California Democrat Senator Kamala Harris is one of the names being thrown around by the Left as a potential contender to defeat Donald Trump in 2020. If her latest tweet is any indication, every conservative should wish her fans luck in winning the Democrat primary.
Twitchy highlighted the following tweet in which she attacked Republicans with a brief civics lesson that is, shall we say, not exactly accurate:
A government has three functions: public health, public safety, and public education. The GOP budget doesn’t prioritize any of them.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) October 5, 2017
Twitter respondents were less than impressed:
From the Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed[.]
And the Preamble to the Untied States Constitution:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Education isn’t even slightly there, safety is much more open-ended than defense, and health can only be construed to be there by playing fast and loose with “welfare,” which is one of the Left’s favorite games for pretending the Constitution opens the door to whatever federal intervention they want. But as Forrest McDonald, Distinguished University Research Professor Emeritus at the University of Alabama, explains, the Founders had a clear understanding of what the word meant:
The salient point is that its implications are negative, not positive—a limitation on power, not a grant of power. By definition “general” means applicable to the whole rather than to particular parts or special interests. A single example will illustrate the point. In the late 1790s Alexander Hamilton, an outspoken advocate of loose construction of the Constitution as well as of using the Necessary and Proper Clause to justify a wide range of “implied powers,” became convinced that a federally financed system of what would soon be called internal improvements—building roads, dredging rivers, digging canals—was in the national interest. But, since each project would be of immediate advantage only to the area where it was located, none could properly be regarded as being in the general welfare. Accordingly, Hamilton believed a constitutional amendment would be necessary if internal improvements were to be undertaken. James Madison, in his second term as President, would veto a congressional bill on precisely that ground.
In Federalist 45, Father of the Constitution James Madison further clarified that while the states have more discretion to experiment with the policy areas Harris is talking about, the federal government absolutely doesn’t:
The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government, are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.
A word of advice, Kamala: if you have dreams of taking the presidential oath of office someday, you might wanna brush up on the Constitution you’d be swearing to defend.