The President proposes, the Congress disposes. Without Congress, Trump can accomplish very little. It’s all right there in the Constitution.
Congress, in the persons of McConnell and Boehner, rolled over and played dead for Obama. All he had to do was threaten to veto the budget, cause a government shutdown, and blame the Republicans. That threat was so scary to the Republican leadership that they caved in, every time. Now, with Trump, they’re starting to sound like a separate branch of government. They don’t want to cut taxes if it will increase the deficit.
He hasn’t said as much, but you get the impression Trump wouldn’t mind a few trillion dollar deficits, if that’s what it takes to get the 4% growth we need. Ryan and McConnell might not go along. What can be done?
What if there was a looming Balanced Budget Amendment, drafted by the States, and passed using Article V? What if it was proposed at an Amendment Convention in November of 2017? What if Congress chose to have it ratified by special State Conventions, as happened with the 21st Amendment, repealing Prohibition? What if it was ratified in 2018, and went into full effect in 2019? Would that influence the deal that eventually gets cut between Trump and Congress on spending?
It should, because all that’s likely to happen. Fruth will be in Nashville this week working on this summer’s Convention of States. The Tennessee legislative leadership has some decisions to make. I think it should be called the Nashville Convention. Fruth likes the Tennessee Convention. They need to decide. And they need to pick a date. We like 7-11-17 (it sounds lucky), but they have to figure out what they want. And they need to have an identity, a public face, a spokesman. Fruth and I like Senator Kelsey, and he seems perfect, along with Speaker Harwell and our sponsor, Rep. Dennis Powers. Ideally, the three of them would be doing media, explaining everything to the press, but that’s not for me and Bill to say.
I’m arguing strongly that the initial session be held in the chambers of the Tennessee House, with Speaker Harwell gavelling the Convention to order, and the roll call of the States is first made. This is absolutely perfect, visually. You have to personally see the Tennessee House Chamber, as I have, to understand just how perfect it is for our purposes.
Words don’t make nearly the impression that sight does. We remember what we see more than what we hear. And what the country would see, as the first Convention of States is held in 156 years, is the idealist setting of a serious legislative meeting. This is what we want people to think that this is what a Convention of States looks like. It’s serious, somber business, conducted according to strict rules of protocol and procedure. Everything proceeds in an orderly fashion.
This, this first impression, is the one that will stick with people. And we want it to be perfect, in every detail. In honor of the 250th birthday of one of the greatest of Americans, Andrew Jackson, it should be held in the Capitol of his State. The burial site of one of Jackson’s best men, and one of his successors in office, the great James K. Polk, who completed the work of Manifest Destiny.
In the Capitol it must be.