Hillary Clinton: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness Are in the Constitution

Hillary Clinton, the current frontrunner for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination, seems to have forgotten something that was almost definitely taught in schools around the country 50 years ago — even though it appears that it has all too often been abandoned in our current Common Core-infected system.

In a softball interview with Steve Harvey on Wednesday, Mrs. Clinton, who is on record saying that Australia's gun confiscation regime "is worth looking at," discussed what she sees as the basis for additional gun laws in this country's founding documents. If a Republican or conservative made a fourth-grade mistake such as the one readers are about to see, the Big Three networks would have headlined it on their nationwide news broadcasts for the next several days.

Mrs. Clinton, supposedly the most brilliant and most uniquely experienced woman on earth according to any number of liberal pundits and outlets, apparently can't distinguish between the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence (HT Hot Air via Twitchy):

Transcript (bolds are mine thoroughout this post):

HILLARY CLINTON: (We're not going to) come take your gun away if you're a responsible gun owner. But please help us keep guns out of the hands of people who should not have them in the first place.

STEVE HARVEY: Right.

CLINTON: Let's protect our children and our families from this.

(Audience applauds.)

CLINTON: 92 percent of the American people agree with what I've said and what you've talked about, and 85 percent of gun owners agree with that.

So we’ve got to say to the gun lobby, you know what, there is a constitutional right for people to own guns. But there’s also a constitutional right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness —

HARVEY: Absolutely. (Audience applauds; applause continues through the rest of Mrs. Clinton's statement.)

— that enables us to have a safe country where we are able to protect our children and others from this senseless gun violence.

Setting aside whether Mrs. Clinton's ideas would protect anyone, the fact is that "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" are contained in the Declaration of Independence, and are identified as rights all of us have as human beings, because people come into this world "endowed by their Creator" with those rights.

Yesterday, Ed Morrissey at Hot Air sharply criticized Mrs. Clinton for this pathetic display of ignorance (bolds are mine):

This is, of course, sheer nonsense. The phrase “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” does not appear in the Constitution at all, but in the Declaration of Independence. While that is a foundational document of our nation, it does not override the Constitution. The Declaration proclaimed the United States to be its own sovereign; the Constitution created the governmental framework for it — and more importantly, limits the authority government has and ensures that the people of the US remain free and its master.

Hillary’s understanding of that dynamic might be worse than her ability to quote properly from our founding documents. The Second Amendment allows free people the ability to defend themselves and their country, limiting the necessity of turning that power over to the state and thereby reducing or eliminating liberty. Hillary’s hilarious misinterpretation would do exactly the opposite — requiring more and more power to central government to determine what “happiness” is and imposing its definition on its subjects.

This is more than just a case of misspeaking. It’s a peek inside the ignorance of Hillary Clinton, for one thing, and an insight into her vision of a top-down governmental structure in which all things that are not explicitly approved are Double Plus Ungood.

At the very least, shouldn’t someone who’s been in Washington DC for a quarter-century be able to properly and accurately cite the correct founding document when making an argument on fundamental natural rights? If this represents the quality of civics education within the governing class of this country, small wonder our children and grandchildren come out of schools bemused by what should be a straightforward federalist system based on liberty and subsidiarity.

Tying into something Instpundit's Glenn Reynolds has often said, Mrs. Clinton's ignorance is stark evidence that "We have the worst political class in history."

We also in all too many respects have the worst mainstream press in the country's history — which is why Mrs. Clinton's stunning cluelessness will mostly go unreported and will remain unknown to low-information voters.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.