Today's Republicans Embrace Articles of Confederation (A Failed State), Not the Constitution

Despite all their stated reverence of the Constitution of the United States, Republicans (regressives) are really in love with the Articles of Confederation and wish the Constitution would disappear.

It has been apparent from the beginning that most of the Tea Party people, who now have control of the Republican Party, never really understood the Constitution (assuming they had read it), and certainly not the context in which it was written.

Republicans, encouraged by revisionist historians like the disgraced Newt Gingrich, seem to believe that we won the revolutionary war and then, presto, organized ourselves under the Constitution that breathed the vapors of the Declaration of Independence. Indeed, it is not uncommon for a key Member of Congress -- e.g., Speaker John Boehner -- to quote the Declaration as the preamble to the Constitution.

What actually happened between the revolutionary war and the Constitutional convention in 1787 was a government organized under the Articles of Confederation (the "Articles"). The Articles did, indeed, breathe the vapors of the Declaration in that it created a very, very weak central government and left most powers with the states.

But the Articles produced what we would call today a "failed state".

In 1787 the Founders convened in Philadelphia not to write a new Constitution, but to amend the Articles. They soon realized, however, that they had to start with a clean slate, a tabula rasa. They discarded the Articles and created the Constitution.

By that time a decade had passed from the time of the Declaration. The Founders realized that their fear of a powerful central government arose from their experience with an absolute monarch, and that that fear had resulted in a failed state.

The Constitution, therefore, created a strong central state, by design. Although many of the people were the same as the signers of the Declaration, the Founders now had the experience of a failed state. That strong central government would be kept from being too powerful by the separation of powers -- legislative, executive, and judicial -- and by the Bill of Rights.

Just three examples should illustrate what the Founders did in Philadelphia. They told us in the preamble that the Constitution was designed to establish justice and promote the general welfare, as well as preserving liberty and providing national security. They gave Congress the power to enact "all laws necessary and proper" to carry out their broad enumerated powers that included the general welfare. In the 10th Amendment, they deliberately omitted the word "expressly" from the reservation of residual powers to people and the states, because "expressly" had been in the Articles and had weakened the central government.

Republicans (Regressives) harken back to the Articles of Confederation and convince their followers that this is really fealty to the Constitution.

The difference between them and the Founders is that their paymasters really want a failed state.