is more revolting than the majority; for it consists of few vigorous predecessors,
of knaves who accommodate themselves, of weak people who assimilate themselves,
and the mass that toddles after them without knowing in the least what it
-- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
It is amazing that so many citizens are eager to espouse the virtues of democracy.
Multitudes of Americans love their government, no matter what it does or
where it goes; the State is their mistress. Trusting in the institutions
of the federal government is an article of faith' democracy protects the
public, voting selects the representatives. Are you a ‘true believer’ in
the system that serves the populace? Or are you one of those awful cynics
that knock the good intentions of the inner circle that brings freedom and
justice to the little folks? Surely you count yourself among the chorus
of the cheering crowd! Now you have your fondest dream -- coming soon --
to safeguard the protector of the people. It’s focus is on preserving Congress,
the President, and the Supreme Court and comes from “The Continuity of Government
The commission is an American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and Brookings Institution
project headquartered at AEI. It is funded by the Carnegie, Hewlett, Packard,
and MacArthur foundations. Presidents Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford are the
honorary co-chairs of the commission and Lloyd Cutler and Alan Simpson are
the chairmen. The commission includes members who have served in government
at the highest levels.
Their first report is now available. Here are some of their proposals:
Brian Baird H.J. Res 67- a constitutional amendment to give governors the
power to make temporary appointments to the House of Representatives if more
than 25% of the members have been killed or incapacitated.
Lofgren H.J. Res. 77 - a constitutional amendment to allow Congress to make
provisions for temporary appointments of members if 30% of the seats are
Specter S.J. Res. 30 - a constitutional amendment to give governors the power
to make temporary appointments to the House of Representatives if more than
50% of the members have been killed or incapacitated. Temporary members shall
be of the same party as the member who previously occupied the seat.
Ornstein Proposal - a constitutional amendment to give governors the power
to make temporary appointments when a majority of the state congressional
delegations have been significantly diminished. Temporary appointments can
be made to fill the seat of temporarily incapacitated members, but once a
member recovers his or her original seat is reclaimed.
Davidson Proposal - a constitutional amendment to give governors the power
to make temporary appointments to fill all vacancies.
Glennon Proposal - a constitutional amendment to give the power to Congress
to devise a legislative solution to the problem of mass vacancies.
Sherman H.R. 3816 - an amendment to the presidential succession act allowing
the president to designate either the Speaker of the House or the House Majority
Leader as third in the line of succession and either the Senate Majority
or Minority Leader as fourth in the line of succession.
Langevin H.R. 3481 - a proposal to direct the National Institute of Standards
and Technology to study the feasibility of remote voting and communication
among members of Congress.
Frye Proposal - a proposal to allow for members of the House of Representatives
to designate their own temporary successors in advance to provide for the
case of mass vacancies.
Proposal - a proposal to expedite special elections in the case of mass vacancies
and to allow incapacitated members to take temporary leaves of absence.
are one of those types that hesitate to amend the constitution, then Charles
E. Rice, professor emeritus at Notre Dame Law School might raise the relevant
question: “The Patriot Act was enacted by the full House and Senate after
9/11. That act is a subject of debate and concern as a dubious and hasty
response to that crisis. If both elected chambers of Congress can produce
such a questionable law, why would it make sense to nail into the Constitution
a potential warrant to empower a Congress, dominated by unelected appointees,
to enact whatever it sees as an appropriate response to such a crisis?”
He continues: “Without a single exception, every person who has ever
served as a member of the House of Representatives has been elected to that
office by the people of his district. This is a non-negotiable point.” Then
he cites in The Federalist, No: 52, James Madison - “The definition of the
right of suffrage is very justly regarded as a fundamental article of republican
The devil is always in the details; moreover, the Moloch to whom your Liberty
is scarified habitually is the bureaucracy. The COGC is a feeble attempt
to cloak the appearance of legitimacy when the functions of martial law without
the mien of a “goose-step” parade, are actually performed by executive administration.
If Madison’s prerequisite for a republican government is indispensable, why
continue with the illusion that his constitution still rules the rulers.
Intelligent observers of representative democracy comprehend that voting
has been reduced to selecting between tweedle-dumb or tweedle-dee. So it
does not come as a surprise that politicos would want to avoid the inconvenience
of running for office. They already pass legislation to perpetuate their
power, so why not take the next logical progression and march directly to
a permanent seat?
The mindset that allows for serious consideration of the COGC reasoning is
typical of the national surrender to phantom dangers. Let’s just suppose
that the unthinkable (or is that the sanguine) happened and during the State
of the Union - the assembly evaporated! Would anyone believe that the federal
government would disappear? If anything, it would operate on a scale that
it has invariably aspired to achieve for decades. The management of society,
by an unaccountable bureaucracy, is the norm for centralized planning. Hardly
the form of a Republic, empowered by the consent of free citizens. Apathy
should not be confused with approval. However; today, most of the public
prefers to abandon sensible self interest and acquiesce to political manipulation.
Rep. Ron Paul is dead on: “Let's face it: we can scare people and doom-say
anytime we wish, but it would only be in the case of a near-complete annihilation
that our government would fail to function. In such an instance there is
no “system'' that will preserve our government. On the other hand, if we
surrender the right to elect people to the U.S. House of Representatives
under any circumstances, we will be on a slippery slope away from the few
remaining vestiges and most precious principles of the government left to
us by our founders”.
Skeptics of federal government wisdom should adopt cynicism in their motives.
The COGC is the latest threat, intent to remove the final roadblock - the
voice of the voter.
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