Can Obama take the Oath?

Todd

This question isn’t original to me, but it is one I want to ask my esteemed readers:

Can Obama take the Oath of Office?

Just in case you’re fuzzy (I was), here’s what it states:

I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

Obviously I have a bias, posing this question, but it seems to me that his aim as President isn’t to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution,” but to alter and “improve” upon it.

I’m prepared to receive all the “But Bush didn’t…” comments, but I would prefer to hear how Obama isn’t going to alter the constitution after January 20. Or, perhaps more interestingly, tell me how Obama’s “improvements” will actually help him fulfill his oath.

What do you think?
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15 Comments

  1. Steph
    October 31, 2008 at 5:31 am — Reply

    I have no idea how to answer this because I have no idea what you’re talking about. What are Obama’s proposed modifications to the Constitution?

  2. October 31, 2008 at 7:15 am — Reply

    Steph –he has referred to our constitution as a flawed document.

  3. October 31, 2008 at 7:37 am — Reply

    Same as Steph’s comment. What are the changes Obama wants to make to the constitution?

  4. Steph
    October 31, 2008 at 7:48 am — Reply

    Okay, I googled this and all I could find was blogs linking to some video clip from seven years ago (which I can’t play at work) in which Obama apparently says the Constitution is flawed. Does anyone know what, exactly, he thinks the flaw is?

  5. October 31, 2008 at 8:07 am — Reply

    Steph, here are a couple of examples:
    He has a different perspective on how judges should be selected.
    http://elections.nytimes.com/2008/president/issues/judges.html

    He believes the constitution has impeded an appropriate system to redistribute wealth. He believes that the Constituion “says what the states can’t do to you… what the federal government can’t do to you, but it doesn’t say what the federal government or state government must do on your behalf.”
    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/oct/31/smoking-audio/

    He believes that the Constitution doesn’t extend rights to unborn children.
    http://illinoisreview.typepad.com/illinoisreview/2008/01/top-10-reasons.html

    Again, these views are biased AGAINST Obama’s view of the Constitution. That is, I disagree with his standard for how judges should be selected, that an amendment is necessary for wealth redistribution and that unborn children aren’t actually human.

    Because I believe those views are opposed to the intent of the Constitution, I pose the question again: Can Obama swear to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution? If you believe that he can, I’m curious how his changes will fulfill his oath.

  6. Steph
    October 31, 2008 at 8:19 am — Reply

    Those are interpretations of the Constitution, not proposed changes – as you yourself have just stated. So I’m not sure what your question is.

  7. October 31, 2008 at 8:56 am — Reply

    His interpretations, if acted upon will change the Constitution, not preserve or defend it.

    There have been times in the past that changes were warranted. I’d say 13, 15, 19 and 21 are some good examples of amendments that were necessary to uphold the tenants and foundation of our Constitution. The 16th, however, is an example of a bad – very, very, very bad – change, that altered the liberties and justice the Constitution provided.

    I believe Obama’s changes will be equally as damaging.

  8. Mark Logan
    October 31, 2008 at 11:11 am — Reply

    First off, I disagree with your position that Obama wants to change the constitution, but even if he did, that’s in no way at odds with the oath of office.

    Since amending the constitution is expressly allowed for within the constitution itself, you can’t really make the argument that making a change to the constitution is somehow not preserving, protecting and defending it. Otherwise, every President would be oath-bound to fight every constitutional amendment. That’s obviously absurd and counter to the intent of the document itself.

    And as for the constitution being a flawed document, it is. So is every document written by human beings, certainly every political charter or constitution. Constitutions are produced through a political process that entails compromise. How could any constitution possibly be flawless? This statement seems utterly unremarkable.

    Lastly, as for the examples you cite, none of those entail constitutional changes. In appointing Supreme Court justices, Obama talks about the criteria he would use if elected President. I couldn’t get the link to the redistributing wealth citation you provided, so I can’t comment on that. And the issue of whether the constitution provides rights to the unborn child was effectively settled in Roe v. Wade, consistent with the position that it does not. And until a Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, that interpretation of the constitution stands.

    So, IMO, nothing you’ve shown here supports your contention that Obama would be incapable of preserving, protecting and defending the constitution.

  9. October 31, 2008 at 12:57 pm — Reply

    Mark,
    In all seriousness, I feel as if I have been rightfully taken to task for spouting right-wing propaganda against Obama. The question, as you stated, is flawed. In reality, what I’m asking is if Obama will preserve, protect and defend the constitution as I think it should read.

    Obviously, because of my political paradigm, I’m frustrated by the changes he is proposing. I don’t think the Constitution needs more amendments that expand what the government will do for us as I don’t think that’s what the authors had in mind. That opinion is what led me to pose the question, flawed as it may be. If Obama disagrees with the document in such a fundamental way, it seems to me that he wouldn’t want to take the oath.

  10. October 31, 2008 at 10:26 pm — Reply

    “In reality, what I’m asking is if Obama will preserve, protect and defend the constitution as I think it should read.”

    No.

  11. Austin Conscience
    November 3, 2008 at 4:40 pm — Reply

    I was going to go into a long treatise about the Constitution PROTECTING our endowed right (given by God) and wanting to “Change” it to PROSCRIBING our rights and their perceived priority according to him. But then I read Todd’s link to the Washington Times and Cal Thomas explained it better than I could. READ thoughtfully what he says. It is truly frightening that the Constitution that has protected and allowed this country to grow into the prosperous, generous– yes, flawed — country that it is will be at risk of being totally redrawn with a new premise: Not protecting but proscribing our rights (read: lives). Wherever socialism has been tried, it has failed. For those countries that did not totally collapse, they are victims of much higher interest rates, proscribed work weeks and vacations, cheap health care if you can get it, and dictators with power complexes and no compassion. Also, if you will notice, they have the super rich and super poor —- hardly any middle class.

    Obama’s entire adult life has been spent in radicalism. He admits in his books that he chose to associate with Marxist professors and groups in school. That is almost all we know of his higher education because ALL his records and theses have been hidden. It’s fine to hide his background, but we must search the backgrounds of anyone who disagrees with him, i.e. Joe the Plumber, the Orlando journalist who dared to question Joe Biden too closely, Sarah Palin.

    Ask yourself what “Change” actually means. McCain will change things because of his disgust with the way money is managed in DC. but he is still a Republican with Federalist leanings. Obama is the same old politician who works at not being accountable (his “Present” votes), who goes back on his word (after signing an agreement to take only public funding for his campaign, he blew his word so he could take funding; he then would not use campaign software to validate the sources which leaves at least $200,000,000 with NO sourcing), will only go in front of the public when things are highly scripted (how many press conferences have you seen him conduct?), his use of a convicted felon to help buy his house….. My fear is that Obama’s empty rhetoric about “Change” is just that, empty, because he has a much deeper agenda which shows itself in his mentors, his terrorist associates in Chicago, his nonexistent higher education history at radical universities, his radical black liberation religious adherence, his association with anti-Semitic radicals, his comments about guns and Bibles…… He wants to “Change” the very way our Constitution was framed.

  12. November 3, 2008 at 8:04 pm — Reply

    Can he? “Yes He Can!”

  13. November 10, 2008 at 2:56 pm — Reply

    First of all, I apologize for not getting back here more often.

    Second, I think that is almost a trick question. See, many of our Supreme Court Judges don’t defend and protect the Constitution right now because they see it as a “living document” rather than a “dead one” so they have no problems seeing things in there that are not in there. I think Obama will do the same thing. Sure, he will defend and protect it but he will just pull things out of there (such as universal health care) that are not in the constitution. With both houses in the Democrats favor, he will have no one to really challenge him on it save for private foundations and individuals.

    I can defend someone even though I see their logic flawed. I think a President can do the same thing.

    Did I just babble here?

  14. Scott Light
    November 30, 2008 at 9:17 pm — Reply

    I thought you were Libertarian Todd. So why all this right-wing propaganda? Is the Libertarian party just an offshoot of the Republican party? I don’t see how it could be. I recall a conversation we had about you favoring a flat tax applicable to all purchased goods ( a Libertarian ideal I believe). Does this not mildly resemble a redistribution of wealth? I mean a rich person will typically buy more than a poor person and thus pay more in taxes. Sounds like the rich man if flipping the bill for all us poor schmos out there. Need some help understanding this one.

    Love ya bro!

  15. December 6, 2008 at 9:30 am — Reply

    The Constitution is meant to be a fluid document, which is why our way of life has lasted for nearly 300 years. The Constitution can be amended and has been, over the years. Perhaps the changes Obama seeks are amendments to the Constitution and not an overhaul of the core beliefs of the document.

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Can Obama take the Oath?