Friday, September 10, 2010

Repeal Fever

For a group that claims they want to return the power to the people, the Teabaggers have come up with a rather odd way of showing it.

A relatively obscure amendment to the U.S. Constitution that lets voters directly choose U.S. senators has become an issue in a few congressional races around the country including at least two in Florida.

On Wednesday, freshman U.S. Rep. Suzanne Kosmas of New Smyrna Beach, who is one of the most heavily targeted Democratic incumbents, began running her first TV ad of the campaign, targeting Republican challenger Sandy Adams, who favors repealing the amendment.

”Sandy Adams has some strange ideas,” the ad says. ”Adams would take away our right to vote and let Tallahassee politicians pick our senators? Suzanne Kosmas has different priorities.”

The ad also includes an audio recording of a radio interview in which Adams, R-Oviedo, is asked if there are constitutional amendments she’d favor repealing, and quickly answers the 16th and 17th. The 16th Amendment said that Congress could enact an income tax without having to apportion it based on state population, and was meant to clarify its ability to do so after a court case in the 1890s.

But the call for repeal of the 17th Amendment has gotten more considerable attention this summer with several congressional candidates, spurred on by a couple of conservative intellectuals and some tea party movement supporters, calling for its repeal, although in at least two cases Republican candidates have backtracked after saying they support removing it from the constitution.

The rationale is that the 17th Amendment wasn’t part of the original Constitution and therefore anything new since 1789 is bad. Hmm. So I guess they’re also in favor of African-Americans being worth 3/5 of a person, poll taxes, slavery, women not having the right to vote, taxes based on state size (which means Florida would get screwed while Wyoming and Alaska pay nothing), citizenship being at the whim of whatever political party happens to be in power, and leaving the selection of the representation of the states in the United States Senate up to the state legislature. What other relics of the 18th century would they like to bring back? Smallpox?

These geniuses might want to read up on exactly why the 17th Amendment was ratified in the first place. Senate seats were being bought and sold on the floor of any number of state houses like hot dogs. Corruption was rampant, and it was the equivalent of the Tea Party movement in the beginning of the 20th century — the populists — who finally got it passed in 1912. Now they want to turn it back over to the same people whose biggest accomplishment during the last session in Tallahassee was voting on nine specialty license plates, including one honoring surfing.

Do these people even think before they open their mouths?