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Repeal the 17th amendment

I’ve been saying it for years.

31 Responses to “Repeal the 17th amendment”

  1. Blake Says:

    Amen. Me too.

  2. Ron W Says:

    Oh yes!!

    The politicians lead by McCain and Feingold attacked the First Amendment to end the big money THEY SAID! Well, to end most of the big money on political spending, repeal the 17th Amendment and END 100 statewide elections for Senators and have State Legisltures send their representatives to the U. S. State House—the Senate.

    AND they didn’t care about the big money; they just wanted to make sure that it was ALL kept by the incumbents of the two establishment parties and the media corportations. They couldn’t have all these free lance issue organizations and “special interests” spending money tellingthe people what THEY were doin’!!!!

  3. Sebastian Says:

    That’s one of those things I’d be all for, but I don’t really think you can blame the massive increase in government on the 17th amendment. Does it make that much difference that the Senators are elected as politicians rather than being sent to the senate as cronies of the various state legislatures? Certainly if senators were appointed by state legislatures, I can see that senators might be more interested in preserving state power over expanding federal power, and that would be good, but I don’t see an incentive to prevent senators from expanding federal taxation with a lot of the money being transferred to individual states, kind of like what happens now.

    So yeah, I agree that the 17th amendment was a bad idea, but I think we’d still have leviathan if it had never passed. Leviathan might look different, but it’d still be leviathan.

  4. SayUncle Says:

    Does it make that much difference that the Senators are elected as politicians rather than being sent to the senate as cronies of the various state legislatures?

    Yes. The 17th takes the states out of the equation.

  5. Tam Says:

    There would certainly be a whole lot fewer unfunded mandates.

    As it is now:

    Representative: “My constituents want free stuff!
    Senator: “Yeah! My constituents want free stuff!

    As it was supposed to be:

    Representative: “My constituents want free stuff!
    Senator: “Whoah, whoah, whoah! How are we supposed to pay for all this crap back in Des Moines?

    The Senate’s function as a mini 50 state UN is gone. The senator from Illinois is no longer an ambassador from the Land of Lincoln, he’s a super special long-term representative from the Land of Daley.

  6. Nomen Nescio Says:

    i don’t really care about the fine points of governance y’all are talking about, i see it as a matter of redundancy. if my taxes are gonna pay for two separate halves of a legislature, then at least make them somehow different. as it is now, just scratch the senate entirely, they’re a duplication of effort and expenses.

    (which state is it has a unicameral state legislature, one of the Dakotas? they don’t seem to be dying for lack of senators, do they?)

  7. Tom Says:

    HELL YEAH!

    can we add in something about all of congress not being allowed to vote themselves a raise while we’re at it? Maybe that their maximum salary will be derived from the average salary of their district?

  8. straightarrrow Says:

    Tam’s comment is the most illuminative.

    Nebraska is the state with a unicameral.

  9. tgirsch Says:

    I’m not entirely sure that, in this day and age, having the senators appointed by state government and confirmed by state legislatures would really make the Senate behave as Tam suggests. There’s still just one layer of abstraction between the “whim of the people” and the senator — and that layer of abstraction is accountable to the whims of the people.

    Also note that if we had a pre-17th-Amendment senate, Tennessee would likely have two Democratic senators rather than two Republicans.

    But hey, at least she’s open and honest about her contempt for Democracy. đŸ™‚

  10. SayUncle Says:

    Of which Democracy do you speak? Since we currently don’t live in one.

  11. tgirsch Says:

    As a side note, how is this supposed to work? Would senators somehow be more likely to deny representatives what they want if they’re directly beholden to the representatives for their job?

  12. tgirsch Says:

    Unc, did you read Tam’s post?

  13. tgirsch Says:

    To wit:

    Commentators can make mouth noises about “We’re not a democracy, we’re a Federal Republic” all they want, wingnuts and moonbats can natter about wimmen voters and the Electoral College ’til the cows come home, but this nation became a democracy, for good or ill, with the passage of the Seventeenth Amendment.

    [Words hers, bold mine]

  14. SayUncle Says:

    Ah, I understand what you’re saying now. I misunderstood your point.

  15. Metulj Says:

    Now, combine this desire with the nostalgia for Dear Old England in that other thread by #9 and see that some people do prefer a House of Lords. Libertarians?

  16. SayUncle Says:

    Well, #9 has not opined on this thread. And I never thought England was so great to begin with. But I suppose if you mash me and #9 into one good one, you could have a point.

  17. JT Says:

    As a side note, how is this supposed to work? Would senators somehow be more likely to deny representatives what they want if they’re directly beholden to the representatives for their job?

    Senators wouldn’t be beholden to the U.S. Congressmen who Tam addresses in the “fewer pork” comment, but to the state legislature, who have nothing at all to do with bringing federal earmarks into the state.

  18. Metulj Says:

    “Well, #9 has not opined on this thread. And I never thought England was so great to begin with. But I suppose if you mash me and #9 into one good one, you could have a point.”

    Personally, I’d like to see that damned 9th Amendment ran out of the Bill of Rights on a rail. đŸ˜‰

  19. tgirsch Says:

    JT:

    Yeah, my bad. Don’t know wtf I was thinking. But still, what makes you think that state legislators are less inclined to receive pork than federal ones? It might be a different kind of pork, maybe, but pork nonetheless.

  20. Tam Says:

    Metulj,

    Now, combine this desire with the nostalgia for Dear Old England in that other thread by #9 and see that some people do prefer a House of Lords. Libertarians?

    Yes, libertarians, too.

    As the U.S. Government was set up, senators were not supposed to represent me, they were supposed to represent my state, which is not the same thing.

    If someone was appointed to “represent” me for life, that would be a true House of Lords. (Which is, ironically, closer to what we have now if you’re unfortunate enough to live in upstate NY or anyplace outside Cook Co. in IL.)

    This is not one big happy country; we have state boundaries, state borders, and state governments for a reason. At least we’re supposed to. Within broad constitutional lines you should be free to live a variety of different lifestyles and still be in America. If you want to tax your neighbors half to death and be pestered by annoying laws created by popular referendums, you can move to CA; if you want to be left the hell alone and think paved roads are a waste of tax money, you can go to AK. This isn’t spposed to be an amorphous blob of identical McStates run from Washington by identical McPolitcians elected by McVoters every 2/4/6 McYears.

  21. Tam Says:

    Tgirsch,

    But still, what makes you think that state legislators are less inclined to receive pork than federal ones? It might be a different kind of pork, maybe, but pork nonetheless.

    What I was addressing by my point is that, as things stand, both Reps and Senators are free to dole out the slop to their constituents, and it’s often left to the folks at the statehouses to figure out how to pay for it all (ref. “Unfunded Mandate”). If one of the two houses was directly accountable to the people who had to write the checks, it would at least curb the process dramatically.

  22. Metulj Says:

    Tam, quick lesson in political geography: The state is you. Ideally. While one way it represents itself is as a geographical entity, it isn’t necessarily such. Really. End lesson. As for me, I am one of those horrible radicals that wouldn’t mind spinning off large swathes of the US of A as separate nation-states. I am sick of seeing half of my federal tax dollars dissolve into places to my south and east. Er, heh.

  23. SayUncle Says:

    Tam, quick lesson in political geography: The state is you. Ideally.

    No, it’s not.

  24. Metulj Says:

    Tam: No, it’s not.

    Yeah, it’s a sticky thing. Because just as soon someone defines what “The State” is then that definition is challenged. Interesting. I wonder why that is? Anyhow, lots of people who get paid to stroke their Van Dykes while thinking about those things can never come to any sort of agreement beyond: ‘Well, it exists.’ Ideally. Realistically, we just use it as convenient shorthand to avoid talking about other things that are observable empirically, yet unsettling because they don’t fit neatly into ideological baskets, those baskets be just as much shorthand as well. The word “society” comes to mind. Oh, well. Those Detroit Tigers are the suck, huh? Oh, wait. Repeal the 9th Amendment!

  25. Metulj Says:

    Sorry, Uncle said that.

  26. SayUncle Says:

    Oh, wait. Repeal the 9th Amendment!

    Well, we don’t seem to be using it.

  27. Joseph A. Nagy, Jr. Says:

    I would like to see the 17th Amendment abolished as well as the 16th. I think we could possibly get the former if we got rid of the latter. Unfortunately Ron Paul won’t be getting the Republican nod unless the delegates don’t vote as they are pledged to (which could happen, I imagine, however unlikely it would be) and I doubt he’ll do well as an Independent and I’m not really counting on any of the LP prospects to make much of an impact (I think Nolan was perhaps the LPs best chance at a presidency within the next couple of decades).

    Although if Paul and Nolan were to team up, that would be a very interesting campaign indeed.

  28. the pawnbroker Says:

    posted in responses at tam’s:

    didn’t carpetbaggers play into this passage? if the senators were to advocate for the (national interests) of the home state, what method could ensure which home state they advocated, since the state governments had become concentrated self-interests themselves, as they were riddled with carpetbaggers too (esp. in the south; in the 40-50 years after the CW the vacuum in southern statehouses sucked in a lot of riff raff with a lot of agenda)?

    so popular election of senators was seen as the method of returning more say-so to locals…as you say, not the best outcome when commoners have a hand on the pursestrings of the treasury, but was it better for outside vested interests to vote their proxies?

    yes, on a national scale, it would have been better to leave it alone to improve through attrition…the original document was imperfect, and the first amendments were clarifiers…then after a point it was more about attempts to usurp the amazing insight and enlightened self interest that those framers embodied…

    leave well enough alone…wise words then and now…jtc

  29. tgirsch Says:

    For whatever little it’s worth, unfunded mandates aren’t generally related to pork. Pork is specifically federal dollars going into a local constituency. The unfunded mandates are generally some sort of regulatory requirement, and I don’t know that directly elected senators are any friendlier to those than appointed/confirmed senators would be.

  30. Roberta X Says:

    …Except, tgirsch, that Senators appointed by their respective State legislatures would be directly answerable to the entity (the State Legislature) that will have to dig into its (constituent’s) pockets to pay for the (Federally) unfunded mandate.

    As for pure democracy, it is contemptible; it’s the law of the lynch mob! After all, if the majority of my neighbors think I should be taken out and hung, in a democracy, they’d be right! Classical democratic Athens committed this sort of atrocity regularly and was frequently cited as an example of the abuses to which democracy is particularly susceptible. Just because 4 out of 5 dentists chew Trident doesn’t mean I should be requred to.

  31. tgirsch Says:

    Except, tgirsch, that Senators appointed by their respective State legislatures would be directly answerable to the entity (the State Legislature) that will have to dig into its (constituent’s) pockets to pay for the (Federally) unfunded mandate.

    I still don’t see how that makes a difference. In cases like that, the “enemy” isn’t the people of your state, it’s other states, and the people of those states. Such mandates pass because they’re popular on a nationwide basis, even though it may adversely effect your state. I’m frankly having a very hard time imagining the sort of unfunded mandate that State X’s senator would vote for if he were elected by the people, but against if he were appointed by the state.

    As for pure democracy, it is contemptible

    Undoubtedly true, but if that’s the sense in which she was using the term “democracy,” then whether senators are directly-elected or state-appointed makes little difference. If you were talking about directly-elected judges, that would be another matter. (Some states actually do this, by the way, and it’s a horrible idea…)