Powering up the states

Frustrated with government inaction, citizens turn to grassroots means to change policy

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You could say that Rob Nordan and Dora Bush are do-it-yourselfers.

They don’t know each other. Mr. Nordan lives in Appling, and Mrs. Bush lives in Aiken, S.C. But they’re both pitching in on an enormous do-it-yourself project.

They want to fix the government.

They are just two area participants in a growing movement to stop what more people see in crystal clarity as the runaway power of the federal government.

The project is called the Convention of States, and its goal is to harness power at the grassroots level to urge enough states to call a convention to propose amendments to the Constitution.

Article V of the Constitution spells out two ways you can propose a constitutional amendment – a two-thirds majority of Congress can call for it, or a two-thirds majority of all state legislatures can call for a convention. If either method settles on an amendment, three-fourths of the states have to ratify it for it to become law.

You think Congress could pull that off right now? Fat chance. The House and Senate are just days away from a recess to wrap up a year in which, at this writing, they have passed a paltry 55 laws. To put that into perspective, the 1948 Congress that President Truman dubbed the “Do-Nothing Congress” passed 511 laws.

The 2013 Congress apparently passed a law naming the Interstate 70 bridge in St. Louis for baseball legend Stan Musial. It passed a law approving extra parking at the South Dakota Minuteman Missile National Historic Site. But it has neither the inclination nor the ability to act to change the federal government’s increasingly wasteful, overreaching habits.

“From my standpoint, it doesn’t have anything to do with political parties,” Mr. Nordan explained. “It has more to do with what I feel like has become a real departure of our country from our beginnings. I was a little bit frustrated with Republicans and Democrats about all the messes and problems we find ourselves in now.”

Mr. Nordan aired his frustrations through social media, on a Facebook post, asking if an organization existed that could get elected officials’ attention about the direction in which our country is headed. A respondent recommended the Convention of States.

Mrs. Bush first learned of the convention after watching an interview with Michael Farris, the head of the project, on the cable-TV news and events show hosted by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. “And I got so excited because I thought, ‘That is something that I, an average citizen, can work with my state legislature to do,’ ” she said.

That was earlier this year, and the work seems to be paying off. South Carolina state Rep. Bill Taylor, an Aiken Republican, pre-filed a bill in the legislature Dec. 3 calling for a convention of states. Similar paperwork has been filed in Virginia.

“Washington will never limit its own power,” Taylor said. “They’ll never pass amendments to balance the budget, put term limits on themselves or give the states their rightful constitutional authority.”

The organization’s goal is to
introduce “a package of amendments” to address the problems that Washington, D.C., won’t. High on the group’s agenda is a balanced budget amendment.

Americans are starving for solutions to their nation’s problems. But since dysfunctional leadership is one of the problems, citizen-driven efforts may well offer the best hope of empowerment to people who don’t want to see the America they remember slip away.

“We’ve got some serious problems right now in our country, and if they’re not addressed soon, we’ll be talking about our country as past history, not as living history,” Mr. Nordan said. “I think its time for the regular folks to send a strong message. Yes, we can be involved in elections and yes, we can vote, but I see this as a much larger thing. I see this as a way to perhaps preserve the republic. And I don’t see that coming from any other direction.”

No. But it’s coming from where it needs to come from.

We the people.

(The organization’s website is www.conventionofstates.com.)

Comments (33) Add comment
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bubbasauce
28580
Points
bubbasauce 12/08/13 - 04:43 am
10
3
I am behind this 1000%. I

I am behind this 1000%. I wish all the best luck for this to happen and please keep it publicised so we can possibly help out! Let's get behind this also Georgia. Great news!

Riverman1
103715
Points
Riverman1 12/08/13 - 05:04 am
7
3
Feds Would Not Allow Measure

It would be an interesting way to promote conservative causes. It would put the less populated conservative western and southern states in a better position against the heavily populated liberal states.

Three quarters of the states is a realistic goal to ratify constitutional amendments, but I doubt Washington would allow drastic conservative changes such as requiring a firm debt limit. Before it was over the feds would send troops to keep the money going to Washington under the guise of some emergency measure.

deestafford
37146
Points
deestafford 12/08/13 - 06:52 am
10
1
This can be done...

This can be done and it can be done without the involvement of Congress. The Founding Fathers in their wisdom foresaw to a certain extent what is happening now. They saw the time when Congress would become so overreaching that it would refuse to control itself and that it why the put in the Convention of States method of amending the Constitution.

Some say we should not do this because it would become a runaway convention as did our original Constitutional Convention. As most remember it was initially called to tighten up the Articles of Confederation and it ended up throwing them out and writing a new constitution....one that has lasted longer than any in existence today.

A runaway convention is one in which all kinds of "crazy" amendments are proposed and adopted. The Founders saw this possibility and that is why the proposed amendments have to be ratified by the states. If we can't trust the states, after all that is where the Founders put the power of government, we are lost as a country.

This process is discussed in great detail in Mark Levin's book, "The Liberty Amendments--Restoring the American Republic". This book is a must read for any conservative who is concerned and scared of the out of control, overreaching federal government which must be stopped.

Rhetor
1152
Points
Rhetor 12/08/13 - 07:38 am
3
15
Aha! The true agenda comes out into the open.

You all love the Constitution so much that you want to gut it and rewrite it to suit your own ideas about how you imagine things used to be long ago.

Riverman1
103715
Points
Riverman1 12/08/13 - 07:45 am
15
2
Constitutional Legal Way For Change

Rhetor, what you are missing is that this is the legal constitutional way to change the Constitution, not the Obama-Democrats way.

deestafford
37146
Points
deestafford 12/08/13 - 07:53 am
11
1
Some of the things which should be changed...

Some of the things which should be changed are:

--US Senators should be elected by the state legislatures as originally laid out in the Constitution.

--Term limits on both House and Senate members.

--Lifetime appointments of judges to include the Supreme Court should be eliminated.

--A Constitutional Amendment for a balanced budget except during times of a declared war.

--Some mechanism to enforce the Tenth Amendment should be adopted. I don't know what it would be but it's needed.

These are some of the things which I believe will restore the Republic back to the original intent of the Founders---the most educated group of elected representatives this country has ever seen.

ymnbde
11547
Points
ymnbde 12/08/13 - 08:53 am
7
2
we've reached a serious divergence

between two things than cannot coexist
the leftists think government control is better than individual freedom
and conservatives know that while it may be for a very short time
on a very narrowly focused issue
in the long run uncontrolled governments always cause more harm than good
based historically on the other governments than "fixed" everything
and on the competence of our current crop of bureaucrats
it's time for the pendulum of power to swing back to the states
term limits for representatives at least
and the most important of all
school choice

gaflyboy
5791
Points
gaflyboy 12/08/13 - 09:02 am
8
2
Excellent and informative letter ACES

Rhetor 12/08/13 - 07:38 am: Unfortunately, the Constitution has already been gutted. This is an effort to restore it.

deestafford 12/08/13 - 07:53 am: Good list! Others that I would add are

--Elimination of pensions for Congressmen. This would be a major step to returning to candidates who genuinely seek public service, not a career.

--The term limits should be one. This would put a huge dent in lobbying efforts, if not kill them altogether and would reduce the incentive for voting themselves raises (knowing they’ll probably be there to collect later)

--The mechanism for enforcing the Tenth Amendment may be found in ending lifetime appointments of SCOTUS judges, as you mentioned.

TrukinRanger
1751
Points
TrukinRanger 12/08/13 - 09:04 am
0
0
How funny... they aren't
Unpublished

How funny... they aren't happy with the way the country has been heading, so they want 2/3 of the states to have a convention- thing is, more and more of the states are not thinking like the backwoods bigots we have here in the south and you wouldn't get 2/3 of them to come together. Eventually the teapublican states will be overwhelmed and forced to give equal rights to all Americans

Gary Ross
3347
Points
Gary Ross 12/08/13 - 09:20 am
9
1
Big first step

What can be done about the uneducated or uncaring voters? And the lazy minded dependants on welfare programs? They are large in number and pose a serious threat. Perhaps it would be better to allow a government shut down and let the free government handouts dry up. Starvation may be a motivating factor in waking these zombies up to reality!

deestafford
37146
Points
deestafford 12/08/13 - 10:11 am
5
1
Even though I support term limits...

Even though I'm a big supporter of term limits one of my concerns is how do we keep the staffs and bureaucrats from being the power...even more so than they are today? One of the problems with legislation is the lack of details in a law passed by Congress. Even though the laws run for hundreds of pages, nearly all of the implementing instructions are left of to the cabinets and agencies.

For example, Congress passes a law that in 400 pages says, "Build a rail road from Augusta, GA to San Francisco, CA". Then it's turned over to the Cabinets et al to get it done and with little oversight. Hopefully, I'm making my point clear enough.

Even with this as a drawback I still think term limits would be better for us.

As most of us know the folks in Congress have this attitude of "It takes awhile for people to learn how the system up here works and how things get done. Now, you newbies just wait around two or three terms and then you can speak when we call on you." That's one of the reasons some up there don't like Ted Cruz. He came up there as a freshman senator saying, "The people of Texas sent me here to do a job and I'm going to do it."

carcraft
31605
Points
carcraft 12/08/13 - 10:26 am
4
0
Good grief Rhetoric, this

Good grief Rhetoric, this isn't an effort to gut the Constitution. Obama is doing that well enough by himself. He has personally order the exacution of American citizens (one a 16 year old) with out due process. Tells businesses they can ignore the laws he has sworn to uphold. The latest having to do with windmills killing federally protected birds of pray. President Obama changes laws, reinterpretes laws and ignores laws at his whim. For an example look at the immigration laws and when he tried to make appointments when congress was in session!

faithson
5876
Points
faithson 12/08/13 - 10:48 am
2
8
yea that's the ticket..

another reincarnation of the tea party. Another my way or the highway political group that would rather see the whole cake implode, rather than work for its betterment through accommodation and political compromise. As long as these 'movements' are instigated by the 'flaming ditto heads' who have no interest in sitting down with the 'other' side, their prognosis for success is dismal. When the basis of the movement is 'against' instead of a forward idealism for the future, the foundation upon which it is built is weak.

dahreese
4961
Points
dahreese 12/08/13 - 11:31 am
0
5
"Americans are starving for
Unpublished

"Americans are starving for solutions to their nation’s problems. But since dysfunctional leadership is one of the problems, citizen-driven efforts may well offer the best hope of empowerment to people who don’t want to see the America they remember slip away."

This is an excellent, neutral, editorial; as editorials mostly should be. And that's really saying something for the AC!

And 'most' of the comments above, except two, have been neutral. And that too, is 'really saying something.'

Congressional term limits is not the best answer. It sounds good, but we need congress persons who have long term experience. A 'short term' person will never have the 'hindsight' to connect the past to the present when it comes to balancing world events with present day problems.

Regarding 'the people's' right to control their own government, we need campaign financing spending limits.

If a candidate can get ten dollars from one contributor and three other contributors do not have ten dollars between them to give, and the candidate wants to remain elected, guess who he's going to listen to when it comes time to make a political decision.

Otherwise, we are stuck with our situation - those with the money control government.

The situation over judges is a whole different ball game.

t3bledsoe
14291
Points
t3bledsoe 12/08/13 - 11:14 am
1
3
Editorial

I agree that the feds. have way too much power, BUT if the states would agree to work together, perhaps it would be a good thing to give the states more of the powers that are now held by the feds!! Under Bush 2, The No Child Left Behind was a federal mandate! Do you REALLY believe that it worked to the degree which Bush thought it would??!! Many of you will say that it was and is because that "public schools" are literaly "day-cares" with more of a supervision and care taker roll than education!! Perhaps you are probably correct, BUT the states were in charge of making The NCLB law a reality. And what did that get US??!! Now, Obamacare is demanding people to get health insurance or pay a fine to the federal government!! How in #### can this possibly be legal?? Well, for one thing, The SCOTUS declared it is legal!! I will bet dollars to dounuts that the States' mandates for having car insurance lead SCOTUS to approve this asinine logic!! If the states want to declare Obamacare UN-Constitutional, THEN THE STATES must get rid of the car insurance mandate, WHICH IS NO MORE un-constitutional than Obamacare!! Enough said, PERIOD!!!!

t3bledsoe
14291
Points
t3bledsoe 12/08/13 - 11:30 am
1
3
"Homework assignment to believers in Editorial"

For all of those commenters who are for this editorial, I will give us the assignment to e-mail ALL of our State Reps. and State Sens. AND Federal Reps. and Sens. our feelings about this constitutional convention!! Just today, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013, I heard that The House and Senate will most likely pass a federal budget with VERY LITTLE conflect. Just who do you think pushed this issue?? IT WAS "WE THE PEOPLE"!!!! The House and Senate have FINALLY come to the conclution that "WE THE PEOPLE" are d### tired of this do-nothing in-fighting!! If you believe these money figures that are being put out by the US Government, THEN I have some supreme ocean front property to sell you!!!! The ONLY reason this announcement has been made is to FOOL THE GULLABLE amoung US to really believe in this farce!! PLEASE, PLEASE, do not forget this terrible leason that we are being taught come voteing day in 2014!!!!

t3bledsoe
14291
Points
t3bledsoe 12/08/13 - 11:44 am
4
0
Editorial

"You think Congress could pull that off right now? Fat chance. The House and Senate are just days away from a recess to wrap up a year in which, at this writing, they have passed a paltry 55 laws"

I hope EVERYONE, both liberals and conservatives, understand the reason The House and Senate will not call for such a constitutional convention!! Whether they are Republican or Democrat, they ENJOY the power which they have over EVERYONE!! This has GOT TO be the reason that EVERYONE needs to get behind this idea of a states' constitutional convention because of the ""THE DO AS I SAY, NOT AS I DO"" mentality of the current Washington, DC government!! I don't care about the fame if I should inspire hundreds of people to take action, THIS IS THE TIME FOR ALL OF US to take action!!!!

dahreese
4961
Points
dahreese 12/08/13 - 12:21 pm
0
1
Without doubt, the editor(s)
Unpublished

Without doubt, the editor(s) and the editorial writer(s) read these editorial comments.

How 'bout and editorial calling for campaign finance limits; something that would let ordinary folks have a shot at being heard by political folks?

If a sweep like that could cut across the nation, why shouldn't it begin with the Augusta Chronicle leading the way?

Waiting to see....

deestafford
37146
Points
deestafford 12/08/13 - 12:25 pm
2
0
t3, Bush was not a Conservative...

t3, Bush was not a Conservative even though we Conservatives had hoped he would be. He has some conservative ideas and leanings, but like his daddy he also had this streak of "compassion" which over rode classic conservatism and individual responsibility. Unfortunately, the Republican controlled Congress followed his lead.

One mistake he made was to think the Democrats in DC were like the those in Texas in that they had the best interests of the country at heart and you could work with them. That is why he let Ted Kennedy write much of NCLB. It was not driven nor wanted by the states. On the surface it sounded good-- have a standard which everyone should meet and we will all move to that standard and be happy, happy, happy. It didn't work out that way. Like everything the feds touch in education it was a disaster. Just wait until people see what the Common Core is all about.

The bottom line is the folks in Washington have come to believe themselves to be the RULING CLASS rather than those who are public servants governing. Public service was supposed to be a sacrifice where people would serve for a period of time at lower pay and then go to the private sector. The Master (that being the People/Private Sector) would make more than the Servant(that being the folks in DC). It has now turned around where the Servant is making more than the Master while taking his money from the Master and continually asking for raises.

As a result, the Servant will never give up his position willingly and must be forced to by a states called constitutional convention.

carcraft
31605
Points
carcraft 12/08/13 - 01:10 pm
2
0
Dahreese, do you really think

Dahreese, do you really think Pilosi and Reid benefited from their hind sight when they passed a health care bill with NO Republican support?

robert2410
1628
Points
robert2410 12/08/13 - 01:11 pm
2
0
Ah faithson, you mean the way
Unpublished

Ah faithson, you mean the way the democrats did with the ACA? Sounds to me like you on the left only want compromise and mutual agreement when it serves you.

Bizkit
39938
Points
Bizkit 12/08/13 - 01:45 pm
3
0
So let me get this

So let me get this straight-some of you think this is a bad idea because "we" the people want to have a say in govt.? I see you just want to have no say and let the govt do everything for you and make all your decisions for you =nuff said.

Bizkit
39938
Points
Bizkit 12/08/13 - 01:49 pm
2
0
The SCOTUS is impotent to

The SCOTUS is impotent to deal with the heart of an issue but concentrate on peripherals that impact the heart. Like Roe vs Wade wasn't about abortion but the "right to privacy". The ACA wasn't about Congress mandating health insurance-that isn't allowed but that Congress has the "right to tax". But the impact is it made abortion legal and made a illegal mandate taxable-which is beyond paradox. They can't mandate or force you to buy health insurance according to the Constitution-but they can tax you if you fail to oblige a mandate-you can bet this issue will come up again.

dichotomy
40993
Points
dichotomy 12/08/13 - 03:16 pm
2
0
faithson......I'd like to

faithson......I'd like to remind you Democrat "'flaming ditto heads" which group of left wing radical "my way or the highway" socialists has refused to sit down and talk with the other side for the last 5 years and continue to do so. Who has refused to allow discussion or votes in the Senate on hundreds of bills that were passed by the House concerning the issues of the pending Obamacare disaster (and they were 100% right) and on the deficit crisis (and they are 100% right about that too).

Anyone who has the least bit of common sense (not you Democrats) knows that we need a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution, with some provision to limit taxation. While my reactionary gut does agree with term limits, I also recognize the need to retain some institutional and historical knowledge in any entity so I'm not sure how to resolve those two requirements. I believe that a Balanced Budget Amendment would probably solve both problems since there would not be huge amounts of money for vote buying and stealing.

I think any effort to amend the Constitution should be very narrow and limited in scope. I believe one amendment, a Balance Budget Amendment with limits on taxation, would cure many evils. Maybe if we concentrated on doing ONE THING and DOING IT RIGHT we could actually accomplish this.

t3bledsoe
14291
Points
t3bledsoe 12/08/13 - 03:26 pm
0
0
Dahreese @ 12:21

"How 'bout and editorial calling for campaign finance limits; something that would let ordinary folks have a shot at being heard by political folks?

If a sweep like that could cut across the nation, why shouldn't it begin with the Augusta Chronicle leading the way?

Waiting to see...."

I seriously doubt The ACES has much ground to stand on about campaign financing. I mean, BOTH PARTIES are taking big time advantage of this availability that was OKAYED by The SCOTUS!!

t3bledsoe
14291
Points
t3bledsoe 12/08/13 - 03:52 pm
0
2
Term limits

This idea that the constant of turn-over of un-learned representatives in ALL government bodies is a bunch of cow pucks!! If we ALL agree that representatives in ALL governing bodies need time to get to learn their jobs, THEN let US agree on term limits which would accomodate this! If a new president has 4 to 8 years of a term limit, WHY IN #### should it be different for representatives??!! If a president can learn his/her duties in 4 years, then let's make ALL term limits 4 to 8 years?? Makes sence to anyone in favor of term limits!

deestafford
37146
Points
deestafford 12/08/13 - 04:04 pm
1
0
Two other amendments I'd propose...

Two other amendments I'd propose are the elimination of the 16th Amendment which established the income tax and a new amendment establishing the Fair Tax.

t3bledsoe
14291
Points
t3bledsoe 12/08/13 - 04:09 pm
0
2
But I digress and repeat from past comments

As I have stated multipul times before, "When will ALL OF US learn that we MUST meet in the middle (ie, be moderates) in order to get OUR government to where it needs to be??!!" Dislike me, if you must, but there are MORE examples of far left and far right people on this comments board to the point as to really be representative of Washington! If I believed in the saying, OMG, which I believe is disrespectful to GOD, I would say STOP THIS EXTREME in-fighting!! Why in #### should we expect our law-makers to "behave" when we don't??!! Being in the middle is a very good place to see both sides of the arguements! If many, many more of US don't get in the middle, NOTHING will get done!

teaparty
11313
Points
teaparty 12/08/13 - 04:20 pm
3
0
T3 said, "As I have stated
Unpublished

T3 said, "As I have stated multipul times before, "When will ALL OF US learn that we MUST meet in the middle (ie, be moderates) in order to get OUR government to where it needs to be??!!"
Bledsoe, NO we do NOT meet a bunch of Marxists and communists in the middle and that is what is running the democrat party.

dahreese
4961
Points
dahreese 12/08/13 - 04:45 pm
0
2
"I seriously doubt The ACES
Unpublished

"I seriously doubt The ACES has much ground to stand on about campaign financing. I mean, BOTH PARTIES are taking big time advantage of this availability that was OKAYED by The SCOTUS!!"

There are four different issues here; "Both parties"; "OKed by the Supreme Court; the ground that ACES currently stands on; and
back to my comment;

"How 'bout and editorial calling for campaign finance limits; something that would let ordinary folks have a shot at being heard by political folks?

If a sweep like that could cut across the nation, why shouldn't it begin with the Augusta Chronicle leading the way?

Waiting to see...."

To be honest with you, I don't think ACES has what it takes.

The owners of the umbrella corporation (big time Republicans, and I'm not stating that so some of you who are conservatives can come back in your usual juvenile ways with some snarl about Democrats, although I'll be shocked if at least one of you doesn't) isn't about to let ACES take such a step.

"Morris Multimedia Inc., parent company of Morris Newspaper Corporation and Morris Network, is among the largest privately held media companies in the United States. Founded in 1970 in Savannah, GA., by Charles H. Morris, the company today owns and operates over 65 publications, network affiliate television stations, and other media related ventures in ten states and the Caribbean."

Such a political call as promoted by Mrs. Bush and Mr. Nordan (1st paragraph of the editorial) will only come from the independent media (which, I suspect, few of you read).

Congressional term limits is not the best answer. It sounds good, but we need congress persons who have long term experience. A 'short term' person will never have the 'hindsight' to connect the past to the present when it comes to balancing world events with present day problems.

Regarding 'the people's' right to control their own government, we need campaign financing spending limits.

If a candidate can get ten dollars from one contributor and three other contributors do not have ten dollars between them to give, and the candidate wants to remain elected, guess who he's going to listen to when it comes time to make a political decision.

Otherwise, we are stuck with our situation - those with the money control government.

(And you).

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