About the Scorecard


We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

The Founding Fathers gave us a government strong enough to preserve "the Blessings of Liberty", but not big enough to take it away. As historian Paul Johnson writes, "Fear of Big Government was further mitigated by a general assumption that, once the new Constitution was in force, Washington would again be summoned to duty and would prevent its power from being abused.

Two hundred years after Washington passed on, and after the abuses of the Clinton era, how much of the supreme law of the land endures? Check the Constitution Scorecard, which keeps track of how our leaders and opinion-makers are heeding the supreme law of the land. The Scorecard awards gold stars for keeping faith with the Constitution and black stars for contempt of Constitution.


Special Awards

***Three Gold Stars ***
The Benjamin Franklin Rising Sun Award for Constitutional Fidelity

The Ronald Reagan Award for Constitutional Excellence

***Three Black Stars ***
The Lord North Award for Supreme Contempt of the Constitution
This was formerly known as the Charles Townshend Award, then the Clinton Award, and latterly the Ted Kennedy Award.


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June 2011  | July 30, 2011  | November 26, 2011   |  January 14, 2012  |  June 14, 2014



The Constitution Scorecard

   
Care to comment on the Scorecard? Send e-mail to Tom Matthes
 
If you’ve seen the Time Magazine cover of its annual “Person of the Year” edition, you may be forgiven for wondering when the USA was renamed the “Divided States of America.”

This cover sums up the fanatical bias of the Mainstream Media. Now that Donald Trump has ruined the long-awaited-yet-long-delayed coronation of Hillary Clinton, the talking heads, who despise the president-elect and his millions of ordinary voters from what they regard as the “Flyover States of America,” have elected to remain trapped in the fantasies of Hillary’s America.

She may not be president, but she remains the Queen of the United States of Alinsky. Hillary once worked for Saul Alinsky, who dedicated his most famous book, “Rules for Radicals,” to “the very first radical…who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom – Lucifer.”

Some say Alinsky was kidding. He wasn’t.

Alinsky’s philosophy, clearly stated in “Rules for Radicals,” is that life equals power: “Power is the very essence, the dynamo of life…an essential life force always in operation, either changing the world or opposing change…TO KNOW POWER AND NOT FEAR IT IS ESSENTIAL TO ITS CONSTRUCTIVE USE AND CONTROL. In short, life without power is death.”

Alinsky had no use for Lord Acton’s warning that power is a thing to be feared.

Wrote Acton: “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Responded Alinsky: “The corruption of power is not in power, but in ourselves.” This is hardly reassuring in a world decent people have to share with the Caesars, Stalins, and Hitlers who, like Alinsky, respond so casually and irreverently to Acton’s maxim.

In an interview, Alinsky told William F. Buckley that the one way to get power is to take it away from someone else, specifically, “You only get power as a reaction to a threat.” Buckley replied, “That’s not true. Suppose everybody in this room decided to nominate you as our leader. You would then have power over us. Does that mean that you wrested it from us?”

Alinsky's response? “If everybody in this room decided to nominate me as their leader, I wouldn’t have any part of doing anything.” When Buckley asked why, Alinsky said he had never taken that kind of power.

The Alinsky philosophy is the direct opposite of the democratic worldview of the “Federalist Papers.” Alexander Hamilton opened Federalist #1 with this observation: “It seems to have been reserved to the people of this country, by their conduct and example, to decide the important question, whether societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend for their political constitutions on accident and force.”

Alinsky’s response, in effect, is: “To the Devil with such talk! Life is power and life without power is death. There is only one way to get power and that is to take it from someone else.”

Hamilton, of course, was one of the most active participants in the deliberations of the 1787 constitutional convention. James Madison and Hamilton believed deliberative government makes it possible to govern – and govern well – through “reflection and choice.”

As Madison noted in Federalist #10, the goal of the American democratic republic is to avoid Alinsky styled factions through a wise representative system: “to refine and enlarge the public views, by passing them through the medium of a chosen body of citizens, whose wisdom may best discern the true interest of their country, and whose patriotism and love of justice will be least likely to sacrifice it to temporary or partial considerations. Under such a regulation, it may well happen that the public voice, pronounced by the representatives of the people, will be more consonant to the public good than if pronounced by the people themselves.”

Alinsky advised his disciples to take a no-holds barred fight for power without respite:

Rule for Radicals #5: “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.”

Rule #8: “Keep the pressure on, with different tactics and actions.”

Rule #10: “Maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition.”

Rule #11: “If you push a negative hard and deep enough it will break through into its counterside.”

Rule #13: “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it…all issues must be polarized if action is to follow…It should be remembered that you can threaten the enemy and get away with it.”

These tactics are un-American, but not new. James Madison warned about such factional behavior in Federalist #10: “The latent causes of faction are thus sown in the nature of man; and we see them everywhere brought into different degrees of activity…an attachment to different leaders ambitiously contending for pre-eminence and power; or to persons of other descriptions whose fortunes have been interesting to the human passions, have, in turn, divided mankind into parties, inflamed them with mutual animosity, and rendered them much more disposed to vex and oppress each other than to co-operate for their common good.”

Alinsky had no use for such a formula as the common good: “The myth of altruism as a motivating factor in our behavior could arise and survive only in a society bundled in the sterile gauze of New England puritanism and Protestant morality and tied together with the ribbons of Madison Avenue public relations. It is one of the classic American fairy tales.

Here, Alinsky either misunderstands or misrepresents Madison, who noted in Federalist #10: “Liberty is to faction what air is to fire, an aliment without which it instantly expires. But it could not be less folly to abolish liberty, which is essential to political life, because it nourishes faction, than it would be to wish the annihilation of air, which is essential to animal life, because it imparts to fire its destructive agency.” The idea, says Madison, is to form “a well-constructed Union…to break and control the violence of faction.” The Federalist philosophy is not Pollyanna’s, but a wise blend of realism and idealism.

The Federalist formula is to use representative government based upon reflection and choice for the common good. The Alinsky formula is to polarize the people into factions with large doses of ridicule, personal attacks, unrelenting pressure, accentuating the negative: all for the purpose of taking power away from someone else.

Little wonder then that, as Hillary Clinton morosely noted in her concession speech, “We have seen that our nation is more deeply divided than we thought.” Apparently, she believed that most dissent would evaporate upon her election, but only the victory of Donald Trump could reveal the depths of national divisions. She must be blaming the “Deplorables” she said represented a half of Trump’s supporters (more than 30 million voters).

And so, taking its cue from the Queen of the MSM, Time Magazine has dubbed Donald Trump the “President of the Divided States of America.”

Well, the editors of Time are entitled to their opinion. The people, however, should start talking about the terrible influence of the media upon our democratic system.

The truth is that presidential elections now serve the ends of the media more than the public good.

Donald Trump won the presidency fair and square, but he is the survivor of a campaign that lasted about two years. Such a long campaign requires immense amounts of time and money. It eliminates every candidate who lacks a large fortune or access to mountains of money.

Many good presidents, including Abraham Lincoln, John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, Ulysses Grant, Woodrow Wilson, and Dwight Eisenhower would never have won the office under such a system.

Many of them would not have sought election through a system that makes a mockery of deliberation.

One of the most telling moments of the 2015-16 presidential campaign was during a debate of the Republican candidates in Virginia on the Fox News Channel. The questions provoked so many personal attacks that Dr. Ben Carson, perhaps the most gentlemanly of all the candidates, suddenly interrupted the cacophony to ask, “Would someone please attack me?” It would seem that a candidate seeking a calm, deliberative discussion inevitably gets lost in such rhetorical mayhem.

But it must keep the TV ratings high or the networks would try a different debate system.

It has been noted that the celebrated Lincoln-Douglas Debates of 1858 had the simplest possible format. In seven different Illinois cities during the campaign for US senator that year, Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas took turns speaking first for one hour. The other speaker would deliver a 90-minute rebuttal and the first speaker would finish the debate with a half-hour rejoinder.

Three hours is probably too long for modern audiences, but those times could be cut in half and be about as long as most of these modern, so-called TV debates. And why do we imagine that celebrity news anchors will define the policy issues and questions better than the candidates could do by themselves?

Which format would Hamilton and Madison choose? Which would Saul Alinsky choose?

Getting back to Time Magazine, allegedly a practitioner of objective journalism, how does it summarize the result of the 2016 presidential contest? Like this:

“For reminding America that demagoguery feeds on despair and that truth is only as powerful as the trust in those who speak it, for empowering a hidden electorate by mainstreaming its furies and live-streaming its fears, and for framing tomorrow’s political culture by demolishing yesterday’s, Donald Trump is TIME’s 2016 Person of the Year.”

Demagoguery? Of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, Time claims, “It turned out to be a failing strategy when Hillary Clinton, who loves policy solutions and believes in them, tried to make this race a character test, a referendum on Trump.”

But it was Hillary who called Trump supporters “a basket of Deplorables.”

Truth? The polls revealed Hillary to be trusted less than Trump. Her aversion to reality is legendary: She said her private email server had no classified information. She said her daughter was in New York on 9/11. She said she and her daughter had to dodge bullets in the Balkans. She said her parents named her after Sir Edmund Hillary years before his ascent of Mt. Everest made him famous. All these and many other falsehoods have been refuted over the years.

“Furies?” A number of major American cities have seen a surge in crime and it appears that police officers were targeted in some areas for assassination.

“Fears?” Jesse Watters of Fox News had to confront the San Francisco City Council about the murder of an American woman by a criminal illegal alien in that sanctuary city. He didn’t get any reaction. The Mainstream Media rarely reports on murders of American citizens by illegal aliens.

“Demolishing yesterday’s political culture?” The American democratic experiment is meant to be deliberative. The Mainstream Media, acting far more like Alinsky than Madison, has been making a fortune for turning presidential campaigns into two-year circuses of polarization and ridicule.

Is it any wonder that it took a candidate like Donald Trump, who understands how TV works, and fights back fiercely, to break through such a corrupt political system?

If he drains even half of that swamp, Mr. Trump could become one of the greatest presidents. His deliberations for his cabinet have so far been admirable, especially in the wake of fabricated claims of the Mainstream Media that the transition is all chaos, a canard first published, in true Alinsky fashion, about a week after the election!

A constitutional gold star goes to the president-elect, who has begun to build bridges with his rivals and has refused to be buffaloed out of a careful selection of leaders for his administration.

A black star for Contempt of Constitution goes to the TV  networks for undermining a deliberative democratic system. They should begin deliberating on how to shorten presidential campaigns and how to work out a better system of debates so that candidates can seriously discuss the issues and avoid the Alinsky model of polarization.

Two black stars go to Time Magazine for a demagogue’s version of a Person of the Year article. They could have saved a lot of time by just writing, “We don’t like it, but Trump won. His election was so astonishing we had no choice but to make him Person of the Year. However, we still hate him and all those Deplorables who backed him.”

That would be an admirable, if un-Hillary-like, piece of candor.