Sunday, February 22, 2009

Senate Reform

Russ Feingold wants to prevent another "Burris Moment" by amending the constitution to make it mandatory for states to hold special elections to replace Senators who leave office before their six-year terms are over. George Will counters that this is more progressive overreach and yet another display of Leftist disdain for the Constitution's state-federal division of powers. 

Will also puckishly suggests that we would be better off repealing the 17th Amendment and returning the power to select Senators to state legislatures. Will, who has lived in DC long enough to know better, seems to think that Senators will revert to their true status as envisioned by the Founders - that of "ambassadors" for the several states, who would be in DC to protect their respective states from federal depredations. Right, or they will be little more than emissaries instructed to not return without 100,000 hogsheads of pork barrel spending. 

A better solution for the Senate "problem" would  be to institute term limits for Senators. It is a crying shame that an effective President is forcibly retired after just two terms, while Senatorial deadwood like Strom Thurmond, Daniel Akaka, Ted Stevens, and Robert Byrd are returned to office decade after decade for no better reasons than inertia and the power of seniority. I'll even be generous and grant Senators a "limit" of 4 terms. That's 24 years; more than enough time to build up enough seniority to make a difference. 

For those who say Senators need more time to get "experience," I say, go read "Master of the Senate." LBJ entered the Senate in 1948 and had enough "experience" within 2 years that he was running parliametary rings around Old Bulls like Robert Taft and Richard Russell. Most Senators either enter the Senate after a decade in the House, or after holding state-wide office like governor or attorney-general. They don't need any more experience than they already have. But, we The People need a better manner to ensure the Senate is regularly infused with fresh blood. 

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