The amount of media attention that is being generated in response to the Ohio Legislature’s attempt to petition Congress to call a Constitutional Convention (Con Con) is an excellent indicator of a phenomena first described by Mark Twain when he said “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” Since this last general election the liberal wing of the Republican party, national and local party party leadership and their allies in the media have been very busy declaring the conservative movement as an irrelevant anachronism which needs to be jettisoned immediately in order that the Republican “tent” be made ever larger. In other words it only needs to become more Democrat to see election success.
Prototypical is Ohio Republican vice-chairman Kevin DeWine’s announcement of the irrelevance and impending abandonment of “conservatives” who hold to their conservatism consistently, i.e. are both true fiscal and social conservatives. Just so there can be no mistaking what he meant by it, DeWine says it not just once but twice. Note that DeWine attempts to redefine what “conservatism” is “really” composed of. DeWine’s modern “conservatism” consists of “fiscal conservatism” which Republicans currently define as government-business partnerships (corporate welfare) minus a “distracting fixation on social issues.”
Part of the question being dealt with here is which vision of conservatism Ohio’s Christian conservative leadership will align themselves with. Will they adopt a comprehensive biblical model encompassing all facets of life (including DeWine’s concerns with “ethics”) or will they show themselves to be more interested in making friends with Republican leadership and give leaders like DeWine and the “big tent” philosophy a pass? See DeWine’s statements for yourself in the video below. Pay close attention at the 0:47 and 2:15 marks of the video.
So what does all of this have to do with a Constitutional Convention (Con Con) call resolution in the Ohio legislature? Well, it has to do with the political tin ear of Ohio’s conservative legislative leadership. This author was told by legislators connected to the Con Con call that one of the reasons that the resolution was done was to “unite the conservative base.” And so the legislators got their wish. Can anyone deny that conservatives in both Ohio and around the country are now united? Of course, what we are united in is our opposition to calling a Constitutional Convention. And yet the House sponsor has indicated that he intends to re-introduce the Con Con call resolution as soon as the new session starts in January, should it fail to pass this session.
Based on conversations with the sponsor, he will not be persuaded of the error of the idea that a “more strongly worded” resolution will “fix this thing” and satisfy all parties. He appears to believe that the opposition is incapable of “properly interpreting” the facts of history, unlike the groups that have his and other legislators’ ear like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which appears to be where the model for the Con Con resolution came from. Don’t bother trying to find the info at ALEC’s website. It’s hidden from public eyes behind a $7000 minimum “public sector” membership wall.
All of this may show that, contrary to what they may say, the Republican “conservatives” actually believe the party leadership propaganda that we aren’t very bright and think we really have no lasting cohesion. So far the response from conservative and other groups has testified to the opposite.
As the majority of those who testified at the Ohio House Judiciary Committee stipulated, a balanced budget is a noble desire. It is also a biblical conservative principle to operate within your economic means. A balanced budget amendment is not where the problem lies. The problem is with a Con Con call to get it.
The institute For Principled Policy is currently researching a position paper explaining why the “limited” Con Con call that these well-intentioned representatives from Ohio and several other states are trying to make is an oxymoron. There simply is no such thing as a “limited” Con Con.
By historical precedent, once constituted a Con Con is a super-legislative body with no responsibility to the bodies calling it or the bodies selecting delegates to it and the authority to completely re-write the existing Constitution, including the ratification procedures that Con Con advocates are attempting to hide behind as a protective screen. That defense didn’t work in 1787-89 and it won’t work with any new constitution. The Constitution of 1789 was ratified using a self-contained ratification procedure. The ratification procedure contained in the Articles of Confederation, which required unanimous consent, was ignored. Thus, Article V of the Constitution was recognized as being in effect before it became the supreme law of the land.
Many, many are the constitutional experts who will testify to the truth of the statement made above. Thanks to Coach David Daubenmire who recently had constitutional scholar Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr. on his Pass The Salt radio program (can be heard Saturday mornings 9:00-11:00 AM on WLRY). We have run the entire interview because Dr. Vieira gives such a potent presentation on the Constitution, especially constitutional money: A substance that would have kept us from the current economic precipice and therefore kept us from the need for a balanced budget amendment.
Dr. Vieira is a constitutional attorney in private practice, a regular contributor to News With Views, a respected author of such books as How To Dethrone The Imperial Judiciary, and PIeces of Eight: The Monetary Powers and the Disabilities of the United States Constitution, is Director of the National Alliance For Constitutional Money and has been published on constitutional law in publications such as Wake Forest Law Review, South Carolina Law Review, DePaul Law Review and other publications. Dr. Vieira received his M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard, along with graduating cum laude from the Harvard School of Law in 1973.
This author had the privilege of being invited to ask Dr. Vieira a question on this program. You can hear my question regarding a Con Con at about the 37:09 mark and hear what he thinks of the idea in the current political climate for yourself. For instance. he thinks that “…calling the proposal for a Con Con an unmitigated disaster is an understatement…”
“Thank you” to both Coach Dave Daubenmire (another regular News With Views contributor) for permission to post this interview and his help in mobilizing opposition to the Con Con call and to Jim Harrison of the Minutemen United for both getting this interview information to us for hosting preparation and for alerting the Minutemen United to the situation and keeping them apprised of the details and engaged in the process.
As badly as some behind this effort would like to paint the opponents as isolated ideological extremists, an examination of exactly who is in opposition paints another picture. Several other groups, both prominent and small, from all over the conservative spectrum (yes, that’s right, we are not monolithic despite what the news media would have everyone believe) and all over the country are just as opposed to a Con Con as the Institute.
For instance, the necessarily rather hastily constructed coalition has had substantial support from groups like Tom Deweese and the American Policy Center and Phyllis Schlafly and Eagle Forum. Both Tom and Phyllis have been doing the conservative talk show circuit in opposition to a Con Con. Brannon Howse of the Christian Worldview Network is good example. You can hear his program with Tom and Phyllis here. Tom and Phyllis are also writing on the Con Con.
Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America (GOA) understands what a Con Con means to the 2nd amendment and has brought GOA into the coalition of groups that is involved. 2008 Constitution Party presidential candidate Pastor Chuck Baldwin has come out in opposition to a Con Con as he has stated in this article.
The Ron Paul coalition, which knows something about the tactics that Republicans engage in when they want to stifle anything that looks like deviation from the party line and represented in Ohio by the Ohio Freedom Alliance, was pivotal in alerting members and getting people out to testify at the Judicary Committee hearing. They were also key players in getting the committee to allow public testimony.
Ohio Round Table has been involved in the effort to stop the Con Con as have the Ohio groups CHESCA, the Christian Home Educators Stark County Association who are fully cognizant of what a Con Con could easily mean to home educators, several Ohio county Right To Life groups, the Ohio Eagle Forum, We Are Change Ohio, The Ohio Libertarian Party, The Constitution Party of Ohio and others we may not yet have knowledge of.
Alternative news outlets are now involved as well. Both World Net Daily and News With Views have brought the Con Con call news the the world with stories in their outlets. A second story on Con Con calls in other states has just been published in World Net Daily and another constitutional scholar has checked into the debate.
Dr. John Eidsmoe of the Foundation for Moral Law says that Tom DeWeese’s analysis of the state resolutions possibly being non-rescindable may have merit. Article V of the Constitution is written in a manner leaving much room for interpretive freedom. But, he says, rescissions should be performed anyway and presumably be prepared to fight it out in federal courts.
Dr. Eidsmoe is familiar to anyone who has taken the Institute On The Constitution’s (IOTC) 12 week course on the Constitution as the constitutional expert who lectures on the classes videos. Michael Peroutka and Pastor David Whitney of IOTC and John Lofton of The American View radio show (heard Saturday mornings at 11:00 AM on WLRY and daily at 11:00 AM on WTHU) have also chimed in in opposition to the Con Con call.
Though their goals and approaches to problems can be very different if not sometimes in conflict, each understands what a Con Con could easily mean: an end to our current system of government and its replacement with who knows what. Our Senators and Representatives in the Ohio Legislature need to grasp that and therefore we need to keep reminding them to not only not vote on HJR 8 and SJR 9 but to withdraw them so that there can be no last minute surprise votes. After all, the original attempt looked very much an effort to try and sneak these resolutions through with no opposition from concerned citizen’s groups like those listed above.