In which George Will wishes he lived in 1874, or rather, in Grover Cleveland’s America:
Congress, defined by the Constitution’s Article I, is properly the first, the initiating branch of government. So, I will veto no bill merely because I disagree with the policy it implements. I will wield the veto power only on constitutional grounds — when Congress legislates beyond its constitutionally enumerated powers, correctly construed, as they have not been since the New Deal. So I expect to cast more vetoes than the 2,564 cast by all previous presidents.
“My judicial nominees will seek to narrow Congress’s use of its power to regulate commerce as an excuse for minutely regulating Americans’ lives. My nominees will broaden the judicial recognition of Americans’ ‘privileges or immunities,’ the rights of national citizenship mentioned in the 14th Amendment and the unenumerated rights referred to by the Ninth.
He doesn’t mention how the federal government has grown since passage of the Fourteenth Amendment precisely because courts have “broadened” judicial recognition of our privileges and immunities and the rights of citizens who were heretofore ignored or put in chains. To agree with these developments is to renounce the kind of presidency that allowed beloved Calvin Coolidge to put his feet up on his desk and sleep all day.
But then George “F.” Will is not a writer. He assembles words into sentences that often allude to historical and political works he has not read. As I noted a few years ago, his trick is to coat received Beltwayisms in prolix displays of learning. Safe in the bosom of FOX News, he is unlikely to be challenged again by a poodle as dangerous as Donna Brazile.
In fairness I agree with this bit:
In a radio address to the nation, President Franklin Roosevelt urged Americans to tell him their troubles. Please do not tell me yours. Tell them to your spouse, friends, clergy — not to a politician who is far away, who doesn’t know you and whose job description does not include Empathizer in Chief. ‘I feel your pain,’ Bill Clinton vowed. I won’t insult your intelligence by similarly pretending to feel yours.