The communications revolution is just getting underway, and it’s changing politics, as it changes everything it touches. The Tea Party is an internet phenomenon. So is the Article V movement. Organizing a 34 state coalition of state legislative leaders, most of whom have never met one another, is tough. I don’t think you could do it without the internet.
Congress should adapt to this new world by allowing remote voting. If a Congressman is in his home district, he should be able to fully participate in committee meetings and floor votes. The technology is available, and it would have a huge impact. As far as I’m concerned Congressmen should spend as little time in D.C. as possible. Show up, swear in, and go home should be the norm. If you’re chairing a committee you need to be present, otherwise the less time you spend in the corrupting halls of power the better. If a lobbyist wants to make his case to a member, go to that member’s district for an appointment.
This idea is not original, and I’m sure others have thought about how it would work in practice. When I was practicing law in Alaska I actually conducted trials remotely. I was a plaintiff’s attorney, and I sued people all over the state. Occasionally I would do an entire trial in Kenai from my office in Anchorage. It worked well enough.
This all comes to mind as we try to figure out exactly how remote participation in the San Diego Summit will work. Speaker X from state Y calls in and is recognized by Faber. They can do remotely what everyone present can do — make and second motions, make objections, vote, and debate. Someone other than Faber will have to keep track of which remote participant wants to speak, and pass that along to Faber, who at some point would recognize them and give them the floor. So let’s say a motion to adopt the One State, One Vote, One Amendment is made and seconded. Everyone who wishes to speak to the motion will seek to be recognized by the Chair, who will control the sequence of speakers, just as is done in legislative debate. No distinction would be made between those physically present and those who are not.
I’ve never Skyped and am an internet Neanderthal. Loren Enns is our IT guy, and he’s going to have to figure out how all this would work. It’s a problem he can handle. Ideally when a remote participant speaks his or her image would appear on a big screen in the meeting room, and would be broadcast by C-Span. Maybe those C-Span guys will know how to do all this.
C-Span is a great thing. Around twenty years ago they brought a bus to Anchorage and broadcast their morning show from it. They had me on as the local conservative. I started talking about cutting back on the federal government and letting states figure out their own problems. Some whiny old guy from Cleveland called in and said they had a lot of problems and they needed help from the federal government. I told him he needed to figure out how to solve his own problems. He didn’t like that.
Angelo Codevilla is a very bright guy. I’ve read one or two of his books. He had a piece out on the internet a few days ago that was spot on. He basically said we don’t care who wins all these bullshit wars in the Middle East. What we care about are these crazy bastards who kill Americans. We are at war with these sons of bitches and want to kill as many of them as we can, as fast as we can. Other than securing Israel it’s our only policy objective in the Middle East. Every Presidential candidate should read Codevilla, and, if he’s wrong, explain how he’s wrong.
The American people have never wanted to send their sons overseas to fight wars. Ever. It’s a constant in American history. People feel that way today as strongly as they ever have. We mind our own damn business. If a bunch of crazy people in some part of the world are raising hell it’s not our job to go in and straighten everything out.
I never cared much for John Warner. He was a pretty boy who became Elizabeth Taylor’s seventh husband. He’s switched parties and is now a Democrat. But he was an Admiral, and Navy Secretary, Senator and Chairman of the Armed Services Committee. Fifteen years ago he told the Pentagon brass, in a committee meeting, “…this country will never again permit the armed forces to be engaged in conflicts which inflict the level of casualties we have seen historically.” I am completely convinced Warner was right. 9-11 didn’t change that. And if he’s right, what does that mean for our “trip wire” troop deployments in Europe and Asia? It means it’s all bullshit. Take your trip wire and send it where the sun doesn’t shine.
No more war.