Inside the Beltway

RESOLUTION REVOLUTION

Lose weight, stop smoking? Uh, no. Revere the U.S. Constitution and save money? You betcha. Newt Gingrichcollected more than 200 citizen recommendations for New Year’s resolutions, congressional style, only to find that more than half of them advised lawmakers to uphold the Constitution.

“Many of these suggestions mentioned the 10th Amendment specifically and asked for Congress to return power and control back to the state governments. Others asked for a requirement that all new bills cite their constitutional authority,” Mr. Gingrich says. “Many others simply asked members of Congress to remember their oath of office, to ‘support and defend the Constitution of the United States,’ before every vote.”

Earmarks have got to go.

“It is clear that the American people are sick of politicians using taxpayer money to pad their re-election chances. Many pointed out that a worthwhile project should be able to sustain an up-or-down vote on its own. In third place was a resolution for Congress to fix our broken borders and immigration system,” Mr. Gingrich says. “Others making the top 10 were repealing Obamacare, simplifying legislative language and getting rid of the White House czars.”

Newt Gingrich

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CHECK MARX

It’s not just the lawmakers who are constitutionally challenged. The Bill of Rights Institute says Americans have “alarming gaps” in their knowledge of founding documents; they answer questions about such patriotic content less than a third of the time. A plurality — 42 percent — think Karl Marx’s exposition of communism, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs,” came from the Bill of Rights.

Uh-oh.

In a survey of 2,100 adults, the research group also found that 60 percent did not realize that the U.S. government’s powers being derived “from the consent of the governed” is an attribute that makes America unique among nations.

“It is imperative that Americans understand how vital the Bill of Rights is to the future of our country,” says Jason Ross, vice president of education for the group. “With a better understanding of our founding documents, Americans can see how much our experiment in self-government depends on the ideas of the Founders and why America has been an example of freedom up to this point.”

HEAR YE, HEAR YE

“The Democrats have managed to forget that they are elected to do what the people want. Once again, they’ve made the classic mistake of thinking that they got the messaging wrong — not the policies,” says Manhattan marketing expert John Tantillo, who says the party is a “losing brand” in the political pantheon.

“Bottom line, until the Democrats understand that the majority of Americans do not believe that government is the permanent answer to their problems, the Democrat brand is going to weaken. Keep an eye out for Evan Bayh and other Democrats who understand that the party’s future is about listening to the people.”

SEE A SHRINK

Along with “throw their hat in the ring,” and “progressive,” Politics Daily correspondent Walter Shapiro is also tired of the catchphrase “grow the economy” and has placed it on a list of the “hackneyed and the humdrum” in political blabbery.

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