T Nation

Beware of The Wolf

Beware of the wolf in sheep’s clothing.

As in, when an American President starts apologizing and promising to do better, you better be looking for what he has up his sleeve. What’s up this President’s sleeve? Probably, like every other president, nothing less than the supremacy of Federalism over States’ Rights.

To understand States’ Rights, you only have to look at yourself. Or, look at me. Legally, I am a citizen of the United States. But I am also a citizen of Texas. I’m a Texan-American.

It means that the Federal government has certain rights over me, and whatever they don’t have is reserved for the State of Texas. Actually, neither has any “rights.” Only people have rights. This is really a conflict over the authority of the central (Federal) government. It’s all about power.

Fifty years ago, the States’ Rights argument was over the civil rights of colored people and segregation. Could a state deny a person entrance to a university or a seat on a bus?

Today, the arguments are over abortion, gay marriage, assisted suicide, the death penalty and a host of other issues. But at its core, it’s the same argument we’ve been having with each other for over 200 years.

Some even say that the Civil War was not a “civil war” at all, but a fight over States? Rights. Understandably, that’s what Confederate President Jefferson Davis thought. But a more modern-day proponent is Loyola University Professor Thomas DiLorenzo whose book THE REAL LINCOLN has ignited many of the same passions of the 1860s.

DiLorenzo explains that Lincoln would gladly have shipped blacks out of the country. Naturally, says DiLorenzo, Lincoln had little objection to slavery. He claims that Lincoln?s “real agenda” was the imposition of a “mercantilist/Whig high-tariff economic system” that could control the largest political patronage system ever created. In simple terms, DiLorenzo is saying that Lincoln wanted a big government with total control of taxes and spending.

Some hiostorians agree with DiLorenzo. A few even say the history of “modern” America began in 1865 with the rise of Linconian big government. (Lincoln was responsible for the income tax.) But many historians reject DiLorenzo’s theory and their squabble (when you can understand it) is a fascinating one. It?s just part of the argument that began with the founding of the Nation: Do we want a little Federal government or a big intrusive one?

And now the focal point of the argument is New Orleans.

You really have to wonder what’s in this President’s mind when it comes to this issue of Federalism versus States’ Right. I mean, President George Bush is, after all, just a simple, Texas good-old boy.

He nominates Judge Roberts, apparently one of the most brilliant legal brains who ever walked the planet. The, he has to watch as this legal wizard gets hammered by buffoons like Ted Kennedy and Presidential wanna-bee Joe Biden.

On the other hand, someone like Ruth Bader Gingsburg, former chief counsel and director of the viciously anti-American ACLU, and the woman who advocated that the legal age for females in cases of statutory rape was 12 . . . Gingsburg gets on the Supreme Court with no problem.

Twelve? That means that according to Gingsburg it’s perfectly fine for a 30-year old man to have sex with a 12-year old girl.

I can just see President Bush staring at childhood pictures of Barbara and Jenna and then glancing longingly at his 12-gauge, pump-action, his trigger finger twitching. Twelve? That’s the kind of person our State-based republic puts on the Federal Supreme Court? Wouldn’t we be better off with a strong central government picking judges?

And then he thinks about New Orleans and the dynamic duo of Blanco & Nagin.

Governor Blaco is a former high school teacher who served two terms as Lieutenant Governor before running for the “big job.” Experience in government? Well, as far as I can tell, her major function as Lieutenant Governor was running the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism. In other words, she was the state’s equivalent of a cruise ship entertainment director. She was Julie on the Love Boat.

And as for Nagin, well, he was a life-long Republican who days before running for Mayor, suddenly became a Democrat. As far as I can tell, his previous experience consisted of being a vice-president and general manager at a subsidiary of the privately-owned Cox Communications. Cox owns newspapers and TV stations around the country. In other words, Nagin, an accountant by training, was a cable guy.

So, while these are undoubtedly two very nice, well-meaning people, both are way out of their element. I mean, if someone handed each of them a mop and a bucket and told them to just go outside and make themselves useful, it’s doubtful that anyone would notice they were gone. It’s quite likely that the city and state government would be LESS inept without them at the helm.

Once again, the President is probably thinking, who needs bumbling city and state politicos? Wouldn’t a strong central government do a better job?

And I’m sure President Bush notices that even the People seem to think so. Bush isn’t taking heat because he failed to respond . . . he’s taking heat for not responding FAST enough. Apparently, the People WANT the President to be the Responder-In-Chief.

“How dare he? He was one day late in coming to the rescue! How dare he not deploy the 82nd Airborne? They have parachutes, don’t they? Heck, if those had been rich, WHITE people down there, those troopers would have parachuted into the city to rescue them!”

Of course, had the Feds deployed massive numbers of troops and rescuers into the city BEFORE the storm, they would have looked like idiots on Monday morning. The storm missed New Orleans; the major surge and wind damage was 30 miles east of the city.

And then when the flooding started, the rescuers would have been trapped inside the city just like the New Orleans Police Department was trapped. You would have seen the mighty 82nd Airborne climbing trees and lamp posts to keep their boots dry.

And by the way . . . the deployment of soldiers in a crisis is very good video for cable news . . . but what you don’t see is the logistical effort needed to feed and maintain those guys once they’re on the ground. Once deployed, they become just regular, hungry, thirsty, smelly grunts. That huge logistical effort happens behind the scenes . . . and has to be on dry land. With the road networks out and the city flooding, the “massive early Federal intervention rescue effort” would have become part of the problem, not the solution.

But none of that is important. This isn’t about common sense. This is Cover Your Ass time in the Big Easy and today’s Federalists are taking advantage of it.

All that commotion and drama “on stage” . . . all the squabbling about Federal relief . . . is a diversion. What’s important is what’s happening in the wings. That’s where the ghost of Alexander Hamilton is licking his chops and where another US President is preparing to further erode the Constitution and centralize more power in the hands of the Executive Branch.

He can’t help it. That’s what all Presidents do.

So be careful what you wish for, folks. Be careful of the President in sheep’s clothing.