Time to Party Like It’s 1854

Discussion in 'Soap Box' started by Bob26003, Feb 19, 2010.

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  1. Bob26003

    Bob26003 Well-Known Member

    The Conservative Political Action Conference begins Thursday in Washington. Glenn Beck is scheduled to give the keynote speech. Stephen Baldwin is slated to preside over a special nighttime youth event. As always, the right wing is great at producing hot talk shows and terrible at attracting hot actors.

    The workshops and panels range from “Is It Time for a Catholic Tea Party?” to “Getting Started in Hollywood.” But the one that caught my eye was “When All Else Fails: Nullification and State Resistance to Federal Tyranny.”

    How many of you out there thought we had settled the question of whether states have the right to nullify federal laws during the Lincoln administration? Can I see a show of hands?

    It’s civil war déjà vu. The trick in conservative circles today is to see how furious you can get about Washington’s encroachment onto states rights without quite falling over the edge into Fort Sumter.

    The 10th Amendment to the Constitution, which gives the states all powers not delegated to the federal government, is all the rage. (The Second Amendment is so 2008.) Its passionate fans, who are inevitably starting to be referred to as “tenthers,” interpret the amendment as pretty much restricting the federal government to military matters. They feel the health care reform bill is unconstitutional. Perhaps also Social Security.

    It’s hard for the Conservative Political Action Conference, which was the home of the right-wing fringe a decade or so ago, to keep ahead of the game. The kickoff event for the conference on Wednesday was a trek to Mount Vernon for the solemn signing of an extremely bland eulogy to federalism and the founding fathers by conservative dignitaries who appeared old enough to have dined there with George and Martha.

    Mitt Romney, who won the conference’s presidential straw poll last year after a Herculean lobbying effort, is back with a new book in which he warns that if America doesn’t change its ways it could wind up becoming the “France of the 21st century.”

    We all know that Americans would hate to spend the next 90 years enveloped in serious wine and universal health care. But think about how much more threatening Romney’s warning must be for the French. Where are they supposed to go in this new world order? Do you think France would rather be the Latvia of the 21st century or the Finland?

    Romney, who is good-looking, wealthy and blessed with a lovely family, is, unsurprisingly, not actually very angry. He would like to be president and run the country like a business, but he is not the kind of guy who is in mourning for the Articles of Confederation.

    Romney’s most dramatic recent moment came when he was attacked by a fellow passenger on a flight home from the Olympics in Vancouver. A spokesman said Romney, who was not injured, was “physically assaulted” when he asked a man to raise his seat to an upright position before takeoff.

    Perhaps the assailant mistook Romney for a flight attendant.

    The attacker was taken off the plane but not charged, and Romney’s spokesman said there was no indication he recognized his victim. But maybe he did. Perhaps he was an irritable Democrat. Or maybe he was an animal lover, still seething over the fact that Romney once drove his family to Canada for a vacation with their Irish setter, Seamus, strapped to the roof of the car.

    But let’s agree right here and now that this is a bad idea. Not the dog on the roof. Although that, too, is really, really undesirable. But I was thinking of the attack.

    I digress. About the Conservative Political Action Conference. Some of the tenthers’ favorite stars were too busy to show up. Sarah Palin — whose husband once flirted with the Alaska secessionists — declined. Gov. Rick Perry of Texas — who cuddled up to the Texas secession movement in 2008 — is home running for re-election and wowing the crowd at a Tenth Amendment Town Hall. His strongest challenger for the Republican nomination appears to be a woman who told Glenn Beck that she had an open mind about whether there was any American government involvement in the 9/11 attack.

    The news media, as Beck said to Katie Couric, is “a sound-bite world — a really nasty place to live.” I would like to think that this is just because we happen to be at a moment in history when the country has a huge number of TV, radio and Internet outlets fighting to be loud enough and shrill enough to get noticed.

    That’s what things were like with newspapers at the end of the 19th century, and I cannot tell you what Grover Cleveland went through. But if that’s the explanation, this, too, shall pass. Like the Articles of Confederation.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/18/opinion/18collins.html
     
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