It is a classic battle in the history of America and one that began with the debate over the original Constitution by our Founding Fathers. Do we want a centralized federal government or a government where state government is the primary instrument of the people with the federal government doing only what states could not do?
Time and again the argument has been settled by the people deciding that a centralized federal government was no what the people wanted as it would always be a threat to the Bill of Rights, the individual freedoms of the people and the system of capitalism that has made America great, and yes different, than the rest of the world.
After failing to push a centralized, socialist agenda in the 1700's the post depression period of the 1930's and Franklin Roosevelt's aggressive New Deal added fuel to the debate with a dramatic increase in power and control by the federal government. In time the state's rights advocates finally got a number of New Deal initiatives shot down by the courts and an uneasy balance between encroaching socialism and individualism was maintained.
Then came the 1960's period of social unrest fueled by the unpopular Viet Nam war and President Johnson and his Great Society again pushed the socialist, centralized agenda. Almost as soon as it was approved it started to lose the faith of the people and along came President Nixon and then President Reagan pushing New Federalism, a reversal of federal centralization and return to state's rights.
I was involved in both efforts and was a member of the New Federalism Task Force under Nixon that the New York Times called the most successful effort since Roosevelt's New Deal to reverse the balance of government power and return control to the states.
Now along comes President Obama and once again he is pushing the agenda of central government control and domination over all aspects of our lives, a thinly disguised effort to resurrect the socialism of the last century. Such a mindset centered upon the principle of redistribution of wealth along with the elimination of individual rights and initiative long ago proved to be ill-designed and unsuccessful over the long term as experiments in Europe, Russia and other parts of the world have proven.
Two recent actions by Obama have confirmed his commitment to the federal social management underlying his agenda of change for America. The Obama administration has blasted the state of Arizona for passing their own immigration bill to protect their own border and citizens and then went to federal court to deny Arizona their right to protect their people.
This action was taken by the administration in spite of the universal acknowledgment by everyone, friends and foes alike, that our federal immigration laws do not work. At least 13 million illegal immigrants are in our country using services and taking jobs meant for our own citizens. Arizona has suffered more than any other state because of this federal failure yet Obama challenges one of our own states.
Ironically, numerous other states have entered the case as a friend of Arizona while numerous other foreign countries have entered the case as a friend of the Obama administration. One wonders why only foreign governments agree with Obama while our states, and the general public according to all polls, agree with the state of Arizona.
The second case is the oil drilling moratorium Obama imposed on the Gulf, claiming it only impacted on the deep water drilling like the BP oil leak. Well he was wrong as the issuance of all oil drilling permits in the Gulf have been slowed down, including shallow water drilling permits, because the Obama administration is obsessed with proving a point and has focused all resources on stopping the exploration for oil.
As for the merits of the case, the action was thrown out by the federal courts as unjustified and a gross over-reaction by the Administration. Remember, it was the Obama administration that approved the permit and emergency plans for the BP well so who was really at fault for the disaster? After the court action Obama filed another moratorium to block the drilling and ignore the court action.
The state of Louisiana and other Gulf states say the drilling ban is unnecessary, is blocking legitimate shallow water drilling, and is causing the loss of thousands of jobs in the Gulf Coast for no reason. Well there is a reason, it is called ignoring the courts and congress and pushing a socialist centralized agenda.
So the administration has taken action to strip the states of their ability to protect the public safety and jobs as well as the future economic health and development of our states. More important, these actions have been taken in spite of the refusal of congress to agree and the actions of the courts to reject the actions of the administration.
In America we have three branches of the federal government with equal powers to act as a check and balance on each other. No more. In America the rights of the states have been protected by the congress and the courts for 234 years, but not any more.
Maybe the public needs to send another message to Washington. Maybe the White House does not understand that governors know a lot more about local problems than the federal government. Maybe the Administration needs to be reminded that creeping socialism is still socialism and long ago we made clear that America is the land of the free, not the home of those who reject individual and states rights in order to implement the new look of a socialist system where everone looks and acts the same.