by Max Brantley
Fifteen Republicans and a Democrat (Gene Jeffress, sigh) reportedly powered a dog-and-pony show by the new Arkansas Conservative Caucus today at the Capitol with a call for a consitutional convention. The purpose would be to adopt a U.S. constitutional amendment to require approval of a majority of state legislators before the federal debt ceiling could be raised. The sponsors.
Give federal monetary control to the likes of this bunch? Can you imagine the dithering that would occur while crushing needs mounted. They'd block the blind school budget to prove a point.
This kind of gimmickry should be off-limits in the Arkansas fiscal session, instituted to deal only with annual budget matters. Some Republicans, naturally, can't resist an opportunity for election year demagoguery. This particular bloody shirt is Jason Rapert's tomfoolery. Empty stuff. We can let Congress run the federal budget or we can let Justin Harris and Co. I'll take Congress, even with Tim Griffin on board.
Footnote: In the history of the republic, there has never been a constitutional convention to amend the Constitution. This current gimmick is the product of a conservative think tank. ALEC, the Koch-funded lobby to pass anti-tax, anti-regulation state legislation backs the idea. It's a Tea Party fave, too, though some 'baggers are resistant, including Rep. Michele Bachmann, who believes it would be simpler for Congress to propose a balanced budget amendment.