Rethinking States' Rights

2 posts / 0 new
Last post
Rethinking States' Rights

The phrase "States Rights" has for years carried the cloud of resistance to Federal mandates including civil rights legislation. It was a euphemism call to action for local politicans to rally their voters to resist the dictates of national leaders thousands of miles away in Washington.

However, given the performance of Congress and its relationship with the President over the last several years, perhaps it is time to recast States Rights in a more liberal perspective. The last Congress set recent records for the least legislation passed. It was in constant bickering with the President and only a perfect storm of electoral results in 2008 allowed passage of the Affordable Care Act and a medium sized fiscal stimulus package. Since then there has been a paucity of substantive legislation passed. Last week we saw a narrow lobby able to defeat elements of gun control legislation that is supported by 90% of voters. So much for the dictates of our national leaders.

Perhaps it is time to refocus on what states can accomplish without the Federal government's lethargic leadership. We've seen Colorado, Connecticut, and New York all recently pass meaningful gun control laws while Washington fiddles. Several states have recently liberalized gay marriage as a result of voter initiatives. There are many other areas where states can lead the way in adopting new ideas, closely aligned to the sentiments of its voters, that seem impossible with the archaic rules of the Senate and the power of small rural states which are grossly over represented in their influence. Federalism has always been based on the sharing of power between Washington and state legislatures and governors.

With the vacuum of leadership in Washington, a byzantine legislative process, the time is ripe for states to assume more responsibility for leading the way to more effective and democratic government. If Washington is unable to step up, there are still options to address many of the pressing issues of the day.

What do you think?

Cousin Ben

This is a loaded question

This is a loaded question/discussion but my first reaction is that a conservative could have written it about different issues of importance not getting legislation through the "lethargic" leadership. But in reality, some issues are better left to states and some not.  Gasoline blends are perhaps the biggest one that needs to be a federalized standard. There are roughly 19 different blends of gas. Why not one.  That would be to simple and save us all at the pump. The gun control measures were defeated for multiple reasons, one being members that are up for re-election couldn't support it. Remember, Al Gore lost his home state of Tennessee over his stance on guns. All he needed was lonely Tennessee and no Florida recount.  We may however, see something with  Toomy/Manchin on some Federal legislation on guns. There are many many laws on the books. For meaningfull changes in gun laws, there will have to be a complete overview of all the state and federal laws to come to any agreement. I said this from day one, the Democrats in Congress will be the ones to stop Federal gun legislation. We live in a bubble up here in the Northeast. There are many southern and Mid Western Dems that are very pro-gun. Easy to forget that.  Back to the original question. States compete with each other and we're seeing that with the oil and gas boom on private land in certain states which has created huge amounts of jobs and elimination of property taxes and state income taxes in some states. Good thing those states can still decide what's good for them. Then you have the so-called, right to work states like South Carolina. We learned about that when Boeing was planning a new non-union plant there. Airbus just built a plant in Georgia, another pro-business state. When you speak of The Affordable Care Act, it passed by I believe a single vote. Hardly a mandate. We have only begun to see the ramifications of the new Federal healthcare system. Roe V. Wade made abortion legal nationwide in 1973.  40 years later, the Country is still split in half on this issue. I think we are another ten years away from Gay Marriage being in all 50 States. To be honest, I think Gay Marriage is becoming easier for more people to accept these days, while the abortion issue becomes more controversial as horrific cases appear on the news. There has been a rise in Libertarian thinking on social issues and immigration in recent years. We all have some Libertarian in us. That's a topic for a separate post. Ha! I'm not sure what you mean by "small rural states being grossly over represented in their influence". Each state's number of congressman are based on their population. Obviously each state has 2 Senators. Seems pretty fair to me similar to the Electoral College system. The Founders seemed to have got things right. Amazing how such an old system still works so well. I always say, the liberals have New York and California. We have Texas and we fight over Florida. Interesting topic.  NL    

Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Enter the characters shown in the image.