Constitutional convention idea gaining steam

The call for impeachment is a cry from the heart, I said here on July 11, but something must be done. Texas, Arizona and most of the middle states will see their economies, cultures and way of living destroyed by an unwanted and possibly intentional invasion. They should meet to determine how to control their own states and regional borders, cultures and futures. As of today they have no right to do so. To do that would require a constitutional convention. And that is the better idea than impeachment.

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The idea has since gained steam. On August 6, Rush Limbaugh likewise suggested a constitutional convention as an alternative to impeachment.

"So there is impeachment to deal with a lawless president, a lawless executive," said Limbaugh according to a transcript from his site. "But there is another way, and it is right in the Constitution. It's right there in Article V of the Constitution."

"Article V allows for the states to establish a constitutional convention for the purposes of dealing with circumstances such as we are experiencing today. If the Congress will not impeach, it's right in Article V: The states have the power, if they want to do it."

The idea has moved uptown. It's not just for us New Hampshire hillbillies anymore. And last week, Steven Hayward, Ronald Reagan Distinguished Visiting Professor at Pepperdine University's Graduate School of Public Policy, wrote in Forbes of an Article V constitutional convention.

"It's a really bad idea," he said. "And it's probably time we gave it a try."

"Drawing on the energy of the Tea Party," he writes, "the latest enthusiasm for a state-generated constitutional convention contemplates an amendment or suite of amendments intended to curb federal power and its domination of the states, including a spending limitation amendment that would not allow new deficit spending without the consent of a majority of the states. The aim is not merely to constrain Washington DC [sic], but to revive federalism as well."

To revive federalism. Exactly.

People worry about constitutional tinkering. And, writes Hayward, "Others worry about a 'runaway convention,' in which the delegates produce a number of other changes to the Constitution, perhaps changing the First Amendment to allow for greater federal control of political speech."

If they are so afraid to cross the river, they'd best remain on the porch.

But what I want to know is where would it be held? Philadelphia? Please. Out would come the tricorne hats and the nostalgicos and the reenactors, so honoring the ancients and comparing themselves to Franklin and Jefferson.

Maybe Des Moines, Iowa; Louisville, Ky.; or my choice, Austin, Texas; someplace in the middle to start the new day, the new century, the new millennium. Because they knew what they were doing when they saw their "center" in 1776 as a benign Brahma moment between the logical, business-oriented North and the heart-based agricultural South and settled in Philadelphia. But today Philly or Washington is no longer our "center." Today we are no longer a North/South country but a rising East/West country. Indeed, today we face the world both East and West.

The West must be included, as time and demographics brought us there since World War II. And much of the contention rises today between old and new; between the aging Eastern Establishment v. the rising West.

The essence of a proposed constitutional convention is for the states to understand themselves once again to be the essential, driving forces of the federation. May I suggest a "supercommittee" of governors, past and present, to discuss?

Quigley is a prize-winning writer who has worked more than 35 years as a book and magazine editor, political commentator and reviewer. For 20 years he has been an amateur farmer, raising Tunis sheep and organic vegetables. He lives in New Hampshire with his wife and four children. Contact him at quigley1985@gmail.com.