Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Tea Partiers to watch out for: Tim Bridgewater and the 17th amendment

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 6/2/1

The New York Times editorialist, David Firestone, starts with the patronizing “So you Still Want to Choose Your Senator,” in his warning to the rubes about the dangers of a free republic . And he wants his regular readers to know that along with Ron and Rand Paul, Sarah Palin, Rick Perry and Nikki Haley, there is another Tea Partier to watch out for: Tim Bridgewater, who is running for Senate in Utah. Marc Ambinder of The Atlantic, blogging on “ . . . the slow mainstreaming of wacky ideas” takes the same patronizing tone. They join in with Joe McGinness, Frank Rich, Ruth Marcus, Tina Fey, Katie Couric and the host of others at the bar at Elaine’s and the Café des Artists, to their new role here as the girls who hang with Cordelia to dominate the halls at Sunnydale High. They went into toxic shock when Sarah Palin transferred in. (So you want to be a cheerleader?) She shoots moose and eats them in sandwiches. And she has one of those tasteless Garfield calendar on her desk! (Marcus).

“Few members of the Tea Party have endorsed Rand Paul’s misgivings about the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but a surprising number are calling for the repeal of an older piece of transformative legislation: the 17th Amendment,” writes Firestone.
Allowing Americans to choose their own senators seems so obvious that is it hard to remember that the nation’s founders didn’t really trust voters with the job, he says, and any “clear-eyed appraisal of today’s dysfunctional states legislatures - should make the idea unthinkable.”

Prior to 1913 when the 17th amendment was passed, the people were given the right to elect House members. But senators were supposed to be a check on popular rowdiness and factionalism. They were appointed by state legislatures.

Bridgewater says that with the arrival of the 17th amendment we have seen that special interest groups have heavily infiltrated the Senate. The longer a senator is in office, the more his re-election depends on special interests’ money rather than on the voters of his state.

This reawakens the classic debate between Hamilton and Jefferson; globalism and regionalism. Instead of the continuing undergraduate snide aside, won’t it soon be time for the op-ed people at the NYTs to ask somebody smart and knowledgeable like Sarah Barringer Gordon what the repeal of the 17th amendment and other states rights initiatives could potential mean?

Gerald Celente of Trends 2000 says the Tea Parties are just the beginning of a revolution which will rival the revolution of the Founding Fathers. Would the United States come to resemble pre-Civil War America? Would we be seeing in America say 20, 30 years from now a Buddhist Vermont, an Anglican Virginia, the Baptists an official presence In Texas, a free-standing Mormon Republic made up of Utah, Arizona and Colorado and maybe a red neck/hippie/Native American/neo-druid tree-worshiping thing come into the country up there in Alaska?

The questions rising from the Tea Party movement are: What is the purpose of the federal government? In light of the BP situation, Katrina, the government bailouts, Obama’s unfunded health care plan and the ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, is it fulfilling its purpose? Is it still capable of fulfilling the purposes designed post-Civil War and in the Progressive Era? Is the Hamilton model we are in obsolete? Is the present situation the best business model for the times? What are the alternatives?