Senator Coburn’s Call for a Constitutional Convention Invites Dangerous Consequences

Senator Coburn’s Call for a Constitutional Convention Invites Dangerous Consequences
by JBS President John F. McManus

Medical doctor Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) has always crusaded against federal spending and the inevitable deficits that follow. Elected to the House of Representatives in 1994, he kept his pledge to serve no more than three terms and went back to doctoring in 2001. But in 2004, he won a Senate seat and pledged to serve no more than two six-year terms. Reelected in 2010, he recently decided he’d had enough and announced his resignation effective at the end of 2014, two years before his second Senate term would have ended.

Still crusading about Washington’s big spending and deficit building, Coburn has now announced that he wants the states to hold a Constitutional Convention (Con-Con) to add a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. He would also like to have the Con-Con add an amendment mandating term limits for members of Congress.

Scott Bradley, PhD, Founder and Chairman of The Constitution Commemoration Foundation, Inc., speaks at The John Birch Society Council Dinner, May 4, 2013 in Ohio., regarding opposing a BBA Con-Con.

As much as Dr. Coburn’s numerous efforts to cut spending and deal with the national debt deserve accolades, he seems to have not considered that his new proposals are fraught with dangers. He should consider that term limits for the office of President have been in place since 1951. As a result Bill Clinton served only eight years. He was followed by George W. Bush whose eight years were followed by Barack Obama. There are some Americans who applaud the Clinton to Bush to Obama parade because it brought change. But it surely didn’t lead to less spending and an end to deficits.

The main change when term limits force one President to exit and a new one to enter is the name of the occupant of the White House. Real change would occur if the voting public were better informed and not captive of the phony claim that top Democrats are different from top Republicans. If real change is sought, there’s no alternative to an informed electorate.

Dr. Coburn doesn’t seem to realize that a Con-Con could cancel the entire Constitution, as happened in 1787 when the only Con-Con in our nation’s history exceeded its mandate to revise the Articles of Confederation, scrapped them, and produced the U.S. Constitution. A Con-Con can’t be limited. It could abolish the Bill of Rights, cancel term limits on the presidential office, destroy numerous limitations of federal power, etc.

But the other Coburn proposal for a balanced budget amendment (BBA) invites the question: Why should anyone expect current leaders to obey an amendment when they already cavalierly disobey or ignore many of the provisions already present in the existing Constitution? Even beyond that never-answered question, there are several proposed BBAs that are full of loopholes.

Some BBA proposals would allow a 60 percent vote in Congress to override budget restrictions. Other partisans for a BBA say that the way to balance the budget is to increase taxes. There are some who claim that the budget need not be balanced if there’s a war or a national security threat proclaimed by the President. More state that balancing the budget would not have to be accomplished for five years, meaning more deficits. And the most slippery of all these proposals is the one that would allow some federal expenditures to be declared “off budget.”

Beyond the loopholes in a BBA, creating a Con-Con for any reason should be blocked. One year after he participated in the Con-Con that abolished the Articles of Confederation, James Madison stated his opinion in 1788 that consideration of another would cause him to “tremble.” Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger pointed to the unlimited power of a Con-Con and advised against one. The late Justice Robert Bork insisted that “a federal constitutional convention could not be limited to a single issue.” These voices from the past and the present warn against convening a Con-Con.

So while we applaud Dr. Coburn for his praiseworthy years of service in Congress, we have to disagree with his call for a Con-Con. Term limits don’t bring about real change. A balanced budget amendment would be so full of loopholes that it would be worthless. And a Con-Con would be enormously dangerous.

The path for real change wanted by many Americans begins with an educated electorate. There is no other way. And the only organization doing this since 1958 is The John Birch Society. Join today!

Learn more about a Con-Con at our “Choose Freedom — Stop a Constitutional Convention” action page.


Mr. McManus joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966 and has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and now President. He remains the Society’s chief media representative throughout the nation and has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs. Mr. McManus is also Publisher of The New American magazine and author of a number of educational DVDs and books.


17 Comments on “Senator Coburn’s Call for a Constitutional Convention Invites Dangerous Consequences”

  1. Fank M. Pelteson says:

    Tom Coburn’s Freedom index is 82%, per http://www.thenewamerican.com/freedomindex/profile.php?id=C000560 . That doesn’t compensate for his ignorance of the danger of an Article V Convention.

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  2. Bill Walker says:

    The “dangerous consequences” referred to above all stem from lies told by the JBS since the 1980’s. A factual examination of their assertions proves them to be false. For example the JBS has always harped about a runaway convention. Public record irrefutably proves such an event never occurred. The Congress considered this question TEN DAYS after the 1787 convention and voted overwhelmingly that such an event had not happened. Moreover it must be remembered that nearly a third of the delegates at the convention were also members of Congress. Hence the Congress was fully informed of the activities of its committee and whether or not that committee exceeded the mandate given it by Congress. Congress determined it had not done so. You will never find this information or others like it in any JBS material. This is why such harping by the JBS must be rejected.

    If you want the truth, go to http://www.foavc.org and begin by reading the 759 applications from 49 states a for a convention call. This is 20 times the number of apps required to call a convention. So when you listen to the JBS remember this: you are being asked to support the “right” of the government to veto the Constitution. Is that really what you want?

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    • Ann says:

      According to the FEC the feds only involvement is to call the Article V convention when and if the sufficient number of states call one. Then the feds are strictly observers, not participants, BTW the constitution stays in force during an Article V convention, unlike a federal con-con. See the FEC for yourself. JBS is scare mongering trying to make themselves relevant, nothing more.

      https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/conventionofstates/pages/716/attachments/original/1418678848/Convention_of_States_Response_to_FEC_Petition.pdf?1418678848

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      • Bill Walker says:

        Regarding the FEC. I actually commented on the matter and its narrow decision (as narrow as it can get) does not preclude federal involvement. By actually commenting I mean I made a public comment by the way something nearly everyone else did not. Now I suggest all read my article on this: http://www.foavc.org/reference/file58.pdf . Note the part about the political organization disenfranchising voters and the criminal DOJ complaint against the states that have done this. We now dealing in reality on this matter. Actual laws, rulings and so forth. No longer JBS spiel. Six states have passed laws enabling officials to completely disenfranchise the entire population of the state. There is nothing to say this cannot be done to other offices in regards to the amendment process which means both members of state legislatures and Congress could come under the ban. So before everyone starts just listening to one side I suggest you read both sides very carefully and then decide. Do you really want your right to vote taken away?

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  3. Douglas A. Logan says:

    Who is Bill Walker and what are your qualifications to set your self up in judgement of the Society. Come on give me some proof of who you are and your qualifications? It is easy to sit on the sidelines and snipe or criticize? Bill Walker, lets hear from you ??

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    • Bill Walker says:

      Certainly. I’m the guy who has systematically exposed your lies by use of public record and reduced the JBS in so far as the subject of a convention from everyone believing it to everyone totally ignoring them. I’m the guy who filed the first two federal lawsuits about a convention, gathered up the applications to prove their actual count for the first time in U.S. history and I’m the guy if you want to find out just how effective I am then I’m the guy who has challenged the JBS to a public debate on the AVC several times and every time they run from me like scared rabbits. I’m that guy. So if you want to face me Mr. Logan, bring it. I challenge you to a debate. I’ve been itching to get at JBS since the 90’s. Every lie your society has told I’ve proved is just that and done nothing more than use public record. So that’s my qualifications. I say the society lies and whats more–I can prove it. Go to FOAVC and check it out. If you still think you can prove me wrong go ahead but you’d better check with some of your JBS buddies who’ve run already–there are reasons they avoid me. When I stomp someone they stay stomped.

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      • insidejbs says:

        But yet we have proved time and again that JBS leads the organization to opposition, to the tune that we have stomped out every movement to have a convention since the 1980s. Debate all you want, the real action lies in locally organizing, taking the plan to the people and educating legislators. Something that you and many, many others have failed to do.

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      • Douglas A. Logan says:

        Mr. Walker, you still haven’t said who you are and what are your credentials for your boasts? Why would anybody want to believe you? I will give you credit, you sure do know how to “beat your own drums”. Mr. Walker let me enlighten you on something. You rant on about lies and you haven’t proven anything. All we have is your word and that isn’t worth very much.You are a “pathetic windbag”. I don’t have to check with any one. Are you threatening me? Boy am I scared. Why don’t you go to your on site and then you can rave and rant all you want with no opposition. You are pathetic.

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  4. Douglas A. Logan says:

    Oh Mr. Walker, you still haven’t given any” bonafides”.

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  5. Fank M. Pelteson says:

    Since the John Birch Society has always been pro-American and intent on returning our nation to the one envisioned by its Founders, and since Mr. Walker is intent on destroying our nation by wanting to destroy our Constitution, I would designate Mr. Walker as a Subversive Member of the group known as the INSIDERS. More on the INSIDERS can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q1ftkYlOlt0&feature=related . The late FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover said this: “The menace of communism in this country will remain a menace until the American people make themselves aware of the techniques of communism. No one who truly understands what it really is can be taken in by it. Yet the individual is handicapped by coming face to face with a conspiracy so monstrous he cannot believe it exists. The American mind simply has not come to a realization of the evil which has been introduced into our midst. It rejects even the assumption that human creatures could espouse a philosophy which must ultimately destroy all that is good and decent.” Had our nation not been crippled by having the House Committee on Un-American Activities abolished, Mr. Walker would have been jailed for his un-American, treasonous subversiveness. But, today he is free to spread his poisonous polemics and further destroy our country which had been so free before. Comrade Walker, why don’t you just go over to Mr. Putin’s Russia and feel at home there? Would you be put in a Psychiatric Prison there, for not being communistic enough, perhaps?

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    • Bill Walker says:

      Why you just go to the website http://www.foavc.org and read the material I’ve written where I prove your lies are just that and then come back and slap me down? It should take you about a week to read all I’ve written and done regarding an Article V convention. The site is http://www.foavc.org BTW. Now, if you respond any quicker than that I will know you didn’t do as I asked meaning you just spout away without facts. I do not. I use nothing but the facts and those facts prove the JBS lies.

      For example. JBS has always asserted the convention in 1787 was a “runaway.” For your reference. On September 27, 1787 Congress considered the question of whether the convention was a runaway and voted overwhelmingly that it was not. Those asserting it was got four votes–not states–votes which included the guy who proposed it and the guy who seconded it. Therefore the government of the United States discussed and officially resolved the substance your charge ten days after the convention and found it baseless.

      Another lie by your organization–you always have asserted that “32 states have applied for a convention and only 2 states are needed to get a convention.” or words to this effect. You’ll find on the site the list of applications with full text which shows that from the first balanced budget amendment (which JBS opposes but which it as an organization favors five other proposals in applications made for a convention) to the second nearly 200 other applications were submitted by the states for a convention call. Your group never mentioned that fact and given that there was no summary list of applications in those days the only way your group could find out about the 32 applications was go page by page through the record meaning you deliberately ignored those 200 apps. And, for the record, the correct figure is 36 applying states. And for the record since the JBS began opposing a convention in 1980 127 applications have been submitted by the states. Your opposition hasn’t accomplished a thing. Indeed the rate of applications by the states has increased.

      Still waiting for you to say you want to debate me and setting a place. Why don’t you go ask Wolverton’s advice on doing so and then charge right in. If the above “attack” is any indication of what I will meet, if this is the best JBS can do (and I know for a fact it is) then you will be carved up into small bites by me. So…either put up or shut up. Debate or accept the fact that with the above stated facts which I can prove by simple public record, I’ve proven JBS does and has lied about an Article V Convention.

      Oh yeah, one final lie. Your so-called rescissions or to be completely accurate, nullification of federal records. The Constitution itself exposes this lie. The Tenth Amendment precludes the states from nullifying federal record. The record the apps are kept is is assigned specifically to the federal government and therefore control by the states is precluded. Your rescissions are entirely meaningless which is why Congress has never acknowledged nor acted upon a single one. There are numerous court rulings backing this up also. So, with no more than a passing reference to easily checked public documentation I’ve proven JBS lies. Want to prove me wrong? Agree to a debate. Anyone who truly believes I am wrong should be hopping mad about now and the next response should be an acceptance of a debate.

      But JBS is made of cowards also. You won’t accept and neither will anyone in your organization. Hell you people are so afraid of me proving the truth you’ve banned from even posting on your pages. Talk about cowards. You say you love the Constitution but that sure doesn’t include letting someone else have his right of free speech. You think I’m wrong. Prove it.

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  6. Douglas A. Logan says:

    For right now, you are an ignoramus. You spout forth with your venom that you can’t prove and you get even more ridiculous with your loud and obnoxious accusations. You sound like you are mentally unbalanced and actually I feel sorry for you. Had I realized you are a sick person I would never have confronted you.

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    • Fank M. Pelteson says:

      Why should anyone be foolish enough to get into a debate with a communistic fool?

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      • Bill Walker says:

        Notice all who are reading this the usual tactics of the JBS. Call someone names. Notice not one attempt to refute the assertions I have made. All of the assertions made are in the public record and can be found on the FOAVC website. Notice also that these men consider anyone telling the truth to be a communist, sick and so forth. Therefore they consider the truth to be sick. As John Adams once said, facts can be very stubborn things. And the facts refute the JBS. That is the bottom line here. The JBS tells lies. The facts refute them. Notice finally they are already running away just like I have said. Someone who really believed in what they assert would say now without hesitation I am ready to debate. Within the next comment or two these JBS types will say they can not longer stomach my “lies” and will walk away. And to answer your question Pelteson the reason you would get into a debate with someone like me is to prove how foolish or in your case, how much of a liar they are. The fact you shrink away speaks volumes. You may spout your position but you know you can’t prove it. Otherwise instead of calling me names you’d be bringing up references to refute what I have stated. Name calling is not fact proving.

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      • Bill Walker says:

        One final comment. I asked these two JBS clowns to look at my site and read the information. I used literally hundreds of references to make my points. Anyone who has ever read the material has told me it takes a week at least to get through it. (No joke–a actual week of reading). Anyway note the times of responses by the two aforementioned clowns–a little over a half hour. There is no way they could have read anything on the site. Reading the 759 applications from 49 states takes a couple of hours anyway. Point is this. JBS never has had and never will have references. Don’t believe me. Ask these two clowns yourself to provide their references proving their assertions. They’ll run just like they have here. Now to give you just some idea of what they are up against I’m going to provide a link to just one reference I wrote about an Article V Convention. If you read plan on taking some time to do so. http://www.foavc.org/reference/file1.pdf

        You’ll find nothing like it from the JBS.

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      • Bill Walker says:

        Just like I said. They ran. The JBS always runs. Liars, cowards, clowns. And these are the people that should be believed when making a decision about the Constitution? I think not. Enough said.

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    • Bill Walker says:

      Like I said Logan, public record. You want the actual citations, then go to FOAVC and read. It’s there. The reason they are not stated here is not because it is not true or I can’t prove them but because the volume of truth is so huge I can’t possibly give it in a response. There is no venom except the truth–and only to a liar is it poison.

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