Editorial: Reading Constitution stunt could lead to better things

Published 6:54 pm Sunday, January 9, 2011

No sooner had House Majority Leader John Boehner referred to his chamber Jan. 5 as “the people’s House,” as in “It’s about them, not us,” than they returned to regularly-scheduled Republican political theater to open the 112th Congress.

The GOP planned to showcase fealty to the framers by reading out loud all 4,543 words of our Constitution.

Then, in the next step of pageantry for the switchover from protesting No-Nothings to the governing party, Republicans want to send a symbolic repeal of the health care reform law over to the Democratic-controlled Senate to die.

Presumably by the time someone has been elected to Congress, they’ve had plenty of opportunities to acquaint themselves with the Constitution on their own time without eating up valuable work time.

With all the spending they promised to slash, economic growth to spur, solving the federal debt ceiling showdown and schooling Tea Party novices in Washington-style compromise, it’s not like their plates are empty, their to-do lists fulfilled. Political stunt? Absolutely. But we could do worse than to occasionally reread the Constitution and refresh our understanding of this great guiding document.

Democrats make their own play as thespians, trying to make political hay with the embarrassing fact that two of these strict constructionists voted without being properly sworn in.

Maybe this reading aloud thing will catch on.

Maybe this learning time can be set aside permanently.

Members of Congress could read bills before voting on them.

Then we won’t have to hear Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi say we need to pass the “job-killing” health care reform bill to find out what’s in it.

Or Republicans acting out the adage of never having time to do something right, yet finding time to do it over.

There were 20 states, including Michigan, as of Jan. 4 signed on to a Florida lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, yet all 50 states applied for and received funding it makes available.