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So You Still Want to Choose Your Senator?
The New York Times (Terrorist Tip Sheet) ^ | June 1, 2010 | David Firestone

Posted on 06/01/2010 11:59:35 AM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks

Few members of the Tea Party have endorsed Rand Paul’s misgivings about the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but a surprising number are calling for the repeal of an older piece of transformative legislation: the 17th Amendment. If you don’t have the Constitution on your smartphone, that’s the one adopted in 1913 that provides for direct popular election of United States senators.

Allowing Americans to choose their own senators seems so obvious that it is hard to remember that the nation’s founders didn’t really trust voters with the job. The people were given the right to elect House members. But senators were supposed to be a check on popular rowdiness and factionalism. They were appointed by state legislatures, filled with men of property and stature.

A modern appreciation of democracy — not to mention a clear-eyed appraisal of today’s dysfunctional state legislatures — should make the idea unthinkable. But many Tea Party members and their political candidates are thinking it anyway, convinced that returning to the pre-17th Amendment system would reduce the power of the federal government and enhance state rights.

Senate candidates have to raise so much money to run that they become beholden to special interests, party members say. They argue that state legislators would not be as compromised and would choose senators who truly put their state’s needs first.

Around the country, Tea Party affiliates and some candidates have been pressing for repeal — though there also has been a lot of hasty backtracking by politicians once the voters realized the implications. In Idaho, two candidates in last month’s Republican primary for the First District House seat said they favored repeal, including the winner, Raul Labrador...

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Editorial; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; US: Utah
KEYWORDS: 10thamendment; 17thamendment; federalism; ratification; repeal; states; teaparty; utah
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1 posted on 06/01/2010 11:59:35 AM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

It should absolutely be repealed.

You can clearly see how liberals are opposed to states rights.

Pretty soon there will be a move to abolish the Electoral College.


2 posted on 06/01/2010 12:01:08 PM PDT by Retired Greyhound
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

When we adopted the 17th amendment our Senators became Federal animals.

By repealing it, they will again become a state animal as was so wisely intended.


3 posted on 06/01/2010 12:01:58 PM PDT by texmexis best (My)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks
The author failed to mention this little tidbit:

From Wikipedia:

The following states neither ratified nor rejected the amendment:

1.Alabama
2.Kentucky
3.Mississippi
4.Virginia
5.South Carolina
6.Georgia
7.Maryland
8.Delaware
9.Rhode Island
10.Florida

4 posted on 06/01/2010 12:03:10 PM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks (70 mph shouldn't be a speed limit; it shoud be a mandate!)
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To: texmexis best

It would also pave the way for Conservatives in Britain to resist democratizing the House of Lords (though that seems too far along to halt, now).


5 posted on 06/01/2010 12:03:40 PM PDT by BelegStrongbow (Ey, Paolo! uh-Clem just broke the Presideng...)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

State legislatures are just breeding grounds for CongressCritters. They are clearly too retarded to pick US Senators.


6 posted on 06/01/2010 12:03:47 PM PDT by Paladin2
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

The Times is too dumb to realize that the Senators are supposed to represent the states as entities. That is why they were to be appointed by the local democratically elected representatives, in order to reflect the interests of the individual state.


7 posted on 06/01/2010 12:04:11 PM PDT by livius
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

It’s a good idea.


8 posted on 06/01/2010 12:04:42 PM PDT by cvq3842 (Freedom is worth fighting for.)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks
Well, after 2008, I sure don't trust the voters with the job of electing the President. Neither did the framers. That's why they had an electoral college. For years, South Carolina didn't include the voters. The legislature selected the presidential electors.

9 posted on 06/01/2010 12:04:52 PM PDT by Genoa (Luke 12:2)
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To: texmexis best
SPOT ON!

Today, Senators are elected by K Street not main street.

10 posted on 06/01/2010 12:06:10 PM PDT by paddles
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks
I love this portion:

It may be true that appointed senators, accountable only to state legislators, would never approve of many useful federal mandates designed to put the national interest above local parochialism — including everything from the minimum wage to the new health care reform law.

Yeah, that's the point.

11 posted on 06/01/2010 12:07:55 PM PDT by Former Proud Canadian (How do I change my screen name now that we have the most conservative government in the world?)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

The fact that the 17th amendment was enacted in 1913 says volumes. Woodrow Wilson liked it, and income tax, and the Federal Reserve, The League of Nations, A virtual cornucopia of progressive ideas.


12 posted on 06/01/2010 12:08:08 PM PDT by Boiling point (Beck / Palin 2012)
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To: Retired Greyhound
Pretty soon there will be a move to abolish the Electoral College.

In December 1829, Andrew Jackson wrote his first State of the Union letter to Congress. (It was a letter then, not a speech.) In it he proposed the following amendments to the Constitution:

  1. Changing the word "republic" to "democracy".
  2. Abolishing the Electoral College and electing the president by direct popular vote without respect to state.
  3. Ending the practce of having state legislatures select senators and go to direct popular election.

He got the last one, but it was 76 years after he left office.

13 posted on 06/01/2010 12:09:29 PM PDT by Publius (Unless the Constitution is followed, it is simply a piece of paper.)
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To: Boiling point

He probably wasn’t too opposed to the ideas of eugenics either. He may have been the most virulently racist president America has ever had.


14 posted on 06/01/2010 12:11:38 PM PDT by cvq3842 (Freedom is worth fighting for.)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

The repeal of the 17th Amendment would also increase interest and participation in elections for state legislatures.


15 posted on 06/01/2010 12:12:04 PM PDT by Army Air Corps (Four fried chickens and a coke)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

Congressmen represent the people. Senators represent the states. That’s how it was designed. The states lost their representation after the 17th, and now look how much power they have left.


16 posted on 06/01/2010 12:12:12 PM PDT by antiRepublicrat
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks
--yeah--I can imagine the California, Illinois, or New York state legislatures doing just a wonderful job of filling Senate seats.

--one of the primary reasons for the adoption of the 17th amendment was railroad domination of several state legislatures-----

17 posted on 06/01/2010 12:13:31 PM PDT by rellimpank (--don't believe anything the MSM tells you about firearms or explosives--NRA Benefactor)
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To: Publius
He got the last one, but it was 76 years after he left office.

Let's rescind that and use the states to put the brakes on Washington.
18 posted on 06/01/2010 12:14:08 PM PDT by aruanan
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

it’s a good idea when state legislatures aren’t corrupt. It seems somewhat insular in this day and age.


19 posted on 06/01/2010 12:15:00 PM PDT by skr (May God confound the enemy)
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To: Boiling point

Thanks for posting. That was what I was thinking and was about to post as well.


20 posted on 06/01/2010 12:15:03 PM PDT by rockinqsranch (The Left draws criminals as excrement draws flies. The Left IS a criminal organization.)
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To: antiRepublicrat

Then why did the states or the voters thereof approve it?


21 posted on 06/01/2010 12:16:05 PM PDT by AceMineral (Do you go to women? Don't forget your whip.)
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To: paddles
Today, Senators are elected by K Street not main street.

That would change only slightly if state legislatures picked senators.

Before the 17th Amendment, the two senators from California were known as the "senators from the Southern Pacific." From Montana, they were "the senators from Anaconda Copper." From Pennsylvania, they were "the senators from King Coal." From the South, they were "the senators from King Cotton."

In politics, officials always find a way to grab a piece of all the money that is floating around. Politicians remind me of ants. Try to keep ants away from the cookies you just baked, and they always find a crack in the wall from which to send their foraging parties.

Put the state legislatures back into the mix, and the K Street boys will simply start fifty K Streets to do the same thing. Not a damn thing will change.

22 posted on 06/01/2010 12:16:19 PM PDT by Publius (Unless the Constitution is followed, it is simply a piece of paper.)
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To: rellimpank
I can imagine the California, Illinois, or New York state legislatures doing just a wonderful job of filling Senate seats.

Let's run down the list: Boxer, Obama, Schumer. How much worse could the State Legislatures possibly do?

23 posted on 06/01/2010 12:16:27 PM PDT by Lurker (The avalanche has begun. The pebbles no longer have a vote.)
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To: Publius

Of course, because Andrew Jackson was a populist Democrat.

It was during his presidency that Aleix de Tocqueville observed that America was heading for a situation in which the politicians promise to redistribute wealth from to the “unlucky” in exchange for their votes.


24 posted on 06/01/2010 12:16:32 PM PDT by Retired Greyhound
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks
If this was the case, in California, Feinstein and Boxer might as well be lifetime appointments. Democrats far outnumber the Republicans in the State Senate. There is a good chance Boxer can be defeated this year. At this time, the State Senate would be more likely to appoint the Mayor of Los Angeles - Antonio Villaraigosa, former gang member and very sympathetic to open borders.
25 posted on 06/01/2010 12:17:53 PM PDT by muleskinner
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

“it is hard to remember that the nation’s founders didn’t really trust voters with the job.”

Wow, they have REALLY earned the monicker “the Slimes” with THAT one!


26 posted on 06/01/2010 12:17:54 PM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks
A modern appreciation of democracy — not to mention a clear-eyed appraisal of today’s dysfunctional state legislatures — should make the idea unthinkable.

Maybe "today's dysfunctional state legislatures" are a result of them losing their power to appoint Senators?

The idea of state government is that it is the closest to the people, and whose decisions have the most immediate impact on the people. Breaking the states' hold on the federal government made states practically irrelevant, and so their legislatures followed suit.

-PJ

27 posted on 06/01/2010 12:21:17 PM PDT by Political Junkie Too ("Comprehensive" reform bills only end up as incomprehensible messes.)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

If it’s all about the so-called popular will, then why should two senators elected from a state with the population of Wyoming have exactly equal power to another two senators elected from a state with the population of California?

Because it’s not about “democracy”. It’s about the fact that this is the United STATES of America, not the United PEOPLE of America.


28 posted on 06/01/2010 12:21:26 PM PDT by Argus
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To: livius

The Times, and most of the left,

do not recognize the states as sovereign political entities.

The concept just doesn’t register with them.


29 posted on 06/01/2010 12:22:04 PM PDT by MrB (The difference between a (de)humanist and a Satanist is that the latter knows who he's working for.)
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To: Genoa

They just don’t get it (The New York Times). Libertarians understand that honoring the Constitution means we honor its amendments too. At the same time we are free to speak critically about any of it –like Obama does.

Now, if the Dems want to give amnesty to Illegals, they should make an amendment or legislate a change recognized by the constitution.

It took an executive order from Obama to decriminalize marijuana. Why doesn’t he man up and do the same for immigration!


30 posted on 06/01/2010 12:22:40 PM PDT by ExxonPatrolUs (No Stinkin Papers? - or- No Stinkin Badges?)
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To: Retired Greyhound

Democrats control both houses in 28 state legislatures. That’s 56 Democratic senators right off the bat. They control the lower house in a further 6 states and the upper house in a 7th. That could mean 63 Democrat senators, maybe more. Who wants that?


31 posted on 06/01/2010 12:24:38 PM PDT by Non-Sequitur
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To: AceMineral
Then why did the states or the voters thereof approve it?

States would often leave seats vacant for years. Then there's the corruption and bought positions, as we saw recently with attempts to sell a vacancy-filling appointment. Some states had already started direct-electing senators through referendum.

And then you can't forget the effect of William Randolph Hearst. After all, his ability to vastly spread lies helped get us into the Spanish-American war and make marijuana illegal.

32 posted on 06/01/2010 12:27:52 PM PDT by antiRepublicrat
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To: rellimpank

States like Illinois and New York would benefit most. Currently their Senators are voted in by a single large city. The 17th eliminated any rural voice in the Senate for those States that are dominated by a single large city.


33 posted on 06/01/2010 12:28:03 PM PDT by MCF
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To: AceMineral
Then why did the states or the voters thereof approve it?

States would often leave seats vacant for years. Then there's the corruption and bought positions, as we saw recently with attempts to sell a vacancy-filling appointment. Some states had already started direct-electing senators through referendum.

And then you can't forget the effect of William Randolph Hearst. After all, his ability to vastly spread lies helped get us into the Spanish-American war and make marijuana illegal.

34 posted on 06/01/2010 12:28:08 PM PDT by antiRepublicrat
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To: Repeal The 17th

.


35 posted on 06/01/2010 12:28:15 PM PDT by Palter (Kilroy was here.)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks
The author is also telling an out right lie when he said the founding fathers didn't trust the citizenry to elected senator. The Senate was specially intended to represent state governments.
36 posted on 06/01/2010 12:32:45 PM PDT by Red Dog #1
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To: Non-Sequitur

Sure, if we repealed it right now (which will never happen). But we have no idea how things would have played out had this Amendment never been adopted.

Therefore, it is useless to project. The founders wanted the Senate elected by the states for good reason. It should have been left that way.


37 posted on 06/01/2010 12:34:53 PM PDT by Retired Greyhound
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

1913, the year of American infamy.

1. The 16th Amendment
2. The 17th Amendment
3. The Federal Reserve Act
4. And an ‘intellectual’ President who thought he knew more than anyone else.

I have often thought what is was that was so pressing that Americans thought they needed so many Constitutional Amendments and a handover of its federal government monetary responsibilities to bankers. And the answer is nothing, nothing but arrogance, an urge to ‘make a mark’ amounting to nothing more than foolish tinkering.


38 posted on 06/01/2010 12:35:44 PM PDT by Hostage
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

Having seen my legislature in action, I have just two words to say: Hell and No.


39 posted on 06/01/2010 12:36:00 PM PDT by RichInOC (No! BAD Rich! (What'd I say?))
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To: AceMineral
Then why did the states or the voters thereof approve it?

The Civil War killed federalism, and the debate after the war was who was going to control that all-powerful federal government.

In the 1870's, the Progressives made their first appearance. They started out as a branch movement from the Republican Party with religious roots. In the Northeast, they were primarily Episcopalians, and in the Midwest, they were primarily Lutherans. The Jeffersonian impulse, squashed at Appamattox, now came forward with the idea of using the federal government to work on behalf of the people, not on behalf of the corporate interests who now controlled many, if not most, of the states. They came up with a number of ideas.

  1. Primary elections to end the policy of corporate political bosses picking candidates.
  2. Initiatives on the ballot to get around corporate controlled legislatures, referendums to permit the voters to approve laws passed by those corporate controlled legislatures, and recall of elected officials.
  3. Direct election of senators.
  4. The Pledge of Allegiance, making the flag, not the Constitution, America's main political icon.
  5. The "Australian", or secret, ballot.
  6. Prohibition of alcohol.

There were others, but these were the big items.

The Progressive spent a generation wandering in the wilderness like most new political movements, and they finally achieved power in 1901 with Theodore Roosevelt.

In the first years of the Twentieth Century, Republican Progressives had enough clout to get direct election of senators through the House by the necessary two-thirds margin, but the Senate Judiciary Committee killed it every session.

The states then began invoking Article V, petitioning Congress for a Convention for Proposing Amendments to address direct election. (There were enough legislatures in the hands of Republican Progressives to get this movement some traction.) When two-thirds of the states petitioned for a Convention, the Senate acted.

Under the accepted rules for an Article V Convention, Congress should have called that Convention, but some of the petitions from the state legislatures stated that if Congress passed an amendment to effect direct election of senators, their petitions would be considered discharged. What the Senate feared was that the states would word the 17th Amendment to toss out all sitting senators and require the entire Senate to be re-populated in one election. So the Senate worded its version by permitting direct election to start with the 1914 congressional elections, and no sitting senator would be tossed out because of the amendment. It finally got out of the Senate by a two-thirds vote and was ratified by the states in record time.

It was an extremely popular amendment, as were most ideas the Progressives suggested in that era.

40 posted on 06/01/2010 12:43:59 PM PDT by Publius (Unless the Constitution is followed, it is simply a piece of paper.)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

Without the 17th—do you think NY would have TWO crazy senators?
One, maybe.
But TWO—I don’t think so.


41 posted on 06/01/2010 12:45:12 PM PDT by Flintlock
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To: Publius
Pretty soon there will be a move to abolish the Electoral College.

I like the electoral college, but it needs a drastic change.

I would advocate that since there are one elector for each member of congress, it should be set up like this: One electoral vote for each congressional district, and two electors at-large for each state.

The idea of having "winner take all" for states cheapens the votes of the people, is conducive to corruption, and often skews the results. As an example, if this method had been in effect for the past half century, it is likely that JFK would have lost, and every subsequent presidential election would have been affected somewhat....Most importantly the 2000 election, in which the Florida fiasco would never have occurred, thereby depriving the Dems with one of their favorite talking points....

42 posted on 06/01/2010 12:53:11 PM PDT by fantail 1952 (God bless and keep those who sacrificed their all for our freedom!)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

The Oligarchy gets antsy when the peons and peasants start getting uppity...


43 posted on 06/01/2010 12:58:40 PM PDT by mo
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To: fantail 1952
I would advocate that since there are one elector for each member of congress, it should be set up like this: One electoral vote for each congressional district, and two electors at-large for each state.

In the early years, this formula was used by 19 states. It was after Jackson's presidency, when the current two-party system settled in, that the winner-take-all approach became universal.

I should note that Maine and Nebraska use this formula today, although that reform is fairly recent.

And I agree with you, and have agreed since 1968 when I first heard about that little bit of early American history.

44 posted on 06/01/2010 12:59:24 PM PDT by Publius (Unless the Constitution is followed, it is simply a piece of paper.)
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To: Non-Sequitur
And California has a ballot proposition moving for an open primary, effectively eliminating the Republican party and letting Democrats choose the Republican candidates.

Which would you prefer, a rigged election or a rigged legislature? Which would you be more compelled to change, your local legislature or your Senator?

-PJ

45 posted on 06/01/2010 12:59:25 PM PDT by Political Junkie Too ("Comprehensive" reform bills only end up as incomprehensible messes.)
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To: Publius

I’ll settle for senators from coal, copper, cotton, pork bellies or double runionated tooter-redurkers rather than senators from NARAL and SEIU.


46 posted on 06/01/2010 1:05:16 PM PDT by paddles
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

yes!!! repeal it right now. Restore checks and balances to the individual states.


47 posted on 06/01/2010 1:09:54 PM PDT by rigelkentaurus
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks
Let me introduce the poster child for repeal of the 17th amendment:

She is consistently voted the dumbest member of the U.S. Senate by congressional staffers. And it used to be no contest. But lately, the competition is heating up.
48 posted on 06/01/2010 1:12:04 PM PDT by Vigilanteman (Obama: Fake black man. Fake Messiah. Fake American. How many fakes can you fit in one Zer0?)
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To: Political Junkie Too
Which would you prefer, a rigged election or a rigged legislature? Which would you be more compelled to change, your local legislature or your Senator?

Which would it be easier to change, the entire legislature or a single senator? The 49% of Republicans, for example, in a majority Democratic district basically have their voice taken away. Their legislators will put a Democrat in regardless of their wishes. But if Senators are elected then they have a better chance of their vote counting when combined with Republicans from across the state.

49 posted on 06/01/2010 1:22:03 PM PDT by Non-Sequitur
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks
Without knowing the extent to which this issue was debated, argued and reasoned through, for years before it was decided that senators appointed by the States was a necessary check on "mob rule" which was not only common at the time, but expressly feared by the Founders. And it was multiplied 13 times with as many diverse interests. This, the best book I have read so far (still reading it) explains it in detail. I can't readily find the citations, but it's prior to p.36

No telling what "arguments" had changed by 1913, but it was a fatal mistake, exposing a flaw that has led us to where we are.

In California, presently, it would make no difference, but the legislators (at least knowledgeable and competent ones,) knowing the conditions of their state should be in a better position to make rational choices.
The ignorant average voter (only qualification is a pulse) only knows which criminal is likely to provide the most free goodies at someone else's expense.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Next to the Constitution, The Federalist Papers and the Declaration of Independence, this is now among the most useful references in my library.

I will always be grateful to the Freeper who mentioned this title as an excellent source. He understated the excellence of the information trove in this book. The footnotes alone, citing other books, has prompted the purchase of (so far) 12 other books, many out of print, or available free in electronic format at The Gutenberg Project and , among other sources.

Great free Constitutional Political Philosophy Book Source

50 posted on 06/01/2010 1:27:20 PM PDT by Publius6961 (10% of muslims, the killer murdering radicals, are "only" 140,000,000 of 'em)
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