Conservatives can normally rely on George Will to provide a gloss of pseudo-intellectual legitimacy to their worst policy proposals. Will is a passionate global warming denier. He called Americans upset about the 2008 economic downturn the “crybabies of the western world.” And he even spent an entire column praising the Supreme Court’s discredited decision in Lochner v. New York, which struck down a state worker protection law largely because five justices felt like it.
Yet, for all of Will’s willingness to carry water for the most repulsive and out of touch ideas, even he is offended by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett’s (R) plan to rig the Electoral College in order to elect a Republican president in 2012:
Republicans supposedly revere the Constitution, but in its birthplace, Pennsylvania, they are contemplating a subversion of the Framers’ institutional architecture. Their ploy — partisanship masquerading as altruism about making presidential elections more “democratic” — will weaken resistance to an even worse change being suggested.
Pennsylvania’s Republican-controlled Legislature may pass, and the Republican governor promises to sign, legislation ending the state’s practice — shared by 47 other states — of allocating all of its electoral votes to the candidate who wins the statewide popular vote. Pennsylvania would join Maine and Nebraska in allocating one vote to the winner in each congressional district, with the two remaining votes going to the statewide popular vote winner. [...] The Electoral College today functions differently than the Founders envisioned — they did not anticipate political parties — but it does buttress the values encouraged by the federalism the Framers favoured, which Pennsylvanians, and others, should respect.
As with most Will columns, there is also a lot to not like in his rejection of the Pennsylvania vote rigging plan. Among other things, the “even worse change” Will refers to is the entirely sensible National Popular Vote compact, which would ensure that the person who gets the most votes actually gets to be president of the United States. Nevertheless, Will’s break with Corbett on Corbett’s plan to rig the presidential election is a hopeful sign that establishment conservatives are turning against that plan.