The government’s federal focus is hurting the states

The genius of our Constitution was its creation by 13 different parties through compromise in order to benefit and satisfy those parties. Whenever you have just two parties, there is no need for compromise — only the need to win over your opponent. A two-party system is a natural byproduct of our freedom-based government and cannot be alleviated without violating our freedoms, but there are other structural opportunities within our form of government to add separation, checks and balances between these competing parties.

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Our government is brought together in our nation’s capital to represent our states but also to function together as a body to provide us national vision and direction. While this national focus is necessary and desirable, in some aspects it can also be an Achilles’ heel. Our legislators can lose sight of and make concessions on behalf of our states. Sometimes, this is for the greater good of our country. This is not always undesirable, but our legislators, having a predominantly federal focus, have limited perspective on what our states can accept or absorb financially, morally or otherwise. Consequently, they are commonly found to be out of touch with our states.

During our founding, it was a matter of practicality that our legislature was together as one body, and while there are still reasons that is desirable today, with advances in communication and transportation, it is practical and possible that some new checks and balances could be created to break up the ideological stalemate and dysfunction we see in our government today. There is also an opportunity to create external oversight of our legislature that would eliminate the self-serving arrangement of being privileged to set their own compensation, benefits package, or any other entitlement of power or privilege. This could be accomplished by an entity that doesn’t receive federal compensation, eliminating the conflict of financial obligation and loyalties.

We should also consider expanding our Senate by 50 satellite senators, which would be filled by each governor of our states. They could vote in a similar arrangement as our vice president. This new check and balance in our Senate would encompass our two federal political parties and add a new state voting bloc that would require compromise between these different perspectives and priorities. This would also satisfy the public desires contained within the 17th Amendment, and it should therefore be repealed.



Rand Paul is definitely not presidential material

From Earl Beal

The Hill asks “Is Paul plausible in 2016?” (April 23) Simply stated, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) lacks presidential muster. Even once Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole has said of Paul that he lacks the necessary experience and countenance for this office.
Paul’s record in the United States Senate is nothing spectacular. His performance is very average. He does not know, along with his Tea Party cronies, the meaning of the word compromise. And, in the world of politics, compromise, in the spirit of bipartisanship and personal cooperation, is how things get done. 

To me, there is no one currently in national politics, nor at the state level, for that matter, truly of presidential muster who is qualified to be commander in chief. And this goes as well for the media darling Hillary Clinton, who, by the way, was in all respects only a mediocre secretary of State.

In the past 15 years, the Republicans have offered but one individual worthy of the office — which does not include George W. Bush. That person was Colin Powell. He possessed the muster, temperament and experience for the office. But sadly, the man is becoming developed in his years as to preclude his campaign for a future run for the White House. In this context, America remains for the worse given this consequence.

— Terre Haute, Ind.

Focus on building strong relationship with Taiwan

From Kent Wang, advisory commissioner for the Overseas Chinese Affairs Council

I want to give kudos to Rep. Luke Messer (R-Ind.) for presenting a thoughtful commentary on enhancing the relationship between the United States and Taiwan (“Recognizing the 35th anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act,” April 7).
Given that both countries share a strong commitment to free trade and open markets, it is in their best interests to support a possible U.S.-Taiwan bilateral investment agreement and Taiwan’s participation in negotiations for the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade bloc in the next round of major trade talks.

Consistent with the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), the United States should continue to improve the depth and frequency of U.S. policy dialogues with Taiwan leaders of both major parties. Washington should consider carrying out a comprehensive review of the strategic ambiguity in U.S. foreign policy toward Taipei and Beijing, which includes a need to integrate Taipei more clearly into its security planning for China’s maritime periphery.

A strong Taiwan confident in its relationship with the U.S. is a key to peace and security in the Western Pacific and might provide sufficient cause for lawmakers to revisit the relevance of the TRA. With joint efforts, the two sides can build upon the comprehensive and mutually beneficial relationship they have long enjoyed.

— Potomac Falls, Va.