Some notes on the CPAC speech: Sasse claims he is America First, Conservative second, and Republican third. Next he claims that the American Founders “gave us on purpose” divided government. He rightly speaks of the growth of executive power, but to not know the difference between separation of powers and divided government is inexcusable, especially in a prepared speech.
American Exceptionalism was baked in the cake of the American Founding. But this is simplistic and wrong. Living up to those principles is what makes America exceptional, not the mere fact the Declaration exists.
He’s right about Natural Rights, and that government is not the source of rights. But the meaning of America is in communities and “little platoons you come from.” What on earth does that mean?
Sasse next speaks of the King. He speaks of the monarchy granting rights and dispensing favors. He rightly notes the Founders countered history, except for a couple of places in Ancient Greece (huh?), America is the first polis founded on the people’s rights.
The Constitution is a negative document and just a list of powers. It is not a list of the rights of the people. The peoples rights are limitless. The 9th and 10th amendments make it limitless. He says there were never any rights in the Constitution before the Bill of Rights. This is explicitly wrong. He should know this.
We live in a Constitutional crisis. This may be true. The First amendment is under assault and most young people claim, so he says, think it is “dangerous.” they do? Maybe only a few on a campus perhaps, but a majority?
“I am anti-establishment, but what we need most of all is not just someone who wants to breath fire on Washington, but wants to breathe passion into our children for a constitutional recovery. Because that’s how we will actually make America great again.” This is astonishing given the fact that 1) he takes up a slogan from Trump, and 2) he thinks the source of Constitutional longevity is something that comes from passion. In other words, the resurrection of the rule of law and reverence for the Constitution comes from the passionate part of the soul, not the rational part.
This is not only shortsighted, but dangerous and guarantees failure. Sasse is held up by many conservatives as the only politician who gets the Founding. It’s clear either he is confused, or he doesn’t understand it at all in the most significant respect.