NYTimes columnist charges GOP w/ racism for no rep in DC.

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Ivon Denosovich, Sep 25, 2007.

  1. Ivon Denosovich

    Ivon Denosovich
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    Excerpt from today's Times:

    First, I don't agree that this was necessarily a racist move. It was probably more of a poltical move to keep out another perceived Democrat.

    Second, it does seem highly unfair and perhaps unconstitutional to deny representation to any citizen. I think the time for DC to have a congressman is long overdue. Or at least let them vote in another district for congressional representation. Personally, I was thrilled when the Cato Institute recently fought and won for DC residents to have gun rights. It only stands to reason they should also have voting rights like the rest of us.

    Third, is it time to rethink our 60 vote rule? If a majority of legislators representing a majority of the American people want something, it seems silly to pander to the dissenters by giving them, in effect, veto power.
     
    #1 Ivon Denosovich, Sep 25, 2007
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  2. carpro

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    It's not "our" rule. It's a Senate rule and it wouldn't matter whether they have 60 votes or not. They would eventually need 67 votes to over-ride a veto.

    This particular piece of legislation has a much higher hurdle than that. It requires a Constitutional amendment and requires the approval of 38 states.

    It didn't make it the last time it was attempted and probably wouldn't this time.

    I believer the writer of the Times article is being disingenious, to say the least. Surprise!
     
    #2 carpro, Sep 25, 2007
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  3. Ivon Denosovich

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    Good point about the veto, carpro. But as far as simply passing the initial legislation is concerned I'd like to see simple majority rule. It seems too often the majority of the country has its voice drown out because of technicalities.

    In regards to the DC representation, I can't see Bush blocking a bill providing the district with a congressman. Of course, it'll never make it that far, but if it did I think he would be too scared about his legacy to engage in something that could get him branded a racist.
     
  4. Ivon Denosovich

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    True. For the citizens of DC, :(
     
  5. EdSutton

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    Enough is enough.??

    I agree!!!

    Enough of these back door attempts to get around the Constitution of the United States! That is first, and foremost.
    Any real question on how the Constitution reads on this issue?? So I will repeat, "Enough of the "end runs" around the Constitution!".

    Enough of the partisanship, by non-political entities!

    Enough of the pandering!

    Enough of the attempts to cast this as a racial issue, for it is not.

    Enough of the political posturing, by all sides!

    Enough of the insinuations that the majority is always right. (That clearly was not the case in pre-war Iraq, as to intelligence, for a noteworthy example. BTW, that faulty assessment went far beyond the borders of the United States, all the way to the UN!)

    Enough of the attempts to cast the President of the United States, be it President George W. Bush, any and all of the 42 preceeding Presidents, or the ones which may hold that high office in the future, as some sort of incompetent, who does not really understand what really is (or in the mind of the favored 'elites', what really SHOULD be) in our country's best interests.

    Enough of all of it, such as this.

    As it certainly and unceremonously deserved, and with not even the dignity of my statement here, at that!

    FTR, the residents of Washington, DC already receive a disproportionate voice and influence, per capita, in the election of the President of the United States, as the Constitution awards the District three electoral votes. With a current population of something in the neighborhood of 560,000, only the state of Wyoming (Pop. <525K) has a greater per capita influence in the election of the US President.

    And DC (and most other US areas) has a "voice" though not technically a "vote", in the House of Representatives, as well, through a popularly elected representative. However, this DC representative can be a member of and vote in committee, has the same standing as other House members to speak on the floor, and in fact, can vote when the House 'sits' as a "Committee of the Whole", which it often does, as a matter of procedure. However, the 'Delegates' from PR, GU, AS, VI, and DC [The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (MP, formerly CM) has no voice, here, but that may soon change.] cannot cast the deciding votes in such a committee, by House rule, and thus the House voting majority on this has to be greater than a vote of one. Otherwise there is a re-vote, without the 'delegates' voting.

    The following does not represent anyone's view but my own. Personally, I would like to see Puerto Rico become one of 51 states. Politically, I find that a terrible idea, as to my own political leanings. And I find some of the following ideas politically disadvantageous, as well, but not personally.

    Personally, I would like to see an amendment to the US Constitution, that would give some sort of "state-equal" or "mini-state" status in the House of Representatives (but not in the US Senate) and the accompanying Member of Congress to DC, VI, GU, AS, and MP. And given the current 435 Members of the House, I would like to see that increased to either (a preferred 445) or 450, as a permanent number. The Senate would increase by 2, for Puerto Rico, and the Electoral votes currently and as assigned, by the Constitution to the District of Columbia would not be changed. PR's (currently to be) 6 Representatives would come from the increase of the 10, in the House, with the extra seat being eliminated at the next census, after the proposed amendments were adopted. The change to 445 House of Representatives, 102 Senators and the two additional electoral votes for DC, per the extant Constitution, would make a total "Electoral College" of 549 votes, with 275 electoral votes needed to become President. (FTR, I am also in no way wanting to eliminate the "Electoral College", as I do not support a democracy, but a Republic which the United States is.)

    Last, but not least, whether or not any (or all) of these ever have the remotest ghost of a chance to become law, I would like to see American Samoans accorded full citizenship in the United States, and not as a last vestige of colonialism by remaining classified as US "Nationals." That is demeaning and should be beneath our and their dignity, IMO. Those who are American-born, residents or not, of the 50 states, DC, PR, VI, GU, and MP, are all citizens. It is beyond high time the same right is accorded to American Samoa, and its tiny dependency, Swains Island.

    Ed
     
    #5 EdSutton, Sep 25, 2007
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  6. Ivon Denosovich

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    EdSutton, what would you think of letting DC vote in another district instead of giving them their own rep? Personally, I'd see that as preferrable as then they'd have both house and senate votes without changing the actual number of congressmen. Just my two cents. My main problem with increasing the amount of legislators is the indefatigable, infinitesimal growth of pork, corruption, and politicking in general that would undoubtedly ensue.
     
    #6 Ivon Denosovich, Sep 25, 2007
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  7. saturneptune

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    The issue seems quite clear. To get electoral votes, House or Senate representation, become a state. There is no limit on the number of states.
     
  8. Magnetic Poles

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    Abolish the District of Columbia, and give it back to Maryland. Problem solved.
     
  9. EdSutton

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    While there may be a small amount of merit in this, which state or states do you want DC to vote as a part of? And would that state or states want its own "voting power" diffused, for it would be that, unless the Representatives were increased accordingly. Don't really think "busing" is a very good idea, in general, and even less in this.

    And there is that little bit of the Constitution, yet again. It still reads "the several states", and "each state". I do not see any caveat, here, or any provision that allows for these to be bypassed.

    My first post spoke to the issue of amending the Constitution.
    Any real change is going to have to come either by an amendment, or Congress making DC a state. And once again, the Constitution speaks to the "Seat of the Government" issue. I fail to see how making it a state would not effectively be an attempted "end run" around that 'Seat of the Government' proviso. Especially, when the District of Columbia was specifically created upon the cessation of a 10 mile square of land, from the states of VA and MD, to the federal government.

    Ed
     
  10. EdSutton

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    Not hardly as clear as you make it sound. The Constitution was amended (Amendment XXIII) and the Amendment ratified by sufficient states to give DC the number of electoral votes that it would have as "if it were a state", but one and only one representative (along with two Senators), is effectively allocated. And its been this way for almost 46 1/2 years, specifically since being passed by Congress and proposed to the states June 16, 1960, and ratified March 29, 1961.

    Ed
     
  11. EdSutton

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    And where is the "Seat of the Government" then going to be? Some new capital built in a completly unpopulated 100 square mile area, ceeded by another state or states? An area that probably does not exist anywhere, with the possible exceptions of areas in Alaska, or in some National Park. (Ten mile square areas with zero population are a little hard to come by, these days.

    Anyway-

    Ain't never going to happen! That little problem of the Constitution, once again.

    So, even if the current "Seat of the Government" were to be "given back" to Maryland, the problem ain't been solved yet!

    Ed
     
  12. saturneptune

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    Ed,
    Do you remember how a territory becomes a state?
     
  13. carpro

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    "The District of Columbia Voting Rights Amendment was a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution to give Congressional representation to the District of Columbia in the United States Congress, full representation in the Electoral College system, and full participation in the process by which the U.S. Constitution is amended (Article V). It expired August 22, 1985 ,and so would have to start from square one (getting a two-thirds vote by both Houses of the Congress again) before it get ratified by the state legislatures. 38 ratifications would be needed for the amendment to become a part of the Constitution."
     
  14. EdSutton

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    Various ways. The most obvious, and most common, is that the territory becomes first, an "organized", vs. an "unincorporated" territory. And then the territory or part of the territory becomes a state. That happened with the Northwest Territory, for example, And the resultant state was Ohio, a part of it.

    The remaining territory became Indiana Territory, and remained a territory for a while. Subsequent "re-divisions", "combinings", and "re-districtings" sometimes occurred, often several times before the completion of a statehood process.

    An example of this would be Wisconsin, which was part of the Northwest Terr. (1788-1800), Indiana Terr. (1800-1809), Illinois Terr. (1809-1818), Michigan Terr. (1818-1836), Wisconsin Terr. (1836-1848), and finally became the state of Wisconsin in 1848.

    Other states were formed from a single organized territory, such as Florida.

    California was formed from an "unorganized" territory.

    Some were never a part of any organized or unorganized territory, such as West Virginia, the Commonwealth of Kentucky :D, and Texas. Yes, KY is one of four states in the US that is also a Commonwealth, along with PA, MA, and VA.

    And KY, WV, Vermont, and Maine were formed from extant states. Did you know that the last major battle of the Revolutionary War was fought in KY, at the Battle of Blue Licks, in August 1782, and that the British and Indians actually routed the Kentucky Militia in that Battle? Lt. Col. Daniel Boone was one of the Kentuckians (with 83 out of 182 killed, including his son Israel Boone, or captured, and the 83 not including thoise woulded but not fatally) and the highest ranking officer to escape, as Col. John Todd, and Lt. Col. Stephen Trigg were both killed. Boone, in fact, is reported to have said, as they crossed the Licking River, that "we are all slaughtered men.", as his frontier instincts had corrrectly read the signs that they were following a trail leading into an ambush.

    You have no doubt heard the expression of lose the Battle but win the War? That is what happend here to the United States, in this final battle of the Revolution.

    Just a bit of history that most Americans are unaware of.

    Did you know that Vermont also declared itself an independant Republic during the Revolutionary War, apart from the 13 colonies in 1777, and that the Green Mountain Boys of Ethan Allen were the de-facto Army of that republic, first known as New Connecticut? And that the Battle(s) of Bennington and Saratoga, which were achieved primarily due to Vermonters, was a major turning point in the American Revolution? Just some more bits of history that most Americans do not know.

    In fact, Texas was an independant Republic of Texas, that became a state simultaneously with being annexed into the United States. This is, to my knowledge, the only time that has happened in our nation's history, apart from the Declaration of Independence, during the Revolutionary War and the subsequent victory at Yorktown, and the ensuing Treaty of Paris.

    Hope that information helps.

    Ed
     
    #14 EdSutton, Sep 26, 2007
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  15. Pastor Larry

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    I think the 60 vote rule is to avoid having a tyranny. I tend to like it so that neither side can pass without at least some measure of objection. The "majority of the country" never has its voice drowned out. The majority of the country only speaks during elections. The representatives and senators are not voting for the majority of the country. I think that is a common error in thinking ... that we elect someone to go and vote just as we would. That is one difference between a direct democracy and a republic. Our representatives are not bound to vote as we would, or even as the majority of their district or state would.

    To the case at hand, it is hardly racist, it seems to me. It is just a political piece trying to sway opinion.
     
  16. EdSutton

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    Shoulda' added this to my last post.

    The Constitution does not spell out any particular process, or even a summary process in great detail, and that is one reason there have been several varied routes to statehood.

    'I assume the Congress, in its collective wisdom (or lack of the same) can "create" a state as long as that does not violate any other provisio of the Constitution. It can certainly admit more states.
    I also assume a new state could be admitted by Amendment, as well. There is no such thing as an Amendment that is or would be 'unconstitutional', to my knowledge. {That was potentially offered as a short-lived 'challenge' to Amendment XXVII which was proposed on Sept. 25, 1789, but not ratified until May 9, 1992, on the grounds that it had been over 202 years, in contrast to the seven year period of four 'modern' Amendments. [The fact that most of the Amendments, both prior to and following the particular four, did not have any time limit for ratification in the wording, or that the proposed (and twice-failed) 'Equal Rights' Amendment had its time limit extended, by Congress, somehow got lost, on these folks.] That 'argument' went absolutely nowhere, as it got less traction than a car pulling a trailer, with "a slick tire, under a load, motoring uphill, on oil-covered ice".}

    For, as I read it, there is not one Word, Phrase, Line, Sentence, Clause, Section, Article, or Amendment in the Constitution that is sacrosanct. Over one half of Article II; Section 1 has been 'repealed' and superceeded by Amendment(s). And in fact, Amendment XXI repealed Amendment XVIII in its entirety. And with only one sentence, comprising Section 1 of Amendment XXI, at that.

    Ed
     
    #16 EdSutton, Sep 26, 2007
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  17. carpro

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    Since D.C. was authorized as the "seat of government" by the Constitution, I believe it would take a Constitutional amendment to alter it's status.
     
  18. EdSutton

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    It does.

    Where were some of you folks during "civics" class, assuming you are American born and raised??
    The " sixty-votes" are parliamentary procedures having to do with ending debate, offering amendments, etc.. It is not necessary for them to be employed, and often they are not, whether or not they might be advantageous. If they were in normal use for a vote, there would be never any need for a tie-breaking vote by the Vice-President or the President Pro-tem of the Senate, and all votes could be counted on to have to have a decided majority. And these 'preliminary' and procedural votes, do not always show where the trend is going, or what the outcome will be, either. (And once a vote comes on the floor, the majority carries it. Even in the Senate. The House has no filibuster procedure, FTR, although it did up until 1842.)

    A notable example, recently, is that of the so-called "Amnesty" Bill. There were two votes about ending debate. In a first hearing, several voted not to end the debate, including both supporters and opponents of the bill, wanting to get their own opinions in public, and for the record. Several also wanted to put forth their own amendments, as well. In the latter vote, some switched the votes, in either an attempt to kill it with endless amendments, or force its withdrawal by Sen. Leader Reid, which worked, after he was not able to muster anywhere near the votes he thought he had, or needed. Filibusters and the like, notwithstanding, the vote can be taken, if and when there is no other opposition voiced, or the Senate tires of listening to such, and votes to close it off (cloture). That does take a 60 vote count. At times, cloture took a 2/3 majority. But it is not automatic, and many votes, in fact, are a one or two vote margin. In fact, the VP can only vote to break a tie or create one, as can the President Pro-Tem, when presiding. And either can choose not to vote in a one vote situation, rather than create a tie, as well. Or can choose not to vote in a tie, as well.

    Ed
     
    #18 EdSutton, Sep 26, 2007
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  19. EdSutton

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    Not necessarily. A new capital built at the site of what is currently Columbus, KY, for example, which was, BTW, seriously proposed as a new capital after the War of 1812, would satisfy the requirement in the Constitution, as well, provided KY, or some other state should agree to cede such territory for a "Seat of the Government". The Constitution does not specifically mandate that it has to be, or remain, Washinton, D.C.. And in fact, the city of Washington did not exist at the time of the ratification of the Constitution, or of the creation of the District, although the city of Georgetown did already exist. In fact, Georgetown did not become a part of the city of Washington until almost 1900.

    Ed
     
  20. Ivon Denosovich

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    Why does this matter? (I ask in the philosophical sense, not in the "we have to care because we have to care" legal sense.) In relation to making representation equal in the legislative process, who cares if it's called Poo Poo Land? It seems to me someone may have missed the spirit of the Constitution: taxation without representation is tyranny. ;)

    For what it's worth, I don't think voters in DC would have to be "bused" as you said to participate in another district's elections. Mailed ballots would cover it aptly. Btw, what would you propose for including them in the congressional process as soon as possible?
     
    #20 Ivon Denosovich, Sep 26, 2007
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