During his much-discussed keynote address at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Saturday, Rush Limbaugh accused Barack Obama of pursuing the "bastardization of the U.S. Constitution."
It was one of the more politically acidic notes in a speech defined by rambling political assaults. But the conservative talk show host wasn't exactly standing on firm footing. Just a few moments earlier he himself had actually -- not theoretically -- "bastardized" the Constitution by confusing it with the Declaration of Independence.
From Limbaugh's speech:
We want every American to be the best he or she chooses to be. We recognize that we are all individuals. We love and revere our founding documents, the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. [Applause] We believe that the preamble to the Constitution contains an inarguable truth that we are all endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights, among them life. [Applause] Liberty, Freedom. [Applause] And the pursuit of happiness. [Applause] Those of you watching at home may wonder why this is being applauded. We conservatives think all three are under assault. [Applause] Thank you. Thank you.
Limbaugh, it seems, meant to say "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness," which, of course, is in the Declaration of Independence. Just to be sure, however, the Constitutional Accountability Center compared his remarks to the Constitution's preamble, and didn't find a match.
Here is the Constitution's Preamble: "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
In the end, of course, Limbaugh's gaffe was just that: a rhetorical hiccup in an otherwise long (the speech went on for 90 minutes) and brash address. Still, in the process of accusing Obama for a lack of reverence of the Constitution, it would have undoubtedly served him better to have properly recognized the Constitution himself.