Monday, October 29, 2007

Why the Electoral College?

Because Fred Thompson is right and the Hildebeeste is wrong.

...Clinton’s conclusion is affected by the fact that she desires the power of a national chief executive, not a mere federal president.

What is the difference between "national" and "federal," and why should you care? In short, a national government is, theoretically, a completely centralized one. If it has local subdivisions, those subdivisions (provinces) exist solely for the convenience of the center. This is the kind of regime that France has had since the French Revolution.

On the other hand, a federal regime is one in which the central government’s power is limited, with most power remaining in the local units (in America, the states). The United States Constitution was sold to the states during the ratification process as a federal one. It could not have been ratified on any other basis, since the Revolution had been fought in the name of the federal model outlined by Thomas Jefferson in A Summary View of the Rights of British America (1774). The national model, in which a central government was sovereign (that is, possessed of unlimited power), was the one the British Parliament adopted in the hated Declaratory Act (1766).

In that act of 1766, the British Parliament claimed to be the kind of national government adored by such as Mrs. Clinton and Professor Levinson. In such a system, it makes sense that a national poll should be taken and the candidate with the most votes should be elected. Where the electorate is understood as made up of distinct communities, of different states that preexisted the federal constitution, however, it makes sense that those communities should have equal voices in making the ultimate decision.

We're still a Federalist union (albeit "history" since the War of Northern Aggression has been laced with erroneous but seductive "nationalist" perfume.) If one takes the Constitution and its amendments seriously (see particularly the 12th Amendment) then one cannot take the Hildebeeste's position seriously at all.

At the same time, the underlying-but-not-loudly-played theme of the Ruuuudeeeee!!! campaign has had the same odor as the position endorsed by HRC--because that odor is most seductive when "national security" is emphasized.

Beware the 'savior-President' candidates.



James Wigderson said...

"Beware the 'savior-President' candidates."

Mike Huckabee?

Dad29 said...

You mean GWB Big-Gummint, V2.0?

Billiam said...

Excellent points in that article, Dad, but haven't we already gone way beyond the Federal Governments Enumerated Powers already? Are we not pretty much beyond the tipping point? I really wonder sometimes.

Random10 said...

The Electoral College and the US Senate are Siamese Twins. It is the federal model of government that underlies both.

When the same people calling for the elimination of the Electoral College system, because it is antiquated and sub-optimal, simultaneously demand a nationwide popular vote of 100 US Senators, then I’ll give out some kudos for intellectual honesty. If the Electoral College does not make sense, then there is absolutely no reason on God’s healthy green Earth for Massachusetts having two Senators.