National Politics Comments (1)
Sen. Zell Miller (D-GA) says that the 17th Amendment is the cause of many of our problems at the federal level:
We live in perilous times. The Leader of the Free World’s power has become so neutered he cannot, even with the support of a majority of the Senate, appoint highly qualified individuals endorsed by the American Bar to a federal court.
He cannot conduct a war without being torn to shreds by partisans with their eyes set not on the defeat of our enemy but on the defeat of our President.
The U.S. Senate has become just one big, bad, ongoing joke, held hostage by special interests and so impotent an eighteen wheeler truck loaded with Viagra would do no good.
You see, the reformers of the early 1900′s killed it dead and cremated the body when they allowed for the direct election of U.S. senators.
Up until then, U.S. senators were chosen by state legislatures, as Madison and Hamilton had so carefully crafted.
Direct elections of senators, as good as that sounds, allowed Washington’s special interests to call the shots, whether it’s filling judicial vacancies or issuing regulations.
[. . . .]
So, having now jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge of political reality, before I hit the water and go ‘splat,’ I have introduced a bill that would repeal the 17th Amendment. I use the word ‘would,’ not ‘will,’ because I know it doesn’t stand a chance of getting even a single co-sponsor, much less a single vote beyond my own.
Way to go, Senator Miller!
[UPDATE: I see lots of hits coming in here because of Sen. Miller's speech at the Republican National Convention and I've been asked why I support having Legislatures appoint Senators again.
The reason is simple. I remember what one of my college government professors said about the arrangement established by our forefathers. He told us that Senators were selected by the several state legislatures in order to remove them from the normative pressures that are attendent upon those who must return specifically to the people for re-election. By having the Legislatures select Senators and elongating their terms they have given them a greater degree of freedom than that found in the House of Representatives. This should result in the ability to resist legislation created by the House of Representatives, a body which must return to the people every two years for re-election.
Personally, I like that system and I would, indeed like to see us return to it.]
MickC @ April 28, 2004