Skip to comments.BLANKLEY: To re-empower our states (repeal the 17th Amendment)
Posted on 01/26/2010 4:11:17 AM PST by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
As I was preparing to write a column on the ludi -crous maligning of the Tea Party movement by liberals, Democrats and the mainstream media (which I hope to write next week instead) I started thinking about one of the key objectives of the Tea Party people - the strict enforcement of the 10th Amendment ("The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.").
As an early-1960s-vintage member of the then-new conservative movement, I remember us focusing on the 10th Amendment during the 1964 Goldwater campaign. It has been a staple of conservative thought, and the continued dormancy of 10th Amendment enforcement has been one of the failures of our now half-century-old movement.
But just as the Tea Party movement seems in so many ways to represent the 2.0 version of our movement, so I again thought about the 10th Amendment anew. After about 10 seconds' thought, it struck me that the best way to revive the 10th Amendment is to repeal the 17th Amendment - which changes the first paragraph of Article I, Section 3 of the Constitution to provide that each state's senators are to be "elected by the people thereof" rather than being "chosen by the Legislature thereof."(As I Googled the topic, I found out that Ron Paul and others have been talking about this for years. It may be the only subject that could be proposed and ratified at a constitutional convention with three-fourths of the state legislatures.)
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtontimes.com ...
I can’t even begin to conceive of the howls of outrage if this were to be seriously proposed. At a time when the Electoral College is under attack for not being “democratic” I don’t see how this could get any traction. Anywhere.
Sad but true. We’re fortunate to still have the electoral college. I shudder to think what this country would be like without it.
I’ve been saying similar things to what Tony Blankley said in this article for years. The 16th and 17th amendment are two of the most egregious amendments there are. They both need to be repealed. He rightly points out that this erosion started in the Civil War.
Where I disagree with him is when he contends that the federal government does not have the duty to protect our civil or natural rights. These rights come from our creator and the federal government has two duties in regards to it. One is to enumerate them so that everyone knows their natural rights, hence the BOR. The other is to protect it’s citizens against the abuse of our natural rights. If the state will not do that (as in the case of the Southern States during reconstruction), then I believe it is the duty of the Federal government to step in and protect our natural rights. Some of the first gun control laws were those enacted as part of the “Black Codes” after the Civil war designed to keep blacks as quasi slaves.
The problem is that the true genius of our system of government, the checks and balances everywhere is not properly taught in our schools or properly understood by our citizenry. I think Ben Franklin said it best in regards to this subject. Democracy is two wolves and a lamb deciding whats for dinner. Republicanism is a well armed lamb contesting the vote.
You might be surprised. I don’t know anyone who does not support this idea, although I confess that there a lot of people I don’t know.
Still, there is - to my knowledge - a solid constituency to push this along.
Anything that will give politicians more power, in this case state legislators, will be pursued, cheered and embraced. This would be good for our individual liberties. Traction? Hell, the state legislatures will grease the skids.
And your inference that the statists will howl and gnash their teeth is correct. They represent 20% or less of the population. So, yeh, it would take much work and we’d need to fight their over-sized megaphone represented by the propaganda press. But overall, I believe it’s a winner and a fait accompli once the general population is properly educated.
The 10th amendment movement is picking up steam in state legislatures all across the country. Now is the time to start pursuing this.
I’m all for it. The Tea Parties in VA are solidly behind the 10th Amendment initiative, which I believe just made it out of committee in our State Senate. Repeal of the 17th Amendment is another worthy target.
Is Tony aware that if the 17th were repealed, you’d have nearly half the states (or more) in the country that would never elect a Republican Senator again because of permanent and obscenely Democrat majorities ? If the profoundly corrupt MA legislature elected Senators, Marcia (sic) Coakley would’ve beaten Scott Brown by a 90%-10% margin. Even in my state of TN, no Republican would’ve been elected to the Senate until this past year (since Reconstruction, 140 years).
Ever seen the movie Idiocracy?
Post #15. The legislatures would be electing them, an incredibly horrible idea.
It took decades to repeal prohibition - not surprising given that the Founders deliberately instituted mechanisms that were slow and cumbersome.
I think it’s a great idea, and have from the time I first found out the original design the Constitution laid out for membership in the Senate. And if others think it would help at least in some degree to return the balance of power between the individual states and the feds, they should start laying the groundwork for a repeal movement now (primarily education at this point), because it will be a long march.
Seems like a terrible idea....democrats control 27 state legislatures currently to 14 for Repubs. Eight are split.
It would give Dems permanent control of the Senate, and Scott Brown could never have happened.
And now senators are being elected by interests outside the state. My two communist senators represent the eco-fascists in California and the anti-war nutjobs in New York and Hollywood.
How is that good for the state?
In today's world, who is the well armed lamb...talk radio?
Actually, I think it needs to be two-pronged approach...repeal the 17th amendment giving power back to the states, but then ALSO repeal the 16th amendment. And then have the feds collect their tax revenue from the individual states, rather than from the individual citizen.
Two bonuses to this...a state could then have any tax system they want...fair, flat, sales...whatever. Also, the costs of the benefits reaped by a state would not be spread out over the entire nation. If North Carolina wants to get 100 billion from the Feds for bat guano research, the citizens of NC can get taxed more heavily by their own legislature and the state would then pay that money back.
Good post...and I agree. The US would be far better off it the federal government was forced back into the proper balance of power with the states, and having the requirement of obtaining tax money from the states instead of directly would help instill that. It would also remove the need for the entire IRS department at the federal level. One more element of power that'd be removed back to the states which must already have some structure in place anyway, so it removes an unnecessary redundancy.
So maybe the imbecile voters in these states should start considering voting for Republicans, if their grotesquely Rat legislatures would continually appoint airheads like Marcia Cokehead to the Senate? Not that the party of Miss Lindsey Grahamnesty, Juan McCain, Olympia Snowe, and Dede Scozzafava (not to mention morally bankrupt shark-jumper Newt Gingrich) is that much better than the Dems, anyhow, if you’re worried about the makeup of the U.S. Senate.
The point is, maybe working to change the state legislatures is a better idea than throwing out repeal entirely. That way, we wouldn’t have to worry so much about what kind of scum Massachusetts, Maryland, and New York would appoint to the U.S. Senate.
Would you prefer those same two be elected by your Sacramento legislators and make them 100% directly unaccountable to the voters ? With the 17th amendement in place, CA would’ve had no Republican Senators after the 1960s, the last time they had majority control of the entire legislature (1969). In my state, the Gore family would’ve controlled the Senate seats for a half-century, perhaps longer (because the Dem legislative majority would’ve returned Gore to his old seat after he lost the Presidency).
You may not like the 17th, but you’d have a far worse scenario as I described.
It would weaken the party influence dramatically. For example, Schumer and Gillibrand in New York would have to vote down a horrendous health care bill that would bring horrific added costs to their state, rather than sucking it up and voting for it for the good of their party.
Direct election of Senators made them the party animals they currently are. Their mission and reason for existence, as described in the constitution, was destroyed. Now we have hacks instead of statesmen.
The MA GOP is a dead party, so electing more of them to the point of having any say in how things are run would be, as it stands now, next to impossible. The people love their corrupt local pols and won’t vote them out. I’d bet there is an excellent chance that Brown’s State Senate seat will go rodent, making it only 4 seats away from a 100% Democrat-controlled body.
Thanks to the 17th, you at least had the people able to send at least 1 Senator from the GOP (not that he was a prize) until 1979. If it had been repealed, the last Republican Senator elected would’ve been in 1954. From 1959 onward, all Democrat. Maine, which still has a decent amount of GOP legislators, albeit not a majority, would be sending deranged Socialist moonbats like Chellie Pingree instead of the twins.
This is not an argument to say we shouldn’t work on changing the legislative makeup of the bodies, because we absolutely should, only that for all those that think repealing the 17th would result in better Senators, you’re in for a shock. They’d be even worse than now. Many parts of the South would still be sending 2 Democrats from each state, corrupt puppets of party lobbyists and legislative leaders (KY, AR, NC, MS, AL & LA), even TN would still be sending 1 Democrat (probably Gore himself).
Let me counter your argument. I’m going to use West Virginia as an example. I don’t know what the makeup of their state legislatures are, Republican or Democrat. Lets say they have a majority democratic legislature. Currently, Robert Byrd and Jay Rockefeller (their two Senators) are for Cap n Tax.
Now, even if they appointed two Democratic Senators that were responsible to the state legislature, do you think those two Senators would be for Cap N Tax with a state legislature that needs the Coal industry like West Virginia does? Byrd and Rockefeller are influenced by interests outside of West Virginia to vote for Cap N Tax, if they were dependent on West Virginia’s influence, there is no way they would vote for Cap N Tax...
“Would you prefer those same two be elected by your Sacramento legislators and make them 100% directly unaccountable to the voters ?”
That’s the point. My two nutjob senators are exactly what the Sacramento legislators would have appointed to the US Senate. These senators are supposed to represent the interests of Michigan, not California.
Just from reading some of the posts on here, I think we need to educate a lot of freepers on states rights and the 17th amendment.
Have you seen the NY legislature ? Thugs like Schumer (joined by seatmate Mario Cuomo) would be safe for life, he wouldn’t even have to raise a dime. You’d never have to worry about a Republican winning there, the last would’ve been in 1970. All Democrat after 1975. Good luck with that increased accountability, because it ain’t gonna happen.
It’s breathtaking a conservative could still nurture this silly idea post-Scott Brown. I bet the brit Blakley loves the House of Lords too.
You’re gonna reinforce my argument. I don’t think most of the people participating in this thread are remotely aware of the makeup of the state legislatures. I am, and from a historical standpoint as well. If the 17th remained in place, the last Republican Senator in WV would’ve taken office in 1929 (and even then, perhaps not). You’d not have had to worry about a GOP legislature for 80 years, and people like Byrd and Rockefeller would still be there now. Would they be for C&T ? One might say, “why not ?” Again, you presume that somehow there’d be accountability on behalf of these two, and how would that be when their Democrat hacks and cronies (whose party has controlled the body without interruption for 8 decades), would be in charge of the legislature and decides who goes to DC ?
Agree with you both.
Boortz had recently suggested this too. It is worthy of consideration. I had thought of this idea several years ago; wiser heads than mine talked me out of it. Here’s why:
Now that Americans are able to be better informed than ever, this should be the decade when the 17th Amemendment BEGINS. The amendment is not bad, but it was indeed far ahead of its time.
Stepping in closer, to see particular trees rather than the entire forest, here are some particular examples:
1. To look at it in light of this particular month, consider how the Americans have global warming at the bottom of our priority list. Why? Information. First, the Oregon Petition. Then, the Climategate Scandal Cluster. Would state legislators choose a senator who thinks cutting edge? Heck no. Legislators would most likely select someone who moderates the issue.
2. The recent Free Speech Ruling. This is the truly remarkable tree in this 17th Amendment forest. Corporations are now empowered to get people even MORE informed. The reason for this is that people became rapidly well informed about GW Bush’s judicial appointments, and we didn’t settle for semi-Constitutionalists. After the Kelo Court, we demanded ‘Originalists or Bust’.
I think that BO’s ‘reverb’ speeches were a brilliant exception to the norm, especially when we had an orchestrated economic meltdown [in my opinion at least], and a weak moderate candidate [the kind of squish who state legislators would prefer].
3. The Mass. Race. People were not led by the nose because they are better informed.
Timing is important with ideas. I think repealing the 17th never looked worse.
At least Michigan would’ve had a fighting chance to have elected Republican Senators (since you still have the State Senate and had the House until 2007), so one might be able to argue the 17th would’ve been more recently advantageous to that state, but for more than half the states (CA, NY, most of the Northeast, IL, et al) it wouldn’t be. When this argument came up awhile ago, I listed what the makeup of the U.S. Senate would look like now, and the numbers were scarcely different overall. The fact that you’d have some states not having elected GOP Senators to DC since the 19th century, even now, is what is particularly disturbing.
” ... repealing the 17th would result in better Senators, youre in for a shock. Theyd be even worse than now. ...”
I agree. Not only that, I am very optimistic about a bright future of well informed voters. A wall between them and senators in the flowering Information Age would be a disastrous mistake.
Making him less susceptible to out-of-state influences. Chuck-chuck-bo-buck-banana-fana-fo-you-know-the-rest would have to follow the wishes of his state legislature. If the legislators decided that Cap-and-Tax would hurt New York disproportionately, it wouldn't matter what Miss Lindsey Grahamnesty or John F'in Kerry had to say about it. If the state's voters were against Real ID, the Senators wouldn't vote for it, lest they want to face recall by the legislature.
Maybe, if it happened in a vacuum. If the 17th were repealed and state legislatures appointed senators, you could go down and pound on the desk of the guy who voted to appoint the Rat senator that is screwing things up. It’s a lot easier to get rid of the local guy come election time too. And you can look him in the eye and tell him that.
With such a situation, you’d most assuredly see shifts occur at the local level. It would suddenly become much more important to control state legislatures and get more people directly involved in their local politics.
Well heck, why don't we just give all decision-making power to YOU, oh Great Enlightened One? Clearly democracy hasn't worked, but a representative republic is still too risky.
You're just as bad as the "We know what's best for you" left-wingers in Washington.
"at least the Governors can appoint men and women that WILL REPRESENT THEIR STATE... NOT SPECIAL INTERESTS!"
What the heck are you even talking about? If the 17th Amendment were repealed, the state legislatures, not governors, would pick senators.
What you assume is that Democratic state legislatures are peopled with the same types as the Democrats on the national level. Not true. That’s what I’m trying to tell you. The Democrats in West Virginia’s state legislature do not give a hoot about the green weenies. They care about their states interests such as the coal industry.
You have more direct control over state legislatures. They represent far less people and therefore are more accountable to the people. If they send a left wing looney to the Senate and their constintuency is not left wing, they are going to hear about it. Even worse than Federal Congressman do.
I don’t know about you, but local Democrats that are around where I live are nothing like the national Democrats. Oh, I’m sure that they would get corrupted to be like Chucky Shumer when they got on the national level because they would have to answer to national interests. That’s the whole point, because they are local, they are not like the Chucky Shumers of the world.
Without the 17th amendment, the Senate would be peopled (Democrat or Republican) by people more concerned with the states interests and not the party or national interests. Sure, there would be special interests involved, but they would be at the state level, not the national level. The original legislature was made up of the House who answered to the people and the Senate who answered to the states. Party interests took a back seat in the Senate. There are many Democratic Senators such as Ben Nelson, Evan Bayah, Jim Webb, Blanche Lincoln who voted for this health care bill because they were pressured by their party to go along with the leader of their party. Under the former system, they would be pressured by the interests of their states which many of the states are not for having more unfunded mandates put upon them whether they be Democrat or Republican.
And that won't eventually translate into better state legislatures? These tea parties don't protest just the Federal Government, after all.
“When this argument came up awhile ago, I listed what the makeup of the U.S. Senate would look like now, and the numbers were scarcely different overall. “
If you still have that list, I’d be interested in taking a look. Thanks.
If legislators are appointing senators, I believe that it’s less likely that liberals representing the interests of other states would be tolerated. I still think that if a senator from MI, appointed by the MI legislature, was voting for the interests of CA, the citizens of MI would go ballistic and demand his removal.
There’s still a lot positive to be said about cheering for and standing up for the home team. It’s human nature.
In New York ? Legislative accountability ? Good one.
I think the effect would be practically negligible. I think about my two rodent legislators deciding on who goes to Washington, and it causes my generals to recoil in horror. One State Rep. is corrupt and unaccountable, the other (State Senator) is accountable only to the Justice Department, who ordered its drawing to disenfranchise White voters for a Plantation Overseer who loves wearing crazy hats (who is saved from being the worst member of that body by Auntie Ophelia Ford, the Sterno addict, of Memphis). I couldn’t get the time of day from either. Those two would be unapologetic supporters of a permanent Senator Al Gore, Jr. in DC. So not only do I say “no” to the 17th repeal, but a “hell f’ing no !”
It would strengthen the party influence tremendously cause only a couple hundred career politicians would get a say.
Direct election of Senators made them the party animals they currently are
You think those wonderful rat and RINO state legislators aren't "party animals"? Why in the world do you think liberal state legislators oppose federal spending? Why don't you poll poll the NY rat legislators. I guarantee you at least 8 out of 10 of them would vote for this Obamacare. New Senator Jeff Merkey was recently Speaker of the Oregon house. You telling me his rat successor to that office is begging him to vote against Obamacare? LOL.
The whole point is that the Senators would be charged with representing their state's interests directly and the legislators would have to answer to the voters for their choice,
Rat (and RINO) state legislators themselves DON'T currently vote in their state's interest. They vote to increase state spending and taxes every week! Senators are currently directly accountable to the voters of the state. A lot of the jerkwads will be losing this year. Including the rat in Arkansas where the rats have like 70% of the legislative seats so they'd be keeping that one under this scheme.
My state (IL) would send the daughter (state AG) of the state house speaker (D) to the Senate, guaranteed. Nuts to that. I'm glad I have a right to vote for my own Senators. I live in Chicago, my vote is worthless in local elections and US house elections in my heavily rat districts. Statewide is the only place my vote has any power. You wanna take away my right to vote for my Senators and give to scumbag super corrupt legislators? Give the to power to some jerkwad who's been State House Speaker (save for 2 years 95-96 when the house was Republican) since before I was born? Nuts to that idea. Forgive the harsh tone of this post but the idea offends me. I take pleasure in knowing this silliness is a total non-starter.
How do you think I feel? I have Klobuchar and Franken for “senators”.
A FAIL of an idea.