CANTOR THINKS ‘REPEAL AMENDMENT’ TO CONSTITUTION HAS MERIT…. I imagine high-profile elected officials are asked to consider crackpot ideas all the time, putting officials in a position to offer a polite “no” when pressed for their support.

But as the Republican Party becomes even more extreme in its far-right ideology, powerful party leaders are no longer rejecting madness out of hand.

Incoming House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is part of a class of Republicans who say they want to change the country fundamentally — and to that end, Cantor isn’t dismissing a plan by legislators in his home state of Virginia to blow up the Constitutional system and replace it with one that would give state governments veto power over federal laws.

For several weeks now, conservative legal circles have been buzzing with Virginia House Speaker Bill Howell’s plan to amend the Constitution so that a 2/3 vote by the state governments could overturn any federal law passed by the Congress and signed by the President. […]

Appearing on Fox Business last week, Howell said that Cantor “was very interested” in the proposal and promised that he had “several members” of Congress who will put forward the Amendment in the House when the 112th Congress convenes in January.

Cantor’s office confirmed to TPM that the incoming Majority Leader is interested in the Repeal Amendment, but said that so far Cantor is simply urging his colleagues to “keep an open mind.”

As Howell sees it, the 16th and 17th Amendments to the Constitution — creating a federal income tax and allow Americans to elect their own senators — were a mistake he and other right-wing activists hope to rectify. The goal, then, is to push a new “Repeal Amendment” through a state-based Constitutional Convention.

And Eric Cantor seems to think this has merit, as a way to “provide a check on the ever-expanding federal government, protect against Congressional overreach, and get the government working for the people again, not the other way around. In order to return America to opportunity, responsibility, and success, we must reverse course and the Repeal Amendment is a step in that direction.”

Did I mention that Cantor will be the House Majority Leader next year?

I suspect the American mainstream has no idea just how radical contemporary Republican thought has become.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.