Approximately one month ago, campaigning in Iowa, former Vice President Joe Biden proclaimed of his fellow Democrats that "We choose truth over facts."
This was widely ridiculed as just another silly gaffe by the effervescent avuncular candidate. But one classic meaning of political "gaffe" is when a politician inadvertently tells an inconvenient truth instead of a convenient lie.
This was such an instance.
For Democrats like Mr. Biden facts are much less important than a higher "truth" that they claim to pursue. For them, what is sought is a means of preserving the ideology of the Obama administration, the progressive desire to replace idiosyncratic personal choice with a centrally-dictated series of mandates regarding healthcare, the environment, gun control, open borders, and the redistribution of wealth.
Some presidential aspirants like Sens. Bernie Sanders, D-Vt., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass, are more open than others about reinstituting progressive, socialist, and universalist ideals.
However, all 10 of the candidates at the last Democratic debate provide a clear contrast with President Trump — and the Republicans. The Republicans are not, of course, above applying a bit of spin themselves.
Salena Zito’s observation about the presiden — that a hostile press takes him literally but not seriously, while his admirers take him seriously but not literally — remains truer than ever.
More importantly, however, the Republicans, as we proceed toward the decisive 2020 elections, stand clearly for less regulation, more economic choice, secure borders, and a foreign and trade policy placing the interests of this country ahead of globalism.
The Republicans, as usual far more conservative than Democrats, seek to preserve what they see as American traditions of economic independence, patriotism, and piety.
Democrats, on the other hand, do have some recent popular trends to draw on emphasizing freedom from discrimination, sexual liberation, and, of course, the preservation of a purported constitutional right to terminate pregnancies.
The last, curiously, seems to be the most important for many Democrats, and resulted in what can only be described as the recent proud assertions by Debra Katz, regarding Brett Kavanaugh, that "He will always have an asterisk next to his name. When he takes a scalpel to Roe v. Wade, we will know who he is, we know his character, and we know what motivates him, and that is important; it is important that we know, and that is part of what motivated Christine."
Ms. Katz, who had earlier claimed that her client was not politically motivated, represented Ms. Christine Blasey Ford — who nearly derailed Trump's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court of Brett Kavanaugh — with her accusation that he had drunkenly sought to remove her clothing when both were teenagers.
There was no substantiation to Ms. Ford’s allegations, and their truth now seems doubtful, as do the further assertions regarding Kavanaugh’s behavior as a Yale freshman in last week’s story in The New York Times.
Indeed, the Times was forced to correct its original story by noting that a female Yale student who was purportedly the target of another possibly fabricated incident involving Kavanaugh "declined to be interviewed and friends say that she does not recall the incident."
Why, then, the need to append an asterisk to Kavanaugh’s name, and why the fear that Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), might be eviscerated?
The answer, of course, is that the constitutional right to an abortion, purportedly protected by Roe is a fabrication by a Supreme Court succumbing to the temptation to rewrite constitutional law to suit the preferences of particular justices, instead of neutrally applying the constitution.
There can be little doubt, for anyone looking objectively at the history of constitutional law, that domestic matters, such as the law of the family, were supposed to be for the states and localities — not for the federal government.
Taming the federal leviathan did not loom large when Roe was decided or during the Obama administration, or indeed, when a cabal of intelligence and justice department personnel sought to hobble the Trump administration through the Russia collusion hoax.
The much maligned President Trump, in appointing Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch and a brace of lower court federal judges, has kept his campaign promise to appoint jurists who understand the importance of federalism — the principle that the federal government is one of limited and enumerated powers with the rest in the hands of state and local governments.
Donald Trump also embraced the philosophy of judicial restraint and original understanding, which seeks to tame government by judiciary, and return law-making power to the people’s representatives.
These are the real facts which reveal to us what is at stake in the choice the American people face between Democrats and Republicans in 2020. The facts are with the Republicans — and, indeed, so is the truth.
Stephen B. Presser is the Raoul Berger Professor of Legal History Emeritus at Northwestern’s Pritzker School of Law, the Legal Affairs Editor of Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture, and a contributor to The University Bookman. He graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Law School, and has taught at Rutgers University, the University of Virginia, and University College, London. He has often testified on constitutional issues before committees of the United States Congress, and is the author of "Recapturing the Constitution: Race, Religion, and Abortion Reconsidered" (Regnery, 1994) and "Law Professsors: Three Centuries of Shaping American Law" (West Academic, 2017). Presser was a Visiting Scholar in Conservative Thought and Policy at the University of Colorado's Boulder Campus for 2018-2019. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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