Archive for July 22nd, 2005

7/23/05 Bob’s Weekly WOL Articles

Weekly Articles

July 23, 2005
The Annotated Constitution
“We the People”
OUR Posterity

Fun Quote:

You know the place in the Post Office where they put up pictures of escaped felons and Public Enemies?

I saw my photo up there. Underneath it said,

“Least Wanted.”


The Annotated Constitution

A book I will never write would be called The Annotated Constitution. It would go through the Constitution line by line and say what the courts have done with each clause.

I have studied constitutional law and I have instructed constitutional law. The entire course consists of opinions by various judges. What hits you first is how short the Constitution is and how endless the judicial opinions are. The books of them fill whole rooms.

When you comment that much on a short document the document itself gets completely lost.

So I thought it would be fun to go through the tiny Constitution itself and talk about what Judicial Opinion has made of it.

I am not about to write another book now. Nobody’s interested.

But I do have an internet program and some points to make, so I decided to make a start at an Annotated Constitution there.

I did almost an hour on the Preamble to the Constitution alone. You can listen to it this Saturday at 2 pm at

THE UNTRAINED EYE will be called “Annotated Constitution – Preamble.”
-. -. -. -. -. -. -. -. -. -. -. -. -. -. -. -. -. -.

“We the People”

One thing everybody agrees on today is that America is a Principle. As National Review says, America is a Propositional State. According to the flag ship of respectable conservatism, you and I, whose families have been in this country for hundreds of years, have nothing to do with The Real Meaning of America.

Thailand may be the Thais, Japan is the Japanese, but America has nothing to do with the people who happen to inhabit it. America is based on a Proposition, a Set of Ideas. A Patriot is one who is loyal to those Ideas.

In other words, National Review agrees with liberals that you can be loyal to America without having any loyalty at all to the American people. Respectable conservatives feel Americans should be grateful because they do not actually HATE Americans the way liberals do.

Liberals feel they are being most loyal to the real America when they are blaming Americans for every evil in the world. Respectable conservatives want to give the little people who happen to be here a little credit. They don’t know Latin or Greek, but they do try to be loyal to the proposition, the principles, of America.

It never occurs to any conservative, much less any liberal, that it is not up to Americans to be loyal to THEIR principles. The idea that they can only be patriots if they are loyal to Americans never occurs to them.

At all.

Every Judicial Opinion agrees with this.

So it comes as a shock to read the Preamble to the United States Constitution.

It begins with “We the people of the United States of America,” and conservatives don’t mind that so much.

But it gets worse. And no conservative EVER quotes the rest. You see, “We the people of the United States in 1789 could have been very idealistic and they could have set down some ideals that America would follow after they died.

But the Founders added a fatal phrase, which no conservative EVER quotes:

“And OUR posterity.”
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OUR Posterity

“To secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.” That is the purpose of the Constitution.

That is the ONLY purpose of the Constitution, that is the only authority it rests on. The Constitution says nothing about All Mankind. The writers of the Constitution were trying to get it adopted by Americans. So they only claimed the authority of the American people.

You see, those same Founding fathers had just had experience with people who insisted that THEY knew what all mankind should do. America had declared its independence of such people. The whole point of the Revolution was that AMERICANS ruled America.

It never occurred to the Founding Fathers that they were writing a Constitution that told the rest of the world what it should do.

Nothing could have been more alien to those who wrote the Constitution than the idea that they were writing abstract principles that All Mankind was required to follow.

About fifty years after the Constitution was adopted, John Quincey Adams stated this principle again. Someone was asking America to defend freedom around the world (sound familiar?) and John Quincey Adams replied:

“America is the friend of all people’s freedom, but we are the defenders only of our own.”

Loyalty to America is precisely what every liberal and every respectable conservative says it is not.

Loyalty to America is loyalty to “We the people fo the United States of America… and OUR posterity.”



7/23/05 Insider Letter

(Reprinted to Blog from email list of 7/23/05)

*** Bob’s Insider’s Message ***

In the last Insider Letter I explained what real power was and how one plays the game.

It is a very private game.

As I said, one who uses the real thing is not that interested in credit. In fact, it is a straight tradeoff. The more power people know you have the less effective you are.

The president of the United States has very little real power. To get elected and reelected he must keep his options very limited. What the people you read about fight for is the title.

When I first went to Capitol Hill, my boss told me, “Bob, I spend all my time talking to people and taking care of problems and meeting deadlines and reading. I have no time to THINK.”

Then he said, “I want you to THINK for me.”

You may say he was handing power over to me, but that’s not true. If John Ashbrook had said, “You just do the thinking and I’ll do whatever you want done,” that would have given ME a lot of power over him.

But he did not tell me to do my own thinking for me any more than he asked someone he was dictating a letter to write his letter for him. I was hired to do HIS thinking for him. That is a matter of loyalty, which a senior staffer has to have in large amounts.

Many times what I wanted was not what John Ashbrook wanted. I was paid to think of exactly what John Ashbrook would like to say if he had the time to think of it and I was paid to get what John Ashbrook wanted.

Since what John Ashbrook wanted and what I wanted were almost always the same thing, this gave me a lot of power to do what I wanted to do. But I never even shaded anything I did for him my way.

A couple of times I put my job on the line by saying I simply could not go along with something. He would have another staffer do it. In one case I think my refusal was what decided him on an issue.

But it was all in the open.

More than once he had to take my word for something and go for it without knowing exactly why, as when we saved the Hubble Telescope. But it was always something he would have wanted if he had had the time to think it over and which he was later grateful to me.

Real power is, as I said, a very private business. Often when I tell someone something I am not interested in their agreeing with me. What I am telling them is a means by which I can judge them.

The best example is what I tell them about John Ashbrook’s death. John died in April of 1982. For fourteen years the entire civil rights establishment had been fighting to get Martin Luther King’s birthday declared a national holiday. John had stood in the way.

Two months after John died they got their national holiday.

There are two Houses of Congress. John was one of 435 members of one of them.

A minority member.

Yet he stopped the whole civil rights establishment from getting its way and they got it two months after he died.

I mention this and watch the reaction of the person I am talking to.

They NEVER get it.

They want to talk about presidential primaries and third parties, where they think the real power is. No one has ever even asked me HOW a lone congressman was able to stop the whole civil rights establishment cold.

I have said that if you want exciting financial advice, you just need to go to a local bar, find a guy who can’t afford to buy his own drink, and he will give you lecture on how money should be invested and a sure-fire way to make real money. The guy who has never had money knows all about it.

The guy who has never exercised any power can give you endless advice on it. In fact, he is even more clueless about power than the one you buy the drink for is about money.

At least the moocher in the bar knows where real money IS.

People who lecture you about real power don’t even know where power is.




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