R.J. PESTRITTO, "AMERICAN PROGRESSIVISM" AUTHOR:
Glenn, to me, progressivism is all about moving beyond the
Constitution, getting beyond the bedrock principles of the
American founding. The progressives detested the ideas
behind the Declaration of Independence because they
enshrined the idea of individual God-given rights and the
end of government. They detested the Constitution, because
the Constitution put limits on the national government,
which were designed to uphold those rights.
COLLEEN SHEEHAN, AUTHOR, "JAMES MADISON": One of
the biggest problems today is this idea of the, quote,
BECK: Yes, yes, yes.
SHEEHAN: But that doesn't mean that the
Constitution is still alive in our minds and hearts. What it
means is the Constitution means anything the judges on the
Supreme Court want it to mean, which is -- which absolutely
undermines the whole idea of popular sovereignty and free
government. The reason the critical intent of the
Constitution is critically important is because the people
BECK: Progressives really are the bane
of the Constitution's existence. They view the Constitution
as living, breathing document that evolves. Well, OK, sounds
like an interesting idea, but is that what our Founders had
Constitution: A living document? Yes, but --
BARTON: You know, a lot of folks today,
progressives -- progressives and social evolutionists look
at and say, well, the Constitution is flawed. It didn't take
so many things into consideration. It needs to reflect a
living document, living breathing, we the people.
I mean, who cares what they wanted 200 years ago? It's
got to be a living, breathing document that reflects what we
the people want.
You know, they've just made the Founding Father's point.
That's what the Constitution is. A living, breathing
document, but the point that is different from the Founding
Fathers and progressives is, who is in charge of the
evolution of the Constitution?
The Constitution says that we know things will change and
times will change and people will want different things.
That's why we're giving you Article V of the Constitution
that allows the people to evolve the Constitution. You have
to have two-third of the House and two-third of the Senate
agree to an amendment and three-fourths of the state have to
So, any change made in the Constitution, we the people
made it. We're the ones that want it and we're the ones that
ratified it. We the people said, you know, there's no term
limits on president of the Constitution, but we want term
limits on president.
The Constitution did not abolish slavery, but we did in
the 13th, 14th, 15th Amendment.
See, we evolved the Constitution 27 times and it's always
because we the people wanted to make a change.
The problem with progressives is they want themselves to
evolve the Constitution and tell the people what the values
should be. Most of the things that people that are
progressives want the courts to do are totally out of line
with the people.
There are amendments that have come through that haven't
necessarily been the best for the country, and the 17th and
16th amendment are two of those. As a matter of fact,
there's a great little poster out that says "1913, The Worst
Year Ever." And you look and you go, well, that's when we
got 16th Amendment with progressive income tax
authorization; that's when we get the 17th Amendment which
abolished the election of senators by the state; that's when
we got Woodrow Wilson inaugurated president.
BECK: How many people before we called
you to say, hey, you want to come to the show, how many
people here could say, oh, yes, the 17th Amendment, I know
what that is?
Two or three. You don't count, because you're doing
Constitutional things. Nobody.
How many really know what it is now, the 17th Amendment?
This is amazing. Like all bad things, it started in 1913
-- Woodrow Wilson yet again. He supported this. Immediately
now when I see Woodrow Wilson, I immediately know bad thing.
You can be quite certain that something is not going to
have a good outcome if Woodrow Wilson was involved. Before
1913, U.S. senators were appointed by the state legislature.
Madison said that the House of Representatives would always
be national institution because the people would be directly
elected by the people, but the Senate, the Senate, he said,
will derive its power from the state.
Here is the idea: you have -- you have
the senators be representatives of the state interest, kind
of like a lobbyist for the state. You'd think progressives
would like that. The 17th Amendment changed that and
instituted a direct popular election of United States
Two senators -- right there. Two Senates -- the United
States Senate shall be comprised of two senators from each
state elected by the people. OK?
Why did they do this? Well, they wanted to take the
direct representation out. They wanted to make sure that the
states didn't have the direct representation.
Let me you an example of 17th Amendment coming into play
right now, today. Obama's health care bill would have never
seen the light of day. A lot of things that they do in
Washington would never seen the light of day.
Why? Because it wouldn't be in the interest of your
BECK: We know that Wilson was one of the
worst defenders of the Constitution in the 20th century. But
he's had company. Judge Andrew Napolitano has his thoughts.
century Constitution offenders
JUDGE ANDREW NAPOLITANO, HOST, "FREEDOM WATCH" ON
FBN: The 20th century is a disaster for the
Constitution, in large measure because of the way it began
with Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, the way it moved up
through FDR. The three of them together demonstrating public
and privately utter contempt for natural laws, and the
concept that individuals have natural rights that the
government can't interfere with, and the concept that the
Constitution was written to keep the government off the
people's backs. Teddy Roosevelt, his cousin Franklin
Roosevelt and their mentor Woodrow Wilson basically ushered
in periods of government in which the government took the
position that it could write any law, regulate any behavior,
tax any event, and seek any goal whether authorized or
permitted by the Constitution or not.
Wilson violate the Constitution?
NAPOLITANO: Wilson entered -- brought an
era to the federal government in which the federal
government would have a personal relationship with
individuals, nowhere authorized in the Constitution, and
would basically tell them how to live, what water they could
drink and what food they could -- they could consume, even
what words they could utter during wartime. Wilson's Justice
Department actually prosecuted a man in New Jersey for
playing Beethoven's music in public and another man in Ohio
for reading the Constitution, particularly the Bill of
Rights, on the public street corner, fearing that that would
cause people to criticize the government.
FDR ushered in an era of central economic planning, much
along the lines of his colleague at the time running the
Soviet Union whom he referred to as "Uncle Joe" -- of
course, one of the most murderous thugs in history, Joe
Stalin. FDR admired Joe Stalin. FDR admired Benito
Mussolini, who is the fascist dictator of Italy at the time.
And the two of them, Stalin and Mussolini, had a tremendous
amount of government control over the economy which FDR
He understood very little of economics himself, but he
had a lot of government folks who did around him, persuaded
him that there would be more prosperity and more equality in
the country if the economy could be centrally planned from
Washington, D.C. This attitude defies the Constitution
because there's no authority in the Constitution for the
Congress to take money from one person and give to another.
We are suffering from the big government
seeds that they planted. We're suffering
from them today.
also like to point out here that not all
progressive presidents of the 20th
century were Democrats. As you know,
Teddy Roosevelt was a Republican. Teddy
Roosevelt was the beginning of the
progressive party. He started it.
And who else? Herbert Hoover. And the
Hoover family always gets angry at me
when I say this, but Hoover was a
self-described progressive who believed
in regulation and actually started the
first New Deal.
Progressives are Republicans, too!
Hoover has this historic reputation as a
champion of the free market whose way
had to be corrected by FDR. He was a
progressive in Woodrow Wilson/Theodore
Roosevelt vein. He attempted central
planning of the economy which was picked
up by FDR. It was he who imposed or the
Republicans under him ruined this
tariffs which made it impossible to
import goods at reasonable fair market
values, which caused retaliation from
other countries, which made it
impossible to export goods at a fair
I don't know how this happened but
one of my goals is to correct this
historical misreading of Herbert Hoover.
He was as bad as Theodore Roosevelt and
he laid the groundwork for Franklin
Roosevelt, and he was a Republican in
BECK: So, what
constitutes an offender of the
Constitution? And does it take to become
What makes someone an offender or
defender of the Constitution?
BARTON: Someone who
is a defender of the Constitution is
someone who understands complete
philosophy of the Constitution. And to
be a defender of the Constitution
doesn't mean you just want limited
government. It also means you want to
protect individual rights just as much
as you want to limit government.
So, you have Ronald Reagan who -- and
today we would call him both a social
and an economic conservative. In other
words, he wants deregulation, he wants
the federal government smaller, he wants
it doing less, he wants business as
being encouraged, he wants prosperity.
It comes from free enterprise. That's
He wants less regulation. He wants
less intrusion. But on the side, he
understood the inalienable rights.
If you look at someone like
Eisenhower -- Eisenhower, I mean, he
desegregated Washington, D.C., but he
understood the Southern mentality of the
kind of racism there, but he went and
took the federal government and made
sure that 13th, 14th, and 15th
Amendments were going to be upheld in
Arkansas, and in Tennessee and in Texas
after the desegregation case in 1954
where the Supreme Court actually got
right decision through the wrong logic,
but they upheld the 13th, 14th, 15th
Here, you got Eisenhower saying, I
don't care what my personal views are.
This is a constitutional issue. And I'm
going to do it with constitutional
means. So, people can criticize him for
taking in the National Guard and
federalizing it, but he was still
upholding the 13th, 14th, 15th
And that's really how you have to
judge between the defender and an
offender of the Constitution is whether
they use constitutional means to try to
solve the problems or whether they got
these brilliant ideas and went around
the Constitution to try to solve the
problems. And that nearly always
characterize the difference between the
good guys and the bad guys on
those of us who study the Constitution
for a living, you could find violations
of it, significant violations of it in
virtually every single presidency,
starting with George Washington and up
to President Obama.
The strongest defenders from the
Constitution from those of us who study
it for a living typically are only two:
Thomas Jefferson and Grover Cleveland.
Jefferson, of course, plainly argued
that many of the things that the
federalists had done, like the Alien and
Sedition Acts, he simply would have
nothing to do with.
Grover Cleveland, on the other hand,
vetoed many, many pieces of legislation,
more vetoes because of the absence of
authority for the legislative act of the
Constitution, than any other president
of the history -- an unsung hero for