Sunday, September 1, 2013

Colorado/Washington Pot Laws Prelude for Coming Debate

Early indications suggest that the Department of Justice will take a laissez faire approach to Colorado and Washington's recent Marijuana law changes. The somewhat tentitive wording suggests that it may represent temporary constituent appeasement.

Both Colorado and Washington broke for Barack Obama in both 2008 and 2012. Colorado was considered a swing state. Politically, a different verdict would have sent mixed signals. Some recall Alaska in 1980.

At that time, the "Last Frontier" was the only state allowing both recreational use and private cultivation. When the state refused to criminalize the process, they were threatened with funding cuts. Specifically, "make it illegal or lose your highway money." Alaska didn't buck Uncle Sam!

That was then. But this is a different day. Alaska and Oregon now look to be the next states to legalize. From there, who knows? There are two arguments in play. One is moral. The other is ideological.

Some polls indicate that the majority of America favors legalization. But where are these Americans? Could the percentage be different, state-to-state?

Whether legalization is favored or not, the debate offers the perfect opportunity to distinguish conservatives. In short, a true Constitutionalist may be vehemently opposed to legalization. At the same time, he must admit that, in accordance with the 10th amendment, it is the individual state's call! New Conservatives(Neo-Cons) would never bring the 10th amendment into the debate.

The Marijuana question offers a golden opportunity to define conservatism. On one side is the issue itself. On the other side is the principle of states' rights. To many conservatives, "strict construction" is a thorny subject. We have seen it emerge with other issues. Governor Rick Perry and Senator Rick Santorum's reaction to the New York Gay rights legislation heads the list.

Perry would favor a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. But, as he proffered, "New York passed a law allowing it and under the 10th amendment, they have that right." Santorum favored other measures short of the amendment process that would have stymied the action.

Does this make Senator Santorum a "Neo-Con?" Probably. He openly favors intervention from Washington, D.C., on an action that is truly within the state's jurisdiction. This is no different than the ultimatum given to Alaska in 1980 by the federal government. An action thwarting Gay marrage or Marijuana legalization would fall under the the definition of "a large, Washington, D.C. based government," their purpose being "to advance and facilite conserative principles."

The Constitutionalist counter is "good, bad, or indifferent, both are state issues," as defined by the constitution. Thomas Jefferson would have thought so!

"E Pluribus Unum" translated is "from the many, one." As an Obama supporter concluded, "it makes it sound like we are a collection of tiny countries." This can't be right! Can it?

Actually, it is! This is what our founders had in mind when they put the nation together. True, there are members on both sides of the aisle who scoff at such a notion. In some cases, utter contempt is the standard.

What is dangerous about this traditional reasoning is that it both contradicts the mantra of "big government knows best," and it is non-partisan. Democrats, Republicans and Independents can find common ground under the 10th amendment's conclusion that "birds of a feather should flock together."

Not convinced? Remember that infamous Tampa, Tea Party sponsored, Republican debate, September 2012? Governor Perry defended a Texas legislative ruling that waived out-of-state tuition for children of illegal aliens. Santorum was joined by Michelle Bachmann and Mitt Romney in declaring that Texas' action was the incorrect one. Perry reminded the house that, no matter what they thought in Massachusetts, Minnesota or Pennsylvania, it was Texas' business. And, according to the Constitution, it is!

Conservative champion, Glenn Beck has accused Perry of "job poaching." But the Governor retorts, that "each state is meant to be a laboratory." In short, healthly, self sufficient states get better because they are in competition with each other. No longer is the name of the game, "how much can we procure from the D.C coffers?"

Republicans, even more so than Democrats, are threatened by this posture! It amounts to "downsizing and de-emphasizing" Washington. For D.C. influence peddlers, it would represent a mortal wound. Those "big government conservatives," would fear being left high and dry.

Today, the GOP looks to be facing a choice: "redefine their standard of conservatism or go the way of the Whigs!" Both country and party spoke definitively and decisively in 2008 and 2012. Confirmed was that the "Neo-Con" vision was more in step with that of the Democrats.

In essence, the issue isn't as much about Marijuana as it is, "do the states have the right" to make the call? From our founders' point of view, they do!

So there it is; the ultimate threat to our Washington, D.C. establishment. It is relatively easy to understand why any political candidate, especially a candidate for President of the United States, spouting 10th amendment truisms, is considered a threat.

Therefore, if Rick Perry decides to run for President in 2016, he may use that same argument used against Kaye Baily Hutchinson in the 2010 Texas Governors race. For those who remember, Hutchinson went down a list of "things that we(in Washington, D.C.) have done for you."

Perry's response: "Those things would be(and should be)better handled from Austin."

Denver and Olympia would agree.

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