November 5th, 2008
12:42 AM ET
6 years ago

Begala: Faith in the Constitution

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(PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

(CNN) – Thirty-four years ago, Barbara Jordan, the pioneering African-American congresswoman and scholar, gave one of the great American speeches. A member of the House Judiciary Committee, she was speaking about the possibility of impeaching President Richard Nixon. But her sights were higher than even that momentous decision.

The Constitution, she noted, begins with the words, "We, the people." "It's a very eloquent beginning," she said. "But when that document was completed on the seventeenth of September in 1787, I was not included in that "We, the people." I felt somehow for many years that George Washington and Alexander Hamilton just left me out by mistake."

In truth that Constitution not only left her out, it enslaved her people. It insulted her, counting her and other African-Americans as three-fifths of a person. And yet, across two centuries America continued to strive to create a more perfect union. Reflecting on that progress, Jordan said, "My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." After three decades, Barbara Jordan's faith inspires and humbles me.

Scripture teaches that "Faith is the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen." For two centuries Americans have had faith in our Constitution - even when America did not yet have faith in them. Barack Obama's election is proof that Barbara Jordan's faith - and the faith of countless other Americans - was not in vain. Even in this cynical age, we must acknowledge the wonder-working power of our Constitution, and the secular miracle of the American Dream.


Filed under: Faith
September 4th, 2008
10:00 PM ET
6 years ago

Begala: Cindy McCain speech reflects new era in politics

Cindy McCain spoke Thursday night in St. Paul.
Cindy McCain spoke Thursday night in St. Paul.

(CNN)–Cindy McCain is giving a long, personal speech - as did Michelle Obama. And she's doing a fine job, as did Michelle.

I don't think even Hillary Clinton gave such a long and substantial speech on behalf of her husband in 1992. We have entered a new era in politics, and Michelle and Cindy are a big part of it.

Watch: Cindy McCain's entire speech Thursday

I will note that Democrats have not attacked Cindy the way Republicans have attacked Michelle. Even mild-mannered Mitt Romney bitterly and unfairly attacked Michelle last night.

Attacking the wife is clearly a Republican thing - recall how Bush supporters smeared Cindy McCain during the 2000 South Carolina primary, then how they bitterly attacked Teresa Heinz Kerry in 2004. It's a classic double standard and a typical Republican philosophy: do as I say, not as I do.

September 4th, 2008
08:48 PM ET
6 years ago

Begala: The GOP’s 'pit puppy'

Sen. Graham spoke Thursday night in St. Paul.
Sen. Graham spoke Thursday night in St. Paul.

(CNN)– I'm trying so hard to care about what Lindsey Graham has to say.

"Thank God," he said, "for Joe Lieberman." Well, okay. Sure, Lindsey. You can have him. But I love the notion that the Republicans would cheer for a pro-choice (including supporting so-called "partial birth abortion"), pro-gay-rights, anti-tax cut member of the eastern elite.

Graham is a pleasant man, but he should leave the rough stuff to folks like Governor Palin. Poor Lindsey is miscast as an attack dog, more like a pit puppy. Even McCain calls him "Lindsey-boy." But nice try Senator Graham.

September 3rd, 2008
10:27 PM ET
6 years ago

Begala: Did McCain consider Huckabee?

Huckabee mistakenly attributed a Gerald Ford quote from 1974 to Abraham Lincoln.
Huckabee mistakenly attributed a Gerald Ford quote from 1974 to Abraham Lincoln.

Did McCain even consider Mike Huckabee for the ticket?

In his speech tonight he stuck the knife in Joe Biden but he did it with wit. ("Sarah Palin got more votes running for mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, than Joe Biden received running for president!") One historical correction: Huckabee said Abraham Lincoln once said, "A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have."

Watch: Mike Huckabee's entire convention speech

Problem is, Lincoln didn't say that. Gerald Ford did – on August 12, 1974. Gerald Ford was a great Republican. He deserved credit for his line. And once again, never once was the name "Bush" mentioned. Poor George.

September 3rd, 2008
10:15 PM ET
6 years ago

Begala: 'What happened to Mitt?'

Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney spoke at the RNC earlier this evening.
Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney spoke at the RNC earlier this evening.

What's happened to Mitt Romney? He was a pretty strong campaigner, but at the convention he fell into self-parody.

A guy from Massachusetts who's worth $500 million, whose father was the president of American Motors, the governor of Michigan and a cabinet secretary - he's criticizing the "Eastern elite"?

Who is he kidding? Again and again he spat out the word "liberal." I was waiting for him to attack the pro-choice, pro-gay-rights, pro-universal health care liberal governor of Massachusetts - Mitt Romney.

I suppose Mitt has decided to rise above principle. Did you notice he never once uttered the word, "Bush."