Georgia Democratic Sen. Zell Miller is calling for the United States to restore the wishes of its Founding Fathers and empower state legislatures to appoint senators rather than be elected by voters.
The retiring Miller, who has garnered attention over the past year with stinging critiques of his Democratic Party, believes rescinding the 17th Amendment would curb the power of special interests in Washington while increasing the power of state governments.
“The individuals are not so much at fault as the rotten and decaying foundation of what is no longer a republic,” Miller said on the Senate floor, according to the Associated Press. “It is the system that stinks. And it’s only going to get worse because that perfect balance our brilliant Founding Fathers put in place in 1787 no longer exists.”
Members of the U.S. House have been chosen by voters since the nation’s founding.
Miller, a former two-term governor of Georgia, contends the Constitution’s prescription for balancing the interests of large and small states and the power of state and federal governments was destroyed when the U.S. ratified the 17th Amendment in 1913.
The senator, who will finish his Senate service in January, has become the Republicans’ favorite Democrat with his endorsement of President Bush’s re-election and support of many key GOP positions.
His new book, “A National Party No More: The Conscience of a Conservative Democrat,” asserts the party is badly out of step with the country.
He writes: “And so, Mr. Miller went to Washington. I wish I could say the experience has been like Jimmy Stewart’s in ‘Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.’ I wish I could say that I found Washington all I had ever dreamed it to be, the place where the great issues of the day are debated and solved, and great giants walk those hallowed halls. I so wanted Robert Louis Stevenson to be wrong when he wrote, ‘It is better to travel hopefully than to arrive.’”