TR sought to make these limits few — and as flimsy as cobwebs when the people chose to amend them by plebiscitary methods. The New Republic, then a voice of progressivism, ridiculed Root for being "committed to the theory of government, based upon natural rights" — the Declaration of Independence's theory of pre-political rights. Schambra, however, argues that for Root and Lodge, as for today's tea party, the rights proclaimed in the Declaration and the restrictions the Constitution imposes on government are inseparably linked, as Root said, to "the end that individual liberty might be preserved."
The GOP's defeat in 1912 — like that in 1964 under Barry Goldwater, whose spirit infuses the tea party — was profoundly constructive. By rejecting TR, it preserved the Constitution from capricious majorities. When Cruz comes to the Senate, he and like-minded Republicans — Utah's Mike Lee, Kentucky's Rand Paul, South Carolina's Jim DeMint, Wisconsin's Ron Johnson, Pennsylvania's Pat Toomey, Florida's Marco Rubio, and, if they win, Indiana's Richard Mourdock, Arizona's Jeff Flake and perhaps some others — can honor two exemplary senatorial predecessors by forming the small but distinguished Root-Lodge Caucus.
George Will's email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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