Can Washington D.C. ever be fixed from within?
The answer to that question grows more obvious by the day. After a few brief moments of celebration when John Boehner announced he was stepping down as Speaker of the House, conservatives traded their party hats for skepticism as Paul Ryan ascended to the spot. When Ryan presided over what many have called a “betrayal” – the $1.1 trillion omnibus bill – the 2015 outsiders movement in the presidential race was crystallized. If anyone was still wondering why Republican voters are showing so much love to candidates who have never held public office, the spending bill provided thousands of pages of answers.
Senator Marco Rubio, who has been criticized for not showing up to vote against that bill, has now come out in favor of a plan to fix Washington’s excesses: An Article V convention of states that would amend the U.S. Constitution.
“My first day in office I will announce I am a supporter,” said Rubio in Iowa Tuesday.
As Fox News points out, fellow candidates John Kasich, Mike Huckabee, and Rand Paul have given their blessings to the idea as well, but Rubio’s support brings the issue its biggest mainstream headlines yet. The fight for a convention of states has been going for years, but it has largely been kept to the fringes of the conversation. Supporters say it is the only way we can truly fix the broken D.C. machinery while conservative opponents worry that it would give Democrats a chance to do some constitutional chicanery of their own.
The three kings of conservative talk radio – Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Mark Levin – have all come out in favor of the plan. Levin might even be credited with starting the movement with his 2013 book, The Liberty Amendments. As popularized as the movement has been, though, the sheer scale of such an endeavor might be responsible for its lack of mainstream support. Even eternal optimists have to doubt whether today’s Americans care enough about waste and fraud to really embrace what seems like a radical idea.
Truth be told, it’s not that radical. It is a process of changing the Constitution that can be found right in the Constitution itself, put there by the founding fathers. They understood all too well, even back then, how unlikely it would be for a corrupt federal government to reform itself. Article V was put there to give that power to the American people, and it may be our last and only hope of actually taming this goliath of gluttony.
With grassroots changes to the Constitution, we could reign in federal spending, limit the scope of Washington’s power, roll back the power of the president to its original limits, start snipping away regulations, and put more control back in the hands of the 50 states. Would such a movement give liberals a chance to make changes of their own? Of course. But don’t forget: any amendment would require 3/4 state ratification; no attack on our fundamental liberties can survive that process.
Is this all a pipe dream? In the short term, probably. As this movement picks up support, though, it could actually happen at some point down the road. And if the last eight years or so are any indication, it might be the last life preserver we have for our troubled republic.