It’s been a few months since I’ve beaten up on an E.J. Dionne column, but he’s done it again today with his column entitled “It’s Time for Progressives to Reclaim the Constitution.” Yeah, go ahead and sit down and break out your smelling salts, since the exact opposite is the case: Progressives have been running roughshod over the Constitution for more than a century now. In addition, Dionne takes after Ramesh Ponnuru, who is not just a pal of mine, but the smartest person in America. Well okay, maybe there’s someone smarter than Ramesh, but I don’t know him, and in any case I have a simple rule: If I disagree with anything Ramesh writes, I need to rethink my position.
Unfortunately I don’t have time for a complete fisking of Dionne’s article just at the moment (busy day starting . . . now), but I’ll just bring your attention to its biggest howler. (You’ll want to put down your coffee first and spare the risk to your keyboard.) Dionne quotes Joseph R. Fishkin and William E. Forbath of the University of Texas School of Law:
“Extreme concentrations of economic and political power undermine equal opportunity and equal citizenship,” they write. “In this way, oligarchy is incompatible with, and a threat to, the American constitutional scheme.”
Let’s see: where’s the greatest concentration of economic and political power these days? Yes, that’s right—the Washington Beltway. It’s sucking wealth and power from every other corner of the country. Dionne and his pals are just fine with that. It makes him an oligarch of sorts. And that’s exactly the problem.