The Anti-Democratic Strain in Tea Party Conservatism.

Apparently, you're not a "real" conservative unless you want to amend the Constitution in order to settle scores with your political enemies:

Michael Stokes Paulsen, a professor at the University of St. Thomas Law School in Minnesota, said he was there to deliver bad news. "Washington, D.C., remains in substantial part enemy-occupied territory for those who favor any serious meaningful, permanent reforms that would effectively limit national government," he said.

He thinks the federal government has so stretched its constitutional limits that the only way to snap it back into shape is with a constitutional convention called by the states.

He acknowledged the very idea created a "split between the buttoned-down, starched-shirt real, true conservative conservatives who fear a constitutional convention and the rabble-rousing, redneck tea party types who say, 'Yeah, bring it on.'"

Jonathan Bernstein wrote a great post on a similar subject over the weekend, so I'll just quote him here, "If you're only a believer in your own, clearly false, version of American history, a version designed in order to make contemporary political points, then you don't really respect the Constitution. If you only believe in One True interpretation, you don't really respect the Constitution. And one should add: if you support half a dozen or more Constitutional amendments, odds are you don't really respect the Constitution."

One more thing: It's not just that these conservatives lack respect for the Constitution and it's growth and change over the last two centuries but that they lack a basic tolerance for democracy. "In two years, or four years, or forty years, the American people might want a larger role for government, so let's change the Constitution now to keep them from ever being able to make that choice." For whatever reason, right-wing conservatives have come to believe that they are the only people with the legitimacy to govern this country, and this push to amend the Constitution -- like the last two years of categorical obstruction -- is a reflection of this new fact of political reality.

-- Jamelle Bouie

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