Buying Votes Is Ok, but by God There Are Rules about Lapel Pins
Posted at 11:21 AM ET, 11/ 9/2007
House Parliamentarian Vetoes Article 1
Who'd a thunk that a little 'ole button would get freshman Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) in such a pickle?
Yarmuth made up a bunch of small lapel buttons last month bearing the seemingly innocuous words "Article 1" when he began a walking civics lesson to remind folks that Congress, not the president, is Numero Uno under the Constitution. He thought the buttons would be the perfect subliminal message to his colleagues and the entire viewing audience of C-SPAN. And he enlisted a slew of members to join him in wearing the pins.
But now, just as the emasculated legislators are beginning to feel somewhat empowered again, comes... the button police.
The House parliamentarian has told Yarmuth and his button battalion that they may no longer wear their Article 1 buttons during speeches on the House floor. People will just have to learn some other way that the Founding Fathers intended the elected officials under the dome, not inside the White House, to run the country.
. . . "If a simple mention of the founding document of the country constitutes a message, how does it differ from the wearing of the American flag?" Yarmuth asked in his letter . . .
Yarmouth is my kind of guy. You have to go further south than Kentucky to suffer fools--in Kentucky they breed racehorses and constitutional defenders. He goes on to say,
"I assure you I am not trying to be a troublemaker," the troublemaker wrote, "but those of us members who believe strongly in the 'Article 1' effort want to be sure that our ability to express our support for the U.S. Constitution is not abridged by decisions that are neither logical, consistent, nor based on defensible arguments."
Maybe it's a stretch that he's not trying to be a troublemaker, but we need more of that kind of trouble in Congress, not less.