Thursday, August 12, 2010

Farewell, Delaware--and Every Other State in the USA

Bill McCollum is the attorney general of Florida who is getting flak for proposing an immigration law for Floridians.

He has set forth a very well reasoned case against the overreach of the Obama administration, pointing out the administration's immigration policy displays a "blatant disregard for separation of powers and federalism [and has resulted in] trampling both the constitutional authority of Congress and the sovereign rights of the states."

Well, yes.

The principles of federalism as envisioned and enacted by the founders of our country are the stuff of genius and have been widely imitated. The European Union, for example, owes its ideas of federation to American political thought.

As McCollum and others point out, at the heart of American federalism is the concept of separation of powers. That separation allows spheres of authority, congress having wide authority in domestic affairs and the president having great authority in foreign affairs.

In his handling of immigration policy, particularly in the case of Arizona, the president has deliberately blurred the distinction between domestic and foreign affairs in order to expand executive power. He did so by claiming his power over foreign affairs grants him power over "any attempt by Arizona to enforce federal immigration law...The administration's effort to strip Arizona of its rights under federal law reflects the view that presidential power over foreign affairs trumps congressional authority over domestic politcy."

But it is not just congress that is being rendered increasingly irrelevant under the Obama administration's power grab.

States also are in danger of being totally subsumed under executive power, their governmental sovereignty trashed and their ability to protect their citizens with their own police powers vitiated. In brief, the Obama administration, by denying Arizona its "law enforcement prerogatives, based on vague assertions of presidential foreign policy interests," has gutted the state autonomy gauranteed within the framework of federalism checked by balance of powers.

McCollum adds: "By that logic, there is no exercise of state prerogatives that the president cannot override all by himself." [Italics mine.]

Well, yes, again. That sentence deserves memorization, for it is the very definition of executive tyanny.

McCollum concludes: "President Obama's actions are unlike anything the American people have seen before. Indeed, they are in an entirely different category than the actions of previous presidents, which were undertaken largely in wartime...[President Obama] is disregarding a clear set of statutory requirements contained in federal immigration law, and he is greatly expanding presidential power--all without tacklong a genuine national security threat...[He] is eroding the separation of powers, evading checks and balances, and destroying federalism. These actions are hostile to the core of our Constitution...

"This president seems committed to running a government of men that rules without regard for the law. A government of laws is what the Constitution requires, and what the American people demand."

In light of the above, what stance should Delaware's candidates for office take? Certainly each and all must stand up to the ever encroaching power of the executive branch and stand for state sovereignty as defined by the constitution. Each and all must stand up for the unique rights of states to defend their citizens. If states continue to lose their right to defend their own citizens, they will be completely subsumed by the federal government. Further,as concerns candidates and fellow citizens alike each and all must stand up for the ability of states to be the breeding ground for unique innovation in diverse fields of endeavor, including economic innovation.

And therein lies the rub for tiny Delaware. If Delaware does not stand up to be counted, just what will be its fate? Its' not hard to guess. Delaware's unique position as corporate headquarters for the nation will be increasingly challenged by an out of control executive branch determined to be sovereign over all economic as well as immigration and other matters.

Right now, as in the past, Delaware has been the initiator of corporate law and has studiously avoided conflict with the federal government, seeking to strike a delicate balance between state and federal authority.

But without a strong, truly federal government, it will, like other states, simply become an administrative appendage attached to an all devouring executive/administrative body. Its unique status will disappear along with its economic base and its stellar position in the corporate world.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wag the Dog

Costing only 15 million dollars--mere peanuts in Hollywood and congressional circles--and taking a mere 29 days to shoot, Barry Levinson's 1997 Wag the Dog, an acidic political satire, may well have pertinence for the upcoming elections.

In the original story, two weeks before re-election, the president is accused of molesting an underage girl in the Oval Office. The spin doctors, including a Hollywood producer, leap into action, fearing the charges, if made public, will competely sabotage the president's chances for another four years in the White House.

The specialist in damage control suggests creating a campaign centered around a fake war in Albania, and assembles a team of media experts who put out a steady stream of denials of non-existent emergencies. The experts rely on the assumption the American public doesn't know or even care about Albania. But they believe the public will rally to the side of the President and re-elect him. The ploy works.

The manufacture of false crises in order to hide real ones and to win elections seems to be an old and even a rather respected tactic of some administrations, including this one.

The point being that voters should be aware this administration's apparent serenity in the face of what appears to be a gathering political tsunami this November may well be based on backup plans to manufacture a crisis. After all, who can forget Rahm Emmanuel's trenchant advice not to let a perfectly good crisis go to waste? Who cares if the crisis is manufactured or not? A crisis is a crisis.

Not that we have not had enough real crises, mind you; some of which, like the Gulf oil spill, appear to have gone down a black hole as straight faced administration spokesmen assure us 75% of the oil has magically disappeared undersea and seafood sniffers assure the public the taint of oil is nowhere to be found. No olfactory nerves are disturbed by the aroma of oil. No, sir. Eat your flounder dinner in unperturbed equanimity.

But what might a Wag the Dog crisis look like?

Well, it would probably be one that calls all Americans to patriotic solidarity, with an emphasis on getting behind the President and helping him retain a solid Democrat majority which will enable him to deal with the crisis. He will need all the power of congress behind him. Of course, emergency measures will require suspension of certain rights and privileges Americans customarily enjoy, for after all, a dire crisis requires draconian measures.

Could Americans expect a big emergency about two weeks before the November elections? It certainly is not out of the question.

Maybe a nice little attack?