Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Defending the 17th Amendment

The DSCC has released an ad criticizing Republican Senate candidate Ken Buck for his advocacy of repealing the 17th Amendment, which would return the power of selecting U.S. senators to state legislatures.  For the life of me, I don't understand why some Tea Party-backed candidates have championed this issue, which is about as close as you can get to the precise opposite of populism.  I'm only slightly less puzzled over the fact that the Democrats have chosen to attack him on this issue.  Yes, it makes him look extreme, but for all the issues on which his stances are pretty out-of-step (abortion, Social Security, student loans, church/state separation, etc.), the direct election of senators strikes me as an issue about which the vast majority of voters largely don't care.  I could be wrong, though.

(h/t ColoradoPols)


Anonymous said...

That's not such a bad ad.

They could beat on him harder... he's running for your vote now -- TO TAKE IT AWAY LATER!!

Or "He's running for your vote now, but he doesn't think you should be allowed to vote for him at all. That's just dishonest."

It might be better if they played some sort of crazy-pants music instead of Generic Scare Music 3B

Seth Masket said...

It is kind of bizarre to ask people's vote for an office you don't think they should be voting for. Maybe "Vote... while you still can!"

Robert said...

Here's a snippet from a TPM piece discussing the rationale behind the Tea Party's 17th amendment repeal push:

The "Repeal The 17th" movement is a vocal part of the overall tea party structure. Supporters of the plan say that ending the public vote for Senators would give the states more power to protect their own interests in Washington (and of course, give all of us "more liberty" in the process.)


While I agree that this is the kind of procedural issue that voters would otherwise not care about, it gains traction for the reasons Anonymous talked about. That is, the ads write themselves when you talk about something that has the effect of taking away a voting right. Hell, the Republicans based a health care talking point around the fact that voters did not approve, i.e., that voters' preferences were not being upheld on an issue upon which voters don't have the vote.

Rita said...

I think the Democrats are choosing to attack Ken Buck on this issue because, in a sense, Buck is trying to change history by trying to repeal the 17th amendment. I guess this matter isn't AS popular as views on abortion and student loans, but if you think about it...it's still pretty extreme.

Albert Camus said...

I read your post with interest because I had almost the exact same reaction as you did. Perhaps because I am mildly supportive of repealing the 17th Amendment, I found it odd that the DSCC chose to attack Buck on this issue rather than any number of his more radical ideas.