A new constitution?

Published March 9, 2023

By Gary Pearce

One of the truly worst ideas in the history of American politics is a convention of the states to rewrite the Constitution.

One of the truly worst people in the history of American politics, Rick Santorum, was in Raleigh this week pushing the idea.

When Santorum represented Pennsylvania in the Senate from 1995 to 2007, he earned a reputation for far-right views and personal nastiness.

Then-Senator Bob Kerrey of Nebraska once said, “Santorum is Latin for asshole.”

With Santorum were Speaker Tim Moore, Rep. Jason Saine and other Republican state legislators.

MAGA Republicans love the convention idea. That’s all you need to know about it.

They say its scope would be limited. But the 1787 constitutional convention was supposed to be limited to fixing the Articles of Confederation.

Once you start a convention, you can’t stop it.

It might, say, prohibit the federal government from doing anything on the environment, education or health care.

Or make Social Security and Medicare unconstitutional.

Or let state legislatures overturn presidential elections.

When Santorum ran for President in 2012, he wanted to do something about “the dangers of contraception in this country.”

Maybe the new constitution would ban birth control.

But the ultra-conservative convention-convenors haven’t thought this through.

Suppose the convention repealed the Second Amendment? Or guaranteed abortion rights, limited campaign spending and required climate-change action?

Besides, do you really think Rick Santorum, Tim Moore and their crowd can do a better job than James Madison, George Washington, Alexander Hamilton and Ben Franklin?