Tony Blankley
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As I was preparing to write a column on the ludicrous maligning of the Tea Party movement by liberals, Democrats and the mainstream media (which I hope to write next week, instead), I started thinking about one of the key objectives of the Tea Party people -- the strict enforcement of the 10th Amendment ("The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people").

As an early 1960s vintage member of the then-new conservative movement, I remember us focusing on the 10th amendment during the 1964 Goldwater campaign. It has been a staple of conservative thought, and the continued dormancy of 10th amendment enforcement has been one of the failures of our now half-century-old movement.

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But just as the Tea Party movement in so many ways seems to represent the 2.0 version of our movement, so I again thought about the 10th amendment anew. After about 10 seconds' thought, it struck me that the best way to revive the 10th Amendment is to repeal the 17th Amendment -- which changes the first paragraph of Article I, Section 3 of the Constitution to provide that each state's senators are to be "elected by the people thereof" rather than being "chosen by the Legislature thereof." (As I Googled the topic, I found out that Ron Paul and others have been talking about this for years. It may be the only subject that could be proposed and ratified at a constitutional convention with three-fourths of the state legislatures.)

At first blush, this might seem counterintuitive, as the 17th Amendment was brought about by a populist movement supercharged by muckraking articles in the newspapers of William Randolph Hearst. Those articles exposed corporate bribery of state legislators to control senatorial votes. As the direct election of senators by the people was a reaction to the corrupt lobbying of state legislatures that so aggrieved late-19th-century Americans, it might seem odd to recommend its repeal now -- when again, corrupt lobbying and the aggrandizing of excessive government power over the people is part of the fuel that is driving the tea parties. It certainly seems particularly odd for me to suggest this just a week after the election of Scott Brown to the Senate by an aggrieved public that has just overwhelmed with their individual votes the Boston Democratic machine.

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Tony Blankley

Tony Blankley, a conservative author and commentator who served as press secretary to Newt Gingrich during the 1990s, when Republicans took control of Congress, died Sunday January 8, 2012. He was 63.

Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.

In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.

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