Thursday, July 05, 2007

Federalism Has Run Its Course


by Bernie Quigley for The Free Market News Network, 7/5/07

The Libby pardon brought first to mind Bill Clinton’s one million dollar bribe received from Libby associate Marc Rich in the last days of his office, when Clinton pardoned treasonists and felons alike, giving relief “like lollipops” as Romney said, to anyone who had the cash to pay. Seeing him now in Iowa running his wife’s dog and pony show is enough to gag a horse. It is clear now and was clear from the start that this would be another Bill scam.

My second though was – politics aside – that we have been 16 years now without adults at the head of government. And the crew we face in ’08 is none as good: Romney will drive to the heart of Islam and perhaps to Russia; Hillary, who simply refuses to answer question from the press, will do whatever the market surveys and her husband tell her to do. As Emerson said at the awakening of our Republic, “we see ourselves ascending a stairs.” We appear now to be descending the same set of stairs.

As I was driving home last night I'd been thinking that if Senator Clinton and Governor Romney get the nominations, I would not vote for the first time in my 60 years. This would be a matter of conscience and moral responsibility, but not of passivity, because I would then send my meager efforts elsewhere. There are no vacuums in human nature, and there are always new paths when old ones fail. Here in northern New England many feel the same. Vermont actually faces a secession vote in March and 38,000 Vermonters are said to support Vermont nationalism. (When the issue was vetted on Daily Kos, two-thirds responded in a national poll saying Vermont had the right to secede.)

I feel no hostility to the two big parties, but I feel no attachment either. It would be a personal acknowledgement, feeling or belief that federalism as we have understood it in New England since 1865 has run its course.

I would hope then for a third party or even a regional party, as regionalism may be our destiny if federalism fails. And what we are seeing in New Orleans in the wake of Katrina; in the Middle East as the big ships head in to bomb Iran; in the Congress of Peeps which holds the coats, accommodates and appeases even as habeas corpus is discarded with a shrug; and in the Oval Office where one of the two most underdeveloped Presidents in our history; the one a serial draft dodger who compares himself to Churchill (and another who compared himself to Elvis) is a failure of federalism.

Thus the stakes in this election are higher than they have ever been since 1865. It could well be that Jefferson’s vision of a “decentralized” country would be the practical and obvious model after the Hamiltonian vision of an all-powerful Centralized Government and “one size fits all federalism” had filled the West and run its course and groups and types of regional character and community tier economies have developed across the continent.

The West is filled. The regions and communities have developed their own souls and characteristics. Federalism has run its course.