Super PACs, indeed, polluted the Republican primary elections, and it will get worse during the general election campaign. The short-term cure for this situation is to require that any public announcement in support or opposition to a candidate be approved publicly by the candidate named, and the cost of the announcement be disclosed by the named candidate. This will not stop the money flow, but it will slow it down. And it will identify the individuals and corporations who are spending the money. The real solution is the plan originally provided by our framers in the U.S. Constitution.
The office of president of the United States should seek the man; the office should not be available for purchase, theft, fraud – or by popular election. Our framers saw the potential for corruption in the process of choosing a president. The method they designed eliminates that corruption and should replace the current system.
Originally, the Constitution created what was to become known as the “Electoral College.” Each state was required to choose a group of individuals equal to the number of senators and representatives to which the state was entitled. None of these individuals could be an elected official or an employee of the federal government. These groups of chosen individuals were required to meet once, on the same day, to nominate two presidential candidates. Each member of the group had to nominate at least one person from a different state. This list of prospective nominees was then sent to the president of the Senate. The work of the Electoral College was done, and the group was dissolved.
Let this process sink in. The states could use any method they chose to select its participants in the Electoral College. It is reasonable to assume that whatever process the state used to choose the participants, the result would be a group of non-government citizens, very likely to be community leaders. Each of these participants identified two nominees, one of whom had to be from a different state. It is reasonable to assume that several of the participants would identify the same nominees, based on the prospective nominee’s reputation. This is how the office seeks the man. Citizens choose the people they think may make the best president.
When the president of the Senate received the lists from each of the states, the highest vote-getter became the president, if the number of votes was a clear majority of the votes. If there were no majority winner, the House of Representatives chose the president from the top five vote-getters. Each state got one vote.
This process would completely eliminate money as a driving force in choosing a president. In fact, a person’s record and reputation would be the driving force in choosing a president. The framers did not create a democracy. They deliberately avoided creating a democracy and instead created a constitutional republic.
The framers’ brilliant design didn’t last long. The 12th Amendment, adopted in 1804, required the Electoral College to nominate a candidate for president and vice president. Since that amendment was added, the process has evolved into the corrupted process we now use – which, incidentally, is not authorized by the Constitution.
The United States, as envisioned by our framers, began a century-long wrestling match between the philosophy of Thomas Hobbes, Jean Jacques Rousseau and Karl Marx, and the philosophy of John Locke. Hobbes believed that “The control of power must be lodged in a single person, and no individual can set their own private judgments of right and wrong in opposition to the sovereign’s Commands.” Locke, on the other hand, believed in natural rights, which Locke refers to as “life, liberty, and estate.” He believed these rights are not derived from government, but are endowed by God, inherent in all people.
These two conflicting philosophies are on display now as Gov. Romney and President Obama wrestle for the presidency in the next election.
The original design of the framers suffered what may yet become a fatal blow with the passage of the 17th Amendment. Before 1913, each state legislature named its senators, and the U.S. Senate was a check and balance on the publicly elected House of Representatives and the Executive Branch. The amendment, requiring direct election of senators, locked out the states altogether from any participation in the federal government.
Imagine what effect repeal of the 17th Amendment would have on current issues. Senators chosen by, and accountable to, state legislatures would have to approve all treaties; would have to confirm all presidential appointments; would have to approve all legislation and judge all matters of impeachment. State participation in the new, national government was essential in the framer’s design. The only participation states now have is to accept funding from the national government, along with all the strings that are attached. States have become puppets of the national government, with limited and decreasing power. The nation is embracing the Thomas Hobbes philosophy and turning its back on the John Locke philosophy, which made America the greatest nation in the history of civilization.
The election scheduled for Nov. 6 may be the last opportunity to rid the nation’s leadership of the Hobbes/Rousseau/Marx philosophy that has dominated the federal government for nearly a century. It may be the last opportunity to return to the John Locke philosophy, which undergirds our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution. It may be the last hope of ever restoring our Constitution as it was originally designed.