Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The 17th Amendment Was a Very Bad Idea - Doug Patton

The 17th Amendment Was a Very Bad Idea - Doug Patton; Objective Conservative

"When all government, domestic and foreign, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the centre of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another, and will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated."
— Thomas Jefferson, in 1821

The most anti-American president in the history of the country — at least until Barack Obama entered the White House — was Woodrow Wilson. Elected in 1912, Wilson was a racist progressive Democrat who viewed the Founders and the Constitution with disdain. During his first year in office, he promoted two of the most destructive amendments to the U.S. Constitution ever ratified — the 16th, which gave us the direct federal income tax, and the 17th, which provided for the direct election of U.S. Senators.

The popular election of our Senators is bad public policy because it stripped the states of the one voice of representation they had in Washington, DC. James Madison, remembered as the Father of the Constitution, cautioned against "nationalism," wherein a strong national government would rule from Washington. Madison instead favored a new system, to be known as "federalism," which would give co-equal powers to the state and the federal governments. One of the key aspects of maintaining this distinction was the manner in which U.S. Senators were selected.

The House of Representatives, Madison said, would be the direct advocate for the people, and would be elected through their direct vote. U.S. Senators would be selected by their state legislatures, and would represent the interests of the states. By the end of the 19th Century, widespread corruption within state legislatures was rampant. At least that was the excuse used by those who advocated ratification of the 17th Amendment. As if there is no corruption surrounding this issue under the current system. Anyone been watching the trial of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich in Illinois?

Imagine how much more accountable United States Senators would be to the states they allegedly represent if they had to answer to the legislators in that state, rather than to the fickle whim of voters. ...

Read the rest here.

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