CNN’s Roland Martin deems the post-Campaign 2012 Republican Party “autopsy” premature based upon election results at the state level and former House Speaker Tip O’Neil’s “all politics is local” admonition:
On the national level, the GOP controls the U.S. House of Representatives while Democrats control the U.S. Senate and the Oval Office.
But the real power for the Republicans is on the state level, and there they are dominating Democrats. [Emphasis added]
Republicans control the governor’s mansion in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Folks, that’s 30 out of the 50 states in the nation. The Democrats have governors in 19 states. (Rhode Island’s governor is an independent.)
What about both chambers on the state level? The GOP controls the legislature in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Count ’em up and that’s 26. The Democrats control 18 legislatures. Five of the remaining six are split between the two chambers and one has a nonpartisan, one-chamber legislature.
So much of the national media attention is always focused on what’s happening in Washington, but that is a common mistake that the political bosses keep making.
We agree with Roland that autopsies for the un-dead are premature, but how much “real” power does the GOP wield by holding so may governor’s mansions, state legislatures and one-half of one-third of the federal government (Speaker John Boehner’s famous excuse for the failures of the post-Campaign 2010 tea partier conservative-driven return of a Republican majority to the House of Representatives)? Not much, on the issues that count most.
Long before Tip issued his famous quip in the early 1980s, progressives and liberals (mostly, but not all, Democrats) in the legislative and executive branches of the federal government seized near plenary economic power via either misguided or unconstitutional applications of the Constitution’s interstate commerce and equal protection clauses. Any hopes that the Supreme Court would remain a bulwark defender of the power of individual states under the Tenth Amendment evaporated for fear that FDR’s next “court-packing” scheme would be more successful.
But even if all unconstitutional laws and regulations that affect the economy were eliminated tomorrow, legitimate laws passed pursuant to the power of Congress under Article I, Section 8 (to borrow money on the credit of the United States, regulate commerce with foreign nations and among the several states, and to coin money and regulate the value thereof) would be sufficient to render the power of states to significantly and effectively overcome misguided national economic policy, a near nullity.
[One of the main reasons that the Founders replaced the Articles of Confederation with the U.S. Constitution was to foster a national economy via interstate commerce regulation mainly to stop individual states from acting as nations, thus treating trade across state lines as “foreign”. So much of what conservatives call “unconstitutional”, is in fact, bad law, but technically constitutional, but I digress.]
Yes, a state can luck up, for a time, and seize upon, say, new oil fracking technology, for instance, and enjoy a temporary boom. But does anyone think that a federal government that has severely restricted oil drilling in the Arctic tundra and off the shores of the Lower 48, nuclear power plant and oil refinery construction since 1978’s Three Mile Island incident, and that is in the process of killing the coal industry; will keep its hands off fracking for long? President Barack Obama has been “studying” the environmental impact of the Keystone XL pipeline for three years, for God’s sake and would be able to continue to kill those jobs forever even if Republicans held the State Houses and General Assemblies of all “57 states” in which he campaigned in 2008.
The majority of Americans that disapprove of the health insurance premium raising, job killing, and business investment discouraging law that is Obamacare, can’t kill it except by electing Republicans to the White House and as majorities in both houses of Congress, with a filibuster-proof super-majority of 60 being required in the U.S. Senate. Want to reform the tax code? You can’t do it from Austin, Tallahassee or Richmond and even to do that and get rid of the voluminous and burdensome federal laws and regulations that unreasonably hamper the Liberty of Americans to pursue happiness from Washington, D.C., We the People would probably have to maintain conservative, tea partier, Grand Old Party majorities in Congress and such a Republican presidency for at least eight consecutive years.
Roland Martin is right to admonish his ideologically liberal colleagues in the Democratic Party proper and their National Press branch to be more active at the state level, but conservatives should not gain comfort from their state election prowess. That is, if they want any chance to save American from debt and culture driven economic and social collapse.
Yes, it is vital that conservatives do well in states and, even more importantly, to finally begin to infiltrate the academic and media institutions that produced an electorate that could re-elect such an epic fail as Obama. But if the GOP is interested in a solution to our national economic problems in less than 20+ years, it has to seize the REAL power in this country, and but quick; and that would be in the District of Columbia, and not Columbia, S.C.
“One man with courage makes a majority.” – Andrew Jackson