09 May 2009

brick walls

So my attempt to measure popular support for abolishing the VP has run straight into the brick wall of idiocy.

Here are some of the common attempts at defence

"The Constitution should not be open to reinterpretation"

Never mind the fact that it has been reinterpreted 27 times (including the Bill of Rights, which was not included in the original document) and has a legally defined process for doing it. :slams head into wall:

"a Vice President is necessary"
This is partly due to the fact that it's hard to outline a means of replacing the VP in a short question that says we should get rid of it. I haven't yet seen a reason that the VP is "necessary". They usually see that we have one now and that's simpler for them to understand than using any alternative means of selecting a replacement in the event we need one. This has come up with a statement like "he's plan B". Maybe so, but it looks to me like a shitty plan B.

This is also met tangentially with something like this problem

"If Biden goes away, then NANCY PELOSI is next in line for the executive office." - Somewhat unsurprisingly the primary opponent for such a radical reform is "conservatives". Because they seem to think that the present line of succession is what we would use and that naturally causes a good deal of pause. I'm not sure my current alternative would be met with any less caution right now, considering it would put Hillary Clinton in charge, at least temporarily, if Obama dies in office or had some major ailment preventing his full faculty to the nation. But in historical perspective, I think the alternative I proposed is far superior to leaving the line of succession running into the legislature and at least in terms of candidates marginally better than the alternative we're using right now.

Nobody has yet addressed the problem that we no actually longer vote for the Vice President either. Lazy intellectual work on my part for not being able to posit this problem in the question I guess. This is indirectly addressed with something like "Biden's an idiot but...". I'm not sure most people can get there with me that we don't actually need to even be worried that Biden's an idiot or not.

"Who would break ties in the Senate?".
-- Easy. The President. How often does this really happen? Cheney had 8 ties, mostly in the first 2 years when the Senate was most closely divided on party lines. The top 5 VP occasions to break ties were all back in the early 19th century. And in most every case, the VP cast the vote in the way the President would have anyway as any loyal party functionary might.

Most promising is largely the stance taken by other "moderates", who seemed to be at least marginally accepting of such a reform. Unfortunately, "moderates" actually make up very little of a self-defined liberal-conservative polling sector.
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