Wednesday, March 17, 2010


The people behind the Tenth Amendment Center, a clearinghouse for information on the "states' rights" initiatives that's cited in this New York Times article, appear to be the kinds of folks who haunt the dreams of Jane Hamsher and Frank Rich: libertarians with a lefty bent who might someday bridge the gap between teabaggers/wingnuts and progressives.

Problem is, the recent accomplishments of the movement seems to be all on the teabagger/wingnut side:

... Gov. Mike Rounds of South Dakota, a Republican, signed a bill into law on Friday declaring that the federal regulation of firearms is invalid if a weapon is made and used in South Dakota.

On Thursday, Wyoming's governor, Dave Freudenthal, a Democrat, signed a similar bill for that state. The same day, Oklahoma's House of Representatives approved a resolution that Oklahomans should be able to vote on a state constitutional amendment allowing them to opt out of the federal health care overhaul.

In Utah, lawmakers embraced states' rights with a vengeance in the final days of the legislative session last week. One measure said Congress and the federal government could not carry out health care reform, not in Utah anyway, without approval of the Legislature. Another bill declared state authority to take federal lands under the eminent domain process. A resolution asserted the "inviolable sovereignty of the State of Utah under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution." ...

In the article, the Tenth Amendment Center's founder, Michael Boldin, mentions some leftish states'-rights legislation, particularly efforts to withdraw state National Guard troops from some of our endless wars...

And in some cases, according to the Tenth Amendment Center, the politics of states' rights are veering left. Rhode Island, Vermont and Wisconsin, for example -- none of them known as conservative bastions -- are considering bills that would authorize, or require, governors to recall or take control of National Guard troops, asserting that federal calls to active duty have exceeded federal authority.

... but, gosh, I don't see any of it passing, nor do I detect much interest in this kind of assertion of state sovereignty from, say, Fox News, or talk radio, or teabaggers with placards, or any tea-invoking candidate who doesn't have the surname Paul.

Boldin does oppose the draft, long for full legalization of pot, write articles for Counterpunch and give interviews to Antiwar Radio. The group's Bryce Shonka does rock groovy pot-leaf graphics on his blog. But what these guys are actually managing to sell successfully to state legislators and angry citizens is nullification of federal social programs and gun laws ... with the notion of secession possibly to follow.

This is a recipe for the repeal of the twentieth century -- the longtime goal of movement conservatism. If the folks at the Tenth Amendment Center actually helps the righties attain this goal, I think they're going to be told precisely where they can stick their pot plants.

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