Doubling down on right-wing extremism, the fed-hating, red state, Wackadoodle Express, is pulling into the station of national consciousness once more. Its cargo is the latest move of the ultra-conservatives to separate completely from anything resembling a federal government. Brace yourselves!
The train is starting to load up with states that eventually hope to attend something called the Article V Convention of States (COS). Georgia has claimed the dubious honor of being the first state in the union to pass a resolution calling for an application to Congress for a Convention of States with the intent of proposing a bunch of amendments to limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government. Passage of Georgia Senate Resolution 736 was by a nearly 2-1 margin. A month after Georgia’s March approval came the April nods from Alaska and Florida. These efforts are not to be confused with state applications to Congress for literally hundreds of Article V Conventions, dating all the way back to 1788. Most of those were for reasonable changes, not to destroy the country.
That’s my concern. Every statement from COS supporters sounds substantially off-key to me. Consider the quotes of South Carolina State Representative, Bill Taylor, in praising the COS as a mechanism to “restrain a runaway federal government.” A runaway federal government? As Paul Krugman recently pointed out, corporations used to fund a third of our government fully; today’s number is 10%. The only thing running away in Washington is money that used to go into the Treasury. This is a sham movement to rid the millionaire and billionaire power elite of any constraints whatsoever. No taxes; no regulations; no oversight; no restraining powers whatsoever from the feds.
Here’s the Article in question:
Article V of the Constitution
“The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress; provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.”
Now, the Engineer and Conductor of this Wackadoodle Express: Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn, can soon lend all of his energies to conducting the project, as he is leaving the senate permanently by the end of the year. Then, through the COS initiative, he can work on reforming (severely restricting) entitlement programs, put a “choke-hold” on regulation and bring a government he describes, when quoting George Mason, as “too powerful, too big and too unwieldy” to its knees.
He’ll be joined by a long-time radical who is little known outside extremist’s circles, Michael P. Farris. The redoubtable SourceWatch has been tracking Farris for years. According to their research, he is the founding President of Patrick Henry College. Its mission is “to train Christian men and women who will lead our nation and shape our culture with timeless biblical values and fidelity to the spirit of the American founding.” We used to call those seminaries.
Farris is up to all kinds of right-wing mischief. A lawyer, he created the Home School Legal Defense Association. Keep the kiddies out of them thar awful “Government Schools.” He is also on the Board of Directors of the Free Congress Foundation (FCF), a Joseph Coors project, once led by the late Paul Weyrich, who put the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) on the map in ’73. The website of FCF spells out its primary focus as being trained on the “Culture War.” FCF wants America to “return to our great, our traditional, Judeo-Christian, Western culture.” The Foundation is convinced we have slid into the “cultural and moral decay of political correctness.” Translation: Helping them blacks, tolerating them gays and not booting out them Hispanics by the millions. What a sweetheart organization!
Also, high on the COS agenda is a mass overhaul of the Constitution to assuage those who are frustrated by Congress’s entitlement reform failure. Imagine, feeding starving children. I don’t want to be too tough on Coburn personally. He’s battling recurring prostate cancer after earlier undergoing treatment for colon cancer and melanoma. Odd he should hate the Affordable Care Act with every cell in his body. Its core raison d’etre is to provide insurance for many fighting the same fight as Coburn. As a multi-millionaire, at least the money is not a factor in his health battles.
So, I’ll give props to the senator in his courageous health battles, but part company with his generally incomprehensible political positions. The COS is certainly near the top of the list.
Another voice heard, closer to home, on the subject, is South Carolina State Representative, Bill Taylor. He’s sky high on the prospect of a Convention of States. He pre-filed legislation last December calling for the COS. Virginia did the same. Many of the resolutions for COS are identically worded, always a red (pardon the pun) flag that there is major model-legislation bucks behind COS.
Many prospective states have fancy and expensive Websites with similar looks and wording. This is not your father’s Oldsmobile. This whole effort smells of the Koch brothers, their billionaire pals, Fortune 500, Cato, the Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation and that power hungry mob of interlocking right-wing Boards of Directors. Certain of the locals are stuffing their pockets and taking orders, word for word. This is a highly organized cabal. Both the Georgia COS story and the South Carolina pre-file emanate from the primary Convention of States Website. That’s the reason red state COS websites match the national website. They ARE the national website. One final point;
Surely you didn’t think the American Legislative Exchange Council wouldn’t be knee-deep in this right-wing muck did you? They are, as you can readily see here.
If the not-so-distant whistle of the Wackadoodle Express doesn’t get Democratic voters off the right-wing tracks and to their November 4th polling place, nothing will.