In an 11-page cover package, Time magazine doesn’t mention inflation but pronounces Reagan a “transformational” leader whose political style — not his policies — should be emulated by Barack Obama. In its 11 pages on Reagan, the conservative Weekly Standard also avoids inflation and argues that Reaganism endures as the rediscovery of the “principles of the founding.”
Coincidentally, Robert Samuelson’s book is The Great Inflation and its Aftermath.
Hubbard posted this at 2:04 PM CDT on Friday, February 11th, 2011 as Politics, The Past Is Never Dead--It Isn't Even Past, There Is Only One God And Jonah Goldberg Is His Prophet
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The American Spectator tartly notes:
Even as late as his Senate campaign, Webb favored capital-gains tax cuts, defended the Second Amendment, and seemed open to voting to confirm conservative judges. But once he was elected, the man Andrew Ferguson called “the most sophisticated right-wing reactionary to run on a Democratic ticket since Grover Cleveland” compiled a conventional liberal voting record virtually indistinguishable from Harry Reid’s.
Gone were Webb’s fiery denunciations of liberalism. He campaigned not only with Clinton but also John Kerry, a man whose hand Webb reportedly refused to shake for 20 years after the Vietnam War. The Jim Webb of Born Fighting and the op-ed page wasn’t the man who served in the Senate. The party-line Democrat and netroots darling who replaced him was unlikely to win reelection because the political ground shifted beneath Webb’s feet. He barely beat a mistake-prone incumbent in a Democratic year as Virginia was turning blue; he stood little chance as Virginia trends back to the right and has become ground zero for opposition to Obamacare, for which Webb voted.
It’s worth recalling that Webb’s left of center voting record was, if not predicted, at least strongly suspected, by none other than Andrew Ferguson:
Webb’s views of immigration, like many of his positions on questions of domestic policy, are unformed. It’s not hard to imagine where his populism and ethnic allegiance would lead him, though. One thing that all economists agree on—those who favor the present influx of immigrants and those who don’t—is that mass immigration lowers the wages of unskilled, uneducated native-born workers; “my people,” as Webb calls them. A quick way to raise those wages would be to cut off the future flow of unskilled immigration. Yet this step toward “economic fairness” is not available to a Democratic candidate these days (or to many Republicans either).
In a brief and uncomfortable stump speech, Webb told the Hispanic crowd that he was against a guest-worker program. “We must first define our borders,” he said. “And then we must ensure corporate responsibility, because a lot of this is going to come down to the employers.”
The crowd seemed puzzled. Later reporters asked Webb to clarify his position. With Tejada next to him, he said he favored some path to legalization and citizenship for the illegals already here. Tejada nodded solemnly. But what about the future? a reporter asked. Would Webb favor tough economic sanctions against businesses that employ illegals, as a way of drying up the tide of immigrants?
“Yes,” Webb said, “there needs to be corporate enforcement. We’ve had no corporate enforcement for six years! There’s got to be employer sanctions, otherwise you’re going to keep wages down. We have got to get a handle on this.”
Tejada glanced at the ceiling. Punishing employers who hire illegals is not, needless to say, part of the game plan for the community, or for Arlington Democrats.
After Webb was gone, I asked Tejada about this. “Does Webb really want to punish employers who hire members of the community?”
“The devil is in the details,” Tejada said. “Jim is a very complex thinker. We as a country need to have a long debate about these things.”
“But wouldn’t punishing employers reduce the opportunities for workers coming across the border?” I said.
“We will continue to work with Jim on this,” Tejada said. “We will consult with him, advise him going forward. Educate him.”
Every now and then, voting for the person rather than the party makes sense (see Lieberman, Joe). But in twenty-first century America, most of the time it makes sense to vote for the party, which is a better predictor of how a politician will vote than his idiosyncrasies.
Hubbard posted this at 12:00 PM CDT on Thursday, February 10th, 2011 as Politics, The Past Is Never Dead--It Isn't Even Past
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You can prove almost anything when you pick your three favorite data points:
Anyway, when you look at the course of revolution in the modern era, it’s always the same-old same-old:
- Czar Nicky — Kerensky — Lenin
- Kaiser Willie — Weimar Republic — Hitler
- Shah Pahlavi — Mr. Bani Sadr — Khomeini
Really? That’s a comprehensive list of “revolution in the modern era” that’s useful for analyzing the Egyptian crisis? How about:
- Pflimlin — DeGaulle — Pompidou
Oh, wait, that revolution turned out a little different. Well, uh, how about:
- Honecker — Kohl — Schroder
I’m not fan of Schroder, but I still think that one turned out better than the original three. I’ll try again:
That one took a different curve altogether. Chiang was no hero, Mao is a legitimate contender for the title of Worst Man Who Ever Lived and probably champion in the Worst National Leader Ever category, but Deng was alright, all things considered. At the end of it, the country is almost unquestionably more prosperous than it’s been in it’s entire history, and has been at peace for over fifty years. Is China better or worse off than if there’d been no revolution? Considering Chinese history in the hundred years before the revolution, I don’t think there’s an obvious answer to that.
- Allende — Pinochet — Aylwin
- Batista — Castro — ?
- Whoever came before Pol Pot — Pol Pot — Whoever came after Pol Pot
I’m really not drawing any obvious conclusions from this. Some revolutions go up and stay up, others go down and stay down, others go up and down, and the judgment is still out on others. For Michael Walsh, though, it’s “the same-old same-old.” I guess that’s why I also disagree with him over whether an Egyptian revolution would be a good thing or bad. He thinks it’s just more of the “same-old same-old,” where obviously a bad guy will come to power. I think it’s more of the “same-old same-old,” where it’s ambiguous who will come to power.
P.S. George Washington.
Apollo posted this at 7:04 PM CDT on Tuesday, February 1st, 2011 as Politics, The Past Is Never Dead--It Isn't Even Past
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A while back, National Review’s Jay Nordlinger discussed how little he misses Bill Clinton, compared to Obama; he further said, “I think I’d rather have Barack Obama for two terms than Billy J. for one.”
It seems as though Clinton and Obama are very different beasts. Had Clinton had Obama’s majorities, he probably wouldn’t have passed something as unpopular as health care reform. Bill Clinton has many weaknesses, but indifference to the polls has never been one of them. When Hillarycare got to be politically toxic, Clinton let it drop and moved on. When Obamacare turned into political poison, Obama soldiered on.
The key difference between the two is that Clinton had no principles, while Obama has them. (From a right of center point of view, Obama’s principles are lousy, but he certainly has them.) This means that Obama’s reaction to the electoral rebuke is going to be different. We’ll see how Republican adapt, but their previous flexibility doesn’t give much hope.
Fortunately for the right, it looks like Obama has trouble learning from the recent past, too. In 2006, Bush tried to run against making Nancy Pelosi speaker of the House. That failed, largely because as the relatively powerless House Minority Leader, Pelosi could criticize, which is always easy to do, without being in charge, which means having responsibility. Attacking the then-House Minority Leader failed Bush and gave him a Speaker of the other party. Naturally that meant that Obama had to do the same thing with House Minority Leader John Boehner, which remarkably has given Obama the same thing it gave Bush.
Over a decade ago, Jack Pitney, our former professor, explained how the seven deadly sins sink politicians in Washington. Money quote:
Sloth. Contrary to the popular myth that Washington keeps bankers’ hours, people in the political community put in long days. Physical sloth is not their problem. Instead, many suffer from intellectual sloth, which sets in when they fail to rethink their assumptions. The D’Amato hearings on Whitewater and the Thompson hearings on campaign finance both embodied this kind of sloth. Each time, Republicans were expecting Watergate in reverse, where noble Republicans could take down a tainted Democratic president. Each time, they flopped.
Notwithstanding all their hard work, they failed to take account of one big thing: The other side had studied Watergate, too. The White House recognized that it could hinder investigations by providing evidence at a glacial pace, a practice called “slow-walking.” Congressional Democrats remembered that Sen. Sam Ervin (D-N.C.) was effective as chair of the Watergate committee because of his reputation for probity. Accordingly, they undercut the GOP chairs, hoping to make D’Amato look like a sleazebag and Thompson a shameless self-promoter. They succeeded.
Will history repeat itself? Or will people get new playbooks?
Hubbard posted this at 9:22 AM CDT on Thursday, November 4th, 2010 as I have seen the future. . ., The Past Is Never Dead--It Isn't Even Past
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Few authors have grappled with Big Questions™ via deliciously salacious material better than Sophocles. Want to get people talking about conflicts between secular & religious obligations, fate, and civic virtue? Tease them with incest, patricide, live burial, and self-mutilation.
The West Was Written blogger has an interesting analysis of the civic virtue angle as presented in Antigone:
Once the confetti is swept up, the real test of governing begins. This is when King Creon’s admonishment [to be skeptical of our leaders' self-advertisements] becomes important. WE MUST WATCH OUR RULERS – and this is daunting because there are so very many of them these days. Where to begin? Begin with the understanding that this duty is not exciting. That it requires sacrifice and boring conversations on multiple occasions with people your delicate feelings would rather avoid…
Why all of that watching? Politicians never EVER say what they really mean. It takes multiple times listening to their speeches and interviews (or better yet being in the room with one by going to boring government meetings) to really get a sense of what they’re actually saying.
The conflict between what’s important and what’s exciting is clearest in politics. It’s why the Cordoba House mosque attracts more attention than the Financial Reform Bill, and why Sarah Palin has more than 2,000,000 followers on Facebook, while Paul Ryan has fewer than 6,000. Government’s most important functions are rarely sexy, which is why it’s necessary to keep a close, weary eye on it and the people who run it.
But we should apply our skepticism means as well as the proper goals and purpose of government. Keeping politicians and bureaucrats honest is essential to liberty, but only if we are equally vigilant about keeping them on task.
Read the rest of this entry »
Tom posted this at 11:01 PM CDT on Thursday, July 29th, 2010 as George Bush Sucks!, Politics, That's Not Change!, The Past Is Never Dead--It Isn't Even Past
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Heaven knows that if Stalin were completely erased from our history, it would serve no injustice to the man personally. But ignoring inconvenient historical figures is less a crime against those figures than against our understanding. While I take a backseat to no one in my desire to see Communism put on a par with National Socialism as the epitomes of pure evil in the 20th century, I’m not on board with the effort to remove Stalin from the D-Day memorial in Virginia.
It’s a worthwhile mental exercise to work out the moral calculus of the conflict between Nazi Germany and Communist Russia. Both had totalitarian regimes that committed attrocities on a scale that are impossible to fully comprehend. Both were aggressive and militant in exporting their totalitarianism, and both were willing to enforce their will on other nations through brute strength and horrid oppression. When one considers the comparable evils of the two regimes, it’s hard to fault Patton for believing that once we had defeated the one, we should have just kept rolling eastward. How many lives would it have been worth to spare hundreds of millions (or, if you presume Mao could not have triumphed in China without Soviet aid, billions) from decades of dark tyranny?
But the West came to an understandable belief that the Communists weren’t as much a threat as the Nazis. So we allied with evil to defeat what we believed was a greater evil. Indirectly, and certainly against his will, Stalin’s assistance helped the West end the war in a dominant position, which in turn resulted in the amazing explosion of democracy and freedom that has characterized the last 65 years.
War is not only hell, it is complicated. A good war memorial should not only serve to highlight our victory, but what did to achieve that victory. The great liberation of western Europe could begin in Normandy only because the vast bulk of the Nazi army was tied up in the east, where the two greatest evils of the last century fought over who would get to oppress eastern Europe. Not thinking of that reduces understanding of how serious Americans regarded the war – serious enough to ally with Communists – and it retards retroflection about how we handle the evils of our day.
Apollo posted this at 3:11 PM CDT on Friday, July 16th, 2010 as Commie Recrudescence, Evil, The Past Is Never Dead--It Isn't Even Past
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From David McCullough’s biography of our most famous native son:
But when on Friday, June 30… a small delegation of town leaders made a formal call on Adams, he received them in his upstairs library seated in his favorite armchair. They had come, they told the old patriot, to ask for a toast that they might read aloud at Quincy’s celebration on the Fourth.
“I will give you,” Adams said, “Independence forever!” Asked if he would like to add something more, he replied, “Not a word.”
Five days later, on July 4, 1826 Adams died at home in Quincy, aged 90. More than 500 miles away and only a few hours earlier, his friend Thomas Jefferson died at Monticello. It was 50 years to the day since the signing of the Declaration that Jefferson had written and that Adams had made possible.
Tom posted this at 2:00 AM CDT on Sunday, July 4th, 2010 as The Past Is Never Dead--It Isn't Even Past, Wicked Crazy Massachusetts
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Charleston, South Carolina, was the cradle of the Confederacy. And come next January, barring unforeseen developments, it and the rest of the 1st District will have a black Congressman for the first time since Reconstruction. Tim Scott defeated Paul Thurmond for the Republican nomination last night, and the district has been a safe Republican seat since 1981. It wasn’t even close, with Scott trouncing Strom Thurmond’s son by 61 to 39 percent.
That a black man could beat the son of the legendary segregationist so badly in a district where the Civil War began — the district where Confederate troops fired on Fort Sumter in April 1861 — is a measure of just how much the South has changed in the last 50 years, and the country’s politics and race relations along with it.
But assuming Scott is elected, he needn’t apply for membership in the Congressional Black Caucus, of course. It’s a measure of how little the left in American politics has changed in the last 50 years that the Black Caucus — devoted to race-based politics and victimology — admits only liberal Democratic members.
Hubbard posted this at 3:54 PM CDT on Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010 as Politics, The Past Is Never Dead--It Isn't Even Past
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Andrew McCarthy has a new book The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America. Based on the past performance of his fellow Cornerites who have published books with inflammatory titles, I have full confidence that the following will occur:
- Tonight on FoxNews, Sean Hannity will tell McCarthy what a wonderful book he’s written and imply something even more inflammatory than what McCarthy wrote. McCarthy will not exactly endorse this, but he’ll smile and let it slide.
- In a post on the Corner, McCarthy will thank Hannity for being such a great host — and a Great American! — and complain that the Establishment Media is ignoring him.
- After the book begins selling, McCarthy will be invited on various talking heads shows, possibly The Daily Show.
- When Jon Stewart confronts him about the book’s subtitle title, McCarthy will emphatically deny its plain meaning. In fact, he’ll be a little hurt that Jon would think that’s what he meant.
- Fellow Cornerites will rush to his defense and complain that Stewart was unduly fixated on the title and ignored the book’s substance.
- Moments later, Kathyrn Lopez will un-ironically link to Kieth Olberman’s latest screed as evidence of how liberals are coarsening our national discourse.
- Jonah Goldberg, who is traveling, will make a quick post promising to weigh-in as soon as possible. A week later, he will write a 1,200 essay on the subject. Twenty-four of those words will concede McCarthy’s critics’ point (three of which will be “everybody knows this”); the remaining 1,176 will defend McCarthy from strawmen.
I love NRO and am a subscriber but, Jeez guys, this routine is getting old.
Tom posted this at 4:42 PM CDT on Monday, May 24th, 2010 as Conservatism, Liberty and/or Security, The Past Is Never Dead--It Isn't Even Past, There Is Only One God And Jonah Goldberg Is His Prophet
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Can anyone name a single current program on the left (or right) that would have as guests both an admitted Trotksyite and the architect of modern conservatism? I sure can’t.
I really wish current political discourse allowed for this sort of interesting and intelligent discussion, rather than the cheap political point-making that comprises most of Fox News and MSNBC.
Jamie posted this at 10:25 AM CDT on Monday, April 12th, 2010 as Politics, The Past Is Never Dead--It Isn't Even Past
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Michael C. Moynihan does a pretty good job of dismantling the praise heaped upon recently deceased, alleged historian, Howard Zinn.
Jamie posted this at 11:28 AM CDT on Thursday, February 4th, 2010 as The Past Is Never Dead--It Isn't Even Past
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After a lot of thought on the subject, I’ve brought myself to the point where I can at least understand where a lot of traditional anti-Semitism comes from, though I certainly don’t approve. In medieval Europe, the Jews kept to themselves, made a point of never fully assimilating, and had a lot in common with other Jewish communities in far-flung locations. So it’s fairly easy to see how they might become the bogeymen in unenlightened minds.
What’s somewhat harder to understand is anti-Semitism in the modern world. Specifically, Marxist anti-Semitism. Marx himself didn’t like the Jews. If you see the world split in two, between the workers and the capitalists, a people who insist on cultural continuity no matter where they live and no matter their class, and who would rather live in peace with their second-class status than start a revolution – well, it’s not too difficult to see how the Jews would become something of an ideological enemy to 19th and early 20th Century Marxists.
But, in the 21st Century, when the Marxist ex-president of Honduras – HONDURAS! – starts ranting that Israeli mercenaries are trying to kill him . . . surely it has all become farce. Except that the Leftist government of the United States, the most Jew-friendly country not named Israel, wants that ex-president reinstated. That is not a farce, and it is something I cannot bring myself to understand.
Apollo posted this at 9:14 PM CDT on Thursday, September 24th, 2009 as Commie Recrudescence, Lord, What Fools These Mortals Be!, The Past Is Never Dead--It Isn't Even Past
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The Boston Globe reports that Massachusetts’s leaders have all but agreed to change state law to allow Governor Patrick to appoint an interim senator to fill the late Ted Kennedy’s seat.
As has been noted elsewhere, this is disgusting on a number of levels. First, Kennedy was the driving force behind the current vacancy law, which was enacted in 2004 for the sole reason of denying Mitt Romney the opportunity to select a replacement for Senator Kerry, should Kerry have been elected to the presidency. Second, we are only in this current “crisis” of not having two D-MA senators during the health care fight because Kennedy stayed in office until, literally, his dying day. Third, there’s a sickening sense of entitlement among our political class that they have a right to fill this seat immediately with a chosen crony; when it comes to inter-democratic politics in Massachusetts, we citizens are just along for the ride.
On the off-chance that Governor Patrick has second thoughts about his participation in this (and on the even remoter chance that this post reaches his desk) I refer him to the fine example set by Governor John Jay of New York when he encountered a similar situation in the spring of 1800. New York Republicans had just won a startling victory over the Federalist incumbents in the in the state legislature election, largely due to the unparalleled politicking of Aaron Burr. Since the new legislature’s first job would be to choose New York’s electors for the upcoming presidential race— and since New York was the key to Vice President Jefferson’s campaign strategy — the election had incredible national ramifications.
Alexander Hamilton, New York’s leading Federalist, was horrified. He had worked as tirelessly as Burr during the election, but without the colonel’s political ingenuity or light touch. In addition to being personally humiliated by the loss to his long-time rival, Hamilton was terrified that Jefferson would ruin America’s finances and drag it into war with Great Britain.
Paranoid and desperate, Hamilton wrote Gov. Jay – his close friend and political ally – and begged him to invalidate Burr’s victory by changing the law to create a second, special election for the state’s Electoral College delegation:
[I]n times like these in which we live, it will not do to be overscupulous. It is easy to sacrifice the substantial interests of society by a strict adherence to ordinary rules…
[S]cruples of delicacy and propriety ought not to hinder the taking of a legal and constitutional step to prevent an atheist in Religion and a fanatic in politics from getting possession of the helm of state.
Though Jay shared Hamilton’s worries about Jefferson, he was disgusted by the suggestion that they change the rules mid-stream for such nakedly partisan reasons. He never responded, and simply filed the letter away with the following note:
Proposing a measure for party purposes which it would not become me to adopt.
History is watching, Governor Patrick. Take note.
Lomask, Milton. Aaron Burr: The Years from Princeton to Vice President, 1756-1805. Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1979. pp. 240-247
Chernow, Ron. Alexander Hamilton, Penguin Group USA, 2004. pp 609-610
Brookhiser, Richard. Alexander Hamilton, American. Touchstone, 1999. pp 147-148.
Freeman, Joanne. Affairs of Honor, Yale University Press, 2001. pp 231-234
Tom posted this at 8:49 AM CDT on Friday, August 28th, 2009 as Politics, The Past Is Never Dead--It Isn't Even Past, Wicked Crazy Massachusetts
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