The vigorous and timely advocacy of the enforcement of the 10th Amendment has been well chronicled in the pages of THE NEW AMERICAN and elsewhere. There are, in fact, organizations devoted exclusively to that task. While no constitutionalist worthy of the distinction can doubt the vital nature of that mission, there is another amendment whose prominence in recent headlines must concern those dedicated to the advancing of constitutional principles of freedom and good government: the 17th Amendment. That amendment required the direct election of U.S. Senators by the people, thereby eliminating the election of U.S. Senators by state legislatures.
"U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller's support for repealing 17th Amendment draws criticism" is the title of an article published Wednesday in the Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner. Joseph Wayne "Joe" Miller is an attorney and is seeking election to the seat in the Senate occupied for over seven years by the woman he defeated in this year's Republican primary, Lisa Murkowski. (Two days after the November 2 election, it is still unclear who won.)
Miller is a native of Kansas and moved to the "Last Frontier" after graduating from Yale Law School to accept an associate attorney position in Anchorage. He has since practiced in Alaska and served in various local and state judicial appointments.
Responding to a question posed by an attendee at a town hall meeting in Fairbanks, Miller denounced Washington, D.C., as a place where members of Congress are "treated like royalty." Miller recommended the imposition of term limits and the repeal of the 17th Amendment as treatments for the aristocratic fever that has afflicted so many in our nation's capital.
Predictably, Miller's comments have siphoned ounces of ink from the pens of pundits and pontificators. The usual coterie of soi-disant defenders of the people has begun its vilification of Miller via the broadcast mockery of his beliefs. For example:
From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer: "Tea Party candidate boils over."
From CNN: "Political Theater: Telling Tales about the 17th Amendment."
The mainstream media is not alone in its renouncement of Joe Miller's (apparently) controversial statement. Miller's opponent in the campaign for Senator from Alaska is Democrat Scott McAdams. McAdams is quoted in the Daily News-Miner as accusing Miller of trying to "deny Alaskans their constitutional rights." He told the paper, "This is just one more example of how Joe [Miller] wants to repeal the 20th Century and hurt Alaska. Alaskans embrace their power to elect their candidates--Joe should know that--that's the American--and the Alaskan way."
While such a reaction from one's political foe is perfunctory, the vituperative response from Senator Lisa Murkowsi smacks of sour grapes and is ill-suited to one of her station. "We have Joe Miller take some extraordinary positions in this campaign," Murkowski told the Fairbanks paper, "but I never imagined he would support disenfranchising himself and every other Alaskan. Joe is no longer content with simply taking away federal support for Alaskan families, now he wants to take away their right to select our United States senators."
It is noteworthy to remind readers that despite her electoral defeat in the primary, Murkowski refused to go gently into that good night of private life, and initiated a write-in campaign to retain her seat.
This effort and the tenor of her remarks regarding Miller's alleged zeal for the disenfranchisement of every Alaskan is ironical in light of the fact that Murkowski's career in the Senate did not begin after a popular election, the method she so fervently defends. In fact, Murkowski became a Senator after her father, Frank Murkowski, then Governor of Alaska, appointed her to the office in 2002.