On Constitution Day, one candidate reminded us all why there is a Constitution Day. Matt Bevin, the Republican primary challenger to U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), forgot that Article Five of the U.S. Constitution is not the same as the Fifth Amendment, which is located in the Bill of Rights. Worse yet, he clearly did not know the purpose of Article Five. As he is running for office, let alone federal office, this is something he might want to consider learning.
When Bevin was introduced to speak at the University of Kentucky, the announcer graciously introduced Bevin, and asked him to address his views on Article Five of the Constitution. Bevin casually walked to the podium and asked the audience, "How many of you have ever heard the term ‘plead the fifth’?”
The announcer, standing adjacent to Bevin, politely corrected him, saying, “That’s the Bill of Rights.” Bevin replied, “that’s the Bill of Rights, Article Five – I stand corrected.” He fumbled again — there is no such “Article Five” in the Bill of Rights. He was incorrectly referring to what is correctly known as the Fifth Amendment of the Bill of Rights.
Everyone makes mistakes, and surely Bevin was familiar with Article Five of the Constitution, and has his own views on Article Five, which addresses amending the Constitution, right? Nope.
Bevin was clearly not familiar with Article Five of the Constitution. After his second mistake, he went on to complete his third gaffe in 45 seconds. “I will tell you this – I could get in a discussion with you on the specifics on this document, we could pull it out, and we could read it. But the fact is we’re talking about a Senate race” — at this point the announcer, still adjacent to Bevin, looked down and laughed at the shallow candidate— “where people are expected to make decisions about who is best going to lead them going forward.” Through that last line, the poor announcer struggled to keep a straight face.
The Constitution is not just America’s founding document, but it is a document to which the government is bound. Many Americans, especially conservatives, abhor politicians’ ignorance about the Constitution. It is clear that Bevin offers more of the same.
In August, Bevin claimed, “We need to start upholding the constitution of the United States.” This is perplexing as he does not seem to know much about the document. How can he uphold the Constitution if he is largely unfamiliar with it?
As someone who repeatedly claims he is more conservative and is a better person to uphold the Constitution than McConnell, he might want to consider learning the document before speaking to a large audience about its contents.