Thursday, April 15, 2010

Solutions, Not Bombs

Via Flopping Aces, here's a column from Walter Williams about the extremes we could go to protest the bailouts and handouts that are the hallmarks of the Age of Obama. While pissy liberals like to threaten to move to Canada when public policy does not go in their direction, Williams is even more radical. In the wake of the health care reform bill, he wants full bore secession: Parting Company With Those Neglecting the Constitution

The problem that our nation faces is very much like a marriage where one partner has broken, and has no intention of keeping, the marital vows. Of course, the marriage can remain intact and one party tries to impose his will on the other and engage in the deviousness of one-upsmanship. Rather than submission by one party or domestic violence, a more peaceable alternative is separation.

I believe we are nearing a point where there are enough irreconcilable differences between those Americans who want to control other Americans and those Americans who want to be left alone that separation is the only peaceable alternative. Just as in a marriage, where vows are broken, our human rights protections guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution have been grossly violated by a government instituted to protect them. The Democrat-controlled Washington is simply an escalation of a process that has been in full stride for at least two decades. There is no evidence that Americans who are responsible for and support constitutional abrogation have any intention of mending their ways.

Secession. Now that is one way to deal with our problems. Of course, it would immediately start another civil war (the previous one having established the precedent that states can't secede), plus who is going to secede? While there may be Red States and Blue States, there really isn't a regional bloc that could secede such that a viable nation would be born.

Still, it is a real problem that there are millions of Americans who see the purpose of government as looting the treasury to benefit "society" (AKA Democrat constituencies) and to seize and redistribute - spread it around, if you will - wealth. It's also a real problem that there are so many in the political elite who clearly view the Constitution as an impediment, rather than a compact for governance.

Worse, if you are from an economically self-sufficient state like Texas, I'll bet it can be more than a little disconcerting to look at the flailing of Democrat-controlled states like New York, Illinois, and California and realize that those losers would run for a bailout if they could get one, and any such bailout would come out of the hide of more prosperous states. And, regardless of your state's governing philosophy, I think anyone would look at the impending budget busting health care mandates with great trepidation.

So what's a state to do if secession is out of the question? At least 18 states have brought lawsuits against Obamacare, but these suits have an uphill battle due to the expansive manner in which the courts have interpreted the commerce clause, plus you will have a hard time finding a judge willing to overturn Obamacare. And I don't find that too satisfying to contemplate either. Since the Sixties, it's been too easy for disgruntled partisans, at least on the Left, to go to court and try to disrupt or overturn legislation they don't like. I can't say I like the idea of conservatives resorting to the same behavior. Not only that, can you imagine the reaction if Obamacare was declared unconstitutional by a 5-4 vote? Not only would there be riots in the streets, but any such court action would be seen as constitutionally suspect as the legislative process that brought forth Obamacare in the first place.

So does that mean we throw up our hands? Of course not. But, conservatives need to acknowledge that we face problems greater than trying to win an election in November 2010. It's easy enough to say "repeal Obamacare," but how likely is that, given the state of the federal government right now. No matter what happens in November, Obama will still be president. God knows what the state of play will be in 2012, but he will always have incumbency in his favor. The fact is that for at least two, and possibly six, years there will be no one around who can sign the repeal of Obamacare into law. That's just a sad reality. And, even if there were no Obama, there would still be plenty of Pleistocene congressional Dems who will happily demagogue and delay any repeal effort. In my darker moments, I despair of any federal solution to the Obamacare mess.

There is a way, however, for states to repeal Obamacare with little participation from Washington. Article V allows two-thirds of the states to apply to Congress to propose a constitutional convention to propose amendments that can then be ratified either by the legislatures of three-fourths of the states or a convention of three-fourths of the states. In other words, 33 states can apply to Congress to call a convention to propose an amendment that would effectively declare Obamacare unconstitutional; and, if 37 states ratify the amendment, it's the law of the land! Heck, we've already got people working on the language of the amendment. I give you Randy Barnett's Federalism Restoration Amendment

Section 1. The legislative power of Congress shall not be construed to include mandating, regulating, or prohibiting the private health insurance of any person not an employee of the federal government.

Section 2. Whenever two thirds of the Governors of the several States concur, they may rescind any law or regulation of the United States, or they may propose amendments to this Constitution, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States.

So the states could take the lead in amending the Constitution. Although the states would need to apply to Congress, I think it's safe to say that a Congress that ignored the will of two-thirds of the states would be a Congress that is not long for this world.

Can this really be done? Well, right now, there are 24 Republican governors (yeah, yeah. the application has to be made by state legislatures, but the governors will need to be involved as a motivating force at the very least). But, look at the following states with Democratic governors and tell me you can't imagine these seats being occupied by Republicans within a short time:

New Hampshire
North Carolina

I didn't even know there were any Democrats in Wyoming! Then, there are Blue States like New York, Michigan, Illinois, and Massachusetts which have elected Republicans in the recent past, and which show every sign of getting tired of their progressive overlords.

Of course, nothing's ever easy. Right this second, Democrats are firmly in control of a majority of state legislatures. Here's the party control in the upper houses of state legislatures (images via wikipedia):

And here's party control in state lower houses:

Not a lot of red there.

Now at lot of things would need to break in the direction of conservatives; but still, in a couple of election cycles... we could have enough Republicans in state office to get this process started, assuming Obamacare and our impending social democratic state prove to be as ruinous as promised. And that really would be the motivating force. A constitutional convention convened by the states would be the closest you could get to secession and still be operating within the bounds of the Constitution. It really would be a Third American Revolution. But, I'm afraid that the entrenched forces in favor of further social democracy can only be defeated by such a display of overwhelming constitutional force.


  1. Americans need to learn the facts about the Article V convention option in OUR Constitution; learn them at

  2. For reference. The states have submitted over 700 applications for a convention call. They can be read at