Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Article V Convention: Is It A Good Idea?

As citizens struggle to figure out how to rein in a runaway federal government, some Constitutional scholars are taking a closer look at the pros and cons of an Article V Convention as a way to pass amendments that will help limit the size of government:

In August, Missouri became the latest state to rebel against the new national health care law when 71 percent of voters supported a ballot initiative rejecting the legislation's requirement that individuals purchase government-approved insurance. Several other states will consider similar measures on the ballot this November.

However satisfying this backlash against ObamaCare may be to opponents of the law, these state-based efforts could all be for naught if the U.S. Supreme Court sides with Congress and rules that the legislation's individual mandate is constitutional.

Such a decision would have far-reaching consequences, giving broad new power to the federal government over individuals and states. It would mean that the interstate Commerce Clause would have been interpreted so broadly as to allow the federal government to regulate the activities of people who choose not to engage in commerce, and within a health insurance market where businesses aren't even allowed to sell their products across state lines. It would represent the culmination of decades in erosion of the concept of the separation of powers between federal and state governments, and the boldest example of congressional over-reach in the age of Obama.

In that scenario, short of repeal, the only remaining way to fight the law would be to amend the Constitution. Given how polarized the modern U.S. Senate is, it's highly unlikely that a proposed amendment would garner the necessary 67 votes needed to amend the Constitution in the traditional manner. Yet the Founding Fathers left the states one last check on federal power.

Under Article V of the Constitution, "Congress… on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, 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."

The Constitution has never been amended through a convention of the states, and this route remains controversial, with many conservatives fearing that the meeting would turn into a circus in the modern media age, and open the door to a wholesale rewriting of the nation's founding document. Yet a new body of research suggests that these fears are unwarranted, and that there are enough checks built into the system to prevent what scholars refer to as a "runaway convention." With state legislators and grassroots activists searching for ways to limit the abuses of Congress, the possibility has begun to generate more chatter.

The article is lengthy but well worth reading as it closely examines the pros and cons of executing this Constitutional option.

Hat tip: The Volokh Conspiracy

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Buyer's Remorse

One of the clear trends in this year's election is the number of voters who supported President Obama in 2008 are now disappointed with the results. But nowhere have I seen this sense captured better than in this post:

Have you ever bought a product after seeing an infomercial where that product looks so amazingly impressive that you simply must have it? It’s OK, you can admit it– that desire to buy something you see in an infomercial happens to all of us at some point in our life. Whether it is a beauty product, juicer, set of knives, a unique multi-faceted tool, or a cleaning product; sometimes the effusive salespeople and infomercial advertisers make the product look so completely indispensable that you simply know you cannot pass it up. So, as you pick up the phone, you know buying the product will enhance your life and you are certain will be delighted by the results.

The excitement of the purchase continues as you await the package landing on your doorstep. You open it up. Use the product. And that, is when the disappointment sets in. The product either doesn’t work or it doesn’t work the way it did on TV. The excitement turns to disappointment and then despair as you realize: you were hoodwinked. And, then you get mad.

This is a natural feeling when you feel that you were sold something that turned out to not be what you thought it would be. That is where many of the Obama voters are at today and why Democrat politicians across this great nation are fearful of taking the brunt of the anger over the product that people were sold and did not like. Democrats on the ballot are fearful that it is they, not Obama, who will be dealing with returns on the product that they partnered with President Obama to sell to Americans.

Read the whole thing.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Cap and Trade a Career Killer

So not only will proposed cap and trade legislation dramatically hike your utility rates, it's also becoming something of a political career killer just like Obamacare:

Even as Speaker Nancy Pelosi twisted arms for the final votes to pass her climate bill in June 2009, Democrats feared they might be "BTU'd." Many of them recalled how Al Gore had forced the House to vote in 1993 for an energy tax, a vote Democrats later blamed for helping their 1994 defeat.

The politics isn't the same this time around. This time, it's much, much worse.

Ask Rick Boucher, the coal-country Democrat who for nearly 30 years has represented southwest Virginia's ninth district. The 64-year-old is among the most powerful House Democrats, an incumbent who hasn't been seriously challenged since the early 1980s. Mr. Boucher has nonetheless worked himself onto this year's list of vulnerable Democrats. He managed it with one vote: support for cap and trade.

Anger over the BTU tax was spread across the country in 1994; the tax hit everything, even nuclear and hydropower. And the anger was wrapped into general unhappiness with Clinton initiatives. Some Democrats who voted for BTU but otherwise distanced themselves from the White House were spared. Mr. Boucher, for instance.

Cap and trade is different. The bill is designed to crush certain industries, namely coal. As coal-state voters have realized this, the vote has become a jobs issue, and one that is explosive. It is no accident that Democrats face particularly tough terrain in such key electoral states as Ohio and Pennsylvania, as well as Kentucky, West Virginia and Indiana. They are being laser-targeted for their votes to kill home-state industries.

As the article goes on to point out, Mr. Boucher's position on cap and trade (including his authorship of the legislation) may prove to be his undoing:

Mr. Boucher sensed danger earlier this year and has run right: He voted against ObamaCare and has a newfound love for Bush tax cuts. But he's in a defensive crouch on the main issue, reduced to excuses for his cap-and-trade vote. A top one is the old chestnut that he got involved to make the bill better. He points to money he had inserted for "clean coal," and has somehow spun his work into an ad claiming he "took on his own party" to "protect coal jobs" in the, ahem, "energy" bill.

Yet as the race has tightened, the Boucher campaign has looked more desperate. It nitpicked the Americans for Job Security ad and demanded TV stations pull it. The union bosses for United Mine Workers of America had to step up, inviting Mr. Boucher to keynote a picnic to try to shore up coal workers. He's newly passionate about reining in an anti-coal EPA.

Mr. Boucher appears to still lead, but with a GOP wave building, no Democrat with an anti-job vote against his own constituents is safe. Virginia's ninth has already delivered one of the lessons of 2010: Cap-and-trade policy is terrible. Cap-and-trade politics is deadly.

Hat tip: Powerline

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Kind of a Nice Birthday Present (In A Way)

It's not everyday that I get calls from the DCCC and get to tell them I'm voting for a Republican. Glad I could help them spend their money.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Welcome to the Playoffs

As a Cubs fan, making the playoffs is really only a dream at best and a World Series appearance is unlikely to happen in my lifetime. But that doesn't mean I ignore the playoffs. On the contrary, I follow all the postseason series and for good reason. Anything can happen in October.

Just ask Philadelphia Phillies ace Roy Halliday.

Halliday came to the Phillies last offseason and immediately upgraded the pitching staff. On May 29, he made his mark hurling the season's second perfect game.

But tonight, he went one better. In the opening game of the Division Series, Halladay went out and threw a no-hitter which is only the second time it's happen in the postseason. Not too shabby for his postseason debut.

By the way, Halladay also made another bit of history. Only five other pitchers had thrown a no-hitter in the postseason or two no-hitters in a calendar year. Halladay became the first tonight to do both.

It's not too much of an overstatement to say that the Phillies are the best team in baseball this year. Roy Halladay has proven tonight that he may be the best hurler in the game.