Chicago Tuesday PM, December 16, 2008
Editors, Wall Street Journal
Jonathan Soros' Monday, December 15 Op-ed "It's Time to Junk the Electoral College" wants all states to agree to a 'National Popular Vote compact' where state presidential electors agree to cast their electoral votes for the national winner of the popular vote for president. I suppose that if in the recent election John McCain had won the national popular vote the 21 Illinois electors would have voted against Obama? I mean, if you can't trust our governor to take the naming of a senator seriously, how you gonna trust 21 Democrat political appointees to vote against their favorite guy?
Also, after all the arm waving in the 2000 election over chads (pregnant, hanging, whatever) in a single Florida precinct, what would have happened if the final national popular presidential vote in the recent election had been 52,456,123 for Obama, and 52,456,789 for McCain? Do you think even a single state would be satisfied with their first count?
Direct election is a wonderful tool, and the founders gave it to the most numerous federal house. And to that house they also gave the most important government functions: collecting and spending taxes. But the founders also recognized the country was not just a lot of people, but a group of sovereign states, so they added a second house, membership divided equally among the states, but more important, not responsible directly to the people, but elected by the people's state legislators. But the 'direct election' fetish arose 125 years later with the passage of the 17th Amendment. This made the Senate nothing but a house of reps, with longer terms and more expensive suits. It also gave us our first Senate party leaders in 1920, a convenient three senate elections after the amendment passed (just think: we got along for 125 years without a Harry Reid in sight.)
But something certainly should be junked in a country that is replacing a president who had six years experience making executive decisions for the nation's second largest state with someone who has yet to make the first executive "buck stops here" decision of his life.
Arnold H Nelson 5056 North Marine Drive Chicago IL