It was, wrote Thomas Jefferson, the worst political bargain he ever made: agreeing to Alexander Hamilton's fiscal scheme in exchange for putting the new U.S. capital in Washington, the District of Columbia, a supposedly neutral city to be created midway between the northern and southern states.
Democrats are maneuvering again, by mere congressional majority fiat, to give this politicized city its own power to vote in Congress, sidestepping the difficult process of admission specified in the Constitution to grant any territory the status of one of the United States.
Democrats are busy trying to make their control of the federal government permanent, and giving a congressional vote to this district, in which government is the only industry and voters cast their ballots 90 percent Democratic, is one more step toward enslaving America under unchangeable one party rule.
Appropriately, this is being done within days of Marxist dictator Hugo Chavez’s gimmicking a vote in Venezuela, where he controls the levers of power and monopolizes television broadcasting with his own “fairness doctrine” that opens his way to become ruler for life.
And yet two Republican senators, Susan Collins of Maine and George Voinovich of Ohio, voted in committee in favor of giving Washington, D.C., a voting member in the House.
“The bill's supporters may now have the votes to pass it,” cheered a Feb. 17 New York Times editorial, “and to overcome a Senate filibuster.”
These two Republicans, the Times noted, were swayed by a Democratic offer to grant heavily Republican Utah the next apportioned seat in Congress along with the D.C. seat.
But, the Times added, Collins and Voinovich “know . . . that after the 2010 Census, the new House seat could end up going to another state.”
Republicans know this because Utah clearly was entitled to an additional seat in Congress after the 2000 Census, but Democratic political machinations stole it.
Utah's minority Mormon population cannot automatically be labeled Republican. The Democratic leader of the Senate, Harry Reid of Nevada, identifies himself as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
But a member of Congress from Washington, D.C., always would be a Democrat.
Democrats rationalize that giving congressional voting to D.C. by Article I of the Constitution, which grants Congress the power “To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding 10 miles square) as may, by cession of particular states, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States.”
Out of this vague “District Clause,” liberal legal scholars have fabricated for Congress the authority to grant D.C. votes able to cancel out those from genuine states like California or New York.
Washingtonians deserve to vote, liberals argue, because this territory's population is larger than Wyoming, but its residents are required to pay federal income taxes. The local government's vehicles bear the honorable 1776 slogan “No Taxation Without Representation.”
If your heart is moved by their taxation without representation, remember that two alternatives are far preferable to violating the Constitution by making D.C. a de facto state.
Congress can simply exempt D.C. residents from paying income tax, as is the case in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico. No taxation and no representation. Rich Northeastern D.C. Gucci Gulch lobbyists probably would trade in their votes happily to live tax-free.
Or, if you prefer to see Washingtonians with a state of their own, then Congress for purposes of resident voting can return the District of Columbia to its original status.
Before 1790, the land we now call D.C. was part of the state of Maryland. It could be returned to Maryland in a legal act called retrocession. And then D.C. members would vote as Marylanders in numbers sufficient to control a congressional district.
But this would not expand the already-Democratic Senate delegation from liberal Maryland, a state jammed with government employees that therefore usually inclines toward ever-bigger government.
And this, of course, is why congressional Democrats refuse to consider retrocession of D.C. to Maryland, despite their terrapin tears about the unfairness of resident taxation without representation. Doing this would not give Democrats two more senators.
Why are Republicans justified in opposing this liberal gambit to conjure up a congressional seat in D.C.? The answer is clear: It violates the U.S. Constitution.
If Democrats can create one voting seat in Congress by mere majority legislation, we know what will happen next. If precedent allows one seat, why not two? If a seat in the House, then why not two Senate seats?
In fact, if the sophistry of the “District Clause” argument is permitted to triumph by two Republicans and the U.S. Supreme Court, then the power of a Democratic congressional majority is theoretically unlimited. If they can create one voting seat in D.C. by legislative fiat, then why not create five, or 10, or 100?
If nothing in the Constitution prevents legislation pertaining to the District of Columbia, then there is no limit as to how many voting D.C. House and Senate seats a Democratic majority could install. Rest assured that these partisan lawmakers would create enough to make their power permanent and absolute.
At a minimum we can anticipate a future where, as in ante bellum days, states were admitted in pairs with one free and the other permitted slavery, every new apportioned congressional seat likely to vote Republican would be admitted only if balanced by a new third or fourth or fifth seat for Washington, D.C.
President Barack Obama wants to have direct control over the 2010 Census. With such control will come manifest opportunities to count invisible residents and thereby apportion new congressional seats in liberal cities, and fewer new seats in Republican regions. This will tilt the congressional playing field even farther to the left.
Political power in America should remain A.C. — According to the Constitution — not D.C., as Democrats are trying to switch it permanently.
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