A worst-case scenario, they fear, is that liberals might “hijack” a convention. Matthew Spalding, director of The Heritage Foundation’s B. Kenneth Simon Center for American Studies, suggested last year that proponents of limited government activists should view a Con Con as a very risky bet:
Madison understood this when he argued at the Constitutional Convention that “difficulties might arise as to the form, the quorum etc. which in constitutional regulations ought to be as much as possible avoided.” He recorded some of these questions in his convention notes: “How was a Convention to be formed? By what rule decide? What the force of its acts?” Combine these with the fact that no such amending convention has ever occurred (that is, there is no precedent) and too many serious questions are left open and unanswered. This absence of guidelines or rules makes an Article V convention a risky venture, and one that legislators have historically avoided.
Beyond doubt, the conservative movement, though united on the goal of balancing the budget without tax increases, is split on the idea of getting there by means of a Constitutional Convention.
“Slow but steady” would seem to be the prudent way to proceed. The surest—albeit slow—way to achieve the objective is to elect enough federal (and state) lawmakers committed to passing a strong BBA. Just because the road ahead looms long and difficult doesn’t mean you abandon it for an untried detour—one that let’s you move faster but may not lead where you want to go.
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