A nationwide drive by mostly conservative states to throttle President Obama and Washington's grab for more power and taxes is running into an odd left-right combo of opposition: Liberal financier George Soros and the conservative John Birch Society.
Documents provided to Secrets show that the Soros-backed Montana Budget and Policy Center recently urged the state's lawmakers to reject the so-called "convention of states" pushed by advocates such as radio talk show host Mark Levin as a way to pass constitutional amendments limiting the power of the federal government and especially the Supreme Court.
In an email to lawmakers, the liberal group called on supportive Montana lawmakers to "direct your questions" to the John Birch Society, which believes a states convention, provided in Article V of the Constitution, won't stop Washington from expanding its power and taxing authority.
The opposition effort succeeded last month when the Montana House rejected a convention.
Already facing liberals who fear that a convention would trim spending on their causes, the proponent conservative group Convention of States is also facing an unusual Soros partner in the John Birch Society, which believes the answer to Washington is to cut spending and the bureaucracy.
"Until the massive bureaucracy that is part of the federal government is curtailed, downsized or eliminated, federal officials will find a way around the Constitution no matter what amendments are ratified," the group said. Groups like Birch oppose the convention out of concerns that the conservatives running it will go too far to limit government powers and fear that the public isn't smart enough on the Constitution to change it.
But that opposition is being forcefully rebutted by Michael Farris, director of the Convention of States project for Citizens for Self-Governance. In a 23-page memo, he argued that simply trying to choke Washington's power by sending more conservatives to Congress won't work.
"Trying harder with the same old tactics won't work," he wrote.
Levin, Farris and other supporters are focusing on the power the U.S. Supreme Court has in interpreting the Constitution and claim that decisions like a recent one endorsing much of Obamacare violated the document.
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.