This week’s bad idea comes from Jerry O’Neil, who wants to repeal Montanans’ constitutional right to elect our U.S. Senators, and give that choice to the Montana legislature. He’s tried this twice before, most recently when he served in the legislature in 2005, and it failed miserably.
But that was before the Tea Party took over the Montana GOP.
Oh, and did we mention that he’s running for the legislature again, so he’d be the one doing the choosing. Here’s O’Neil’s rant against our constitutional right to vote for our Representatives in the United States Senate, from his Tea Party questionnaire:
Our U.S. Senators are no longer beholden to our state legislatures and now must campaign to the entire state populace. This creates a financial burden on the candidates that drives them to seek funding from big corporations, big unions, big media, and big social organizations such as AARP.
Once they are elected they are no longer beholden to states’ rights nor committed to holding the federal government in check; instead they must protect the interests of their big contributors and the social organizations that are seeking a nanny state.
In the 2003 Montana legislative session, I introduced Senate Joint Resolution l0 to repeal the 17th Amendment and thus, once again, allow the State Legislatures to appoint our U.S. Senators. While I was able to get it out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I didn’t have enough support to get it out of the Senate.
Not willing to give up on the principle, in the 2005 Montana legislative session, I introduced Senate Bill 464 to allow legislative caucuses to nominate candidates for the U.S. Senate. I wasn’t even able to get SB 464 out of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
If we let a Tea Party legislature select who should be in the U.S. Senate, we’re going to get Max Baucus and Jon Tester replaced with guys like Mark French.