Angus King, Senator from Maine, demonstrates why he could be the poster child for a repeal of the seventeenth amendment to the Constitution. He acts in his own interests and not for the people he is supposed to represent.
Amendment XVII was ratified on April 8, 1913 and this amendment changed the way Senators are selected. Instead of being chosen by the state legislatures as described in Article I Section 3 of the Constitution, they are now directly elected by voters of each state.
This change switches accountability from locally elected State legislatures and places it directly with voters. Without accountability to the State for an agenda, the senator is free to pursue their own, not the least of which is getting re-elected every six years.
Mr. King touts his independent status, his bipartisan approach and his ability to get things done for Maine. But a recap of this behavior in the latest Gubernatorial race begs the question of his party affiliation.
Mr. King, apparently not happy with Maine’s sitting Republican governor, endorsed Eliot Cutler, the Independent candidate on August 18th. According to the Bangor Daily News, Mr. King said the people of Maine should ask:‘Who will make the best governor, who has the ideas, who has the best thinking?’ — Eliot wins. That’s why I believe he’s going to. That’s the calculation.”
But by October, it was looking like Mr. Cutler could not garner enough support to win so King made another calculation. On the 29th, six days before the election, he pulled his support from Cutler and switched to the Democratic candidate. He assured us in the Portland Press Herald that: “But, like Eliot, I too am a realist. After many months considering the issues and getting to know the candidates, it is clear that the voters of Maine are not prepared to elect Eliot in 2014,” and “The good news is that we still have a chance to elect a governor who will represent the majority of Maine people: my friend and colleague, Mike Michaud.”
Despite King’s efforts to support anyone but the Republican, Governor LePage was re-elected. In addition, the Republicans also won the state Senate. This however did not seem to influence King and he was not done.
The day after the election he made an announcement that despite the Republicans winning the Senate (in Washington) he will continue to caucus with Democrats. But don’t misunderstand him, when it comes to the Senate “Nothing can or will happen without bipartisan support.”
Mr King is not really interested in bipartisan support. We now have a Republican controlled Senate along with our state legislature. If this Senator was accountable to his state lawmakers he would have to represent us and not be so quick to make another calculation.
Instead, he is a Democrat masquerading as an Independent whose calculations are designed to further his own interests and career. He is why we should consider repealing the seventeenth amendment.