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DeLay: Too Many Voters Ruins the Senate

In his Monday column, Paul Krugman argues that today’s Republican Party is dedicated to a strategy of disenfranchising poor voters in order to protect the gains of the ultra-wealthy.

Wonder what Krugman would make of this plank contained in Tom DeLay’s political manifesto: “Senators should again be elected by state legislatures, as they were until 1913.”

During his book-tour stop at the Forward, DeLay elaborated….

“It’s just a fundamental premise of how our system was designed…. “One example that used to irk me to no end. Lloyd Bentsen who was my Texas senator… You could draw a straight line from conservatism to liberalism based on the six years that he was getting ready for reelection. That used to grate on me… Six years out he was liberal and then he got more and more conservative as he got closer to the Texas conservative reelection. It would just drive me crazy. “I didn’t know it at the time until I took a course on the Constitution … I realized what most Americans don’t know because we don’t teach the Constitution to our children, that senators used to be elected by the state legislatures and I got into looking into it and why…. The House is to reflect the hot political issue of the moment, it’s supposed to. It’s supposed to be political, it’s supposed to be pandering to its constituents…. “The stuff that comes out of the House is supposed to be cooled off by the Senate. “Well the minute you started electing [senators] by popular vote they became as politiciany as the members of the House because they had to run for reelection. You can also draw a straight line from 1913 until today, that state rights have diminished ever since that started because they have no allegiance to the states any more. Now their allegiance is to the politics of an election. “Our founding fathers were brilliant in designing it that way. To hold the states together, to have states be true organizations have a connection to the federal government through their senators, and allowing senators to be true statesmen to offset the hot political moment of the House.

DeLay insisted that this was no pie-in-the-sky idea to help pad his book. “I’m going to advocate this is,” he said. “This is a wonderful opportunity as the conservative movement is regrouping and I’m going to lay it out there and see if it sticks.”

All of which begs the question: If half the Texas legislature holes up on the other side of the border, do they get to pick a senator in Texas or Oklahoma? “You don’t get a senator.”

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