Sunday, May 29, 2011

Money in Politics

Removing the money from the political election process has always been a worthy, if not necessarily realistic goal.  It takes money to run a campaign.  Money for ads, staff, flyers, office space.....  Two offices require more money than all others (maybe combined): President of the United States and United States Senator.  The money required makes the politician beholden to certain special interests and it happens on both sides of the aisle.

The Constitution originally had senators appointed by state legislatures.

 Section. 3.The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof, for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.

But the "good government"-types wanted to be more "egalitarian" about it and drove the 17th Amendment which says:

The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures.
When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.
This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the election or term of any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution.

With that popular election comes the need for the money for those items stated above.  Senators are no longer the people who look out for their states' best interest.  They are either the uber-rich elites like the late Ted Kennedy or completely beholden to special interests.  Neither makes for "good government".

Repealing the 17th Amendment will solve this problem.  Now, it brings up a host of other problems like "cronyism", but I see that as a smaller problem than the current.

1 comment:

  1. Agreed. The 17th Amendment like the Prohibition amendment (I forget which number it was) are two examples of great intentions with terrible consequences. We corrected the latter...hopefully we'll do the same with the former. Did you know that former Democratic senator Zell Miller actually introduced a bill to repeal the 17th in the waning days of his career? Of course, it went nowhere...but the fact that it was offered presents a glimpse of hope that we might get some bipartisan momentum for a much needed reform.