Texas' Next Lieutenant Governor Thinks You Shouldn't Be Trusted to Elect Senators

Categories: Politics

LtGovCandidates.jpg
The current crop of Republican lieutenant governor candidates represents the rich diversity of Texas.
It's not yet clear who will become Texas' next lieutenant governor. David Dewhurst, though tarnished by his defeat at the hands of Wendy Davis and her "unruly mob," could hang onto the seat. Or he could be out-flanked to the right in the Republican primary by a trio of challengers: Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and state Senator and talk radio show host Dan Patrick.

All are deeply conservative men who wear their patriotism on their sleeve. None seem particularly keen to tinker with the Constitution, the bedrock upon which the greatest country in history was built -- except for one thing.

The 17th Amendment was ratified a century ago to allow for the direct election of Senators. Repealing it would shift the power to choose members of Congress' upper house from voters back to state legislatures, which was what the framers had originally intended.

The Tea Party has been tilting at this particular windmill since its inception, which is counterintuitive given the movement's full-throated embrace of direct democracy in other forms. The reasoning goes that the legislatures would be more vigilant about protecting their state's interest -- and thus the federalist system as a whole -- than would individual voters.

For the challengers, this seems a straightforward appeal to their Tea Party base. For Dewhurst it just so happens to dovetail perfectly with his own self-interest, as Burnt Orange Report notes. He would, after all, probably be a sitting U.S. Senator now if not for the populist tidal wave that swept Ted Cruz into office last year.

A movement based on the idea that voters can't be trusted to pick their Congressional representatives is unlikely to gain much traction. Then again, Ted Cruz is a Senator. Maybe they're onto something.

Update on October 8: Jerry Patterson now says he doesn't support the repeal of the Seventeenth Amendment, because Ted Cruz. Here's how he put it on Facebook:


Yesterday, there was a story on a Democrat blog talking about the repeal of the 17th Amendment and the discussion that two of the Republican Lt. Governor candidates had on that topic last Thursday night. I was not part of that discussion during the debate and wanted to publicly post that I do not advocate the repeal of the 17th Amendment. Without it, Texas would not have Senator Ted Cruz today.


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96 comments
RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

As I'm pretty sure that most politicians who have a good support network, regardless of party affiliation, would be supportive of this measure, I'm trying to see the motivations for coming out with this.  I would think an astute pol would have a better feel for his constituency than this.  Most voters probably aren't aware of the 17th amendment, the history behind it, the roots of the Senate or any of the Founding Fathers' writings.  What most voters are going to see in this proposal is disenfranchisement and they're going to naturally be against it.  Pissing off the voters is unavoidable at times, even necessary at times, but as an election strategy, it's questionable, I would think.  I see the results of this being more moderate and slightly right voters being pushed a little more to the left.  I can't see a way proposals like this would endear a candidate to the voters.

Unless the goal of the TX Republicans is to ensure a change from Red to Purple to Blue, this is baffling.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

The cry for a return to appointed Senators is a reaction to the changing demographics of our  population.

I can hear the echos of those who opposed the 17th Amendment when it was first debated, they likely said something along the lines of "What, allow people like the jews and irish to decide who the Senator would be? Preposterous!".

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

A movement based on the idea that voters can't be trusted to pick their Congressional representatives is unlikely to gain much traction. Then again, Ted Cruz is a Senator. Maybe they're onto something.

In other words, "voters are super duper important, except when they elect people I don't like, then they are stupid."

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

I'm not too surprised with anything these guys say. It's as if they are in a race to see which candidate can show themselves to be the most regressive.

they are upping the ante so much one will possibly come out for going back to when women weren't allowed to vote...after all, that is what the "founding fathers" believed.

ruddski
ruddski

"Texas' Next Lieutenant Governor, like the Founding Fathers, Thinks You Shouldn't Be Trusted to Elect Senators"

Fixed that for ya.

Cliffhanger
Cliffhanger

And I'm sure it has nothing to do with being able to use their gerrymandered districts to hold on to Senate seats in what is a potentially more blue-leaning state in future years. It's all about principles of the Founding Fathers--except the Founding Fathers who were Quakers, or Unitarians, or believed in a strong central government....

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Not surprising.  A few anarchist renegades are able to control the asshole republicans in the House and shut down the American government they hate so much.

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

As a matter of fact, allowing voters to choose such important people to rule over us just won't work, so they're going to just appoint themselves to a life tenure. 

As a bonus, no more silly voter id problems...

charles.ingram
charles.ingram

And you thought it couldn't get any worse! What is it with Republicans joining hands in a race to the bottom. I am one life-long Republican who has been throwing up for a couple of years now. How does a Party that is supposed to stand for individual liberty now come to the point that we want to take away our right to vote! Washington, Lincoln, Goldwater and Reagan must be rolling over in their graves. I will not vote for any of these clowns next time around and I urge all real Republicans to rebel against this abomination that has overtaken our Party. 

ruddski
ruddski

I suspect the reason dems don't like the idea is because repubs have the most state legislatures.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

 @mavdog Considering what a mess "progress" has put us in over the last 100 years, is it any wonder?

ruddski
ruddski

You'd think a former SDS operative would excited about revolutionary anarchists challenging the system, taking it to the man, upping the establishment and all that.

ruddski
ruddski

I'm a lifelong democrat who voted for Obama several times and forced my child to make a video of praise even, and now Obama's refusal to negotiate has me considering if it's time to switch parties.Honest!

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@ruddski 

I believe the reason most dems don't like the idea is because it prevents the voters from selecting their senator.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz @everlastingphelps Or they get duped by clever catch phrases like "Hope and Change" (as Phelps mentioned) or promises to 'increase the transparency of government'.  Anyone who is passionate about either major party needs to have their head examined.

Guesty
Guesty

@everlastingphelps @mavdog Name one way this is a worse country of which to be a citizen than it was in 1913.  I can name a 100 ways it is a better country of which to be a citizen.  It certainly is a better country for the 75% of the population that isn't white and male.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@everlastingphelps 

well yes, it is a wonder, unless of course one is of the opinion that life 100 years ago was of a greater quality.

it's also interesting that you attempt to link women's suffrage to a perceived negative turn in society. do you feel the same about emancipation?

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@ruddski The asshole republicans can't even negotiate with each other.  How is Obama supposed to negotiate with them?

P1Gunter
P1Gunter

@RTGolden1 @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz @everlastingphelps It would be insincere to pretend we weren't duped by Obama, and I voted for him twice. The problem is the idiot Republicans put Romney up against him leaving me and others no choice but to re-elect him. The only major campaign promise he fulfilled was healthcare reform. The transparency bit was obviously a lie.

doublecheese
doublecheese

@bmarvel I guess my point is that there are a lot of people who are easily sold.  The easiest sell is not that "I" must change, but that "you" must change. 

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@mavdog Do you mean "base" or "basic?" BIG difference.

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@doublecheese People are not grazing cattle, Cheese. Most have an instinctive mistrust of change unless their situation is desperate. Change has to be sold. Selling it and producing it are two different things. 

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@doublecheese 

I'm not sure your association of "change" with "progress" is correct.

people do not strive for change, they desire progress, improvement. for the most part people resist change, unless of course they dislike the staus quo.

doublecheese
doublecheese

@mavdog Change is not.  The belief that we want change, and that change will make things better is.  The grass is always greener on the other side, no?

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@everlastingphelps

you believe that "change" is a base human instinct?

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@everlastingphelps  Hope that we survive the Bush calamities?  Thank God he's gone, and we survived.  Change the broken healthcare system to cover 50 million uninsured Americans?  We did, thanks to Obamacare.

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@everlastingphelpsLife expectancy is one direct result of public health measures most often undertaken by a central authority. Clean water, for example. Basic medical research. Efforts to discourage tobacco use. Universal health care, in those countries that have universal health care. 

I note the United States is 51st in life expectancy, by the way

Daniel
Daniel

@everlastingphelps @mavdog Well, there go the elderly, Phelps, most of whom pay no taxes. I do believe they tend to skew Republican. (There go students, too, so I guess that's a wash.) There go the unwillingly unemployed. There goes a huge portion of the military. You know, all the "takers" in our society.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@everlastingphelps 

ah I see, a believer that disfranchising citizens from their right to vote is for the common good.

how elitist.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

 @mavdog @everlastingphelps Nope.  And when I talked about universal suffrage, it was in contrast to the "property owners" part, not the white male part.  If I were dictator for a day, I would tie the franchise to being a net-taxpayer (paying in more than you get out in direct benefits) and leave it at that.

monstruss
monstruss

@everlastingphelps @monstruss @mavdog No, i'm pretty sure it's nutbags and anti-government conspiracy people who are anti-vaccine. Or have you already forgotten the measles outbreak that started at the big conservative megachurch last month?

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@everlastingphelps @monstruss @mavdog No, phelps. Private labs manufactured and distributed(with considerable help from the government) the vaccine once it had been discovered and perfected on the government's penny.

Were you around during the polio epidemic of the 1940s? Where are you getting your information?



mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@everlastingphelps 

"private labs"? that is an odd (and very incorrect) description for research labs in public universitities and hospitals such as Penn, U of Pittsburgh and Children's of Boston, which are where the polio vaccine was researched and discovered to be effective.

as far as those who are "anti-vaccine", as the recent news of the measles outbreak in northern Tarrant shows, it is rooted in the very conservative fundamentalist camps more than anywhere else.

so no, it isn't "always progressives who are anti-vaccine'.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

The Phelps clings tragically to the distant past, before antibiotics, pasteurization, laser treatments, vaccines, and "miracle" drugs.  Phelps would have us wear garlic necklaces and carry crosses to ward off evil.

ruddski
ruddski

But UP does, hon, and we wonder why the fire is no longer in your belly. Just another sellout, like Bruce Springsteen.

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@ruddski Because the Republicans up until now have been SO very willing to negotiate, compromise. (How many votes has it been so far to kill the Health Care Plan, a duly enacted law of the land?)

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@ruddski Except for you, ruddsski. I'm always suspicious of folks, left, right or center, who think everybody is wrong except for themselves. That's pretty much a working definition of madness.

ruddski
ruddski

If Obama's backers don't know what negotiation looks like, I guess he has no reason to illustrate for them. Dumbshit voters make tyranny a snap.

observist
observist topcommenter

@ruddski  How about I put on a suicide bomber vest, come over to your house and "negotiate" which of your belongings you're going to give to me, so I don't blow us both up?

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@ruddski

Obama can take a 47-car motorcade to the Hill, sit down, and say "how can we end this thing?"

just who exactly would Obama sit down with and speak to? Boehner? he doesn't even have control of his own party, he clearly can't be a dependable negotiation partner when his ability to deliver is more than questionable.

ruddski
ruddski

So republic can invite Obama to negotiate, he refuses, and that refusal is the fault of others. Is there ANYTHING Obama has power and control over?

.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@ruddski Let Myrna repeat.  Republicans can't negotiate with each other, let alone with Democrats or Obama.

ruddski
ruddski

Obama can take a 47-car motorcade to the Hill, sit down, and say "how can we end this thing?"

That's what a leader does, it's his job to negotiate with Congress, like GW Bush did on important issues.

Or, he could collectively punish the people by taking away that percentage of federal largesse that would affect them the most negatively, show the people who the BOSS is. Teach them all a lesson.

After all, he won, it's his country. At least he'll let the Illegal Immigrant Pride party on the National Mall go on - there's no reason that foreign nationals should be punished for the bad behavior of domestic radicalists.

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