With the exception of a very few, Republicans, conservatives, and all those on the Right side of the aisle have all but shunned US Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), for his vote to impeach the President on the charge of Abuse of Power. In the politically charged atmosphere of the beltway, Romney was expected to vote in lock-step with his political party. And while Romney hid behind the idea that he was voting his conscience so as to avoid the wrath of his God, the fact of the matter is this. He did not represent his state when he cast his vote. He represented himself.
The idea that politicians are beholden to their political parties where voting on legislation is concerned is a truth that George Washington warned us about in his Farewell Address:
“All obstructions to the execution of the laws, all combinations, and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle, and of fatal tendency. They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels and modified by mutual interests.
“However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.”
Put succinctly, Washington warned us as plainly as he could that political parties would come to override the will of the people and become the destruction of the Republic. To declare that his fear has become a reality is the understatement of the century.
This brings us to the point about Romney’s vote to convict the President on the charges of Abuse of Power. While Romney certainly bucked the idea of voting lock-step with a political faction, he voted as he did in a way that betrayed the charge of his office.
Before the Progressive Movement’s coup against the US Constitution in affecting the direct election of US Senators, those positions were filled by appointment of each state’s legislatures. The concept was an easy one to understand: where the US House of Representatives was meant to represent the will of the people nationally, the US Senate was the chamber that was charged with protecting the sovereignty of the states themselves. US Senators voted in the best interest of their respective states.
The US Senate, as conceived by our Framers, was able to protect the states from an over-reaching federal government because Senators (by virtue of their appointments) weren’t affected by national party politics to the extent members of Congress were. They didn’t need to placate national political party leadership because they existed above any manipulation the parties could inflict.
A perfect example of the genius of the Framers comes in Obamacare.
If the US Senate were still populated by appointees from the many state legislatures during the debate on Obamacare, there wouldn’t have been one vote in that chamber for the measure due to the financial strain the legislation proposed to put on the states’ treasuries. Every Senator would have seen the program as not in their state’s best interests and they would have voted down the measure in unison.
Since the direct election of Senators, however, that body is subject to the manipulation of political factions; the very same factions of which President Washington warned. The political party in power applied pressure to pass the legislation to the detriment of individuals and states alike and it became law of the land despite protestations by the people and the sovereign states.
So, the question in Romney’s vote to convict is not whether he was manipulated by political pressures. He proved that he was not and even tried to project an “I am independent-minded” narrative. No, where Romney went off the rails is that he did not faithful represent his state in his deliberations; the charge of his station.
The people of Utah made it quite clear that they did not believe the President should have been convicted on the impeachment articles, going so far as to threaten a recall of Mr. Romney should he demure to the Democrats. Romney failed to represent the best interests of his state and, therefore, abused his power as a US Senator from that state.
If Progressives wouldn’t have bastardized the US Constitution to remove the apparatus meant to protect the sovereignty of the states (the appointment of federal senators) the Utah legislature could simply recall him and be done with it. Now the people of Utah have to jump through legal hoops to make Romney pay for his transgression against them.
Let’s all hope they succeed in their efforts.