A Piece of Paper?
Well, in a recent speech discoursing on the December Iraqi elections, the president sailed to heights of rhetorical fancy, yanking out the same old univeralistic mumbo jumbo that has become typical of White House talking points. "The story of freedom has just begun in the Middle East," said Mr. Bush. "And when the history of these days is written, it will tell how America once again defended its own freedom by using liberty to transform nations from bitter foes to strong allies. And history will say that this generation, like generations before, laid the foundation of peace for generations to come."
Blah, blah, blah.
But then Mr. Bush said something interesting. "As President, I'm responsible for the decision to go into Iraq." Really? But Article I, Section VII of the the Constitution says, "The Congress shall have power...To declare war."
Writing to Jefferson, James Madison, who presumably knew a thing or two about constitutional interpretation, said, "The constitution supposes, what the History of all Governments demonstrates, that the Executive is the branch of power most interested in war, and most prone to it. It has accordingly with studied care vested the question of war in the Legislature."
So were the anti-Federalists right? Once you start writing these things down, perhaps they do merely become scraps of paper in the hands of the prince, manipulated to suit the whims of cultural, social and political elites. In short, perhaps the Constitution is little more than a dead letter.