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If Only the Right Would Leave the Constitution Alone

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For the better part of the last couple of decades, conservatives took a fairly aggressive approach to constitutional amendments: they wanted several more. Indeed, by the mid-point of his presidency, George W. Bush was on record supporting at least six different proposed amendments to the Constitution: (1) prohibiting flag burning; (2) victims' rights; (3) banning abortion; (4) requiring a balanced budget; (5) prohibiting same-sex marriage; and (6) allowing state-endorsed prayer in public schools. As a wise blogger noted at the time, Bush "really seems to think the Constitution is just a rough draft."

But that was several years ago, and the right's approach has shifted. Conservatives no longer prioritize adding new amendments to the Constitution; they now believe it's time to start repealing some of the old ones.

We talked last month about the growing demands among Tea Partiers to repeal the 17th amendment -- the constitutional provision that empowers the electorate to choose their own senators, rather than state legislatures doing it, as the Constitution originally mandated. Zaid Jilani noted one right-wing congressman who agrees, and wants to go even further.

Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) has been touring his northeast Georgia district as part of the Republican Party's "America Speaking Out" tour, discussing his ideas with his constituents. During a stop in Athens, Georgia, the congressman revealed some of his more radical ideas about where he wants to take the country. At one point, Broun told a constituent that Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson "started this process of socializing America" by passing the 16th and 17th amendments and endorsed repealing both of them.

Note, Broun wasn't ambiguous about his intentions. He conceded it would be "a long process," but said he wants both amendments "to be repealed fully." (The 16th amendment, by the way, created a progressive federal income tax. Nevada's Sharron Angle has also called for its repeal.)

This is becoming more and more common. On CNN yesterday, Utah's Mike Lee, the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate this year, called the 17th Amendment "a mistake," and though he doesn't think repeal is realistic, Lee is on record supporting the idea of repeal.

What's more, remember that the right has also targeted the 14th Amendment for its language mandating birthright citizenship for Americans. Some conservatives -- including Republicans Rand Paul (Ky.), Rep. Duncan Hunter (Calif.), and Louie Gohmert (Texas) -- have suggested an additional amendment to "modify" this language may be necessary.

The Constitutional Accountability Center's Elizabeth Wydra recently noted, "It is encouraging that so many Americans are now discussing and debating the Constitution. It is, after all, the People's document. But before Tea Party repeal efforts gather steam, 'We the People' should take a sober look at the text, history, and principles behind the amendments the Tea Party would like to do away with. Amending the Constitution is not an easy task, and generations of Americans poured blood, sweat, and treasure into adopting the amendments that Tea Party activists would now like to repeal."

If this were limited to right-wing activists, it'd be easier to dismiss. Alas, Republican officeholders and several statewide candidates are echoing the same ridiculous demands.

Given the alleged reverence for the Constitution in far-right circles, the irony is rich.

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/

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Actually it is the left wing democrats that are cutting pieces outof it that do not fit their agendas.

trying to add interpretation to the written word that is way out of context.

Republicans are for using the constitution as it stands; this isn;t saying that there are not some right wing nutsos that are not trying to bend it to their will as well.

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The 17th amendment by far is one of the worst ones ever passed. It created a complete democracy and ultimately eliminated the Representative republic that we had... The 12th amendment needs to be repealed as well. The people are not supposed to elect the President nor their Senators... Huge mistakes.

If the people are electing all 3 sectors there, then you might as well do away with 2 of them, because ultimately you're going to end up with one part in power more often than not these days, which is dangerous in itself.

The whole point of Senators being chosen by the state legislatures, was to put 2 people in office that would look out for each individual state. It makes it so the democratically elected house, doesn't go overboard with a majority rule and ultimately there's a reality of whether or not a bill is good for the states or not.. The senate is the ultimate stalemate for bills before they reach the President because they would tear it down in how it benefits. Only when it benefits each state or the vast majority of states, would a bill actually pass.


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Paul, it sounds like you support the Communistic approach of government over democracy. So you would rather have some Blagojevich picking senators would you?

I will agree though that selecting the president is a little silly. However, for that to change, the US would have to admit that the system of government that is now predominately used by second and third world countries, needs to change. In other words, not going to happen period.


According to the Internal Revenue Service, the 400 richest American households earned a total of $US138 billion, up from $US105 billion a year earlier. That's an average of $US345 million each, on which they paid a tax rate of just 16.6 per cent.

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so steven, how about that second amendment?

How about the first? The libs in this country have taken that and twisted it way out of context and well beyond its actual intention - freedom to voice ones political view. Now it means things like permission to do whatever you want, regardless of the consequences for others. How about separation of church and state? Actually that one doesn't even exist outside some letter.

Edited by Booyah!

According to the Internal Revenue Service, the 400 richest American households earned a total of $US138 billion, up from $US105 billion a year earlier. That's an average of $US345 million each, on which they paid a tax rate of just 16.6 per cent.

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so steven, how about that second amendment?

I have yet to hear of any elected politician call for the removal of the 2nd Amendment from the Constitution. But even there was one, there has never been a widespread embrace among the Democratic Party to do so. The Right, however, believe that everything in the Constitution is up for debate, except the 2nd Amendment.

Edited by El Buscador

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I have yet to hear of any elected politician call for the removal of the 2nd Amendment from the Constitution. But even there was one, there has never been a widespread embrace among the Democratic Party to do so. The Right, however, believe that everything in the Constitution is up for debate, except the 2nd Amendment.

Actually the only debating I have recently heard fro the right regarding the constitution (besides the 2nd amendment) is the defence of the twisting and cherry picking the left is currently doing.

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