Paging John Schmitz

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Scandal hits the paleoconservative Constitution Party and its likely presidential nominee:

The traditional family values, limited-government platform of Michael Peroutka and the Constitution Party appears to clash headlong with the reality that he stood by, and possibly encouraged, his wife as she forced her daughters out of their home and transferred parental responsibilities for them to Maryland's social services bureaucracy–an entity whose very existence is questionable under Constitution Party doctrine about the role of government. "Parents have the fundamental right and responsibility to nurture, educate, and discipline their children," the party's platform states. "Assumption of any of these responsibilities by any governmental agency usurps the role of the parents."

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  1. I would still imagine that ex-Judge Roy Moore will end up the Constitution Party’s 2004 Presidential nominee. Not because of any controversy in Peroutka’s backstory, but because the CP knows that if Moore is willing, he WILL get a lot of votes from disgruntled Evnagelicals, and will raise the party’s profile.

    The CP is headquartered about a block away from where I sit, in Lancaster, PA. I deal with Jim Clymer’s firm intermittently in my work. He ran for county commissioner last year on the CP ticket, and came in fifth behind both Republicans and both Democrats. (The top three vote-getters win seats, with state law dictating that at least one seat be held by a minority party, which in Lancaster means a non-Republican.)

  2. According to the City Paper story, Peroutka has said he’ll step aside if Moore says he wants the nomination. The question is whether Moore will run.

  3. Why do these people think the skeletons will stay in the closet?

    These two sound like the parents I wished I’d had….

  4. If they can take votes away from GWB, more power to them. Maybe the Kerry people ought to support these folks in swing states. 😉

    Of course I’m not going to vote for whoever they nominate. They seem suspiciously like an American Taliban IMO.

  5. If Judge Roy Moore ends up as the Constitution Party’s presidential nominee won’t there also be a glaring hypocrisy vise a vie the separation of church and state principle?

  6. Zymurgist, you’ve been drinking agin 🙂

    (sound like extremely religious people to me, but I haven’t seen anything about veils, or woman being 2nd class/property, or pushing walls on top of gays, stonings, etc)

    Here is their platform:
    http://www.constitutionparty.com/party_platform.php

    and a portion ripped off from the link:

    We affirm the principles of inherent individual rights upon which these United States of America were founded:

    * That each individual is endowed by his Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are the rights to Life, Liberty, Property and the Pursuit of the individual?s personal interest;
    * That the freedom to own, use, exchange, control, protect, and freely dispose of Property is a natural, necessary and inseparable extension of the individual?s unalienable rights;
    * That the legitimate function of government is to secure these rights through the preservation of domestic tranquility, the maintenance of a strong national defense, and the promotion of equal justice for all;
    * That history makes clear that left unchecked, it is the nature of government to usurp the liberty of its citizens and eventually become a major violator of the people?s rights; and
    * That, therefore, it is essential to bind government with the chains of the Constitution and carefully divide and jealously limit government powers to those assigned by the consent of the governed.

  7. Of course, Moore’s supporters think such a principle is a fallacy of the god-hating leftists and libertarians.

    We still get letters to the editor here in Lancaster, praising Moore for his integrity and holiness…

  8. Zymurgist, I take that back, I haven’t been drinking enough. The stuff at the top of that page is the more sane stuff, then it gets silly.

    What’s this about:

    “We oppose any effort to confer statehood on the District of Columbia or any representation in Congress comparable to that of an independent state in the federal union.”

    “We oppose efforts to confer statehood upon the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico or upon territories owned or under the protection of the United States.”

    Is there something wrong with Puerto Rico I don’t know about? Are they dirty communists?

  9. Bigbigslacker,

    I suspect they oppose statehood for D.C. because it will add two Democratic senators to the mix. I don’t know why they oppose statehood for Puerto Rico… seems to me that that decision should be left to the Puerto Ricans.

    I read an awful lot of reactionary Christian based stuff in their platform and as a non-Christian, that concerns me greatly. If I were to support a party that supports the Constitution as originally read, I’ll stick with the LP. The LP’s inability to grow/market itself beyond the fringes of society aside, they do seem to have a bigger tent.

    And anyway, I wish I *was* drinking. 2 weeks into the Atkins diet and I want a Blue Ridge ESB so badly it’s driving me nuts. 😉

  10. I suppose a case could be made that DC shouldn’t be a state because it’s directly under the authority of Congress or whatever. Let the federalists and lawyers and whatnot argue about the details there. But there should still be some way for the residents of DC to obtain at least some amount of representation in Congress, precisely because they are under the direct authority of Congress.

    Then again, it could also be that a right-wing party fears the addition of a state with a Democrat-leaning population (the charitable interpretation), or a black population (the less-than-charitable interpretation).

  11. Thoreau,

    I suspect that D.C. has not been offered statehood because the Republicans have been unable to identify a new state that would provide a counterbalance to a proposed state dominated (for the foreseeable future) by Democrats.

    There’s also the issue that the land was originally ceded by Maryland so that a neutral capital could be built. Virginia contributed land as well, but the federal government gave the land on the Virginia side back because they thought that the federal government could never possibly need that much space.

    As a Maryland resident, I would not be enthusiastic about re-absorbing D.C. We have enough problems with our state budget as it is without assuming infrastructure maintenance, policing, schools, etc. for a city the size of D.C.

  12. What a couple of utterly repellant people. I can’t believe parents like this can sleep at night.

  13. zymurgist-

    Interesting point. So, let’s find a GOP-leaning enclave that would like to secede from a pre-existing state. Maybe the new state of East California (Barstow, Bakersfield, Fresno, etc.). Or New Wyoming (carve out the most conservative parts of the already-conservative state of Wyoming). Or maybe carve out a part of Texas?

    The GOP would get a new conservative state (and 2 Senators) and the Dems would get a new liberal state (and 2 Senators).

    This wouldn’t change the situation in the House all that much. It would actually benefit the GOP in the Electoral College, however: DC already has 3 electoral votes, so making DC a state wouldn’t change anything there. However, the new conservative state would also get electoral votes, so there would be a net gain for the GOP.

    Why hasn’t Karl Rove thought of this?

  14. thoreau,
    You forget, DC would probably end up with more electoral votes after that. DC would presumably have more than 1 representative (too lazy to figure out how many it would have) and therefore would have 2+N (N = the number of representatives in the DC state) electoral votes. I don’t think you could lop off enough from Wyoming to get a big enough population for legal statehood. Interestingly enough, I believe there is a provision in the CA state constitution to break up into as many as 3 states, so it could be done. I know this because my best friend’s stepdad (uber/crazy con) wished that LA and SF would become their own state, leaving the rest of us in “real” California.

  15. thoreau,

    You could probably make a Republican enclave from Northwest Arkansas.

  16. I’m pretty sure that DC and WY and roughly similar populations (in terms of numbers, not demographics). Yes, I know, DC is slightly larger than WY, but not by much. DC would only get 3 electoral votes as a state. And I’m pretty sure that the population of WY is large enough to make 2 states, when you compare the current population with the populations that some states used to have.

    Anyway, there are states more populous than DC with only 3 electoral votes, so I’m certain that DC would only have 3 electoral votes as a state.

    Also, the party about WY was mostly facetious. If the goal is to give the GOP a state in exchange for DC, then there are other candidates. Apparently in the 1990’s several adjacent counties in KS, OK, CO, and other states tried to get a movement going to form their own state. I’m sure there are other places that would be good candidates. Maybe a more conservative portion of a larger liberal state would be a good candidate. From the GOP’s perspective that would have the double advantage of giving it 2 more Senators and reducing the amount of electoral votes controlled by the liberal majority of the state that got split. (i.e. if there were hypothetically 2 million conservatives and 4 million liberals, as a single state it would get enough electoral votes for 6 million people, and all those votes would go to the Democrats, while as 2 states those electoral votes would be divided, with some going to the GOP).

  17. But there should still be some way for the residents of DC to obtain at least some amount of representation in Congress, precisely because they are under the direct authority of Congress.

    They could be merged into an existing state. I don’t see any legitimate reason to give that city “State” status, though. My city has something like one-fifteenth of a US Senator; why should the city of Washington have two?

    Really, though, there’s nothing wrong with the current situation. If Washington residents want Senators and Representatives, they can move to a state that has them. It isn’t like their movements are restricted; there’s no Berlin Wall around DC.

  18. My city has something like one-fifteenth of a US Senator; why should the city of Washington have two?

    The Senate of the United States is, by its very design, not apportioned according to population. There may be many good arguments for or against giving DC statehood or some other means for Congressional representation, but population isn’t one of them.

    It’s worth noting that by your population-based argument the state of Wyoming doesn’t deserve to have 2 US Senators. I think most people here would argue that WY most definitely does deserve to have 2 US Senators. So, the question becomes, why should a group of people with population comparable to WY, a group of people more directly subject to Congressional authority than the people of any state, be denied the same representation in the House and Senate that the people of any state take for granted?

  19. The Senate of the United States is, by its very design, not apportioned according to population.

    The Senate of the United States, by its very design, doesn’t include representation for non-states. As Washingtonians are, by design, not supposed to have Senators or Representatives, their lack of Senators and Representatives cannot be used as an argument in favor of making them a state.

    As there are no other reasons for making them a state (doing so would provide no benefit whatsoever to the United States of America), they should remain a district.

    There may be many good arguments for or against giving DC statehood or some other means for Congressional representation, but population isn’t one of them.

    On the contrary, it’s an very good reason. The undemocratic nature of the Senate is an excellent argument for never creating any new Senators (and, thus, for never creating any new states).

    Yes, under the Constitution, Washington would be granted Senators and Representatives, thereby granting them political power vastly exceeding that of the average Californian. But — under the Constitution — residents of California can keep voting to deny them that forever, and they have no grounds for complaint.

    If they really, really want to vote, I’ll support merging them back into Maryland. But two Senators and one or more Representatives for a city whose sole industry is Sucking On The Government Tit? Fuck that idea.

    It’s worth noting that by your population-based argument the state of Wyoming doesn’t deserve to have 2 US Senators.

    The difference being, I can’t do anything about Wyoming. Your argument amounts to saying that since the US Government already robbed the Indians of their land, it’s ok for them to rob me of mine; I beg to differ, as I feel that past injustices do not grant validity to modern ones.

  20. Someone (George Will?) had the excellent idea to let DC vote for Maryland’s Senators and have thier own rep in the house. To make the GOP happy, add two seats to the house, one to DC, and the second one would currently go to Utah.

  21. I think that, as a practical matter, it may be quite possible to enact a Constitutional amendment granting DC a seat in the House (not just the non-voting Delegate they currently have). As for statehood, I concede that it would be a much tougher climb. First of all, since the Senate has been closely divided lately, anything that would give DC 2 Senators would be an uphill political battle.

    Second, as a legal matter, it would probably require a Constitutional amendment. The Constitution basically says that the seat of gov’t is an entity under the authority of Congress. The lawyers, strict federalists, and other nitpickers can of course tear that statement to shreds, but the basic idea is that the Constitution implies that DC is “special” and it isn’t entirely obvious that it can be granted full-fledged statehood (and hence 2 Senators) without an amendment.

    Anyway, I’m not holding my breathe for statehood, but a single seat in the House might be possible.

  22. Jesse-

    Your idea of partitioning a state was suggested on a grander scale several years ago by Michael Lind in an article called “75 Stars.” His goal was to make the Senate more Democratic by dividing CA, TX, OH, etc. into several states.

    Obviously most of us here wouldn’t share his political goals, but the funniest part of the article (you can find it with Google) is the names for some of the new states:

    -Illinois would be divided into Jordan, Greater Chicago, and Illinois.
    -TX would be divided into Texahoma, Tejas, Alamo, Petroland, and North Mexico.
    -California would be divided into the states of Siliconia, Marin, Vineland, Reagan, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego.
    -Florida would be partitioned into Okefenokee, Epcot, Geritolina, and New Cuba.

  23. Thoreau,

    Not to nitpick, but the point of Michael Lind’s experiment was not to make the Senate more Democratic, but to make it more democratic. In other words, he was attempting to correct the lack of representational equity between large-population and small-population states.

    That the end effect of making the Senate more democratic would also be to make it more Democratic should be food for thought… and should make clear that the practical (rather than constitutional) reason it won’t happen is the same reason DC isn’t a state: because those who hold an inordinate amount of political power wish it to stay that way.

  24. Jeremy-

    Re-reading my post I caught the capitalization error, and I can assure you that it was an error. When I type words like “democratic” or “republican” nine times out of ten it’s supposed to be capitalized.

    But thank-you for catching it.

  25. Re: Illinois – I don’t like it

    BTW for California I like Siliconia(San Jose area) and Grand Tetons (Hollywood).

  26. I’ve long liked the idea of making DC a state and making Western Maryland a state. The Washingtonians would finally get some control over their government, the Maryland Republicans would finally get some control over their government (unless they’re on the Eastern Shore — sorry), and the two new states would cancel each other out in the Senate. It’s a win-win!

  27. Thanks for the laugh, Thoreau (and Simon). I especially enjoyed “Epcot” and “Geritolina.”

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