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The Meaning Of "Constitutional Conservatism"

The emergence of "Constitutional conservatism" as a new aspect of right-wing thought is about nine-parts empty slogan and one-part actual idea. When you look at the actual idea, it's fairly scary. Conservatives are correct that the country has changed its original understanding of the Constitution. Those changes have primarily involved making the country more democratic -- we now get to elect Senators, a privilege many conservatives would like to remove. Another change is that the franchise is no longer restricted to white, male property owners. I don't see anybody looking to reverse women's suffrage or restore slavery, but Tea Party Nation Judson Phillips thinks the franchise should be taken away from renters:

The Founding Fathers originally said, they put certain restrictions on who gets the right to vote. It wasn’t you were just a citizen and you got to vote. Some of the restrictions, you know, you obviously would not think about today. But one of those was you had to be a property owner. And that makes a lot of sense, because if you’re a property owner you actually have a vested stake in the community. If you’re not a property owner, you know, I’m sorry but property owners have a little bit more of a vested interest in the community than non-property owners.

This particular element of "constitutional conservatism" also hews to the pervasive sense among conservatives that the political process has been captured by poor, lazy leeches who are exploiting the hard-working rich/middle class.