They used to want a revolution. Times have changed. The spiritual heirs of the 60’s rebels are quasi-fascists, determined to use the power of the state to impose their will on the rest of us. They want to regulate our lives. It’s everywhere, at all levels of government. People have about had it. They want something done about it.
Enter Article V. The Reagan Initiative adds two legs to the BBA stool. First, the Federal Lands Commission, second regulatory reform. The idea of regulatory reform came to me as a way to sell, politically, the Lands Commission. I figured you’d get the coal states and a few more in the Old Confederacy and you’re at 26. Regulatory reform fits within the scope of the call because it will massively increase federal tax revenue, and will also reduce spending.
But what, exactly, do you mean by regulatory reform? What the hell is it? I hadn’t thought that completely through, until I was sitting off in the woods last evening. Then it occurred to me. I don’t have to answer that question. That’s up to the Convention. They’ll figure it out. It’s really just a political question. How far do you want to go? Under Article V, you can go as far as you want, as long as you can sell it, politically. You could go whole hog, and dismantle the entire administrative state in one fell swoop. The EPA and every other federal agency could be entirely stripped of their power. They are parallel states, and unconstitutional.
That’s what they’d do in a perfect world, but that’s strong medicine. It’s a bit much to take in one gulp. The minimum would be the REINS act, already passed by the House of Representatives. It requires Congressional approval of expensive regulations. It’s pretty weak. Somewhere between REINS and abolition is the political sweet spot.
The thing is, this Convention will have some very bright, conservative, even libertarian people. From every state in the union. So you can go to the delegates from the ratification swing states and ask them. Will this sell in Minnesota, and Maine, and Washington? If they say no, you don’t go there. That’s how you decide how far to go. The voters in those states decide.
How far do they want to go? I don’t really know. Washington Senate President Pam Roach was the second person I tried to sell the Reagan Initiative to, after I went to Alaska. She’s very conservative. A Mormon, a grandmother. She told me about an anti-tax initiative that had recently been approved by the voters of Washington. She said outside of about six legislative districts in inner Seattle the rest of the state is pretty conservative. So maybe these people really want to take a bite out of the administrative state. Make every regulation require Congressional approval, not just the big ones. Hell, I’d go further, but it’s a good start. This Amendment Convention will be the first, but it won’t be the last.
The thing is Minnesota and Maine are similar, politically, to Washington. All the liberals are clustered together, and most of the state is fairly conservative. These people are not Alaskans, but they’re not metropolitan types either. They’re the kind of people who like all those Alaska reality shows. They’re Alaskan wannabes. For the purposes of Article V, they’re the swing voters. I met Minnesota Speaker Kurt Daudt on the phone last week, and I expect to meet him in person in Seattle. I’m very hopeful of getting a Maine leader there as well.
Nothing needs to be decided yet. That’s for the Convention. That’s a relief, quite frankly. I’m not qualified to come up with an answer. And I don’t have to.
That’s a big decision, one best made by a group, not one person, certainly not me. I’m impetuous, and it’s better I don’t act on my own. I’m not suited to be an executive. People used to try to talk me into running for Governor, or Mayor of Anchorage. I was never interested. Had no desire for the job. It’s a lot of work, for one thing. Who needs that? And dull work, being in meetings all the time. Besides, my second attempt at running for office was also a failure, and I wasn’t sure I’d win. I’d of run for Congress in a heartbeat, but never had an opening.
I ran for President of the UCLA Student Bar Association on a libertarian platform. If elected, I would abolish it. My campaign consisted of a poster I put up in the main hallway, explaining my candidacy. A vote or me was a vote against sandbox politics. My competition was another couple of chalkboard monitors. I got a quarter of the vote, barely missing a runoff. It was a relief. Dismantling the Student Bar Association would have involved some work, which I wasn’t interested in.
I didn’t expect to win. People knew I was conservative, and very few at UCLA were. After my altercation with Henry McGee, and the “D” that came with it, I pulled in my horns. Occasionally I was tempted, but pretty much held my tongue.
The only time I lost it was when some twitty little undergraduate came into class one day and told us we should go on strike to protest Nixon’s bombing of Cambodia. That set me off. He starts out by saying he knew we were all against the war. I cut him off, and told him he knew no such thing. He goes on for a while and finally I had enough. I asked him what the hell are you even doing here? I basically invited him to leave, and he did. He pissed me off. Nixon was trying to get us out of that God damn war, with some semblance of national honor left. And this little punk wants to go on strike.
It’s no wonder I lost that election. It was the last executive position I would seek. The Presidency of the third grade, and now the Presidency of the Student Bar Association. The only political losses I have suffered.
A guy like me works better in groups.