Thursday, September 16, 2010

Idaho Governor Getting It Wrong on the 17th

Otter shifts stand on 17th Amendment repeal; The Spokesman-Review

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter declared during a political debate today that he doesn’t favor repeal of the 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution - though he’s been sharply critical of the amendment for the past year, including in his keynote speech at a Tea Party rally in Spokane in April.

The amendment shifted selection of U.S. senators from state Legislatures to a vote of the people, and repealing it is a plank in Idaho’s Republican Party platform.

The governor’s comments came as he and Democratic challenger Keith Allred sparred over everything from education cuts to wilderness to whether Idaho should investigate its state Tax Commission for alleged special deals to influential taxpayers.

Asked directly about the 17th Amendment during a debate before an audience of more than 400 at the Boise City Club, Otter said, “I want Idahoans to elect our U.S. senators.”

He added, “I have said time and time again, and I’ll say again, my focus is on the 10th Amendment. I do not believe you’re going to repeal the 17th Amendment, and have spent no time on repealing the 17th Amendment. That was a decision, and a very populist decision that was made in the early 20th Century, and I believe that decision is one that is going to stand no matter who wants the 17th Amendment repealed.”

Read the rest of the article here.

: The 17th Amendment subdued the 10th Amendment almost as soon as it was passed. With the passage of the 16th Amendment in the same year, 1913, Congress had almost unbridled power (some would say they do in fact have unbridled power), and together both amendments removed the state governments from the federal government. No longer did you have the state in its role of "restrainer" to the federal power because the founders put no other mechanism in the US Constitution to accomplish this crucial action.

What has taken place since 1913 and increased after World War II has been that each popularly elected senator acts upon their own accord, which has furthered federal government's ability to exercise complete authority over every aspect of state life. It was at that point in which the governor became a "territorial administrator" for the federal government rather than a peer to the president, and the senator being the federal overseer.

This is something Otter fails to understand; you can't have the 10th Amendment without state representation in Congress. You can't be a real governor until you have your "ambassador" back in the federal government and restore the states rightful place within the federal system.

No folks, we will never restore the 10th Amendment until the 17th is repealed.


Anonymous said...

If Otter shifted his position, it is because the party is telling him to do that, or his party handlers. Few can understand the consequences resulting from the 17th and while the federal government stands to lose if the 17th is repealed so does the party of ONE in DC. The parties hold more power having their senator in their pocket than any financial contribution.


Brian said...

#1. I can't say for sure not knowing the landscape in Idaho politics, but I have notices lately, at least in the press, being a 10th Amendment supporter is not taboo any longer, or at least until the media deems it so.

Likewise I have noticed the media staying away from the 16th Amendment, I believe so as not to fan the flames that are fueling much of the Tea Party movement. But when it comes to the 17th they like to group you in the esoteric or nut case crowd. At this point it is esoteric, but I see the 17th gaining more strength when the general population begins to understand the need for state representation. At least for those of us that believe in federalism. The left on the hand, which is 95 percent of the media, paradoxically opposes bottom-up decentralized governance and will not seek to at least understand this position.

But I am hopeful though because I think there is a new group of state-progressives, such as in Vermont, who see the need for greater state autonomy and in Vermont's case, with increased socialism. I think that is fine; if the state as a collective body operates that way without violating the Bill of Rights, then more power to them. It should be said also that many in Vermont oppose the federally funded "railway to nowhere program." It seems voters in Vermont aren't too happy about funding other states railways.

danq said...

Dozens of Tea Party candidates right now are flip-flopping on the 17th.

Though you can tell by the weak excuses they give that no opinions are changing - they just don't want to risk losing an election.

Hopefully the demand for a repeal will rise by 2012 or 2014, after which they're sure to go along with.

We just need to get out there more. I still think we should work to gather people within our states to petition state governments. This is the only way, as Senators won't ratify themselves out of office.

danq said...

The 16th barely if at all had anything to do with our bigger government. That simply enabled a direct income tax from the federal government after the Supreme Court overturned the idea. Absent the 16th, states would still be forced to raise money for the same big federal government.

In fact, taxing income could be forced on states which don't tax income through the same manipulation we have today. For example, people who work for the public schools, unemployment offices, and welfare offices could be exempt from a state income tax.

Also, the existing direct taxation powers of the federal government could have been used in combination with my suggestions above to raise money for the same big government.