Rightbloggers Say They'll Change The Constitution to Fix Problems You Never Knew You Had

tomt200.jpgTwo years ago, conservatives were on the ropes. But the GOP victories in last month's elections have them dreaming big again. They're back to talking about destroying the Democrats once and for all. Even Newt Gingrich is talking about running for President in 2012, which shows how general the optimism is.

Some in the political meth labs of the right dream bigger still, and push for new Amendments to the Constitution. So what would you expect these newly-empowered Sons of Liberty to push? The Human Life Amendment? Repeal of the Civil Rights Act? A ban on the cursed TSA?

No, comrades, those are from the old wish-lists. The front runners so far are an Amendment to have state legislatures, rather than citizens, directly elect U.S. Senators, and another allowing state legislatures to overturn federal laws.

The first proposal would repeal the 17th Amendment, passed in 1913, which gave citizens the right to choose their Senators directly, back when progressivism was all the rage.

Tea Partiers have been warm to repeal 17A. Alaska Tea Party Senate candidate Joe Miller supported repeal; that he later felt obliged to dodge the issue we can put down to pressure from the liberal media, which also discouraged Rand Paul from his principled stand against the Civil Rights Act.

If you think giving voters less power on Election Day is a strange way to promote liberty, you're just greedy, rightbloggers tell us -- that power rightfully belongs to the states, not to sheeple like you.

For one thing, your insistence on roads and bridges is costing us money as well as Constitutional authenticity. Back in the glorious pre-17A era, Senators "didn't have to worry about bringing home 'pork' and other such nonsense to bribe voters with, because they were accountable to the state legislatures," said Thoughts from a Conservative Mom. This makes some kind of sense: It was probably cheaper for the Republic when pre-17A Senators accepted Credit Mobilier stock or other emoluments for their services, instead of trying to get public works for their states.

Hey hey, ho ho -- direct election of Senators has got to go!
"While the 17th Amendment was meant to prevent outright bribery of state representatives in Senator selection," said Tea Party candidate Glen Bradley, "today, the winning candidate is most often the one backed by the most special interest money. The avenue of US Senate corruption was taken away from the State Legislatures and handed to the corporate lobby. The corporate lobby is able to buy the media needed to reach the whole State."

This seems an odd complaint, given how excited conservatives were when the Supreme Court, in Citizens United v. FEC, freed corporate lobbies to dump as much money into political media as they wished. But better that power should go to them, we guess, than to whatever other "special interests and mobs demanding more from the people's treasury" World Net Daily's Devvy Kidd was talking about when she discussed 17A. (She didn't favor repeal, as she believed the Amendment was not properly enacted in the first place.)

For others the real issue is that other Lost Cause, states' rights. "Prior to the ratification of the 17th Amendment, the states, through their representatives, had a say in legislation that was passed by the central/federal government," explained The Federal Observer. "With the passage of the 17th Amendment, that say was passed to the people, leaving the states almost devoid of any say in the operations of the federal government."

"The 17th Amendment was necessary to eliminate the voice of the states in congress," said Random Bits of Randomness, who laid the blame on a (new, to us) historical progressive villain, William Howard Taft.

The call to end 17A reached National Review, where Todd Zywicki claimed that with direct election of Senators, "progressives dealt a blow to the Framers' vision of the Constitution from which we have yet to recover," and created a "master-servant relationship between the federal and state governments that the original constitutional design sought to prevent." Among the atrocities Zywicki laid to this corrupt deal: Motor Voter Laws.

Perhaps sensing that he was losing the crowd, Zywicki quickly added that "the provisions of Obamacare that override state policy decisions... would have been unthinkable" without the 17th Amendment; better repeal it before a 17A-enabled Obama establishes a national car pool or something. (World Net Daily's Henry Lamb agreed: Obamacare "would have never seen the light of day" without 17A. Maybe they should work next on an Amendment authorizing the development of a time machine.)

Zywicki also claimed that "there is some evidence that the indirectly elected Senate was more accessible to non-career politicians than today's version is." He did not, alas, provide examples, though he might have cited the grand might-have-been that was Senator Caroline Kennedy. (It seems a weird talking point, anyway, after a Tea Party election in which activists bucked their own political establishments to nominate "non-career politicians" like Christine O'Donnell and Joe Miller. Maybe, after reform, state legislatures will endeavor to find even less careerist candidates by going into warehouses and slaughterhouses, quizzing the guys on civics, and appointing the ones who get the lowest scores.)

That one's still cooking, but recently there's been a flurry of rightblogger commentary on another kind of "Repeal" Amendment -- not to restore old ways, but to newly empower state legislatures to nullify federal laws if two-thirds of them can agree.

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