In the four years I’ve been back in politics, the best part has been the friends I’ve made. In the spring of 2014, on behalf of and funded by the National Tax Limitation Committee, I sent letters to all the Republican candidates for the Montana Legislature. I told them about the campaign for a balanced budget amendment through Article V, and asked them to sign a pledge to support it.
I got one response, from Matthew Monforton, a lawyer making his first run at the State House. That summer I had breakfast with Matthew in Bozeman, along with my son Darren and half a dozen of his friends and business associates. I’m UCLA Law, class of ’74. Matthew is UCLA Law, class of ’94. After he got out of law school he worked as a D.A. in southern California, and blew the whistle on some prosecutorial abuses. He’s got guts. Plus, he’s smart as a whip and a good guy.
Now Matthew writes occasionally at Erick Erickson’s web site, The Resurgent. He’s posted on his Facebook account out a piece by Erickson called Let’s Consider Secession. Erickson is so disgusted with the Scalise shooting, and all the rest of it, that he thinks he might want a divorce. Instead, let’s try a separation agreement.
Secession is a very bad idea. It’s been threatened any number of times, but only tried once. It was, and is, the worst idea in American history. I won’t play with fire, and I won’t discuss secession. Let’s keep our country, the greatest gift of our forefathers . Let’s save it.
A separation agreement would have to be negotiated at a future Convention of States. If 2/3 of the states can agree on the terms of separation, they would recommend the passage of 34 State legislative resolves. These resolutions would set forth the terms of the separation agreement from the Convention of States in the form of a proposed amendment to the Constitution. If ratified by 3/4 of the states, a peaceful and orderly separation will have been achieved.
None of this will happen at the Phoenix Convention. It was called for one purpose, to plan for a Balanced Budget Amendment Convention, and it would be inappropriate to take up any other subject. If anything else is even discussed, it would feed the big lie of runaway conventions.
But once the Phoenix Convention adjourns, the assembled state leaders could discuss the possibility of another Convention of States, to be held early in 2018, at a state Capitol to be determined. If there is enough interest, the main subject of discussion would be, what shall the second Article V constitutional amendment be?
Term limits, or any other of Mark Levin’s amendments could be considered. Alternatively the Republicans and Democrats present could discuss the terms of the legal separation that both sides seem to want. Until these two sides meet and try to come to an agreement, any talk of secession is bad medicine.
Rather than post articles on secession, I’m going to try to convince Matthew to give the BBA another shot in Montana. He worked his tail off after he was elected, trying to get our Resolution passed. We’ve never had a sponsor, in any state, work harder. But we got our butt kicked, bad.
Matthew had the eminent good sense not to seek reelection. He’s wise beyond his years. He’s a patriot, and a constitutional conservative. And he’s got a lot to contribute.