The congressional Republicans' decision to read the Constitution aloud on the floor of Congress has forced some Constitution-contemptuous liberals further out of the closet, which is an instructive development to behold.
Blogger Ezra Klein of The Washington Post told MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell that the constitutional reading is "a gimmick," and "the issue of the Constitution is not that people don't read the text and think they're following; the issue with the Constitution is that the text is confusing because it was written more than 100 years ago and what people believe it says differs from person to person and differs depending on what they want to get done."
Columnist E.J. Dionne, also with The Washington Post, expressed similar irreverence for our founding document. Dionne lamented that the tea party movement has treated the Constitution "as the equivalent of sacred scripture. Yet as Gordon Wood, the widely admired historian of the Revolutionary era has noted, we 'can recognize the extraordinary character of the Founding Fathers while also knowing that those 18th-century political leaders were not outside history. ... They were as enmeshed in historical circumstances as we are, they had no special divine insight into politics, and their thinking was certainly not free of passion, ignorance, and foolishness.'"
Dionne's (and Wood's) assessment is quite a far cry from that of former British Prime Minister William Gladstone, who observed, "The American Constitution is, so far as I can see, the most wonderful work ever struck off at a given time by the brain and purpose of man."
Though no one should argue that we should turn our respect for the Constitution into idolatry, there is every reason to believe that our Constitution is indeed unique, both in the brilliant structure of limited government it established and in its practical effect of creating the freest, strongest and most prosperous nation in history.
One doesn't have to believe America was directly established by God to recognize that the Framers were largely animated by a Christian worldview and generally shared the biblical "insight" concerning man's fallen nature -- an insight that contributed as much as anything else to their blueprint for government.
As if choreographed to coincide with the liberals' dissing of the Constitution, ex-boxer turned Senate majority leader Harry Reid has threatened to amend long-established Senate Rule 22, which requires 60 votes to invoke cloture on a bill. Reid's scheme is to pretend that the Senate is not a continuous body whose rules remain in force unless changed by a supermajority of senators, but a body that requires that rules be approved every two years when a new Congress convenes.