Idaho politics: Vaughn Ward's flip-flop on the 17th Amendment

Vaughn Ward won't say it. But the facts do.

The 1st Congressional District candidate has flip-flopped on repealing the 17th Amendment — and thus returning the election of U.S. senators to state legislatures.

“I’m not changing the position, I’m clarifying, would be a better way to put that,” Ward told Betsy Russell of the Spokane Spokesman-Review Monday.

Um, no.

On the April 30 edition of "Idaho Reports," Ward couldn't have been much clearer. After Eagle state Rep. Raul Labrador advocated the repeal of the 17th Amendment, Ward joined in assent, saying the amendment represented a step in the erosion of states' rights. Video below (the 17th Amendment comes up at the 13:40 mark):

Sometimes, on live TV, candidates get confused — or fail to explain themselves fully. But in filling out a Tea Party questionnaire, when Ward and his campaign presumably had time to sort out positions, Ward favored a repeal of the 17th.

Positions evolve during a campaign. That also happens. During that same "Idaho Reports" appearance, I asked Ward and Labrador whether they supported the policing language in Arizona's new immigration law, and neither candidate said one way or the other. On Monday, 10 days after the fact, the Ward campaign issued a news release hailing Arizona's law.

Playing to the mood of the moment? Maybe. But there is certainly a say-anything tone to Ward's flip-flop on the 17th Amendment. After both candidates have received some well-deserved flak, Ward has retreated.

Labrador has stayed firm. Faint praise there. On this issue, non-Tea Party Republicans have a bad choice: Pick a candidate who has played (albeit consistently) to this constituency, or pick the flip-flopper.

Debate (and live blog) tonight: Tune in on Idaho Public Television tonight at 8 p.m., for the Ward-Labrador debate. Should be a good one. I will be at the Statehouse live blogging the debate, and I hope to get some questions from you.

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I don't understand the 17th Amendment position

I thought the Tea Party movement was about taking the government back and getting power back into the hands of the people. Why would they want to take away my ability to vote directly for the Senators from my own state? Instead I'm supposed to leave it up to the good judgement of the Idaho legislature?
I understand wanting Senators to feel more beholden to the state, but I don't trust the brainiacs at the legislature to choose our Senator. I'd prefer to keep that vote for myself.

friendly neighbors

but I don't trust the brainiacs at the legislature to choose our Senator
They're same brainiacs you voted for (or didn't) or at least the majority of your fellow citizens voted for.

What are you saying? You don't like your neighbors' choices?

At most, I voted for only three members of the legislature

I have absolutely no control over the other 102. Does your comment indicate you like the President, Pelosi and Reid? After all, they got the majority of the votes from our fellow citizens.

Actually, my position has less to do with my neighbors' choices than years of observing our often disfunctional legislature. Allowing them to select our senator would encourage even more power struggles, secret deals and voting for power and control rather than voting for the best person to represent us. The person chosen would be no more beholden to Idaho than they are now. They would simply be beholden to a small group of legislators. No, thank you.

majority rules

Your question only pertains to Obama, as Pelosi and Reid are not my reps.

I look at this way,
IF McCain and Palin were the best the WHOLE Republican nation could muster then the party deserves to fail. But that has been the story for quite some time. We simply have not had decent candidates since-----. Local level too.

That said, I am not so concerned about the individual leading as I am about the party's philosophy leading. It's more about the President's men (& women- Hillary) than it is about the President.

But what does that have to do with

the 17th amendment being applied in idaho as VW proposes?
Why would we negate our votes?

When you have no core values... will say and do whatever the situation commands. In front of the Tea Party group he's pro-repeal, but away from them he no longer supports it. This guy holds more positions than the Kama Sutra.


Sounds a lot like Bill Clinton.
No core values and saying what the polls dictate.

At least that's what Monica said.


Your obsession with the Clenis is pretty dam unhealthy. That was a dozen years ago. Really, use your own.

What does this have to do with VW?

Why would you care what Monica said?
Grow up already.

good point * so true...

he is quite bendy when it comes to his positions

Good post.


He's like Hilary Clinton

Seriously - he waits to see what polls reveal, then decides that's his position. It's so insulting to you think we can't remember?

Same song, second verse

Sounds like Kevin has become a upper classman at the "Dan Popkey School of GOP Bashing"!

Flip-flops? I thought he'd have MANLY FOOTWEAR...


You can use any words you like here, as long as you don't use actual words.

But he is not manly.

So, why would expect otherwise?