There are days where you wake with just a mild irritation with the news out of Washington, and then there are days where you have “blood shooting out of my eyes” pain over what is happening on Capitol Hill. Have our elected officials completely lost their way? Thankfully, there are still a few out there looking out for the people who elected them. Sen. Mike Lee is one of the good guys. He’s managed to hold onto his soul, and on radio this morning Sen. Lee explained the ways in which the Obama administration and the progressives are disregarding the Constitution in order to push their agenda.
Related: Purchase Mike Lee's new book Our Lost Constitution: The Willful Subversion of America's Founding Document
Below is a rush transcript of this segment:
GLENN: Welcome to the program. Tons to cover today. I want to start right out of the chute with a guy I really respect. A guy who I honestly said the other take, if there was ever a problem in the world and I couldn't go on, I would feel so comfortable with this man, I would leave him my children. And, in fact, I would like to leave him my children now, just in case. Mike Lee is here. Senator from Washington, DC. Hello, Mike.
MIKE: Hello, Glenn. It's good to be with you. And I suppose I would like to get to know your kids if you're going to --
GLENN: No. It's an emergency, Mike. There's no time. Just take my children. I can't go on.
MIKE: My wife Sharon is here with me, and she's saying, yes, absolutely.
GLENN: Okay. Good. Sharon, I'll deliver them in a box by the end of the show. So, Mike be with I have your new book "Our Lost Constitution". Where is it hiding? Where did it go? Who stole it?
MIKE: Well, you know, it's hiding in plain sight. And I'm not sure there's any one person who has caused it to be hidden, but this is the net result of the American people not reading it, not being aware of its provisions. Not being aware of the stories behind its most important features, and not understanding its most important function is to limit the power of government, both along the horizontal axis, to make sure nobody within the federal government gets too much power, and along the vertical axis, making sure that the federal government itself has powers that Madison described as few and defined, and that most of the powers would remain with the states.
GLENN: But we're here at a time where -- the founders never saw this coming. They never saw a time when people in Congress would gladly give their power up. You guys aren't even defending it.
MIKE: Yes. I think that's an important feature. This is something I discuss in the book. One of the things that they may not have ever expected was that members of Congress wouldn't defend their own power. Rather than increase their own power by making sure that they and only they would write the law, they would delegate it to someone else to make it easier to stay in office.
I explain in my book. It just makes it easier to stay in office forever by delegating the power. They pass a law that says basically, we shall have good laws regarding X. And then they'll say, we hereby delegate that power to make good laws to Agency Y to make sure we have good laws in the area of X. And then it's done. We don't see anything else.
GLENN: Then they can blame it on the EPA or they can say, we'll get down to the bottom of this. And they never do. But there's other things. For instance, you talk about the clause in the Constitution. All bills that raise taxes have to originate in the House. But Obamacare didn't originate in the House, and it didn't matter.
MIKE: That's right. It didn't matter at the end of the day. Because even though the origination clause says that all bills to raise taxes must originate in the House of Representatives, members of Congress have found ways to circumvent that. The law we now call Obamacare, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, it essentially originated in the Senate. That's where the language from this bill first got put into it. This shell, if you will, that started in the House of Representatives. But the real language came in from the Senate. It should never have happened that way. But members of Congress chose to circumvent this. And I don't think the law would have ever passed. It certainly would have had a much more difficult time passing, had it really started in the House of Representatives where it was supposed to start.
PAT: Mike, we go through kind of waves here of absolute despair and then hopefulness and then absolute despair again.
GLENN: I say absolute despair and suicidal thoughts back to absolute despair.
STU: But occasional normal despair.
GLENN: You're right. Occasional profound sadness.
PAT: Last week was absolute despair when I heard Josh Earnest answer a question from I think Shannon Bream from Fox News. She asked him, hey, with this executive order, President Obama is planning on climate change, isn't that something that should go through Congress? And Josh Earnest said, look, these are people that don't even believe that man caused global warming is really a thing. So we can't really give them the opportunity to have any impact on this. To me, that was one of the most outrageous things ever spoken by an administration official, that just because Congress disagrees with you on an issue, you don't have to go through Congress and abide by the Constitution and our system of government.
GLENN: And we didn't hear a peep from Congress.
PAT: Nothing. So how do we fix that?
GLENN: Bring us to a level to where we're just profoundly sad.
MIKE: Okay. I like that standard.
I think I can match that.
GLENN: All right.
MIKE: So here's the thing. What they're saying is that we can't trust -- we can't trust the unwashed masses to choose representatives who will do the right thing. Therefore, we the all powerful, all knowing administration will have to take matters into our own hands and either ignore or outright contravene the will of the people, as expressed through their elected representatives. That's exactly what they're saying. And that, by the way, is exactly the rationale used by kings over the course of centuries and millennia, to ignore the people and to impose their own will on that of the people.
PAT: Because they know better.
MIKE: This is what despots do. And we have to call this for what it is, which is a form of despotism. It may be despotism with a smiley face on it, but it's despotism nonetheless. And we have to call it as such, we have to resist it, and we have to neutralize it by invoking the Constitution every single time it arises.
GLENN: My uncle Leo is from Italy. And he came before the Second World War. He saw the war was breaking out. And the family decided, we don't know how this will end up. So we'll send Leo who was born in the United States -- and, you know, on a trip and went back to Italy. He came to the United States, and he served honorably in our military. But he was not a guy who was against Mussolini. I said to him one time at dinner, I said, you know, what was it like with Mussolini? And he said, Mussolini was a good man. I said, Uncle Leo, that's inside voice. You should leave that as your inside voice. And he said, the country was falling apart and Mussolini got things done. He wasn't talking about the later Mussolini. He was talking about getting things done. And I honestly think that the American people are to a point where everything is just so screwed up. They'll get to this place where they're going to be like, somebody has got to do something. And that's when they welcome a despot.
MIKE: That's exactly right. And if all you want in a government, if all you expect out of your government is something -- someone to get something done, then you'll end up with a form of despotism. But if instead what you want is a government that works for you, is responsive to you and to your fellow citizens, then you want to follow the Constitution. And that's why I wrote my book. That's why my book really outlines what we can to do restore our lost constitution and protect ourselves against this accumulation of power in the hands of the few, that leads ultimately to a form of despotism. You have to understand the text, the language in the Constitution, and just as importantly, the stories behind it. And that's what I do in this book.
GLENN: All right. Let me play some audio here from Patrick Kennedy and get your thoughts on it.
PATRICK: My dad was always an optimist. I mean, having overcome so many of his personal challenges and political challenges, I mean, this was a guy that everyone loved. Why?
PAT: Not everyone.
PATRICK: Because he persevered. And what does the Senate need to do, but persevere and become the place that my dad wanted always for it to be, and that's a place where major conflicts were resolved for the national interests. Not for either party's interest, but for the national interest.
VOICE: What is it that current senators now should learn from your dad about how you it is you can work across the aisle?
PATRICK: Well, I think the personal etiquette of trying to make an effort to understand what's going on in the other person's life, personally, because you're working with them.
VOICE: Because that's how he did it. He forged these personal bonds. Him and Orrin Hatch. You know, Orrin Hatch got elected probably bashing your dad.
VOICE: He says it. He came from Washington to counteract my dad's vote. Orrin Hatch did. Ended up cutting every deal in the world because he knew it was going to pass if Ted Kennedy signed off on it and he was sponsor of it, then, boom, everyone else would say, well, jeez, if Warren and Ted are for it, then bang. What a revolutionary concept.
GLENN: Yeah, truly what a revolutionary concept. I won't ask you to comment on Orrin Hatch, but just this idea that you go and you cut every deal --
PAT: With who should be your sworn ideological enemy. Someone who is diametrically supposedly opposed to everything you stand for and believe in and you ran against him in your initial campaign for the Senate, and then you work with him on every single bill.
GLENN: How do we as people balance this, Mike? Because there are things that I will work together, across the aisle, even across ideology in some regard, if we happen to agree on one thing, I'll go ahead and say I agree with this one thing and this one thing only. But that's not what happens in Washington.
MIKE: No. It's not. And, you know, I listened to this quote, this recording from Mr. Kennedy. And he's talking about something. But in one sense, it's already happening. He's referring to it as if never happened. He's referring to it as if Democrats and Republicans never come together and never learn about each other's life stories and interests and passions. Never try to resolve something under mutually agreeable terms. This happens all the time. Every single day.
GLENN: That's the problem.
MIKE: You won't agree on every single issue with your ideological opposite. So, look, I run bills all the time. And I refer to these in my book. Bills that I've run with guys like Pat Leahy and Dick Durbin, who are at the opposite end of the political spectrum for me. But sometimes we agree, and when we do, we can get something done. But that's very different than saying we have to agree at the outset to agree, regardless of the issue, because sometimes we don't agree. And when you try to say that we'll come to an agreement on this issue, no matter what, whether it's in a situation like with this Iran deal, where we say we'll get an agreement with Iran or whether you're talking about something within the United States Senate. That's where bad legislation comes from.
GLENN: Go ahead.
MIKE: Something done, regardless of what that something is.
GLENN: Let's talk about two things. We're talking to senator Mike Lee. His new book "Our Lost Constitution". Let's talk about two things. The president is saying, let's get something done with Iran. And going around Congress as well and cutting what everyone believes now, at least our allies believe -- even France says, is not a good deal. Will Congress just allow this to happen?
MIKE: No. No. I don't think so. And, first of all, we don't know, what, if anything, is going to come out of this. First of all, we're being told all of a sudden, oh, a deal is just around the corner. It doesn't materialize. Then they announce something. What they're announcing instead is a framework rather than a deal itself. It's not clear they will come out with any deal at all. I think they're using the worst negotiation tactic possible which is saying we want a deal. Suggesting almost that a bad deal is almost better than no deal at all, which is usually a guarantee that you'll get the worst deal possible.
But, no, I don't think you'll just have Congress just capitulating to it, no matter what. Assuming they do get some kind of an agreement, I think you'll have a heavy weigh-in by Congress. If what the president ends up negotiating is tantamount to a treaty, it would of course be subject to the treaty ratification provisions of the Constitution, which would require a two-thirds super majority vote in the Senate. It's also possible that both houses of Congress could weigh in on one side or another of this deal. But it's hard to predict exactly what the response will be before we even know what the deal is or whether we'll have one at all.