Amendment mania

AMENDMENT MANIA…. We talked yesterday about far-right Republicans making a transition when it comes to constitutional amendments. Whereas conservatives used to have a wide variety of new amendments they wanted to see added to the Constitution, they’re now pushing for the repeal of old amendments they no longer like — most notably the 14th (on birthright citizenship), the16th (a progressive federal income tax), and the 17th (U.S. senators elected by the public).

But when it comes to constitutional tinkering, the Republican Party of Iowa seems to be even more ambitious than most. An alert reader sent me a copy of the state GOP’s party platform, which includes some real gems.

When it comes to new amendments the Republican Party of Iowa wants to see added, the wish list isn’t short — the party wants a constitutional amendment to ban abortion, an amendment to ban marriage equality, a “parental rights amendment,” an amendment to “correct” federal “abuse” of the Commerce Clause, an amendment to require balanced federal budgets, and an amendment to give presidents a line-item veto. That’s six new amendments the state party is demanding.

But the real fun comes when we see the other constitutional changes the Republican Party of Iowa wants to see. Surprisingly, the state GOP doesn’t mention repealing the 16th and 17th. It does, however, have its eyes on two others.

“We call for the reintroduction and ratification of the original 13th Amendment, not the 13th Amendment in today’s Constitution.

“We call for the legal ratification of the 14th Amendment and the clarification of Section I as based upon the author’s intent (Senator Jacob Howard).”

The 13th amendment bans slavery, but the amendment that was going to be the 13th would have stripped Americans of their citizenship if they accepted “any title of nobility or honor” from a foreign country. (Sir Rudy Giuliani, pack your bags.) Why would right-wing Iowans still care about this? I have no idea.

The 14th Amendment, another Civil War amendment, does quite a few things, and, the state GOP’s platform notwithstanding, has already been legally ratified. Republican Iowans apparently want a “repeal and replace” here, because 19th-century Michigan Sen. Jacob Howard (R) wanted language that excluded “persons born in the United States who are foreigners” from becoming citizens.

It’s 142 years later, and the Republican Party of Iowa is still on the case.

Remember, no matter how nutty the GOP seems in Washington, there’s even more nuttiness to be found at the state level.