Monday, November 17, 2008

A Rather Arrogant Suggestion

I will suggest this even though some may consider it out of line for me.

Could we ever amend the Constitution in a manner that would put further limits on Congress? There are always statesmen who will put the interest of the nation ahead of their own political considerations, but if we were to want an amendment for term limits, or a balanced budget, or let's say requiring that the states pay their own congressmen and women as they see fit rather than the federal government, would it pass? Not when 60% of both houses is needed and it restricts the power of the people who make the decision. A handful of real statesmen might do it but not anywhere near enough.

There needs to be a way to amend the Constitution that completely bypasses the politicians. It would need to meet several criteria. It would need to be possible but very difficult. It would require a super-majority of Americans from several viewpoints. In other words it would require much more than a majority decision.

I would like to see the following.

Step 1: The people collect signatures on petitions which must be collected at stations and would require, I don't know, maybe a number of signatures equal to 10 to 25% of the number of people who voted for any presidential candidate in the last election. (Requiring the signatures to be collected at stations would mean that people are putting more thought into it and would also make fraud just a little more difficult.) All who sign them must have proof of citizenship and a valid voter ID which the signature collector must see and verify. The needed number of signatures must be obtained within 180 days in 4/5 of the states. The voter must sign in the same precinct they live in or, in sparsely populated areas, the same county.

Step 2: At least one year after the signatures are collected and verified (the minimum of one year is to allow debate, reflection, and reconsideration) but no more than three years later the amendment shall be included in the general election. In order to pass the vote must meet both of the following conditions: at least 3/5 of the electorate must say yes and it must have a majority say yes in at least 3/4 of the states. (The double super-majority combined with the reflection time would make it quite difficult to pass an amendment thus keeping foolish fads from passing.) If it fails in either respect it does not become part of the Constitution. If successful it officially becomes part of the Constitution when the next New Year officially begins at the nation's capital.

Step 3: If an amendment fails, its supporters may not try again for at least 10 years. (This will prevent the We'll keep trying till we succeed people from making a nuisance of themselves.)

There are things that we need that Congress will never approve of.

Term Limits.

Making it a felony to vote illegally or knowingly register an unqualified voter.

Requiring all campaign funds to be spent in the same state they are collected in and making it illegal for candidates for congress to take funds from sources outside of their district for the house, and outside of their state for the Senate.

We need these and the only way we can get them is to go over the head of Congress and directly amend the Constitution when you have a super-majority willing to do it.


Blogger Chuck said...

I like your amendments. Not a big fan of term limits but this is more for purity, I think we already have them, voting. Good post though.

8:19 PM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

Politicians are constipating our system of government. I'm sure that our Founders never imagined that an American Congress would be such a bunch of scalawags and that voters would be so easily deceived by campaign promises.

I'm not sure about your proposal for Constitutional amendments, though, as it's close to mob democracy, which can be extremely dangerous. My concern is that many Americans, perhaps enough of a majority, would be more interested in pandering to their own entitlements.

I'm feeling very negative these days, I guess.

9:05 PM  
Blogger shoprat said...

AOW that's why it would include a double super-majority and a period of contemplation, to prevent mob rule.

9:07 PM  
Blogger Skip said...

You kknow my theory, I think there should be a three term limit......
4 years in office
4 years in prison
4 years on probation
Baby Bro

10:43 PM  
Blogger Z said...

skip, that is HILarious!

Chuck..why no term limits?
I'm ALL for them and would like to hear considered thoughts on it..thanks.

Shoprat. You need to run for president.

10:49 PM  
Blogger Donald Douglas said...

Interesting, Shoprat. Those are some major changes, and a national referendum process might be looking into a bit more seriously.

7:42 AM  
Blogger Gayle said...

I'm all for term limits too. Unlike "Z", I don't think you should run for president though, Shoprat, because I like you. Too my way of thinking, anyone running for president has to have one or more loose screws! Yes, that includes Republicans too. I don't see how they can put themselves through it. That last election campaign was horrible!

10:56 AM  
Blogger Gayle said...

I'm all for term limits too. Unlike "Z", I don't think you should run for president though, Shoprat, because I like you. Too my way of thinking, anyone running for president has to have one or more loose screws! Yes, that includes Republicans too. I don't see how they can put themselves through it. That last election campaign was horrible!

10:56 AM  
Blogger I.H.S. said...

shoprat, enjoyed the post and I agree 100% with the term limits, but I believe it would really take a while to get to that point but I do believe it's possible. Blessings!

10:58 AM  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Since we're talking theory and not necessarily reality:

Job One: BALANCED BUDGET EVERY YEAR. NO authority to spend more than is acquired in revenue.


12:56 PM  
Blogger Ducky's here said...

Let's see, voter fraud is already a felony in most states.

Balanced budget - Eliminate all Keynesian fiscal policies. Cutting off your nose to spite your face but that's the far right wing way.

5:18 PM  
Blogger dmarks said...

How about a form of term limits where no-one can ever run for re-election?

@ducky: Yet, voter fraud is common enough that the Democrats benefit from it enough that they oppose voter IDs (which would make fraud a lot harder).

A liking for voter fraud is the main reason for opposition to voter ID.

7:25 PM  
Blogger Chuck said...

Z, I posted this on another blog recently (I'm thinking Mustang's?). We have term limits in Michigan and what has happened is that the people term-limited out just run for another position so we essentially still have the same people running the state government, just in different jobs. What's more, as we noted with Obama, change is not better, it's just different. This is what we have had with the turn over, same old crap, different legislature, etc.

I actually voted for the term limits when they were on the ballot but I was against them then for an even more altruistic reason. I believe we already have term limits set in place by our founding fathers, voting. I am of a mind that we should be able to vote for who we choose, good or bad. It's kind of thing in which we get the government we deserve.

So, I am not completely against term limits, I'm just not sure I'm for them. If this makes sense.

9:13 PM  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Ducky: sorry for baiting the duck, but what portion of "balanced budget" is illogical or irresponsible? Should I then, as an individual, be able to continuously spend more than I receive in revenue? Certainly, sooner or later, I'll run out of credit and be left with no option but to tank. If I cannot exist this way or achieve an equilibrium then why should my government(s) operate differently? We are already clearly experiencing the results.


1:59 PM  

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