Running on empty

When I got back into the Article V movement I was only 68 years old, and I thought I had enough gas left in the tank to help make a difference.  I’ll be 73 in September, and I’m about out of gas.  My old body is starting to break down.  I can’t do this anymore.  I did all I could.

I’ll continue with the blog, because I enjoy this kind of writing, and I’ve been doing it off and on since I was 15.  It’s good therapy for me, and I feel like I’m communicating with a group of friends.  I’ll keep writing as long as I feel I have something to say to them, to you.  But I won’t be flying around the country, trying to badger state legislators into voting for a BBA.

I hope to go to Denver next month, to speak to the Executive Committee of the NCSL.  I know a few people on it, and I want a chance to speak my case.  Article V doesn’t work, and Congress will never fix it, so it’s the job of state legislators around the country to fix it.  It’s a simple fix, a technical amendment, something the Framers would have gotten around to if they had stayed in Philadelphia a few more days.  But they all wanted to go home, as state legislators across the country want to do at the end of a long and contentious session.  We’ve all been there.  We know what it’s like from personal experience.

Things that are hard to agree to, sometimes the most important work of the session, are put off until the end.  It takes the pressure of a deadline before deals are finally cut, and decisions made.  That was what was going on in Philadelphia on that fateful day, September 15, 1787.  They saved Article V last, and debated it extensively.  Floor amendments were considered, and some adopted.

Given the primitive technology they were working with, the delegates had very little time to closely examine what they had done.  There was no disagreement among them that the amendment power was critical.   And they agreed it should be shared equally between Congress and the states.  But they screwed up on a quorum, and so the states do  not, in fact, share the amendment power.  Only Congress can propose amendments.  That’s not how it was supposed to work.

I don’t think anyone has more respect for those men in Philadelphia than I do.  But I don’t worship them.  They were brilliant, but they made a few mistakes.  They knew they would.  We all do.  My evidence of those errors is the Bill of Rights, and the 11th, 12th, 20th, and 25th amendments.

So I hope to be able to make that case to the annual NCSL meeting at the end of July.  The agenda will be decided in Denver next month.  There are 23 legislative leaders on the executive committee, Republican and Democrat, from all over the country.  I hope to be given an opportunity to speak to them.  As Tweety likes to say, we’ll have to wait and see what happens.

I’ve been getting a lot of new subscribers to the blog, and friends on Facebook.  I hope you enjoy sharing some time with me.

When I was in high school, one of my columns in the student newspaper read like a blog.  My best friend, Jack McClenahan, said it reminded him of the daily column in the San Francisco Chronicle of the great Herb Caen.  I thought that was high praise.  I’m pretty sure Jack reads this blog today.  I think that’s pretty cool.

I’ve put off forming  I spent $11 on the domain name, and it wasn’t wasted.  It’s available for use for a year.  I hope the President sees the light and doesn’t try for a second term.  I’m erratic, I admit it.  But that doesn’t mean I’m wrong.   That’s just me, and old leopards don’t change their spots.

I’m a year older than Trump.  At the end of his term he’ll be 75.  He’s taken better care of himself than I have, and at 75 he’ll still be at full strength.  But by the time he’s 79, four years later, his strength will have begun to fade.  That’s life, even for Donald Trump.

Donald Trump is a patriot, of that I have no doubt.  Because of that, I really think he’ll do the right thing in the end.

In the summer of 1979 Ralph Winterood, from Montana, the Reagan campaign’s western states coordinator, came to Alaska.  He was looking for a state chair for Reagan for President, and he asked me to visit him in his hotel room one Saturday.  He had heard of me from the unsuccessful effort in 1976, when Reagan came within one vote of winning Alaska at the state convention.

He offered to make me the Alaska Chair of Reagan for President.  I thought that was a high honor, and I only had one question for him.  Reagan was 68.  Did he have the physical vigor to do the job?  Ralph assured me, based on his personal experience with Governor Reagan, that he was more than fit.

But when he was 77, at the end of his Presidency, Reagan was far from fit.  Trump will be the same.  The old biological clock.  It gets us all, and we need to be humble enough to know when the tank is running dry.  Are you listening, Mr. President?



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