House Billy Goats Chomp Constitution
By James P. Tucker Jr.
Some congressmen behaved like billy goats in charge of a cabbage patch during the House reading of the Constitution. The reading was a good idea, but the performance was poor. Congressmen who did not believe the Constitution’s words read their few lines with patriotic drama.
Even before the drama began, with congressmen reading a few lines and passing the document along, lawmakers had silly comments.
“They are reading it like a sacred text,” said Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), former chairman of the House Judiciary subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. Nadler called the “ritualistic reading” on the House floor “total nonsense” and “propaganda.”
He also called it “highly imperfect,” adding “you are not supposed to worship your Constitution.”
Some House colleagues have suggested that physical problems may have affected Nadler. He is a glutton who had major surgery to remove mountains of fat and is often called “Waddler” because the posterior portions of his body made him waddle while walking. Reading the Constitution was a logical reaction to a campaign that was explicitly run on its principles, countered Rep. Michele Bachman (R-Minn.). She said the Constitution is a guide to paring down expansive government powers.
“The words of the Constitution mean what they say they mean,” she said. The Constitution is the “organic, original document” that “gives life to a nation.”
Republicans would not have the complete Constitution read. They omitted such parts as slaves being counted as “three-fifths” of a person for purposes of determining a state’s number of House seats. This was intended as a tender gesture to black congressmen. But blacks objected. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) said the “redacted” portions are “emotional for me.” Other black congressmen expressed support for Jackson’s views.
The reading was delayed 52 minutes while congressmen loafed into the chamber. It began with a chamber that was virtually full. But, as each congressman finished reading a few words while basking in the TV cameras, most departed without hearing the reading of the Constitution many had never carefully examined. At one point, a woman’s voice was heard screeching from the visitors gallery, and she was removed.
Most of the more than 400 congressmen who participated were able to utter their few words without goofing up. But the burden of speaking only a few words instead of endlessly gassing off was too much for some to handle. Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) had bobbing hands. Rep Steven Rothman (D-N.J.) spoke in a singsong voice and hit a few high notes.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Tex.) was grim, showing apparent dislike for the Constitution she was reading. Rep. Susan Davis (D-Calif.) stumbled. Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) delivered a monologue. Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) gave his signature snarl.
The reading began with Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) followed by Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.— but he thinks he represents Israel). It was the greatest speech of Cantor’s life: He was able to utter 18 words without goofing up.
AFP editor James P. Tucker Jr. is a veteran journalist who spent many years as a member of the “elite” media in Washington. Since 1975 he has won widespread recognition, here and abroad, for his pursuit of on-the-scene stories reporting the intrigues of global power blocs such as the Bilderberg Group. Tucker is the author of Jim Tucker’s Bilderberg Diary: One Man’s 25-Year Battle to Shine the Light on the World Shadow Government. Bound in an attractive full-color softcover and containing 272 pages—loaded with photos, many never published before—the book recounts Tucker’s experiences over the last quarter century at Bilderberg meetings. $25 from AFP. No charge for S&H in U.S.
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(Issue # 3, January 17, 2010)