Columnist Robert Novak was one of the two keynote speakers, along with former U.S. Rep. Barry Goldwater, Jr., at the evening dinner of the Austin conference of the Americans for Prosperity, Friday, July 18, the first of a two-day Defending the American Dream conference at the Renaissance Hotel.
After concluding his talk, he opened the floor for questions, and recognized Jon Roland, of the Constitution Society, who asked, “What will it take to make constitutional compliance the leading issue in these campaigns?”
Novak stumbled for a few seconds, then said (paraphrasing somewhat), “What do you mean by “constitutional compliance”? It may be difficult to make it an issue if [someone like me] has to ask what it means.”
Roland then explained that the Constitution is presently being substantially violated, and that we need to return to compliance with it as originally understood.
Then Novak seemed to catch on somewhat that Roland was raising the issues being raised by Ron Paul. He said “I love Ron Paul, but not as a candidate for president. I want him to stay right where he is.” He then went on to comment that we need the Federal Reserve.
After the meeting broke up, Roland handed Novak a card for the Constitution Society and invited him to visit its site to find out what “constitutional compliance” means. Novak laughed and said he would.
For someone in Novak’s position to fail to even recognize the phrase “constitutional compliance” is revealing about the state of our civic culture and awareness of opinion leaders at the top of it. He is at the confluence of information flows on civic topics of all kinds. I have gotten similar deer-in-the-headlights reactions from congressmen and other decisionmakers.
I urge all recipients of this message to flood decisionmakers and opinion leaders with messages that use the phrase “constitutional compliance”, that explain how the Constitution is being violated, what has to be done to bring officials into compliance, and the importance of doing that. Pick your own favorite areas of noncompliance.
I realize it may seem incredible to most people that such people don’t even recognize the concept when they are confronted with it. We need to realize that those of us who are determined to bring this country back into compliance are a subculture that has not yet reached key countrymen with even the language of our concerns, much less the concepts. We have to make sure they can’t escape being confronted with them, or having to answer questions about them.