That’s the little-cited Third Amendment. Back when we were severing our ties with the British and starting our own little party, this was a big grievance. One of the many “taxes” the British put on the colonists was for us to pay to house their troops, and if no barracks were available, the troops would just set up anywhere. Your house, maybe.
It doesn’t have much relevance today. There has been the odd case here and there that’s cited it, but the most direct case (Engblom v. Carey, 1982) seems to have more to do with a labor strike dispute. It’s a perfect reminder of how the Bill of Rights were written in a specific time, quite different from our world in 2013.
Remember Billionaires for Bush? The satirical, ironic ‘protestors’ who’d dress up in top hats and tuxes and hold signs supporting the GOP agenda? I think, in this current debate on gun safety (in which few are calling for an outright destruction of the 2nd Amendment; more focus on the ‘well-regulated’ part of it), we could use another satirical protest group, shouting at the top of its lungs that it will NOT QUARTER A SOLDIER IN A TIME OF PEACE WITHOUT MY CONSENT!!! Let’s treat all the Amendments with the same over-the-top vigor that the gun lobby does with the 2nd, and see if we can include a little perspective. The Bill of Rights wasn’t written in a vacuum. They were looking out their window at a very specific world and thinking what they wanted to do. That window view is much different today. You don’t ignore the Constitution. But you need to start looking at its spirit in order to keep it relevant in this completely different era.
Maddow was on her game last night, covering all the ways in which the GOP - instead of adapting their brand to actually appeal to a majority of voters - is spending its time and money trying to rig the system. 2010 gerrymandering, attempts to distribute electoral votes by congressional district, union busting, voter ID/registration laws.
Seriously, watch the whole thing, if you can.
Here are just a few of the conspiracy theories popping up, just today, in my political RSS feed:
- Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) suggests the FBI was blackmailing Petraeus to force him to testify favorably in his Benghazi session with Congress.
- The head of Maine’s GOP has suspicions about Obama winning Maine by 100,000 votes: “In some parts of rural Maine, there were dozens, dozens of black people who came in and voted on Election Day. Everybody has a right to vote, but nobody in town knows anyone who’s black. How did that happen? I don’t know. We’re going to find out….”
- American Family Association hack Bryan Fischer has minorities figured out. Hispanics do not vote Democratic because of the issue of immigration but rather because “they are socialists by nature” who want open borders simply so that they can bring in their families to “benefit from the plunder of the wealth of the United States.”
- Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) suspects the United Nations of trying to take over our gun regulation.
- The Fox News Channel questions the new high jobless numbers, which Fox’s own website attributes to Hurricane Sandy. FNC personalities call the Department of Labor “sketchy”.
- Glenn Beck claims that Obama has intentionally ‘set-up’ General Petraeus in order to discredit the military.
That’s all just this morning in my feed. They’re going all-in on the crazy. But it continues to be all for show. Because also this morning, we find this little tidbit about John McCain, who has been on the war path questioning Benghazi:
John McCain is calling for more information to Congress, but he had a press conference yesterday instead of going to a closed briefing where administration officials were giving more information. Well, Ted Barrett asked John McCain about that, and it was apparently an intense very angry exchange and McCain simply would not comment on it at all.
Four more years of this? Or are they gearing up for impeachment?
See, normally, when a candidate running for office tells voters not to vote for his or her opponent, this is called “running for office”.
But to Karl Rove, when it’s Obama, it’s called “suppressing the vote”. Another example of the classic Rovian technique of taking your greatest weakness (i.e. GOP voter suppression tactics) and painting your opponent with it.
Why does that tend to work? Because A) no one expects anyone to actually have the balls to do it, so when it is done, it’s out there first. So B) when the person Rove is smearing responds by saying, “Actually, the other side is the one guilty of this, not me”, the media then just covers the horse race as “both sides accuse the other of the same thing.” The facts become irrelevant, and Rove’s side’s greatest weakness has now become diluted.
The question is, after the thumping the right just got (made worse for them by the factless optimism), can they keep this shit up and stay relevant?