The Constitution may be amended in two ways: by a two-thirds vote of Congress, or by an amendment-proposing convention for which two-thirds (34) of the (50) state legislatures apply. All amendments to date have arisen through the first mechanism, although conservatives and libertarians increasingly are calling for state legislatures to pursue the second option.
Discussions about an Article V convention have been simmering for some time, but the publication of Mark Levin's The Liberty Amendments has brought the talk to a boil. In his book, Levin proposes several amendments to the Constitution: to establish term limits for members of Congress, to repeal the Seventeenth Amendment, to establish term limits for Supreme Court justices and provide a legislative override of their opinions, to limit federal taxing and spending, to restrict the federal bureaucracy, to promote free enterprise, to protect private property, to grant the states more direct power to amend the Constitution and check Congress, and to ensure that voting is by citizens only.
Earlier today, Ben Brophy questioned the wisdom of congressional Republicans sitting on their hands and letting Obamacare do their electoral work for them. Peter Suderman, in evaluating the speeches at CPAC, had a similar observation:
Yet even as the parade of GOP bright lights affirmed support for a positive vision backed by productive policy ideas, most seemed to struggle to define that vision, or talk clearly about what those ideas should be. The GOP has decided that it should probably stand for something—yet aside from electing more Republicans, it’s still not sure what, exactly, that is.
Debate over solutions to poverty has been dominating American politics as of late. Predictably, Democrats have harped on income inequality and have pushed for extensions in unemployment benefits and an increase in the federal minimum wage. Conservatives, in response, have thankfully done more than just voice opposition to these stock, unimaginative policy prescriptions. In fact, since last year, several prominent figures from the Republican ranks, as well as a number of other conservative leaders, have proposed fresh ideas and positive solutions to combat poverty in America.
However, some remain unconvinced. Some, like Steve Patrick Ercolani at The Guardian, see only malicious intent in GOP attempts to fight poverty. This past Monday, Ercolani made the remarkably outrageous—yet unfortunately unsurprising—claim that Republicans are making a big to-do about poverty only because those who are poor are increasingly white.
Today President Obama is touting his new Obamacare numbers: 4.2 million people have enrolled.
Yes, 4.2 million out of his original 7 million goal and the deadline is only nineteen days away. But where most Americans would see defeat, the White House claims this is exactly what they expected. Jay Carney said:
And you know, we're confident in this final month of the open enrollment period that a lot of Americans are going to sign up and that a lot of young Americans are going to sign up. We saw that in earlier numbers...that the growth in enrollments is substantial in the 18-to-34 age category. And we expect that to continue.
It looks like Democrats are banking on procrastinating young people suddenly rushing to Healthcare.gov over the next couple weeks. Republicans don’t buy it:
Congress is on strike. You may not have heard about it, you may not read about it, but for all intents and purposes, Congress has resolved to do nothing until after the 2014 elections. Yes, there have been some noises about immigration reform, but the Senate says the House won’t let them pass anything and the House says the same about the Senate. We all know how the game is played: Nothing will happen.
From a strategic perspective, there is reason for the GOP to sit out any policymaking until after the elections when they will ostensibly have more leverage to exact a better deal from the White House.
This also frees Republicans to continually hammer away at Obamacare. Polls continue to support the idea that this is a winning strategy.
Frankly, the idea of Congress not passing any sort of sweeping legislation for the next nine months is appealing as well. Congress suffers from the disease of do-somethingism in a way few institutions do. Thus, as a conservative, that status quo seems better than the alternative of making deals with a Democrat-controlled Senate and the Obama administration.
Republican David Jolly has defeated Democrat Alex Sink in the race to replace Congressman Bill Young's House seat in Florida's 13th Congressional District.
The race was touted as a bellwether for the coming 2016 elections later this year, prompting a flood of $9 million in outside spending. Our own Russ Belli-Estreito threw cold water on much of the politico hyperventilating earlier today, but Florida's 13th is still a purple district and this comes as welcome news for a beleaguered Republican Party. Sink was hit by a kitchen sin...er, a large of number of varied attacks by Jolly, though the most potent were those revolving around Obamacare, for which Sink voiced support.
Jolly defeated Sink 48.5 percent to 46.6 percent, ruling out any possibility of another Florida recount.
Florida is a notoriously purple state, and the 13th Congressional District mirrors the state’s battleground status. Pundits have argued that tonight’s special election will measure how much Obama’s low popularity numbers will affect vulnerable Senate Democrats in 2014. Specifically, the election will test the viability of Obamacare as a campaign talking point.
On the Democratic front, Florida’s former chief financial officer and 2010 gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink has vocally supported the Affordable Care Act, calling it an “exciting prospect.”
Republican David Jolly, a former lobbyist in Washington, has focused his campaign on the negative effects of Obamacare. With additional help from the NRCC, Jolly has launched ads pinning down Sink as an advocate of the unpopular legislation.
While Obamacare has certainly been a major topic, there are two reasons why tonight's race is incomparable to the November Senate elections.
Progressives see the world as a simple dichotomy, pitting the powerful and the wealthy against the oppressed and the poor. Politics consists of the oppressed rising up and making their lives better by diminishing the powerful. The federal government is the instrument of this rebalancing, whether through spending programs, progressive taxation, or laws that encourage equality.
So it’s no surprise that progressives would try to cram the results of the Obamacare law into this template. Here’s Paul Krugman last month:
The most likely answer [to why the GOP supposedly can’t get political traction] is that the true losers from Obamacare generally aren’t very sympathetic. For the most part, they’re either very affluent people affected by the special taxes that help finance reform, or at least moderately well-off young men in very good health who can no longer buy cheap, minimalist plans.