By Rodney Dodsworth – April 7, 2016
Consider the awful lot of today’s typically abused senator. He or she is pulled this way and that by dozens of interests. Every competing group has its hands out for tax subsidies, special legislative carve outs, or both. Since constitutionally enumerated powers long ago went the way of pay phones, there is no telling what outrageous demands our senators face. His unsaid task of course, is to figure out which interests best promotes his reelection. It isn’t easy. Among these interests is his political party. When a senator and president belong to the same party, rest assured THE first interest a senator attends to is that of his president.
As party leader, presidents can encourage or discourage primary challengers, direct their national committee to cut off campaign funds to wayward senators, or open the dollar floodgates to dependable soldiers. Still, retention of their jobs is job #1, and the careful senator must weigh party loyalty against possible voter outrage. When the outcome of keeping faith with his president predictably jeopardizes reelection, the penitent senator must kiss the president’s ring and ask for an indulgence. Taken together, these constant political calculations require tremendous work and impose enormous stress.
But where in the various machinations among members of the world’s once most deliberative body does the welfare of his state and nation enter the picture?
Repeal the 17th Amendment and watch the decline of party, presidential and media influence over senators. Watch a return to better separation of powers. No longer would senators have to electorally fear criticizing the president’s policies, or upsetting delicate mexican and muzzie feelings.
Pity the poor senator. Ease his pain.
Repeal the 17th Amendment.