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Marco Rubio Entertains Dangerous Idea About New Constitutional Convention

February 1, 2016

Republican presidential hopeful Marco Rubio has been talking about an idea that he considers one of merit.  Rubio thinks it a wise idea to support a constitutional convention aimed at limiting the powers of the federal government.

Make no mistake about it–opening the U.S. Constitution–for an update after 229 years with amendments–would be a most dangerous idea.  While this idea is certainly not a new one it is clear to the sober-minded what could happen if such a plan were ever to actually take place.

The so-called Convention of States relies on Article V of the Constitution, which requires two-thirds of the states to approve resolutions seeking a convention.   Those who harbor such sentiments say they are pushing for legislation in 34 states this year, including such presidential battleground states as Iowa and South Carolina.

Rubio has not been shy about his desire for such a move, but we need to be mindful he is also pursuing any issue that will allow him leverage in his race for the party nomination.

The Florida senator said, “One of the things I’m going to do on my first day is office is I will put the prestige and power of the presidency behind a constitutional convention of the states.  You know why?  Because that is the only way that we are ever going to get term limits on members of Congress or the judiciary and that is the only way we are ever going to get a balanced-budget amendment.”

Some history on this matter might be in considered–and given the lack of civics mindedness in the nation–perhaps a whole college course should be in order.  It might be noted that one of areas of history that commands a fair amount of my bookshelves deals with this time period.  So with that a bit of background.

The Founders who drafted the Constitution were a most serious and deliberative gathering of men.  They were well read, educated.  It is not too far a reach to call them erudite.  They were most private in their work and never once leaked any information to the public prior to the conclusion of the final document.  It has been noted that once a member simply took some notes to his supper table at a public place and was severely admonished for such an action.  Given the tech world we live in, the harsh array of special interest money, the highly pitched nature of our populace, and the very targeted partisan reasons for calling such a convention are just a few reasons as to why this idea is wrong.

It might also be noted many historians, (and I call out James MacGregor Burns in The Vineyard of Liberty as just one of the fantastic writers on this topic), have written much regarding how the original framers met to revamp the Articles of Confederation.  Historical evidence proves that the more able men at that time knew there was no way to worm around the Articles and a whole new approach to government would need to be established.

In others words one could make a convincing argument that the Founders were indeed part of a ‘run-a-convention’.  I would certainly echo the need at that time for the understanding about a strong central government being required to create and maintain a nation.    But there is no group of people from the current political environment who I would want opening and revising our constitution.   No group  of people today rises to the level of competence and deep regard for the well-being of the nation as those men did in  1787.    There is no way to make sure that a second ‘run-a-way’ convention did not occur.    No one can say with certainty the Koch brothers would not attempt a political coup of words.

The Founders were not saints.  Far from it.  They were as shrill and deceitful in some cases, and caring and promising in others as the current lot of shakers and movers in our political class.    But they were working under the unknown promise at that time of whether a nation could be created and if then if they had the reasoning to make one endure if it were given a chance.  These were men of high ideals who thought and read and pondered.

When John Adams left from Braintree, Massachusetts for the meeting that would result in the drafting of the Declaration of Independence, as noted by David McCullough in John Adams, the future president packed a book by Cicero.   To read for pleasure and knowledge.   This type of reading was considered essential if one was to truly contemplate the issue of the ages with other learned men.

That snippet demonstrates the quality of the men who fashioned our beginnings.    We simply do not have enough people of that gravity and sense of high purpose that should be allowed to re-open our Constitution.   

Rubio has every right to latch himself to any conservative branch he can in order to elevate his candidacy.  But he can not–must not–drag the nation apart or in pieces to get his prize.  This idea of a new convention has been around for a long time but has always been soundly rejected.

May that forever be the case.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. February 2, 2016 11:29 AM

    Tom,

    The folly of your base argument against liberals in his matter is that conservatives can go all they way back–and do–with their list of objections about the court to John Marshall. They claim it was his actions that allowed for the ‘court mess’. I have heard in lectures it argued all the way back to the Judiciary Act of 1789! You and I both know there is no sound way to allow for such a convention and it would damage our nation. Partisanship gone wild is not a sane idea.

  2. Brian Rants permalink
    February 2, 2016 10:15 AM

    Could a constitutional convention put a full repeal of the 2nd amendment on the table?

  3. tom permalink
    February 2, 2016 9:10 AM

    When I saw the title, I just knew you couldn’t get through the piece without mentioning the Koch brothers, and you do not disappoint.

    An actual Constitutional convention terrifies liberals who would rather work their magic in the darkness of our federal court rooms. There they can torture and bend the “living, breathing document” with their pc and populist whips. Oh, imagine the horror of following the Constitution to amend the Constitution….the humanity!

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