Like most campaign cycles, this one has produced its share of disinformation, much of it sincere, which makes it worse. Here's some examples from both left and right.
• Term limit advocates who tell us "the Founding Fathers didn't want career politicians." I devoted a whole column a few months back showing that the founding fathers were career politicians. I chose our first seven presidents, Hancock, Henry, Sam Adams, Jay and Hamilton as a reasonable catalog. All spent most of their lives in public service. Hancock was a six-term governor of Massachusetts, Henry did seven terms as governor of Virginia, Sam Adams had over 50 years in a variety of offices. One can dispute the definition of "politician" by claming they were "statesmen." One cannot dispute that they served for most of their lives.
• Secularists who claim "the Founding Fathers believed in the separation of church and state." No, they didn't. They believed that the federal government should not establish any one Christian church as the national religion. State governments were free to continue to recognize and support whatever Christian branch they chose, and did so well into the 19th Century. Jefferson's personal opposition to this practice has been warped beyond all recognition.
• Liberals who want loser immigration practices who hide it behind the description "comprehensive border reform." That has become code for many pushing full amnesty and open borders. Everybody wants "immigration reform." Some think that would mean rounding up all those here illegally, others simply raising immigration quotas.
• Border hardliners are guilty of the same transgression by claiming "amnesty" for anything short of severe punishment for those here illegally. Amnesty is defined as a free ride and total forgiveness. Plans to legalize illegals by making them register, pay fines and jump through some hoops do not qualify. The left has warped our language enough, the right doesn't need to help it along.
• Real amnesty supporters also claim that most illegal immigrants have only committed minor trespassing misdemeanors. Most have also committed identity theft and used forged documents, both felonies.
• Conservatives and Libertarians who advocate the "fair tax," replacing the federal income tax with a national sales tax. That would require a constitutional amendment. This doesn't even qualify as a political wet dream because it's a bad idea on its face. We've been told of that building full of lawyers and lobbyists who are in charge of one line in the current tax code. They'll work overtime seeking sales tax exemptions. Worse, a national sales tax would totally distort discretionary spending, something already occurring with local sales taxes that have reached double digits. Remember Lazarus Long – "there is no such thing as a fair tax."
• A fundamental difference in basic beliefs of left and right, and more specifically Democrats and Republicans, is that the GOP has a laundry list of constitutional amendments they propose to compensate for bad opinions from "activist judges," another ill-defined term. But if you have 2/3rds of both houses of Congress and 3/4ths of the state legislatures to amend the Constitution, you should have enough support to a elect a president and enough senators to confirm your own "activist" judges to overturn all those bad decisions. Democrats know that. Republicans are still confused.
• Democrats and liberals gave up on the constitutional amendment as a policy device back when the Equal Rights Amendment failed in the 1970s, and have adopted a "living constitution" theory that allows judges to amend virtually at will. Conservatives defend the constitution as written, liberals use it as a general list of recommendations.
Hear Emil Franzi and Tom Danehy Saturdays 1-4 p.m. on KVOI 1030AM.