Ronald Reagan stalwart and conservative radio host Levin (Ameritopia: The Unmaking of America, 2012, etc.) punts one for the Gipper in the showdown with the dreaded statists and their “century-long march to disfigure and mangle the constitutional order.”
Forget for a minute that Reagan expanded the federal government plenty even while talking about the evils of big government. Forget for a minute that a little more than century ago, it was the Republicans who pushed the 17th Amendment, which Levin attributes to “a Progressive populism promoting simultaneously radical egalitarianism and centralized authoritarianism.” For those needing to brush up their constitutional law, the 17th Amendment is the one that lets you vote for your U.S. senator rather than having your legislature appoint one, which Levin proposes restoring. Indeed, much of this book, a set of prescriptions and proscriptions to restore “the republic,” is really a reformulation of the old anti-federalist argument against the likes of John Jay and Alexander Hamilton, who, one presumes, would bristle about Levin’s idea that taxing an estate is somehow evil. The author has a few more notions that the liberal elite may find variously quaint or alarming, including the thought that the states should somehow have the authority to “check Congress.” The preference for states’ rights over federal ones is nowhere more apparent than here, though if Levin were to look closely at the doings of the legislatures of, say, Texas or Arizona, he might be glad to see that the system of checks and balances is in place at least somewhere—not in Phoenix or Austin, but in Washington, D.C.
Levin at least doesn’t calumniate too pointedly against a single party, though the fact that his villain is Barack Obama and the hero is Saint Ronnie is a giveaway. For like-minded readers only.