The Other McCain

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Convention Of States: ’15 Surprise Story?

Posted on | December 29, 2014 | 77 Comments

by Smitty

Mark Levin, radio talking head:

On Thursday, December 4, the Convention of States Project sponsored the breakfast session at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) meeting in Washington, D.C. Convention of States Project legal board member, nationally syndicated radio talk show host, and Constitutional expert, Mark Levin, spoke on behalf of Article V and the project.

I was just watching The Daily Ledger on One America News Network and was intrigued by a guest who seemed to think that, with 3 states having applied for a Convention, and the results of the November mid-terms being what they were, the remaining 31 States needed for the magic 34 might be obtainable in 2015.

This is deeply interesting. As an opinion, I’m about 60% in favor of an Article V convention. The Vichy GOP are  useless, and that’s the good news  about the status quo. But I 40% think the Article V skeptics are quite correct: the enterprise is fraught with peril. I do happen to think that Farris and the Convention of States folks are putting in the time and playing it straight.

This is going to be a topic to follow up on at CPAC 2015, indeed.


77 Responses to “Convention Of States: ’15 Surprise Story?”

  1. Art Deco
    December 30th, 2014 @ 1:33 pm

    The 16th needs to be more concise such as ”We do hereby do repeal the 16th amendment”.

    No, it does not, unless you’re planning to construct some sort of retro-libertarian order. That’s even less likely than a useful Convention, and certainly not desirable.

  2. Art Deco
    December 30th, 2014 @ 1:37 pm

    The 17th altered the fundamental balance in our federal system.

    It did nothing of the sort, nor is there any trajectory of policy that can be fairly attributed to altering the means of electing the Senate. You replaced men whose skill set was building relationships in state legislatures with men whose skill set is electioneering. We’ve had 80 years of ‘co-operative federalism’ and 50 years of Lyndon Johnson’s more intrusive variant. Pressure from the state legislatures to replace categorical grants with general revenue sharing has been difficult to detect. They are not defending their prerogatives.

  3. Walter Mow
    December 30th, 2014 @ 1:40 pm

    Mitch, being a RINO, will effect any and all nefarious actions to forestall any movement that could lead to a Article V convention. He fears a convention as it will be beyond his control and that of his followers.
    My preference being that the new senators bring in enough votes to kick Mitch out of his leadership role!!!

  4. K-Bob
    December 30th, 2014 @ 1:40 pm

    I’m kind of fearful that this time, it will be a federal vs states war, and the feds have all the groovy toys.

    Also, we have the fun of al Qaeda and #HandsUpPleaseLoot types who would love to take advantage of the rising conflict to try and steal some of the more MD types of W.

    Fun times ahead.

  5. K-Bob
    December 30th, 2014 @ 1:41 pm

    I’d love to see that!

  6. K-Bob
    December 30th, 2014 @ 1:45 pm

    You are ignoring a rather massive problem here.

    When was the last time your state senator met with the Legislature in your state to ask them how he or she should vote on something in Washington?

    This is self evident. The framers gave us a system where the states had representation in Washington. The Seventeenth took that away.

    Nothing else that has happened since the ratification of the Constitution has had as much impact on the way our federal system works.

  7. K-Bob
    December 30th, 2014 @ 1:51 pm

    Not an amendment at all. It was simply the draft of the constitution (literally, the entire makeup of) the United States. The convention was called to address that topic, specifically, after a prior convention (The Annapolis Convention), where the states established some major complaints about the Articles.

    But yeah, the Articles were a band-aid to give the Confederation the ability to pay war debts and float the Navy. Congress was almost powerless under the Articles.

  8. Adobe_Walls
    December 30th, 2014 @ 1:55 pm

    How do we keep the left out of the equation? That is the absolute predicate for a successful convention.
    Armed conflict, like our war for independence?
    Those Who Are No Longer Our Countrymen.

  9. Adobe_Walls
    December 30th, 2014 @ 2:00 pm

    The worst possible path to regain liberty is to do nothing, which is what we’re doing now. The next worse course is doing nothing good.

  10. Adobe_Walls
    December 30th, 2014 @ 2:44 pm

    No one knows or at least very few agree on what Article V allows. Who or what gets to determine what Article V is and is not allowed to do? If an Article V convention meets, adopts an amendment rescinding one or more articles and the required number of states ratify, what will those opposed do, go to the SCOTUS for redress?

    Do you really believe ”basic contract law” trumps ”The will of the people” as expressed by the congress, or an Article V convention, the Supreme Court or a SWAT team?
    No matter what people thought that ”convention held in Philadelphia was expressly called to propose”, there were many who were unpleasantly surprised to find that it had scrapped the Articles entirely. But they didn’t rebel. No matter how divided those people were politically, they believed that the other side were men of honor and had the peoples best interests a heart. Do we believe that now? Do we even believe that about our side?

  11. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    December 30th, 2014 @ 2:54 pm

    Don’t count out your birth state in dope delegations!

  12. Adobe_Walls
    December 30th, 2014 @ 3:00 pm

    The recall provision would be used every time the state legislature changed hands. Granted that might not happen as often one might think but it’s possible 50 times every two years.

  13. Adobe_Walls
    December 30th, 2014 @ 3:07 pm

    We’ve had 80 years of steadily diminishing federalism followed by 50 years of rapidly diminishing federalism. In what forum would the states defend their prerogatives against federal encroachment?

  14. K-Bob
    December 30th, 2014 @ 3:16 pm

    Doubtful. There’s tons of stuff that “could” happen that rarely does. For example, the Constitution provides for a convention of the states. Seems like they could meet every year and amend the hell out of things. They don’t.

  15. K-Bob
    December 30th, 2014 @ 3:21 pm

    So fundamental lawlessness is the reason we don’t want to pass any laws? Heard that argument many times. It’s of zero value when discussing approaches to government.

    If you need guarantees in life, you won’t find them in this world.

    The conventions themselves are run by the state legislatures. They have had many of them before. They control the process, and they empower the delegations. This isn’t some thing where radicals just somehow assume control.

    See for example the work already being done to set up how the convention will proceed. See also the states that have already passed resolutions declaring how delegates will perform.

  16. K-Bob
    December 30th, 2014 @ 3:25 pm

    If doing nothing, as we are now, is worst, then it’s most relaxing, prosperous form of worst possible. Looks good!

    No, the worst is letting things continue to spiral out of control and end up with something like Russia today, or much worse. We might be headed for that anyway.

    But we do have one, legal, lawful path to try and avoid all of that. Not taking advantage of it would be an abdication of responsibility.

  17. K-Bob
    December 30th, 2014 @ 3:36 pm

    We need Democrats on board. It’s not about swinging things left or right. It’s about getting the federal system under control. The reason Congress is at its all time low in the polls is because Democrats hate Congress, too. They don’t just hate it for not being leftist enough. They hate it because government isn’t working for the people any more.

    But as to keeping Soros and his band of merry radicals out of the process, it’s the process itself that makes it difficult. Look at congress. Despite the few lunatics that the left sends there (and sadly a few less-than-Jeffersonian republicans as well), they have a great deal of trouble yanking things they way they want. Absent the flat-out lawless way the Pelosi/Reid Congress rammed Obamacare through, most of the time, the radicals are forced to build coalitions and work for years to make headway.

    The convention process is similar. Radicals may show up. But they can only propose their radical amendments, which most delegates will vote against.

    Note also that the state legislatures that send delegates will instruct them on how they may vote. If some delegate becomes bent by Soros money, he or she would be immediately removed for voting against the instructions of their state, and their vote will be nullified as if it never happened.

    It’s not perfect. It’s not the solution anyone really wants. It just happens to be the solution that the framers gave us, and it’s the only one that is as big as the problem.

  18. bittman
    December 30th, 2014 @ 3:45 pm

    I did propose an Amendment to severely limit the power of the President in three specific areas. The one thing I didn’t cover was the obvious need for some automatic enforcement process since we obviously can no longer trust our elected representatives. I don’t think this amendment requires an Article V convention — just Americans who are willing to work to save our country!

  19. Adobe_Walls
    December 30th, 2014 @ 3:48 pm

    ”The states would have to really work against their own….”
    Some of them would do exactly that. Put another way the notion of what’s good for any given state or the union varies greatly within and between the several States. There are numerous ways to characterize them. One would be to divide them into the misery loves company (and other states money) group and the why should we let your f**kups become our f**kups group. I’d put Cali, NY, Illonois, NJ, Mass, Vermont, and Conn in the first group just off the top of my head. Most of the other states probably have a foot in each group as I’m only sure that Texas is firmly in the second group.

  20. bittman
    December 30th, 2014 @ 3:50 pm

    After Cromnibus, I don’t think we could risk a run-away convention.

    I proposed an Amendment targeted to address the power-grabbing Executive Branch for the past 100 years. I omitted a key thing though. The amendment would obviously require an automatic enforcement process since we can no longer trust our elected representatives to discipline or impeach officials from the Executive Branch. An Article V Convention isn’t required for passage of this amendment — only Americans dedicated to saving our Constitution and our country.

  21. Adobe_Walls
    December 30th, 2014 @ 3:58 pm

    We can’t use the constitution to save us, if we can’t save the constitution from us.

  22. K-Bob
    December 30th, 2014 @ 5:43 pm

    We have a run away convention happening now.

    The myth of a runaway convention is something people really need to get rid of. It’s nothing more than a bogeyman. The fact is, the convention must proceed in an orderly fashion because it’s run by state legislatures.

    In what bizarre dream does anyone see state legislatures suddenly moving quickly in aid of helping the convention to run away? Legislatures are slow. The convention depends on them to engage in votes. There is no way to rig the convention to run around the legislatures.

  23. K-Bob
    December 30th, 2014 @ 6:22 pm

    Consider your typical state legislature. With the exception of California, New York, and Florida, maybe a few others, a lot of state legislatures consist of men and women who must keep their day jobs because the pay as a legislator is minimal. Barely reimburses their expenses. Their “power” quotient is pretty low. They spend most of their time “back home” and their kids go to the same schools to which the kids of the people back home attend. So most of these folks are not like your typical Member-Of-Congress. Not even close, even if they see themselves as part of the same class.

    Now, in this great argument, we’re talking about transferring power from DC back to the states.

    So I really don’t see this as a tough sell at all. Your average state pol will be able to do the math all on their own.

    Add to that the fact that the state legislatures are more “red” now than at any time in living memory. This is because people in almost every political group want the federal government controlled. They are afraid Congress has spent us into permanent servitude.

    This is odd, because the left, while pushing for more government in general, are the same ones you see yelling and screaming over how much the individual parts of government are pushing them around, looking at their personal business, and somehow being oppressive (they blame the right for this, but it’s really their push for big government that causes it). They think “the right sorts of people” can get control of things and run government better (this is why they fall for idiot savants like barack, who sound like they are the right sorts of people when they speak in public).

    But by and large, everyone knows, down deep, that things are totally out of control. They just disagree on how we gain control. The good news is that most state-level legislators like the idea of gaining some of that control. So they will generally pull that way, despite their left or right tendencies.

  24. theBuckWheat
    December 30th, 2014 @ 10:35 pm

    One of the roots a wasteful, foolish, intrusive, thuggish, and sometimes tyrannous government is the ease with which it can create almost unlimited amounts of money out of thin air. Near-infinite money buys near-infinite government, and a bureaucracy that is generously funded can entertain an open-ended dream about how to expand its realm.

    Every day more people are coming to the judgment that a carefully organized effort to repair the constitution via the States’ power to propose and ratify amendments poses less risk to our liberty and prosperity than the present trajectory of the federal government and especially the federal bureaucracy whose self-published rules carry the weight of law.

    The first order of business of an Article V Convention must be to limit government’s ability to create and spend near-infinite amounts of money.

  25. Art Deco
    December 31st, 2014 @ 12:00 pm

    Mitch, being a RINO,

    Walter, when you’re the Senate majority leader, a Republican elected official of decades standing, and the American Conservative Union says you vote their way 90% of the time, you get to define what an authentic Republican is, not some random combox denizen. The same applies re John McCain, for those of you who fancy “McCain’s a RINO” is a non-stupid statement.

  26. Art Deco
    December 31st, 2014 @ 12:04 pm

    The ratio of public expenditure to domestic product saw a series of step-wise increases between 1933 and 1974, then hit a plateau at around 0.32. The Obama machine has attempted to effect another stepwise increase with uncertain results. They do not spend unlimited amounts of money.

    And if you fancy a gold standard would be beneficial, a perusal of the economic story of the United States between 1929 and 1933 might be beneficial (or Argentina between 1999 and 2004). Sir Alan Walters, who spent a number of years as the chief of Margaret Thatcher’s brain trust, had this description of advocates of a gold standard back in the day: “crackers”.

  27. Tina Trent
    December 31st, 2014 @ 3:36 pm

    I’m just about 60/40 too — it’s the actions of the activists that are worrying to me. They won’t engage in any discussions or debate, and there is an intense religious drive being encouraged by the official activist leadership. Question anything about the process and you’re morally in the wrong.

    Here’s the quotidian problem: to pass any measure, there will need to be support from a certain number of Democratic Governors and their delegates. And to get that support, the Article V proponents would have to give away something big — a very big horse trade.

    So, we need to talk about what that horse-trade might be. Looking at the activists running the movement, I’m not entirely sure.