Perry’s Constitutional Philosophy
Rick Perry received warm reviews for his speech at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Friday. It was a relatively short speech, and the entire video is online here. He concluded his remarks in his typically rousing manner.
“It is time for Washington to focus on the few things the Constitution establishes as the federal government’s role: defend our country, provide a cogent foreign policy, and what the heck, deliver the mail – preferably on time and on Saturdays,” he said. “Get out of the health care business, get out of the education business. Stop hammering industry. Let the sleeping giant of American enterprise create prosperity again. My fellow conservatives, the future of this nation is upon you, it belongs to you. You have the power to change America.”
Some thoughts, after the jump.
It was a good speech, one of Perry’s best. With that said, I don’t subscribe to his narrow view of the Constitution. I believe that the Constitution is, and must be, an elastic document. Times change, and the Constitution must be able to change with them. That being the case, I disagree with what Perry is implying by saying that “it is time for Washington to focus on the few things the Constitution establishes.” One of the things the Constitution establishes is the “necessary and proper” clause, which gives Congress the power “to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.” Elasticity is essential. It’s also allowed.