Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Repeal the 22nd Amendment, save the 17th

The 17th Amendment lets voters elect US Senators directly.  Prior to that, state legislatures decided who goes to the Senate.  Some conservatives and libertarians have advocated repealing the 17th Amendment in order to increase the power of states.  If Senators knew they had to go back every few years and have state legislators vote to send them back, they wouldn't want to piss off the states by expanding the national government's powers.  It actually makes sense as a method of preserving states' rights.  But I have a better method!

If you've got enough voters to make repeal happen, you've got enough voters to elect politicians who support states' rights and can do so directly, without all the problems that come with introducing a Constitutionally-required electoral middle-man.  This 51% of voters can vote out politicians who don't properly respect states' rights, rather than depending on 51% of legislatures to do the same.

Term limits can be decided similarly.  Instead of slapping a hard limit of 8 years on a Presidency, voters can decide when new blood is required.  I'm all for an argument about whether Obama should be elected for a third term, but voters should at least have the option.  If enough of us think Obama needs to go, whether it's because we believe that two terms is enough or that he's a anti-colonial Marxist, he goes.  If a majority think he should get another term, the nation isn't deprived of four years of what that majority thinks is the way to go.

Why should we let people in 1951 strip us of the right to vote for four more years of Reagan or Clinton (or Bush, I guess...)?  What tremendous insight into the effects of eight versus twelve years in the White House in the 21st century did they possess then that we can't trust 51% of us to recognize now?

Let the voters decide.

1 comment:

Chuck said...

I'm a firm believer that we shouldn't have career politicians i.e. Strom Thurmond. However in this overly saturated polarizing media nation that we have become, I don't trust the populous to not abuse a unlimited termed president. Rather than people being rational and voting for whomever they feel would represent them best, in general they vote for their party and try to have a win for their team. This is how we have become a two party nation. Politicians have realized this and try to show how well they are associated with their team rather than how well they will represent their constituents. If people believe what they are told rather than what they think, I could see a president in office for far too long having too much autority over executive orders and the supreme court.

"Well why can't we make a law against flag burning"
"Because that law would be unconstitutional, but if we change the constitution..."
"Then we could make all sorts of crazy laws!"
"Now you're catching on!"