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July 02, 2007

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(I have a secret, hitherto undisclosed fondness for the anti-federalists. Not that I agreed with them or anything; I just have a soft spot for them.)

(Kind of like my soft spot for the Third Amendment.)

I also have a soft spot for the Third Amendment, hil. I've often dreamed of becoming the nation's foremost expert on Third Amendment law.

He will therefore be unsupported by proper information and advice, and will generally be directed by minions and favorites

Well they certainly got that part right…

I’m curious though, what do you suppose would happen if we ever seriously considered re-writing the constitution to that extent. In the other thread you seemed to seriously propose drastic changes. That is not to say you are wrong – I just can’t envision that process. And if you’re going to make drastic changes, well, lots of other people have lists of things they’d like to see changed in that document. So – Constitutional Convention?

good questions ocsteve - i wish i knew. i'm going to try to discuss this stuff in a later post

Are you going to have to change your nom de blog?

lots of other people have lists of things they’d like to see changed in that document. So – Constitutional Convention?

The very thought fills me with dread. We need statesmen for that, not just politicians. Where are they?

I think the Constitution could really use some tuning up, but...not now. The advantage would go to those who can turn out the mobs and the organization, and none of the causes I take most seriously is in either position right now.

Preconditions for my support would probably start with two sequential verifiably honest national elections with margins of victory outside the margin of error, to establish that the people's wishes can be consulted and that there is something resembling a national consensus on at least some fronts. Trying it now would just be to invite dueling efforts at stealing the whole thing.

Though the president, during the sitting of the legislature, is assisted by the senate, yet he is without a constitutional council in their recess. He will therefore be unsupported by proper information and advice, and will generally be directed by minions and favorites, or a council of state will grow out of the principal officers of the great departments, the most dangerous council in a free country.

Or, you know, all that could be true while the Senate is sitting.

The touching faith of the Framers in the antipathy b/t Congress & the President is one reason our government doesn't work.

Mark me down as dreading a Constitutional Convention.

That recent book about our 'undemocratic' constitution: the author was on the radio and saying he'd like there to be a CC to fix some things. What naivete to think anything good would come of it.

The idea of letting Rove and Addington get their dirty hands into the Constitution is a terrible thing. At least the way it is now we can point at what they're ignoring.

Jon H: concur fully, w/ note that just because a new Constitution would be worse, that doesn't mean the old one works.

"concur fully, w/ note that just because a new Constitution would be worse, that doesn't mean the old one works."

It works to an extent. And pretty well, compared to others. (Italy? yeesh.)

But it's just silly to think of a Constitutional Convention as a high-minded academic exercise by well-meaning participants, when the reality is going to be nothing like that. And even ostensibly well-meaning participants could do vast lasting damage by acting as obstructionist spoilers while the right wing unifies behind a totalitarian. Nader in 2000, times a million.

Amos Newcombe:
"We need statesmen for that (a Constitutional Convention), not just politicians. Where are they?"

hilzoy? oh, hilzoy...?

If there was a constitutional convention, who would attend? The original was of course attended by delegations chosen by the states. Would it be that way next time?

We could get a lot of unknowns, who might do a very good job.

This sounds like something that would be very good to try out online, just to get the arguments down. I'd envision something more like a wiki than a blog -- blog posts scroll off and are never referenced again unless somebody happens to remember.

Maybe something where people propose questions, and for each question we get a bunch of competing answers, and registered users approve the answers they like. You could look at the answers that have been rising fastest to see if you want to push them along (or vote for an alternative, or write your own). You could look at the ones that have the most support, and at alternatives. You could propose better questions.

Get alternative ways to link the questions into a tree. Among all the confusion a collection of coherent documents might arise. Done well enough, an official constitutional convention might feel the need to reference the online version.

I wonder if there's anything like that already going. Google on "online constitutional convention" got 32 links but no actual online constitutional conventions.

If there was a constitutional convention, who would attend? The original was of course attended by delegations chosen by the states. Would it be that way next time?

We could get a lot of unknowns, who might do a very good job.

This sounds like something that would be very good to try out online, just to get the arguments down. I'd envision something more like a wiki than a blog -- blog posts scroll off and are never referenced again unless somebody happens to remember.

Maybe something where people propose questions, and for each question we get a bunch of competing answers, and registered users approve the answers they like. You could look at the answers that have been rising fastest to see if you want to push them along (or vote for an alternative, or write your own). You could look at the ones that have the most support, and at alternatives. You could propose better questions.

Get alternative ways to link the questions into a tree. Among all the confusion a collection of coherent documents might arise. Done well enough, an official constitutional convention might feel the need to reference the online version.

I wonder if there's anything like that already going. Google on "online constitutional convention" got 32 links but no actual online constitutional conventions.

I don't think that the following really matters as the Democratic front runner Obama has signaled that impeachment is off the table due to his political desire to be president, however as a historic tidbit it is interesting no?

"...[I]f the President be connected, in any suspicious manner, with any person, and there be grounds [to] believe he will shelter him, the House of Representatives can impeach him; they can remove him if found guilty...

Madison went on to [say] contrary to his position in the Philadelphia convention, that the President could be suspended when suspected, and his powers would devolve on the Vice President, who could likewise be suspended until impeached and convicted, if he were also suspected."

I think the other thing Obama has signaled...for all his lofty rhetoric...he is from the roll over and play dead wing of the Democratic party.

It's kinda of odd that Hilary who had so much to do with the efforts to impeach Nixon is so quiet in her old age...I guess freedom really is nothing left to lose and Hilary has so much.

Has Edwards said Bush Inc. skates or he just laying low?

Bush bitch slaps the Dems and they do nothing...because they all want to be president someday.

Pathetic.

I don't think that the following really matters as the Democratic front runner Obama has signaled that impeachment is off the table due to his political desire to be president, however as a historic tidbit it is interesting no?

"...[I]f the President be connected, in any suspicious manner, with any person, and there be grounds [to] believe he will shelter him, the House of Representatives can impeach him; they can remove him if found guilty...

Madison went on to [say] contrary to his position in the Philadelphia convention, that the President could be suspended when suspected, and his powers would devolve on the Vice President, who could likewise be suspended until impeached and convicted, if he were also suspected."

I think the other thing Obama has signaled...for all his lofty rhetoric...he is from the roll over and play dead wing of the Democratic party.

It's kinda of odd that Hilary who had so much to do with the efforts to impeach Nixon is so quiet in her old age...I guess freedom really is nothing left to lose and Hilary has so much.

Has Edwards said Bush Inc. skates or he just laying low?

Bush bitch slaps the Dems and they do nothing...because they all want to be president someday.

Pathetic.

I don't think that the following really matters as the Democratic front runner Obama has signaled that impeachment is off the table due to his political desire to be president, however as a historic tidbit it is interesting no?

"...[I]f the President be connected, in any suspicious manner, with any person, and there be grounds [to] believe he will shelter him, the House of Representatives can impeach him; they can remove him if found guilty...

Madison went on to [say] contrary to his position in the Philadelphia convention, that the President could be suspended when suspected, and his powers would devolve on the Vice President, who could likewise be suspended until impeached and convicted, if he were also suspected."

I think the other thing Obama has signaled...for all his lofty rhetoric...he is from the roll over and play dead wing of the Democratic party.

It's kinda of odd that Hilary who had so much to do with the efforts to impeach Nixon is so quiet in her old age...I guess freedom really is nothing left to lose and Hilary has so much.

Has Edwards said Bush Inc. skates or he just laying low?

Bush bitch slaps the Dems and they do nothing...because they all want to be president someday.

Pathetic.

I don't think that the following really matters as the Democratic front runner Obama has signaled that impeachment is off the table due to his political desire to be president, however as a historic tidbit it is interesting no?

"...[I]f the President be connected, in any suspicious manner, with any person, and there be grounds [to] believe he will shelter him, the House of Representatives can impeach him; they can remove him if found guilty...

Madison went on to [say] contrary to his position in the Philadelphia convention, that the President could be suspended when suspected, and his powers would devolve on the Vice President, who could likewise be suspended until impeached and convicted, if he were also suspected."

I think the other thing Obama has signaled...for all his lofty rhetoric...he is from the roll over and play dead wing of the Democratic party.

It's kinda of odd that Hilary who had so much to do with the efforts to impeach Nixon is so quiet in her old age...I guess freedom really is nothing left to lose and Hilary has so much.

Has Edwards said Bush Inc. skates or he just laying low?

Bush bitch slaps the Dems and they do nothing...because they all want to be president someday.

Pathetic.

Has there been a pardon for treason lately? I haven't read about any pardons issued by the President in months, if not years.

Is it possible that the various democrats who say that impeachment is out of the question are doing crocodile tears?

If impeachment does come up then the GOP and the media and particularly talk radio and the lying pundits are going to be repeating over and over and over that it's only a partisan political ploy. That the democrats are only doing payback for impeaching Clinton.

But if every significant Democrat has been saying all along "No, no impeachment, we don't want that" and then all of a sudden it's "We didn't want to do impeachment but this particular crime is so awful we have no choice" then it isn't as bad. Particularly when a sufficient contingent of GOP legislators is going along, also saying "We never wanted impeachment but this particular crime is just too awful".

I'm not sure what would be an ideal awful crime. Maybe, they find some ordinary american that the NSA spied on illegally and the Bush administration blackmailed him? And they were spying on millions of americans that much? Get every american who's cheating on his wife or looking at unusual porn thinking it could happen to him....

But there's no sex angle unless the blackmailed shmoe was getting blackmailed over some sort of sex thing.

I don't see a sex angle in any of the scandals. These guys don't give the impression they have much sex. Maybe a BDSM angle will turn up. Given a BDSM angle then the torture stuff would look sick. It would look like they were pushing it for their fantasies, and not so much for the national interest.

J, you might be right, but there is a real sense, I think, of any move to impeach Cheney or Bush as being portrayed as payback for the Clinton fiasco. I, however, don't think the public would swallow that line. Remember, Clinton had very high approval ratings, even during the impeachment process and Bush and Cheney have extremely low ratings.

I have also heard, although this may be impossible to prove unless somebody talks, that the impeachment of Clinton was to set up this very type of scenario.

Checks and balances just don't work when the same party holds the Congress and the White House.

The problem is aggravated by the executive's aura as head of state.

More & more, I think the Brits have the better system. When the executive power is vested in one of the legislators, it becomes much more difficult even for one's fellow legislators to put the executive on a pedestal, like we've seen with Bush.

I second (well, fourth or fifth) S Brennan's Madison quote above:

[I]f the President be connected, in any suspicious manner, with any person, and there be grounds tp believe he will shelter him, the House of Representatives can impeach him; they can remove him if found guilty...

...which was noted by the House Judiciary Committee in a post-Watergate report (link -- a WaPo site re the Clinton impeachment.)

This is impeachable, it adds to the weight
of republic-corroding, scofflaw behavior we see all the time from this administration.

he is from the roll over and play dead wing of the Democratic party.

"wing" ? more like fuselage.

"more like fuselage"

Cleek, you light up my life.

If the Dems say "no" to impeachment now and "yes" to-morrow (for whatever reason including videos of Bush and Cheney personally torturing terror suspects) they will be named "flipfloppers" (apart from the inevitable "partisan witch-hunters that embolden our enemies").

Sure, Hartmut, but if they say yes to impeachment now, they'll be accused of witchhunting and will be challenged to show that there's any proof. We get bogged down in arguing whether the proof is adequate long, long before the actual impeachment. The bad guys get their arguments lined up with lots and lots of forewarning.

If I was an important Dem my natural thought would be to say something like "No impeachment without clear evidence."

But likely the media would report that as "J Thomas says, no evidence for impeachment!" Or "J Thomas wants to impeach but can't!" Or possibly "J Thomas on witchhunt for evidence!"

NOte that successful impeachment requires 2/3 of the senate. That would probably take 18 republican senators. It needs glaring evidence that 18 republican senator's voters would consider damning.

That would probably require those senators finding out that their spouses had all been seduced by Rove and their bank accounts looted by Addington in favor of Bush&Cheney (with audiotapes of B&C making dirty jokes about ripping of grandsenator Millie). Even then I would not be completely sure.

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