George Will, writing in The Washington Post, talks to the proposal by Senator Feingold, supported by Senator McCain, to Amend the 17th Amendment to require direct election of all Senators, even replacements, like Senator Roland Burris. I agree with Mr Will. This is a bad idea.
Mr Will's article can be found here. The Statement of Senator Feingold on the Senate floor, 29 January 2009, can be found here.
Mr Will states:
The Framers established election of senators by state legislators, under which system the nation got the Great Triumvirate (Henry Clay, Daniel Webster and John Calhoun) and thrived. In 1913, progressives, believing that more, and more direct, democracy is always wonderful, got the 17th Amendment ratified. It stipulates popular election of senators, under which system Wisconsin has elected, among others, Joe McCarthy, as well as Feingold.I think Tail Gunner Joe McCarthy came up in the local blogosphere recently.
While I don't agree with Mr Will that we should abolish the 17th Amendment (which requires direct election of Senators), I think this point is well taken
Although liberals give lip service to "diversity," they often treat federalism as an annoying impediment to their drive for uniformity. Feingold, who is proud that Wisconsin is one of only four states that clearly require special elections of replacement senators in all circumstances, wants to impose Wisconsin's preference on the other 46. Yes, he acknowledges, they could each choose to pass laws like Wisconsin's, but doing this "state by state would be a long and difficult process." Pluralism is so tediously time-consuming.While direct election would have saved us the embarrassment of the Great and General Court deciding that while Democratic Governors were good enough to make appoints, Republican Governors were not, this proposal by Senator Feingold is a bad one. Couldn't he have gone out on a junket, rather than submitting this even greater waste of money into the hopper for bills.
Regards -- Cliff