Wednesday, December 22, 2010


I'm very happy to see that the incoming majority Republicans are planning to read the Constitution in the House of Representatives on the second day of the 112th Congress.

This is extremely good news.  Along with the new requirement that every bill explicitly cite the Constitutional authority under which it is legitimate, reading the Constitution out loud will guarantee that no new legislation will violate our basic charter.  After all, it's well known that the Constitution is clear and unambiguous at all points, and that previous violations of it have been caused by a combination of ignorance and indifference.  Once it's read on the House floor, that problem will be solved.

Look, this stuff is proven to work.  Younger readers may not realize it, but in the Carter and Reagan years the House was just full of treasonous subversives -- a problem entirely solved by saying the Pledge of Allegiance to open all House sessions since fall 1988.

Unfortunately, reading the Constitution on the House floor is only one excellent first step towards true reform. 

The Constitution reading is part of the new rules package to be implemented by the incoming majority.  Unfortunately, it is highly unlikely that simply printing the new rules and distributing them to House offices will be sufficient to ensuring that Members of the House fully understand those rules.  The proper way to do so is to read them aloud on the House floor.  To be safe, I'd recommend reading the rules of the 111th House; the new rules proposed by the incoming majority; and the final result, after it passes, of the official rules of the 112th House.  While they're at it, they might as well read Robert's Rules of Order. 

That's not all!  I know Republicans have been quite concerned about the nefarious Democratic practice of passing bills they have not read in full, based on the belief that only a full reading of the text of the bill will reveal its true meaning.  Therefore, I'd highly recommend that the House reject the corrupt Democratic practice of dispensing with the full reading of the bill, and commence full readings.  Before they're referred to committee.  Every bill.

Moreover, the Constitution, while obviously directly Divinely inspired, does have the sad drawback of not making that inspiration quite as explicit as we'd like it to be.  A true People's House would, therefore, not stop with reading the Constitution, but plunge right in to the Declaration of Independence, paying special attention to the parts about "nature's God" and "endowed by their Creator."   And the good bits in the last paragraph, too. 

To be on the safe side, I'd also say that it can't hurt to read the Federalist Papers out loud on the House floor.  And Tom Paine's Common Sense.  I was going to say they should add Longfellow's poem, but I heard a rumor that it was subversive, so forget that one.

And...yes, everyone but a few radicals in Berkeley, Madison, and Cambridge knows that true legitimate authority is directly based on God, so I'd very much expect House Republicans to insist on a full reading of the Christian Bible on the House floor. 

You got a problem with that?


  1. I usually don't come here for laughs, but I'm glad I did. It won't be long before Chait is known as the "serious" Jonathan, and Bernstein as the funny one.

  2. "I'd very much expect House Republicans to insist on a full reading of the Christian Bible on the House floor." I'm sure that will be in the original language, that is the King James, or as the English say "Authorized Version".

  3. "everyone but a few radicals in Berkeley, Madison, and Cambridge knows that true legitimate authority is directly based on God"

    No no no... supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony!

    :) thanks JB!

  4. But what about assurance of learning? How will we test the members of Congress to assure that they have *learned* the *correct* meaning of all that? Or even retained the *clear* language? Who will write the test? Who will grade it? Will all the scores be published on the House website? Will there be a required minimum passing score, with all Members who do not achieve the passing score have their right to serve revoked? Or will they voluntarily resign? (My expectation is that Ron Paul, for one, would not pass the exam.)

    Inquiring minds want to know just how the Republican caucus plans to deal with this.

  5. You should definitely do more of this. Sometimes humor is the only way to deal with the ridiculous stuff that happens in politics.

  6. But what about Michele Bachmann's crusade against all the Anti-Americans in the House? I think all 535 members should each give a speech on what they love about America and what it means to be a patriot.

  7. The House also needs to bring up Pete Stark, Keith Ellison, and Andre Carson up on ethics charges. The charge: being heretics.


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