Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Blaming the Senate

In recent months, a narrative has emerged on the Left regarding the cause of the health care debacle: It's all the fault of the United States Senate, a perverse, bizarre and dysfunctional body, which ought to be phased out or killed.

To E.J. Dionne, it's an absurd institution, the "least democratic ... body" in any democracy, that has tied up the country in gut-grinding gridlock to the public's unending dismay. "Normal human beings ... real Americans -- cannot understand why, 10 months after Obama took office, Congress is still tied down in a procedural torture chamber trying to pass the health care bill Obama promised in his campaign."

Alec MacGillis called it "the chamber designed to thwart popular will," the saucer in which the coffee not only is cooled (in the words of George Washington) but often turns bitter and cold. Hendrik Hertzberg calls it the place where the hopes and dreams of "Obama mania" go to die at the hands of a small band of soreheads who have the power to stifle the will of the people. "If it weren't for the Senate," he says, more in sorrow, "you'd have a whole lot of accomplishments on the domestic front."

The Senate's role was indeed to thwart the will of the people... when it comes to centralizing power in Washington. If people want ridiculous laws such as government-distributed health care, they can impose such a horrid plan on their own state. Allowing states to implement bad ideas helps remind others why those ideas are bad.

The Senate has a lot of problems, but that's because of the 17th Amendment. Repeal it, and let the Constitution work.

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