MSNBC’s Chris Hayes: The Problem is the Constitution

Michael Schaus
Posted: Oct 09, 2013 12:01 AM
MSNBC’s Chris Hayes: The Problem is the Constitution

There’s a narrative emerging among leftists pundits, commentators, and columnists that the current government shutdown is due to a fundamental flaw in the American form of government. Chris Hayes on MSNBC (ya know, the guy that looks like a 16 year old wannabe economist?) recently dedicated an entire segment of his show to exposing the “fatal flaw in our Constitution”.

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According to MSNBC’s woefully statist anchor, our Constitutional form of government inhibits the ability for government to adequately (or speedily) race toward action. Which, in a way, is true. Fascism, in comparison, enables for a rapid-response-government that forfeits deliberation for action. And of course, that brings us to the main issue at hand: The Constitution was orchestrated with the very explicit purpose of derailing radical shifts in government.

Leave it to an MSNBC liberal, however, to take things a step further. The narrative, throughout Hayes’ segment, was that the “radical GOP” is exposing the flaw of America’s form of government. At one point the apparently constitutionally-ignorant host referred to the conservative wing of the Republican Party as the “most extreme” party in American history. I guess it’s nice to know that nothing has changed in over 150 years of GOP political involvement. . . I’m pretty sure that they were also described as “radical” when Lincoln was elected President.

More to his point, however, was the assertion that our government is incapable of functioning, due to the flawed design of the Constitution, and the “radical” nature of the GOP. . . Right. Because, an Executive Branch that openly admits it will “not negotiate” with the minority party is clearly not a causal player in today’s legislative gridlock.

The “modern GOP” is no different than any party that has held control of a portion of America’s legislative body. The minority party routinely wields its outsized influence to accrue a platform from which it can bully the majority into negotiations. That, contrary to the single-party ramblings of some left wing pundits, was not a flaw – but a deliberate design by the framers of the US Constitution.

To be fair, the historically ignorant Chris Hayes did, in fact, make a couple of correct points. His conclusions, however, were woefully off-base. At one point Hayes pointed out that our system is “an anomaly” in today’s world. But where Hayes sees that as a deficiency, our founders would no doubt see it as a badge of honor. Our anomalistic system is the reason we’ve historically been unmatched in our prosperity, equality, and individual liberty. Regardless of how desperately any political party, character, or movement would like to erode America’s fundamental existence, their intentions will be suspended by our cumbersome and intentionally deliberate form of government.

In fact, the shut-down illustrates the entire intent of the Constitution’s delegation of power. In the world envisioned by the authors of our founding document, Obamacare (regardless of its intentions, Constitutionality, or propriety) would not be fully implemented. Why?Because there is not a consensus among a wide enough swath of American citizens to give supporters political impunity.

It would almost seem as if things were working exactly as they should, according to our Constitution.

Then the segment got worse: Leave it to a Congressman from New York (Jerrold Nadler, Democrat) to make Hayes look like a simple victim of ignorance. As Hayes introduced his Congressional guest, the conversation quickly focused its narrative on the GOP’s culpability in obstructing America’s democratic potential. Nadler explained that Republicans are doing something “unprecedented” by allowing a minority movement (we have to assume he means “tea party” Republicans, and not Obamacare supporters) to control the “will of the majority”.

Um. . . Congressman, our system was set up to protect the minority from the will of the Majority. We are not a democracy, but a “Constitutional republic.” Citizens, therefore, are afforded the protection of representation with confidence that the majority will not strip from the minority their rights, liberty, or property. The Constitution is designed, specifically, to give the political minority outsized influence in governing as a form of protection from a “majority-rules” mentality.

This protection for minority interests inspired the creation of institutions such as the Electoral College. This was the thought behind divided government, filibusters, Supreme Court nominations, executive power limitations, the “checks and balances” of three branches, the length of elected terms, and almost every other provision in our Constitution that enables the minority a voice in the political direction of the nation.

What Hayes, Nadler, and progressive pundits across the nation, seem to be missing is that the system is working exactly as intended. What is not working, necessarily, is the art of negotiation. After all, it’s not as if America has never seen sharply divided political opinions before. Such political polarization, as it turns out, has been with this nation since our conception. And it was the art of negotiation, ironically, that lead the US to dissolve the Articles of Confederation in exchange for the Constitution shortly after our War for Independence.

The very document Hayes believes is “flawed” was written by men who were in the midst of equally troubling political times. Debate, gridlock, and political polarization are -- far from being a legislative nuisance -- vital to the long-term survival of the nation. The American form of government is not “fatally flawed” in the way that progressives would lead you to believe.

What is broken is the willingness to negotiate. And with a President, and Democrat leadership, who openly refuse to do just that, it is hard to make a legitimate case that the “radical” GOP is at fault for America’s political crises.