Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript – So we have Professor Brion McClanahan on the Dude Maker Hotline with us. I started the program today by saying that at 10:10 a.m. yesterday morning, if you hadn’t already made the decision to get out, many people’s hearts, minds and souls decided that they wanted to get out, that they no longer wanted to be governed by this tyrannical monster that calls itself the federal government of the United States of America. They’re now thinking, “No, Rush, we’re not buying your elect more Republicans crap because that hasn’t worked for the last century.” It certainly hasn’t worked for the last half of a century. There has to be another way. Check out today’s transcript for more…
Begin Mike Church Show Transcript
Mike: What Professor Barnett, who argued the case on behalf of the National Federation of Independent Businesses, that’s NFIB, said was that the Roberts Court told the future congresses that their power to spend has been checked. You see, I can’t see how you can reconcile that, though, because the Affordable Care Act compels spending. Then he presented the caveat, but it doesn’t apply to the new spending under the act. I don’t understand.
The Health and Inhuman Disservices Department is fastidiously out there playing public sector venture capitalist of choice for new hospitals, new clinics, new pharmaceutical companies, new research companies. They’re already doing it. Again, they’ve expanded the sphere. If you wanted to circumscribe or stop future spending, then you would strike the commerce power to spend on the things that had come before by reaffirming that you could spend on Medicaid under the Commerce Clause. You’ve now set it in stone. Barnett sees it half full; I see it half empty.
I want to get Professor McClanahan in on this, my good friend Brion McClanahan. His latest book, Forgotten Conservatives of American History, written with the great Clyde Wilson. At MikeChurch.com, we have autographed copies that Professor Wilson and Professor McClanahan have both autographed. Brion, first of all, good morning and thanks for joining us.
Professor Brion McClanahan: Good morning. Thanks for having me. I appreciate it.
Mike: I don’t know if you got to hear Professor Barnett, or if you just heard my recount of Professor Barnett. What say you?
Professor McClanahan: It really doesn’t matter. The whole piece of legislation is a disaster in so many ways. Of course, I even said before the Supreme Court ruled on this case that it really doesn’t matter in that way, either. If they ruled it was unconstitutional or constitutional, it’s not even their purview to do this. This is really a Tenth Amendment issue.
I was listening yesterday to Rush Limbaugh and others on talk radio. Of course, it’s all over Facebook, “What are we going to do about this? This is a disaster. I don’t know what to do. We’re going to elect Republicans. That’s what we’re going to do.” Of course, that’s not what you need to do. The states need to grow a backbone and say, “We’re just not going to enforce it. You ruled its constitutional. So what? It’s not constitutional in our state.” We need to dust off this idea of nullification again. I think Scott Walker in Wisconsin actually brought this up, we’re just not going to enforce it in Wisconsin. That’s what we need to be doing now and forget about the Supreme Court.
This idea that it cuts spending power or increases taxing power, they’ve been doing this for hundreds of years. Since the early Marshall court, they’ve been expanding the power of the federal government. I don’t know in what way anyone would look at this as half empty or half full. It’s completely empty to me. The bill was unconstitutional from the get-go, whether they’re relying on the Commerce Clause or the General Welfare Clause or whatever stupid clause they want to pull out of the Constitution. They can’t find any authority for it. Of course, they’re reading between the lines. As Jefferson famously said, to paraphrase, “I’ve read between the lines and I found only blank space.” There’s nothing there. This is a completely ridiculous notion to think that this does anything to the power of the central government except increase its power.
Mike: Okay. That was my takeaway from it. Professor Barnett said, “No, seven justices clarified the Necessary and Proper Clause.” I haven’t read the opinion yet. I’ve been really busy working on What Lincoln Killed, so I haven’t had a chance to read it yet. The Necessary and Proper Clause was perverted forevermore by McCulloch v. Maryland. This goes back to 1819.
Professor McClanahan: Right. Marshall screwed that up anyway. Of course, at the ratifying conventions, this was brought up in several states. “This Necessary and Proper Clause is going to be a disaster.” “No, no,” the proponents said. “This is just necessary to put in there because we could have put this after every clause in Article I Section 8.” You can say we have the power to do such and such, to make post roads. Every law that we make shall be necessary and proper to carry that into execution. They’ll put it at the end of Article I Section 8. This was not going to enhance the power of the government at all. It’s just something to put in there that says we can make legislation to do this, but it didn’t enhance the powers of the government. It didn’t increase the powers of the government. On the contrary, it was something that we have to say, because if we don’t say that, how are you going to enact legislation?
Of course, Patrick Henry called these things the sweeping clauses. Over and over again, this was argued that this thing is never going to abuse the powers of the states. Again, that’s the issue here. This is centralization. This is nationalization of the government. The progressives, back in the early 20th Century and late 19th Century, figured out this is how you’re going to have to do this. You’re going to have to start calling this government a national government. Of course, that was the debate in Philadelphia. We’re going to have to go back to that, start calling this thing a national government. We are the American people. The states are irrelevant. They’re just mere provinces of us and we can do whatever we want. We operate on individuals. We can tell individuals whatever we want them to do, whatever taxing authority we have. It’s ridiculous.
Mike: So we have Professor Brion McClanahan on the Dude Maker Hotline with us. I started the program today by saying that at 10:10 a.m. yesterday morning, if you hadn’t already made the decision to get out, many people’s hearts, minds and souls decided that they wanted to get out, that they no longer wanted to be governed by this tyrannical monster that calls itself the federal government of the United States of America. They’re now thinking, “No, Rush, we’re not buying your elect more Republicans crap because that hasn’t worked for the last century.” It certainly hasn’t worked for the last half of a century. There has to be another way. The other thing that we’re hearing and keep hearing, and I’ll play one for you, this is Congresswoman Michelle Bachman saying there’s only one way to get out of this. This is from The O’Reilly Factor last night, Laura Ingraham guest hosting. Michelle Bachman, how do we get out of this?
[start audio clip]
Michelle Bachman: People are angry. They’re shocked. Now what they recognize is that there’s one option left, it’s a powerful option. It’s the ballot box in November. I think more than ever, Democrats and Independents are going to be looking at a Mitt Romney for President because it’s a very clear contrast. It’s Barack Obama and you keep ObamaCare or it’s Mitt Romney and you repeal it. This was my signature issue when I ran for president. I will tell you that Mitt Romney has told me on more than one occasion, looking in my eyes, “Michelle, I will repeal ObamaCare.” We have to not only win the White House, we have to win the Senate and the House. People shouldn’t be fooled into thinking we have to have 60 Republican seats in the Senate. We need 50 plus one.
[end audio clip]
Mike: There you have it. You win another federal election and this will be sunshine and gumdrops.
Professor McClanahan: Right. It’s a completely ridiculous idea. Mitt Romney, how can you really trust a guy that’s been so duplicitous throughout his career? He’s one thing, another thing. He believes in federal power, I should say general power or central power. It doesn’t matter if the Republicans are there. That’s great. They’re going to repeal it, but what are they going to replace it with? They’re going to come up with something that will be almost the exact same thing, they just won’t call it that. To put all your faith in the Republicans is ridiculous. You have to start doing this at the local and state level. Of course, I don’t know how many Americans realize that, but that’s where all the power lies. If the states said, “Enough of this, we’re not following your stupid law,” nullification, which we think is a dirty word, nullification has worked every single time it’s been attempted or threatened in United States history. This is what we should be doing now, just saying, “Forget you, federal government. The states can do this.”
Mike: And that’s what I said on March 22nd, 2010. You people are going to be told to elect Republicans, pursue this in the federal courts. I said no, the way to do this is to have your state nullify this, strike it down, have a ballot initiative. However you accomplish it, that’s the course of action. Of course now, the federal power mongers are taking to all the radio, television and internet airwaves and are saying, “No, no, we’ve got to stick with this. We’ve got them on the run now. Now we can get them at the ballot box in November.” It hasn’t worked.
I pose a challenge to people today. You tell me how you are going to prevent things like this from happening, or try to prevent things like this from happening, from the national government, because that’s what it is now, from the national mob to your children. You may not be able to stop it from us, but please explain to me how you explain to stop this from happening to your children. The word posterity is actually in the Constitution, in the preamble, because they had an eye looking towards the future. To me, that is the challenge. I don’t think you’re going to fix this. I don’t think it’s reparable. I think it has to be disintegrated at some level.
The only way you’re going to accomplish that is by first convincing your friends and neighbors in your states, as Professor McClanahan pointed out, that you have to rethink the problem. Thinking about it like you have been brainwashed and propagandized to think about for the last 50 years plus, since Goldwater lost, has produced today — this is what drives you nuts, Brion. Doing it the way we’re being told to go back and do it by Ms. Bachmann and even my governor, it produced ObamaCare, produced the Pelosi Congress, produced Bush nominating Roberts, and it produced yesterday’s decision. This is what it produced. This is an undeniable fact. So why would you counsel the same course of action. I don’t understand this.
Professor McClanahan: You got me. You’re preaching to the choir. This is showing again that the federal government has as monopoly on its own power. It can pass whatever legislation it wants and it has a Supreme Court that’s often complicit in going along with unconstitutional acts. It doesn’t matter. You can take any issue. We’ve seen it with healthcare. We just saw it with the immigration issue. Take any issue you want. They’re going to say, “Well, we can find the power somewhere in the Constitution because some Supreme Court has said something, some federalist essay that doesn’t even matter says something. We can do it.”
I think that’s the point in all this. They have again decided they have a monopoly on power. You citizens are going to follow that monopoly on power. There’s no check to it. Well, there is. It’s out there, and of course it’s the states. This stuff was talked about in the ratifying conventions. It was promised over and over again the states would not lose their authority in this government, and they have. I think that’s the ultimate travesty in all of this.
Mike: How’s the book doing?
Professor McClanahan: It’s doing great, of course with your help. It’s doing pretty well.
Mike: I’m enjoying reading it for sure.
Professor McClanahan: We were happy to get you some autographed copies. I hope your listeners enjoy those. It was great to get Clyde to sign them. What people don’t realize is, those copies that have both of our signatures are going to be very, very rare. There aren’t going to be many situations where you see both of us together. Clyde doesn’t do a lot of speaking. To get his autograph on it is pretty unique.
Mike: Please pass on to Professor Wilson that he wrote this great, great piece for Chronicles magazine last November called “A Little Rebellion.” I know you read it. Please pass onto Professor Wilson, in the last paragraph where he says that there aren’t very many Jeffersonians left today, that you know of at least one.
Professor McClanahan: Well, with your show, we’re getting more. This is it. You have to plant the seed somewhere. I think you’re doing a great job with that. Of course your listeners out there reading what they’re reading and talking to their friends, it has to start somewhere. The progressives were right in what they did in that they started small and worked their way up. They didn’t look at we’re going to elect a president and go from the top down. They went from the bottom up. They changed minds and then of course they changed everything.
Mike: They changed the culture. You have to undo the change.
Professor McClanahan: That’s exactly right.
Mike: Forgotten Conservatives in American History is the book. One final question, because your prior book was The Founding Fathers Guide to the Constitution. You have an entire chapter in there, not a chapter, but an entire section where you had mentioned, in one of the rare instances, you mentioned a modern case. You did mention ObamaCare and you had written about the powers of the Commerce Clause and what it could be used for. In looking at The Founding Fathers Guide to the Constitution, what did the Supremes do yesterday to restore — Barnett said they restored the Commerce Clause. I’m like what?
Professor McClanahan: Again, I don’t see how anyone can say that. The Commerce Clause was designed in two ways. One, to of course deal with international commerce. In 1787, when Congress made treaties, they weren’t necessarily sure they could get any of the states to agree to it. They wanted to ensure that they had a single voice when dealing with say Great Britain or France. So that was one thing. The other thing, of course, was when they talked about regulating trade between the states or interstate trade, what they were looking at was having a free trade zone around the United States. They didn’t want the State of Maryland and the State of Virginia passing tariffs against each other so that they couldn’t trade goods.
The idea was to make trade more free, not to make it regulated to the point that you can’t do anything. This whole idea that they can go in and expand this clause like they’ve done, again, it’s ridiculous. They don’t even look at those ratifying debates. They don’t even look at the debates in the Philadelphia Convention. They don’t care. They go back and look at Supreme Court decisions. We’ve now had this mess of case law. It’s ruined the Constitution, of course, ruined the federal republic. It’s gone.
Mike: I’m trying to be fair with Professor Barnett, because he is a frequent guest as well. Professor McClanahan has a different opinion. I tend to agree more with Professor McClanahan than Barnett. Barnett said yesterday the Constitution was saved. You would agree or disagree with that?
Professor McClanahan: Well, I don’t think it’s been saved since 1803. I think it’s a steady decline. You can even go before that. The Constitution has been on a steady decline. I don’t think it’s been saved at all. Take your pick of a president that’s even gone in line with the Constitution or Congress that’s passed constitutional legislation in several, several years. The Supreme Court hasn’t done anything but keep expanding the power of the national government.
Great interview Mike.
The Presidential ballot box is not the answer. We need State legislaors to show courage and nuliffy ALL unconstitutional laws. That’s the only way to give the Constitution teeth and check an over-reaching federal government.