The 17th Amendment was that other cruddy idea (the other being the establishment of a national income tax) by Progressive Socialists at the beginning of the last century of no longer having the various State Legislative branches elect Senators to send to Washington to represent the States’ concerns and issues in our Federal system. Their end goal is to end our Representative form of government. To replace it with the type of Government that our Founders knew to fail every time – a direct democracy – which would give them the platform to change America forever.
The crie d’accour at the time was that State Legislators were too corrupt, double-dealing, and decisions made in smoke-filled back rooms in doing this – let a direct vote happen by the people. Which, pretty much, ended up in no small part by these Progressives, dismantling a large check and balance of the Constitution in spreading the Power around and now
Sidenote: how come Progressive / Socialist Obama was lauded for the phrase “I think when you spread the wealth around it’s good for everybody” but Conservative / Constitutionalist get heck for saying “spread the Power”?
we end up with Senators being no different than House Congresstwits other than having to raise vastly more money for their races and have a combined age older than when dirt was created. They are beset with the same vagarities and ideologies as the House but only being 25% in number and have more stultifying rules of “conduct” (if you can call it that). I make claim that in policy, they are no better than before the 17th Amendment was repealed except that instead of pleasing and courting their peers back in the States, they now have to kowtow to special interests and people who can drive big rock mining trucks to their offices loaded with cash.
Our current way is how we got Moore, and Al Franken, and the fact that Congress pays out $15 million to hush up sexual harassment charges over the last 20 years and bad legislation with little accountability. Want accountability? Let their fellow legislators make sure, once again, that the needs/issues/concerns and the Rights of each State are served well or get yanked back from DC in a heartbeat.
So what spawned the above? Reading this post over at The Federalist (emphasis mine):
…The Seventeenth Amendment says U.S. senators must be elected by popular vote, instead of by state legislatures. Adopted in 1913 during the height of the Progressive Era, the amendment supersedes the provisions in the Constitution that required senators to be elected by state legislatures.
The idea that state legislatures would elect senators might seem odd nowadays, but creating some distance between the popular vote and the election of senators was crucial to the Founders’ grand design for the republic. The original idea, spelled out in The Federalist Papers, was that the people would be represented in the House of Representatives and the states would be represented in the Senate. Seats in the House were therefore apportioned according to population while every state, no matter how large its populace, got two seats in the Senate.
The larger concept behind this difference was that Congress needed to be both national and federal in order to reflect not just the sovereignty of the people but also the sovereignty of the states against the federal government. In Federalist No. 62, James Madison explained that Congress shouldn’t pass laws “without the concurrence, first, of a majority of the people, and then of a majority of the states.”
Besides tempering the passions of the electorate, empowering state legislatures to elect senators was meant to protect the states from the encroachments of the federal government. The tension was (and still is) between the dual sovereignty of the national government and the states. Writing in Federalist No. 39, Madison explains that while the House of Representatives is national because it “will derive its powers from the people of America,” the Senate “will derive its powers from the States, as political and coequal societies.” We’ve lost much of this today, but the jurisdiction of the federal government, wrote Madison, “extends to certain enumerated objects only, and leaves to the several States a residuary and inviolable sovereignty over all other objects.”
And Progressives, being the Totalitarians and Constitution haters that they are, knew that this (and the income tax) would forever kill off the notion of small government philosophy and turn us into a far more centralized government system than what was originally visioned. And here we are, in the mess we are in, because Progressives want only one thing – Power, and Power as far up the chain as possible.
Returning to what we had before the 17th’s repeal would go far in fixing this damage – not only in the people selected (hey Democrats, do you think that Moore would EVER be selected by the Alabama legislators?) but in the types of legislation crafted and passed.
This from the piece is rather rich:
The chief argument in favor of it was that Gilded Age industrial monopolies like Standard Oil exerted too much control over state legislatures, and hence too much control over the U.S. Senate. To be sure, late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century state legislatures were notoriously corrupt. At almost every level of government, rank corruption and machine politics was the norm. President Benjamin Harrison, elected in 1888, said upon learning that much of his support had been bought, “I could not name my own cabinet. They had sold out every position in the cabinet to pay the expenses.” In 1897, Mark Twain famously quipped, “It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native criminal class except Congress.”
As if Senators aren’t bought and paid for now by still-rich men and special interests still? Those wishing to rent-seek for themselves will always be present – only the peoples’ and organizations names change. And it will continue ever more now as the Federal Government wields so much more power, grabs more money, and spends even more money. But now, if the States were more part of the picture (warning – Progressives will fight this tooth and nail as it WILL dilute their centralized power), I believe much of the excess and overreach would be curtailed.