If there’s one thing worse than urban elites at the New York Times, LA Times or the Washington Post who sneer at the mere hint of grassroots conservatism or populism, it’s Midwestern and Southern “fly over country” journalists who strive to emulate them. In a column entitled “New states’ rights fight emerges,” Brian Hicks of Charleston, South Carolina’s the Post & Courier wrote:
“For a bunch of guys obsessed with 19th century history, our esteemed state lawmakers sure haven’t learned much from it.
Because the last time they got all uppity and started mouthing off about states’ rights, we got our butts kicked.
Right now, the General Assembly is considering a resolution to warn the federal government not to overstep its bounds by imposing too many laws on the state. They quote the U.S. Constitution and their new favorite amendment, the 10th, to remind President Barack Obama that ‘powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited to it by the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.’
Here we go again. Next thing you know, they’ll be shooting at the Park Service guys out at Fort Sumter.”
Ah yes. How silly.
Pace Hicks, after our most recent Republican president took unprecedented liberties with the executive branch, and after the current Democratic president has promised something close to central planning, some state lawmakers have decided to take their stand. And their critics bray, “How dare any silly second or third-tier bureaucrats champion the Constitution!”
The South Carolina sovereignty resolution is but one of 15 similar state resolutions, mostly the product of Republican legislators fearful of, or looking for creative ways to circumvent, Obama’s agenda. While everything from immigration enforcement to gun laws, healthcare mandates to abortion laws are mentioned in the various resolutions, the Democrats’ recent stimulus is unquestionably the primary inspiration for this renewed interest in states’ rights. Reports the Associated Press, “For small-government die-hards, the $787 billion economic stimulus bill recently passed by Congress isn’t a life saver. It’s the last straw.”
While these recent challenges to federal power are mostly symbolic, (only New Hampshire’s resolution had teeth—a “secession” provision—which was ultimately defeated, 216-150) there are two interesting aspects common in each state’s efforts.
1) The sovereignty resolution resistance is coming almost entirely from the Right.
2) They have virtually nothing to do with—and seems entirely divorced from—the national GOP establishment and mainstream conservative movement.