Friday, December 31, 2010

2010: The Year of the Tea Party

Joe Klein of the Time Magazine may disagree, but 2010 is the Year of the Tea Party! The grassroots movement which grew organically after the infamous Rick Santelli rant over the Obama stimulus bill in 2009 matured in 2010, resulting in a major victory during the mid-term elections in November. Since the CNBC analyst’s fuming over government spending and economic policies, theTea Party movement evolved into a formidable force, sending shockwaves through Washington, DC. Scoffed and berated by most in the establishment media, plus by Beltway-insiders, theTea Party has proved that they are a force to be reckoned with by politicians of both Democrats and Republican persuasions. Standing for ‘Taxed Enough Already’, the primary issues for Tea Party members is government spending and growth. In the past year, sales of books on the Founding Fathers, the Constitution and American history have soared as a rebirth of fundamental principles evolved. Not since the early 1800s has the National Debt and the Constitution been such hot topics of debate...more

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tea Party Group Reveals Republican Targets For 2012

A prominent Tea Party group sent a message to members on Monday identifying five current Republican Senators that they intend to target in 2012. Tea Party Nation named Sens. Dick Lugar, R-Ind., Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, Scott Brown, R-Mass., and Bob Corker, R-Tenn., as Republicans that need to be sent into retirement, accusing them of being Republicans In Name Only, or RINOs. The message cited Lugar's vote against a ban on earmarks as well as a his votes in favor of the DREAM Act and the START Treaty. Hatch was also criticized for being a "pork king" and a co-sponsor of the DREAM Act, which would have provided a path to citizenship for certain young illegal immigrants. Tea Party Nation blasted Snowe for her votes in favor of the health care reform bill, the START Treaty, and the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," while the group called Brown " the biggest disappointment of the last year." Judson Phillips, the founder of Tea Party Nation, said Corker is the group's top target, because he "has done many things to sell out the conservative Tennesseans who put him in office."...more

Monday, December 27, 2010

2012 Republican presidential hopefuls getting a jump on the Tea Party courtship

Three potential Republican contenders for the 2012 presidential nomination would have higher hurdles to clear to win the Tea Party vote in the primary, leaders of the movement say. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich each are met with a degree of suspicion by Tea Partiers, and all three have taken early steps to address those voters’ concerns. Tea Party groups, whose loosely organized members threw their sometimes considerable weight behind conservative challengers to centrist or establishment Republicans in the fall campaign, have already begun strategizing on ways to affect the race for the 2012 GOP nomination. They are planning debates and candidate forums, organizing in key primary states, and even forming political action committees (PACs)...more

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Tea Partiers and the Spirit of Giving

When it comes to voluntarily spreading their own wealth around, a distinct "charity gap" opens up between Americans who are for and against government income leveling. Your intuition might tell you that people who favor government redistribution care most about the less fortunate and would give more to charity. Initially, this was my own assumption. But the data tell a different story. The most recent year that a large, nonpartisan survey asked people about both redistributive beliefs and charitable giving was 1996. That year, the General Social Survey (GSS) found that those who were against higher levels of government redistribution privately gave four times as much money, on average, as people who were in favor of redistribution. This is not all church-related giving; they also gave about 3.5 times as much to nonreligious causes. Anti-redistributionists gave more even after correcting for differences in income, age, religion and education. Of course, there are other ways to give than with money. Here again the results may be different from what you might expect. The GSS in 2002 showed that those who said the government was "spending too much money on welfare" were more likely to donate blood than those who said the government was "spending too little money on welfare." The anti-redistributionists were also more likely to give someone directions on the street, return change mistakenly handed them by a cashier, and give food (or money) to a homeless person. So what does all this tell us? Contrary to the liberal stereotype of the hard-hearted right-winger, opposition to income-leveling is not evidence that one does not care about others. Quite the contrary. The millions of Americans who believe in limited government give disproportionately to others. This is in addition to—not instead of—their defense of our free-enterprise system, which gives the most people the most opportunities to earn their own success...more

Thursday, December 23, 2010

CNN Poll: How Americans view the Tea Party movement

A new national poll suggests a slight increase in unfavorable views of the Tea Party movement since October. And according to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Wednesday, geography and politics appears to be behind the increase. Thirty-seven percent of people questioned in the poll say they have a favorable view of the Tea Party, unchanged from just before the midterm elections. Forty-three percent say they have an unfavorable view of the nearly two year old movement, up six points from late October. Most of that change appears to be coming from Democrats. "Unfavorable views of the Tea Party went up seven points among Dems, from 61 percent in October to 68 percent now," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "By contrast, the Tea Party's unfavorables among independents went from 33 per cent to 36 percent in that same time, and were virtually unchanged among Republicans." Geography also may be playing a factor. According to the survey, before the election, 39 percent of Northeasterners had an unfavorable view of the Tea Party. Now that's up to 57 percent, a jump of 18 percent...more

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

American Majority wants to infuse new Tea Party blood in system

The Ryun brothers want to infuse new Tea Party blood into the political system. So the veteran politicos behind the conservative American Majority organization are putting their energy into training novice Tea Party candidates running for a school board, city council or state senate seat in your town. While other Tea Party-affiliated groups have zeroed in on specifically helping candidates win seats inside the U.S. Capitol, Drew and Ned Ryun are more focused on developing a farm team at the local and state level who one day could run for Congress. “I make the argument that’s where political careers begin,” Ned Ryun explained in an interview. “Today’s county commissioner, tomorrow’s congressman. You’ve got to feed the system.” The brothers’ organization launched in 2008 in a small office in Purcellville, Va., though American Majority has roots dating back to 2005, when the Ryuns drew up a document laying out plans to create a “systematic, year-in year-out, 365-days-a-year approach to identifying and training people to be a national farm team of conservative leaders.” Ned Ryun is the founder and president of American Majority, registered with the IRS as a 501(c)(3) political training institute. Drew Ryun is the president of the 501(c)(4) arm that can engage in more politically tinged activities....more

Ted Nugent: Time for a Starting Over Commission

Politics isn't the art of compromise. Politics as usual is an artful ruse to get us to believe politicians are doing one thing while they do another. Our politicians do this by obfuscating, confusing, denying, blaming and lying. The truth be damned...more

Nugent says, "...America really needs is a Starting Over Commission with the purpose of dismantling and restructuring our federal government so that it mirrors what our Founding Fathers envisioned and what our Constitution says."

Monday, December 20, 2010

Think Tank For Teapartiers

I’m always thinking about how we can to continue to move our so-called Tea Party Movement ideology forward. Ironically, moving our ideology forward means moving us back toward the Founding Fathers’ principles from which our country has been deviating for the last 100-ish years. We Teapartiers have been great at organizing protests and rallies. We’ve been great at GOTV. We’ve been great at all the typical things a grassroots movement should do. However, it’s been my opinion for quite some time, that we need a respected group of individuals giving voice to our positions to help shape the thinking in DC, and among the state legislatures. In some circumstances, melting the phones isn’t enough...more

Creating Tea Party Candidates - The Tea Party’s Next Step

The tea party movement which sprang up overnight is still defining itself.   That’s the natural flow of a movement that is bottom up- with many leaders of organizations, but not a single national top down leader. The movement, which has been described by some as “ants” because of the unified approach to issues despite no singular national communication chain, seems to be able to move together. The 2010 mid-term elections revealed a tension within the tea party movement. There is a percentage of tea party supporters who decry the state of Congress and their local government, who at the same time feel that the tea party should not run candidates, nor endorse or advocate for any particular candidate. The question then becomes; if elected officials determine which bills get advanced or which bills are thwarted or killed, then shouldn’t the tea party movement have its own people in those positions?  Outside pressure is important.  Being on the inside, where policy is promoted and voted on is better...more

Saturday, December 18, 2010

CNN and Tea Party Express to host 2012 Presidential debate

CNN said Friday that it is joining forces with the Tea Party Express — a political action committee that played a key role in the 2010 midterm elections — to co-host a Republican presidential debate. The debate is scheduled for Labor Day week in Tampa, Fla., in September — five months before the 2012 presidential primaries begin. It’s CNN’s second entry into what’s already become a crowded schedule of debates for the race to determine the GOP nominee to take on President Barack Obama. The announced partnership with Tea Party Express raised eyebrows both in the media world and in tea party circles. CNN’s ratings have sagged as it has staked its claim to a more traditional, objective news format, while its main competitors, the conservative ratings juggernaut Fox News and the left-leaning MSNBC, have come to embrace political points of view. The Tea Party Express, meanwhile, has come under fire from rival tea party groups, which contend it’s a front for the Sacramento Republican consulting firm that runs it. But the PAC spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on ads boosting tea party candidates in the 2010 midterms and was credited with helping carry its endorsees to victories over more-establishment-backed candidates in Senate races in Nevada, Alaska and Delaware — where all the PAC’s candidates went on to lose their general election campaigns. “Undecided voters turn to CNN to educate themselves during election cycles, so it is a natural fit for CNN to provide a platform for the diverse perspectives within the Republican Party, including those of the tea party movement,” CNN political director Sam Feist said in a statement...more

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Happy Birthday, (Original) Tea Party!

There are taxes, regulation, a massive corporate bailout, and a popular uprising called "the Tea Party"—but it’s not 2010. It’s 1773, and today marks the 236th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party. The similarities are illuminating. By the 1760s, American colonists consumed more than a million pounds of tea each year. Britain, which produced the stuff in India, should have been swimming in revenues from the trade. But taxes and regulation, as they often do, fouled the situation. Parliament’s taxes doubled the cost of British tea compared to rival (and illegal) imports. So rather than pay the taxes, the colonists smuggled their tea. Conservative estimates suggest that more than three-quarters of the tea consumed in America was bootlegged. One Massachusetts governor wrote that “carts and other carriages are heard to be continually going about in the dead of night, which can be for no other purpose than smuggling.” The practice was so widespread that the famed evangelist George Whitefield preached against it when he visited the colonies: “What will become of you who cheat the King of his taxes?” As new taxes were levied, the colonists imposed widespread boycotts on British goods, including tea. Taxes and tax evasion weren’t the only problems, however. British trade regulations prevented the British East India Company, a private corporation of merchants, from selling their tea directly to the colonies. Instead, the company was forced to sell the tea to auction houses in England, an intermediary step that further drove up prices. To make matters worse, inefficiency, incompetence, and corruption marked the organization in the late 1760s. Ruin was inevitable. By the fall of 1772, the British East India Company owed the government more than £1 million. The British government had no desire to see its debtor go out of business. It was, in the parlance of our time, too big to fail. So early in 1773, Parliament pushed a bailout package for the British East India Company called the Tea Act. The bill extended a massive loan—well over what was already owed—and more government control over the company’s governance...more

Mitch Daniels may be the Tea Party’s man

Sometimes appearances can be deceiving. This is no more obvious than when assessing Mitch Daniels. The popular governor of Indiana may be short on hair and height, but he could well be the hero conservatives and Tea Partiers have been searching for. He doesn’t have the theatrical flair and rock star appeal of Sarah Palin. Nor does he possess the leading man looks of Mitt Romney. But what he does have is an extensive resume accompanied by a popular and imaginative tenure as Indiana’s governor. Daniels has occupied a smorgasbord of political and private sector positions: Senate staffer, political aide in the Reagan White House, head of a think tank, executive of a major pharmaceutical company, and OMB director in the early years of the Bush administration. His tenure as governor of Indiana has been filled with plenty of goodies for conservatives to gush over. He cut Indiana’s budget significantly, privatized state roads and services, and reformed the state’s healthcare system. Daniels has tried to lay the blueprint for innovative governance by thinking big while spending small. The combination of his glossy resume and frugal governing record has turned Daniels into a hot commodity on the insider circuit, with some encouraging him to think long and hard about jumping into the presidential fray...more

CPAC host hit with scandal

The non-profit organization responsible for the largest annual conservative gathering in the U.S. is under investigation for embezzlement of hundreds of thousands of dollars in donor money over several years, WND has learned. The American Conservative Union, headed by David Keene and best known for its organization of the Conservative Political Action Conference each year in the nation's capital, has been embroiled in controversies in recent years, but this one is shaking the foundations of the Washington institution. The American Conservative Union reported to the Internal Revenue Service last month a "material diversion of the organization's assets" totaling over $400,000. The group has an annual operating budget of about $1.5 million. While directors have been tight-lipped about the details, sources say Keene's ex-wife, Diana, was fired earlier this year as bookkeeper when the misappropriations were discovered. On its 2009 tax return, signed Nov. 8, 2010, by Executive Vice President Dennis E. Whitfield, the American Conservative Union disclosed the apparent embezzlement...more

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Senate spending bill contains thousands of earmarks

Senate Democrats released a massive spending bill Tuesday that contains money for thousands of lawmakers' pet projects, setting up a fierce debate over so-called earmarks in the waning days of the lame-duck congressional session. Leaders of the Appropriations Committee combined a dozen spending bills into a single measure with more than $1.2 trillion in appropriations to fund the federal government for a full year. The committee said the bill is $29 billion below the budget proposed by President Obama. Lawmakers said the 1,924-page omnibus bill contains thousands of earmarks - the total cost of which was not immediately clear - and would renew a debate over pork-barrel politics. Last month, Senate Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), who had been a longtime earmark supporter, endorsed a moratorium on earmarks to send a signal that the GOP is serious about curbing federal spending...more

Monday, December 13, 2010

Tea Party ramps up efforts against tax deal

Conservatives aligned with the Tea Party ramped up pressure Monday on Republicans to vote down the tax deal before Congress. A Tea Party umbrella group circulated a petition in opposition to President Obama's tax deal with Republicans, while another high-profile GOP lawmaker aligned with the grassroots movement said he's inclined to vote against it. "The idea that this massive tax and spend bill has not yet even been written but may be voted on by the Senate this weekend is appalling, and has rightfully drawn the anger of the and other Tea Party activists, an anger that will not diminish," said a petition crafted by the Tea Party Patriots...more

Federal judge in Va. strikes down health care law

A federal court ruled Monday that a central plank of the health law violates the Constitution, dealing the biggest setback yet to the Obama administration's signature legislative accomplishment. In a 42-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson said the law's requirement that most Americans carry insurance or pay a penalty "exceeds the constitutional boundaries of congressional power." The individual mandate "would invite unbridled exercise of federal police powers," wrote Judge Hudson, of the Eastern District of Virginia. "At its core, this dispute is not simply about regulating the business of insurance—or crafting a scheme of universal health insurance coverage—it's about an individual's right to choose to participate."...more

You can read the opinion here.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Can Rep. Pence Ride Tea Party To Presidency?

On a midweek afternoon in February 2009, a month into the Obama presidency, Republican Rep. Mike Pence arrived at Columbus in his east-central Indiana district for a town hall meeting, the sort of event that usually attracted a few dozen constituents. Surprised to see the hallway outside the room crowded with people, "their arms folded and brows furrowed," Pence shouted down the hall to an aide, asking him to get a janitor to open the room. The aide shouted back that the room was open — and overflowing. Congress had just passed the stimulus (Pence voted no), and Hoosiers were stimulated to anger. Soon the Tea Party would be simmering. Five months earlier, on a Friday, TARP had been proposed. The original three-page legislation sought $700 billion instantly, no time for questions; Pence's staff figured the cost would be about a billion dollars a word. On Saturday, Pence announced his opposition, but thought the bill would pass the House 434-1. On Monday, however, other members started approaching him, almost furtively, "like a secret society." A week later, the House rejected TARP, 205-228. Four days later, the House passed TARP's second, 451-page, pork-swollen iteration, 263-171. That weekend, Pence, who voted no, was at a Boy Scout jamboree at the Henry County Fairgrounds. A man approached who had no scout there but wanted to thank Pence for opposing TARP. The man said that although he had lost his job the day before, "I can get another job but I can't get another country."...more

Friday, December 10, 2010

Ron Paul, Author of `End the Fed,' to Lead Panel Overseeing Central Bank

Representative Ron Paul, Texas Republican and author of “End the Fed,” will take control of the House subcommittee that oversees the Federal Reserve. House Financial Services chairman-elect Spencer Bachus, an Alabama Republican, selected Paul, 75, to lead the panel’s domestic monetary policy subcommittee when their party takes the House majority next month, the committee chairman said today. Paul, in an interview last week, said he plans a slate of hearings on U.S. monetary policy and will restart his push for a full audit of the Fed’s functions. “We are ready to hit the ground running, and I look forward to continuing our work in the next Congress,” Bachus said...more

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Can Boehner Control the New Tea Party Congress?

The dapper, golf-loving, wine-swilling Minority Leader John Boehner was one of the first Republican leaders to understand that his party needed to harness the power of the Tea Party, the New Yorker's Peter Boyer explains. Only a couple hundred people were expected to show up at an anti-tax rally in Bakersfield, California, last year, but Boehner watched as thousands of angry Americans showed. "Back in Washington, Boehner reported what he’d seen to his Republican colleagues. While many Democrats and the mainstream media mocked the Tea Party, Boehner pressed his members to get out in front of the movement or, at least, get out of its way." Now Boehner has to lead the Tea Party Congress that he helped create. The governing part is going to be trickier. "This is going to be probably the first really big adult moment" for the House Republicans, Boehner told Boyer...more

Monday, December 6, 2010

Tea Party student groups cropping up on campus

While that may sound like typical fare for a Tea Party meeting, the location isn’t: Chinburg is a student at the University of Pennsylvania, and the Tea Party Patriots is a campus organization. Student-run, grassroots Tea Party groups like Chinburg’s Tea Party Patriots are springing up on campuses around the country — and now they may be banding together. The recently launched has made the first attempt at bringing together individual Tea Party groups into one network. So, far, the group has 12 collegiate groups. “We wanted to prove stereotypes wrong, the liberal pundits who say that [the Tea Party] has no appeal to youth,” said Daniel Oliver, the site’s founder. While Tea Party Students is run by students, the website also hosts an advisory board consisting of national leaders of the Tea Party movement, including Michael Patrick Leahy of the Nationwide Tea Party Coalition and Judson Phillips of the Tea Party Nation. The on-campus groups were started independently of each other, all by students who felt that their views were unrepresented by the curriculum and by the clubs already on campus...more

Tea Party group says Palin should lead GOP

A Tea Party group wants Sarah Palin to lead the Republican National Committee. A leader of Tea Party Nation says the former GOP vice presidential nominee needs to take the place of embattled chairman Michael Steele or else the RNC will be led by "the establishment," which would then lead to the re-election of President Obama in 2012. "We need someone who will put conservatives in control of the party apparatus, not RINOs," writes Judson Phillips in a letter to Palin. The letter was first reported by the liberal website Talking Points Memo...more

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Most Socialist States in America

When the Democratic Party took over the presidency and both houses of Congress in 2008, conservatives were quick to warn their supporters of a coming era of socialism led by President Barack Obama. Indeed, that message was a constant in the debate over the health care reform bill as well as the Congressional midterm elections, when Tea Party conservatives made taxation a rallying cry for frustrated Americans. As the narrative of the country’s purported move toward socialism persists, MainStreet decided to evaluate which states were the most and least socialist, to get a picture of how diverse the country is in how states manage their finances. What is 'Socialist,' Anyway? To evaluate the degree to which different states manifest socialist principles, we started from the core definition of socialism as a form of government in which the state owns the means of production and allocates resources to its citizens at its discretion. In other words, a purely socialist state is one in which the state is responsible for 100% of economic output and spends all of it on social programs. Since no part of the U.S. can be considered purely socialist, we measured total expenditures as a proportion of total economic output to compare the size of the public sector in each state. Using recently released 2009 state gross domestic product figures from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and total state expenditures for fiscal year 2009 from the most recent report of the National Association of State Budget Officers, we have come up with the 10 most socialist states in America. Read on; the results may surprise you. (Or jump to — Alaska?!)

10. Rhode Island

Gross Domestic Product (2009): $47,837,000,000

Total State Expenditures (FY 2009): $7,587,000,000

Expenditures as Proportion of GDP: 15.9%

On the list of most socialist states, tiny Rhode Island takes the 10th spot. Progressive on many social questions (the state was the second to abolish the death penalty, and was the third to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes), its residents have voted for Democrats in eight of the last nine presidential elections.

Economically, Rhode Island continually ranks among the states with the highest tax rates. Its property taxes, sales tax and income taxes are all above the respective national averages, not surprising for the 10th most socialist state on our list.

9. Hawaii

Gross Domestic Product (2009): $66,431,000,000

Total State Expenditures (FY 2009): $11,822,000,000

Expenditures as Proportion of GDP: 17.8%

8. Arkansas

Gross Domestic Product (2009): $101,818,000,000

Total State Expenditures (FY 2009): $18,403,000,000

Expenditures as Proportion of GDP: 18.1%

7. Wyoming

Gross Domestic Product (2009): $37,544,000,000

Total State Expenditures (FY 2009): $7,123,000,000

Expenditures as Proportion of GDP: 19.0%

6. Mississippi

Gross Domestic Product (2009): $95,905,000,000

Total State Expenditures (FY 2009): $19,380,000,000

Expenditures as Proportion of GDP: 20.2%

5. New Mexico

Gross Domestic Product (2009): $74,801,000,000

Total State Expenditures (FY 2009): $15,455,000,000

Expenditures as Proportion of GDP: 20.7%

4. Vermont

Gross Domestic Product (2009): $25,438,000,000

Total State Expenditures (FY 2009): $5,341,000,000

Expenditures as Proportion of GDP: 21.0%

3. Alabama

Gross Domestic Product (2009): $169,856,000,000

Total State Expenditures (FY 2009): $46,558,000,000

Expenditures as Proportion of GDP: 27.4%

2. Alaska

Gross Domestic Product (2009): $45,709,000,000

Total State Expenditures (FY 2009): $14,315,000,000

Expenditures as Proportion of GDP: 31.3%

1. West Virginia

Gross Domestic Product (2009): $63,344,000,000

Total State Expenditures (FY 2009): $20,362,000,000

Expenditures as Proportion of GDP: 32.1%

Despite the fact that Republicans won two out of three House seats in the 2010 midterm elections, West Virginia has been a Democratic state for most of its existence.

In fact, Congress’s longest-serving member ever was Robert Byrd, the West Virginia Democrat who, at the time of his death last year, had represented the state for 57 years.

On the state level, four of the past five governors have come from the Democratic Party, which could explain how the state’s expenditures have come to account for 32.1% of total output.

- Greg Bocquet is a writer for MainStreet, part of TheStreet Network.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Tea Party Caucus Takes $1 Billion In Earmarks

Members of the Congressional Tea Party Caucus may tout their commitment to cutting government spending now, but they used the 111th Congress to request hundreds of earmarks that, taken cumulatively, added more than $1 billion to the federal budget. According to a Hotline review of records compiled by Citizens Against Government Waste, the 52 members of the caucus, which pledges to cut spending and reduce the size of government, requested a total of 764 earmarks valued at $1,049,783,150 during Fiscal Year 2010, the last year for which records are available. "It's disturbing to see the Tea Party Caucus requested that much in earmarks. This is their time to put up or shut up, to be blunt," said David Williams, vice president for policy at Citizens Against Government Waste. "There's going to be a huge backlash if they continue to request earmarks."...more

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Tea Party Pushes Amendment to Veto Congress

The "repeal amendment," introduced Tuesday by Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, with the backing of conservative lawmakers from 10 states, is aimed at checking what they see as a federal government that has run amok. Supporters say the federal stimulus package, the health care law and the auto bailout are among the reasons the measure is needed. Under current law, states must go to court to overturn federal legislation and prove it violates the Constitution. The proposed amendment would give state legislatures veto power over any federal law or regulation they didn't like -- whether it passes constitutional muster or not: "Any provision of law or regulation of the United States may be repealed by the several states, and such repeal shall be effective when the legislatures of two-thirds of the several states approve resolutions for this purpose that particularly describe the same provision or provisions of law or regulation to be repealed." Georgetown University law professor Randy Barnett, the amendment's author, has argued it would "help restore the ability of states to protect the powers 'reserved to the states' noted in the 10th Amendment." "This amendment reflects confidence in the collective wisdom of the men and women from diverse backgrounds, and elected by diverse constituencies, who comprise the modern legislatures of two-thirds of the states," Barnett said. "Put another way, it allows thousands of democratically elected representatives outside the Beltway to check the will of 535 elected representatives in Washington, D.C."...more