Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer has penned a fine column on what is perhaps an emerging movement of constitutionalism among conservatives (even if Tea Party and other activists who drove the GOP to monumental victories in November did not quite formulate it that way at the time).
It’s a great read, although perhaps a bit jarring to the sensibilities of some, since the too-common response to most problems (social and political) over the last decade, maybe two, has been “government must DO something.”
The student of Lutz/Jaffa in me wants to quibble with Krauthammer slightly, however, on this point:
What originalism is to jurisprudence, constitutionalism is to governance: a call for restraint rooted in constitutional text. Constitutionalism as a political philosophy represents a reformed, self-regulating conservatism that bases its call for minimalist government – for reining in the willfulness of presidents and legislatures – in the words and meaning of the Constitution.
I would suggest that a constitutionalism anchored in the de facto preamble* to the Constitution (and to the Articles before that) — the Declaration of Independence* — is a potentially richer American political philosophy.
But, even starting the conversation is a nice step.
* See generally: Donald S. Lutz, Origins of American Constitutionalism and A Preface to American Political Theory, and Harry Jaffa, Original Intent and the Framers of the Constitution.