A swift solution to Washington gridlock: Abolish the Senate


Conducted by professors in politics at The King's College, Dr. David Corbin and Dr. Matthew Parks, The Federalist Today is a discussion of modern politics through the lens of the Federalist Papers. Each week, Corbin and Parks examine one of these historic papers, and contrast Federalist beliefs with those of modern Progressives in order to spark discussion on American politics and its current trajectory.

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If political celebrity is your thing, there’s no better club to get into than the United States Senate, the equivalent of Hollywood, Harvard, and the Hall of Fame rolled into one. Sure, everyone suspects that your true sights are set on the presidency, but since for most the criticism is true, it’s easy to feign innocence and not take offense.

Every now and then, however, someone becomes a United States senator because he is truly interested in performing the constitutional duties of a senator. One such person is Tom Coburn, the retiring senator from Oklahoma, which means his suggestion last week that he’d be open to the idea of an Article V convention to take on the nation’s challenges is that much more significant.

Coburn told the congressional weekly The Hill, “I think [George] Mason was prophetic that we would devolve to where the federal government became too powerful, too big, and too unwieldy. That’s why he put Article V in.” Senator Coburn, who, according to the article, “has grown disenchanted with gridlock in Washington,” suggested that approving constitutional amendments creating term limits, mandating a balanced budget, and re-asserting legislative prerogatives would allow the federal government to function properly again.

Coburn joins a surprisingly broad coalition of activists, academics, pundits, and politicians advocating an Article V convention to accomplish sweeping political reform and address the one point on which Americans of all political persuasions apparently agree: Washington is broken.

Three years ago, left-leaning Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig and co-founder and national coordinator of the Tea Party Patriots Mark Meckler co-chaired a conference at Harvard Law School discussing how partisans from across the political spectrum could fix “our republic that does not work as our Framers intended” through an Article V convention.

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