Mike Lee Doesn’t Want Your Vote

Our best hope in the Clone Wars showed up on CNN to disown his potential constituents:

Utah Republican Mike Lee said Friday that he favors changing the way senators are elected, even as he seeks his own seat in that body.

Speaking on CNN’s John King, USA, Lee said that the 17th Amendment was a mistake, and that while he wouldn’t focus on repealing it, he does “think that we lost something when we adopted it.”

The 17th Amendment established the direct election of senators by the popular vote. Senators had previously been elected by state legislatures.

We thought we were done with this issue after Glenn Beck helpfully explained that you could use one of those rare 1913 wall phones to call your local politico about your senator, who would pass along your complaints to other politicos at the statehouse, who would then laugh in your face exercise their solemn constitutional reponsibility to put a different crook in office recall your senator from D.C. for a severe tongue-lashing.

But no, it’s not going away. Which raises the question: Where the hell did it come from?

Our hunt begins, as most things do, with the Idaho Republican Party, understandably bitter that their electorate would send a restroom stall splasher to the World’s Greatest Deliberative Body. The Famous Potatoheads have voted Repeal into their party platform, and local commenters provide some insight into their motives:

And i assure you if there were no 17th amendment, there would be no obamacare.

Well! That was enlightening!

We’re skipping over a lot of Constitutional theory there, of course, because really, we’re more interested in why this issue would suddenly turn up now, instead of why it would turn up at all.

So let’s pose a working hypothesis: Folks want to repeal the Seventeenth Amendment because the Sheriff is near. This would suggest that nobody thought of Repeal until on or about January 20, 2009. That seems to be the date when, to update another chestnut from the era, human character changed.

This would also explain why Louie Gohmert was so quick to embrace it.

Or why George Will got on the Repeal bandwagon as early as February 22, 2009.

Although it doesn’t explain why John Dean raised the issue on September 24, 2002:

Returning selection of senators to state legislatures might be a cause that could attract both modern progressive and conservatives. For conservatives, obviously, it would be a return to the system envisioned by the framers. For progressives — who now must appreciate that direct elections have only enhanced the ability of special interests to influence the process — returning to the diffusion of power inherent in federalism and bicameralism may seem an attractive alternative, or complement, to campaign finance reform.

Heck, you can trace Repeal chitchat back to at least 1996, if you care to:

If there was once cause for concern in the muckraking stories of industrial tycoons and railroad barons buying Senate influence through contributions to the state legislators, then the largess of lobbyists and activists that is today handed openly and directly to Senate candidates (overwhelmingly in favor of incumbents) should be a cause for outright alarm.

Then again, we found this background through the very helpful Campaign to Restore Federalism, domain registered September 28, 2007, by the otherwise unfindable “Merrie Center for Ethics and Politics”, run by the very findable John W. Truslow, III. Who, as it happens, is not averse to including a link to LewRockwell.com among his major sources.

Even thwarted duellist Zell Miller got into the game, proposing a Repeal amendment on April 28, 2004. We link here to WorldNetDaily’s account because we’re mischievous.

Still, it’s hard to find any popular discussion of the Seventeenth Amendment prior to January 2009. January 24, 2009, to be precise:

Now that Gov. David Paterson of New York has completed his operatic quest to fill Hillary Clinton’s Senate seat and Roland Burris, chosen by the embattled Illinois governor to succeed Barack Obama, has made it past Capitol Hill security, we can safely conclude that appointing senators might not be such a good idea.

That would be David Segal, “a Rhode Island state representative and an analyst for FairVote, a voting rights advocacy group,” writing in the New York Times.

Segal’s take, reflecting his Krist Novoselic-chaired organization, is that the Seventeenth Amendment left a gaping loophole: Governor-appointed replacements of prematurely disappeared senators, accounting for almost a quarter of vacancies since 1917.

All vacancies. Including senators later properly elected to their posts.

Maybe it’s just coincidence that three of the four names mentioned in his opening paragraph refer to folks of the Near Sheriff persuasion. But it strikes us as, well, odd that if senatorial appointments have been so frequent in the past nine decades, and if Repeal itself has been a deep-background issue for at least sixteen years (Hello, University of Oregon Law Review! Go Ducks!), that it would suddenly hit the boiling point now.

Especially among folks who are vociferous in their refusal to accept the landslide election of a Near Sheriff to the Oval Office.

We’ll have to leave our evidence circumstantial, however, and our hypothesis unproven. Our gut tells us we’re right, but that damn church bell keeps distracting us.


Ding ding ding ding.

Of course, this would change if suddenly all the state legislatures went Demrat or Near Sheriff then they would DEMAND that the 17th be put back in.

But weren’t these the same dumbasses who demanded that they change of your more important rules ( the Preznit must be born here) to allow some Austrian born muscle bound shit heel “actor” to run for Preznit after his victorious campaign over Mr Spacely, the late Gary Coleman and a porn star? Why yes they were that is till they discovered that “acting” wasn’t the same as governing and that Mr Blackhead was really an impotent imbecile who had no ideas to pump Kaliphonya up.

God! Are these people still here?

Senators weren’t directly elected in imitation of the House of Lords (yes/no?) and to more easily keep power in the hands of the large land-owners instead of letting the hoi polloi seize it. A strong central unified government was necessary to defeat the English though the only way that could be achieved was to allow slave states to remain slave states. Which is what started the endless yappiting about states’ rights and federalism. Now will they all STFU? Interestingly, it looks like the Conservatives made a deal with the Liberals when forming Britain’s current coalition government that elections will become proportional and the House of lords will be directly elected instead of appointed.

Oh and also, fuck Mike Lee. I piss on his sombrero.

I think the GOP would happily throw out every amendment except the Second. There’s no need to change a word those supermen at the Constitutional Convention put in except somehow they inexplicably forgot to ensure that everyone needs to be armed.

There was an excellent article from Harpers a few years back making the case for abolishing the senate altogether:


@Joe: They have abolished themselves as an effective deliberative body.

The Idaho GOP Platform is a teabagger manifesto. The inconsistencies between platitudes and recommended courses of action are many and marvelous. Their libertarian dreams would pave the way for an oligarchy (but, hey, who wouldn’t want to be an oligarch).


I love how they hate government spending but spend a whole section praising INL as the largest “private employer” in the state. Apparently, if you take government cash (from the Dept. of Energy) and skim 20-30% off the top for “management”, you’re now a happy little capitalist instead of a nasty socialist. Wow.

Also, has anybody ever seen a sensible exposition of *how* exactly outsourcing government functions to private industry is supposed to somehow make things “better”? Every example I’ve looked at resulted in either massive reductions in service, offshoring jobs (just imagine – your 911 operator could soon be in Bangalore! :) and/or a total failure to reduce costs. Maybe I missed some that actually worked.

@al2o3cr: OTOH, if you had an important package to send, to whom would you rather entrust it: the US Postal Service or Fed Ex?

@Dodgerblue: Based on recent experience: FedEx for domestic, USPS for international.

T/J guitar porn interlude: I have one of these , vintage 1946, with a DeArmond floater on it. The neck feels like it was carved to fit my hand. Bliss.

@Dodgerblue: I think the USPS is much maligned. Personally I think it’s a great service that is much cheaper than in other countries I know.

@FlyingChainSaw: Maybe at one point. He endorsed Benedetto guitars, see http://benedetto-guitars.com/images/players_bucky.jpg, a very high-quality handmade archtop.


That’s highly dependent on what it is. For a letter, I’d go USPS without any hesitation – even with add-ons like Registered Mail etc it’s still cheaper than the commercial services. If I was *personally* shipping a package, I’d probably have to consider which was the most cost-effective for the particular size/weight/destination. On the other hand, I’d likely pick the commercial services for a business client (ecommerce, etc) since they have much better web APIs.

Mind you, the UPS/FedEx vs. USPS split provides a great example of the dynamics of private vs. government enterprise – with private enterprise optimizing for the common case (I’m sure Amazon gets a great rate, given how much they ship) while adding additional cost to the edge cases (UPS, for instance, charges an additional $2/package for home delivery to “rural” zip codes).

You know that Larry Craig is still on the NRA Board of Directors? His wide stance (or “personal issues”as one gun blogger called it) did not derail his reelection this year. Also on the Board: Ted Nugent, Bob Barr, Karl Malone and 21 other people.

@Dodgerblue: Our default shipping method for the rare books we sell is USPS Priority Mail. We only use FedEx for customers who request it. We’ve had very few problems.

oh good, everyone knows. the way i have to get things here is to order on line and have it shipped to friends/fam in miami where i pick it up and take it to UPS.
the best way to go. been meaning to tell everyone, glad y’all know.

the former prime minister of the T&C, michael missick, is running for re-election while under indictment for massive corruption.

/scratching head

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