Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Nullification Taken to the Next Level

Minnesota's likely Republican candidate for governor Tom Emmer has proclaimed that not only do states have the right to nullify federal law but that "A federal law does not apply in Minnesota unless that law is approved by a two-thirds vote of the members of each house of the legislature and is signed by the governor. Before voting to approve a federal law, each legislator must individually affirm that the legislator has read the federal law and understands it."

Current governor and 2012 Republican presidential wannabee Tim Pawlenty has endorsed Emmer, as of course has Sarah Palin.

Now, I think all of this reeks of hypocrisy. I'd put the chances of most of these people endorsing nullification once a Republican retakes the White House at about 0%. These people don't believe in nullification, they only believe in nullification for laws they don't like.

Plus, there's the question of just what role the federal government should play in American life. Whereas much of the Tea Party has embraced Arizona's racist immigration law, Florida senatorial candidate Marco Rubio has rejected it, saying that immigration policy is one area where the federal government should trump the states. Well, why Marco? Is it because you need Cuban support to get elected?

And what if a state was to nullify a declaration of war, nullify the Selective Service Act, or refuse to allow military recruiters into their state? How would these nullification activists respond?

Of course, we all know their response. They would proclaim that these are liberal traitors.

So they are just total hypocrites.

Except that some of them actually believe this shit. And mainstream Republicans are empowering these true believers. These extremists have credence they never dreamed of before November 2008. They are converting others to their crazy beliefs.

If one political party is dominated by people who want to destroy the federal government, can governance happen? We are seeing that the answer might be no.

There really isn't any historical precedence for this in the U.S. The only time a political party has completely opted out of the government was in 1860, but I hate to make cheap and meaningless comparisons to that year. Still, it's hard not to be fearful based upon that time that if half the nation simply rejects government, severe and possibly unsolvable problems result.