Letter: Uphold which Constitution?

July 15, 2014 

I had the privilege to attend the Benton County Republican Party's 4th Congressional District candidates' forum June 18. The candidates' perspectives ranged from a libertarian to a traditional conservative approach to the issues. All the candidates could be listed as conservative, yet the meaning of conservative covered a broad spectrum.

Some candidates considered themselves as upholding and defending the Constitution. They would consider themselves "Constitutional conservatives." For example, all candidates agreed to repeal Obamacare, but a couple said it should be replaced as well without describing the replacement.

One candidate held up a copy of the Constitution and said he was running on the Constitution.

My question is simple. Which version of the Constitution does he mean? The Constitution as it reads in 1787, 1791, 1870, 1913, 1933, or 2014? Would conservatives support everything in the Constitution as it exists today? How about Amendment 16 (Progressive Income Tax) or 17 (Election of Senators by Popular Vote)? How about Amendment 22 (Presidential Term Limits)?

Conservatives need to be careful in defining themselves as upholding the Constitution -- a Constitution that in fact has changes some conservatives do not agree with. Conservatism also has changed over time.


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