There is an odd thing going no in Governors races across the country. Presidents have been asked to lend support and raise money for governors in races for years, there are plenty of precedents going back for years. Popular presidents are always used by parties to help push the party lines into state politics as they are going on at the national level. This makes it easier to do things like gain majority support for implementing federal regulations or laws when a majority of states aligned with the White House agree to accept Federal suggestions. The issue here is not the White House raising funds or even making endorsements, there is nothing new or news worthy there. The issue is the degree to which and the tactics being used to manipulate gubernatorial races nation wide.
First off you have to understand some of the background. For those who forgot or never learned in civics class there is such a thing as State’s Rights. The United States is a Federal Government that makes a national framework of laws, states have their own constitution, frameworks, etc. that can choose to follow or not follow these federal laws, like speed limits, drinking age, etc. The Federal government used tax dollars as leverage to help a state make a decision. States are basically independent to make, pass, and ignore laws as long as they do not violate the state or US constitution and amendments.
Since the healthcare debate stalled and is now stuck in the mud a movement for states to ‘op-out’ of public options has become known. This goes to the State’s Rights acknowledgement on the divisiveness and lack of consensus on the issue and the bills being discussed and voted on on the national level. The last time there was such talk about State’s Rights was the mid 1800’s and it was not a pretty sight. Given this is it any wonder why the White House is getting so intimately involved in gubernatorial races in New York (Paterson asked not to run), Wisconsin (Lawton asked not to run) verses the normal campaigning seen in New Jersey (Re-election of Corzine) Virginia (Deeds), and Massachusetts (Re-election of Patrick). The major difference in the first two is how the White House publically and heavy handedly meddling in state elections making party decisions for the electorate essentially bypassing political primaries and preventing the people of the state to select who their candidate for choice in representing the parties in the final contest to select governor.
Here is the problem. The White House is trying to fix the race before it is run by manipulating the primaries by asking candidates to not run and signaling who they prefer instead of letting the citizens of the states select the candidate and then getting behind that candidate and raising money, making appearances, etc. I do not recall seeing such an overt and heavy handed approach as I have seen in New York and Wisconsin. First, Peterson was not endorsed and essentially given the kiss of death by the White House over fellow Democrat New York Attorney General Cuomo. The move is said to give the party a stronger chance to Democrats as Peterson was not a stellar executive and has been marred in the news over the last year. This sparked some political debate nationally, until health care took all the press. Now we see the same thing going in when Obama has asked acting Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Lawton to stop her campaign so Barrett can fly through the primaries unhampered. This will leave Cuomo and Barrett all their political monies and little dirt or scandal exposed for the respective state’s governor’s races. The issues here are the interference of state political processes by the White House and the disfranchising the state’s DNC primary process to allow the people to select the best Democrat.
The issue is the brazenness of the White House in this and the utter silence in the media over two clear examples of election manipulation of governors races by hand picking the Democrat candidate without thoughts or input from the citizens of that state. Normally the respective candidates slug it out and the one best able to communicate their platform, demonstrate executive experience and responsibility, and ability to lead wins the party nomination and resources for the final showdown with the Republican or Independent. This is being supplanted by political posturing and green lighting by fixing the field before the game begins. Voters then have had the major decisions of initial choice removed for them by an outside force that is not taking their unique needs into consideration. The White House is forcing national politics into these two state’s elections and substituting national political alignment over electorates choice to select the leader based on local interests, needs, and desires. This is irresponsible and dangerous as it takes the decision process out of the hands of the citizens on the most basic level of the selection process for the states lead executive. This party manipulation is ignoring state issues, state needs, and state alignments all to gain a much larger political objective. This is the real danger no matter what party is attempting it.
We have seen the larges spending spree in political history, the largest expansion of American government in history, and the most interference into citizen’s lives and decision making process by the government in American history and yet it continues. The ability to choose is dramatically changing in America and this is just another example of limited choice to the citizens by the government. This goes beyond higher taxes, proper representation by those elected, increased spending, and expanding government. All of these are things we have dealt with before and part of our process of negotiating and compromise to get things done we all can live with. This is the continuation of federal government intrusion into the most basic decision making process to fix the outcome before we even begin to decide. By fixing the races for top executive for any state the federal government is ignoring the needs of the state and its citizens for a cheap national strategic alignment for future political power plays. There is real defeat in the air over healthcare and future battles over cap and tax, having ‘op-outs’ is politically nice because it sounds like a choice but if the governors of the states have been hand selected and backed to win are the ones making the decisions political re-payment for such favors would trump citizen concerns and force the national agenda on a state from a more politically friendly top executive state level.
The real danger here is people, many of whom have become re-energized since April (the Tea Party movement), may feel the government is no longer representing them and give up on it. This will lead to the inevitable fall of the American political system into pure corruption as our citizens are falling in education, activism, and engagement in the political process. Sure we have seen a resurgence lately, however the creeping feeling I am getting is this is a last hurrah before a long winter. We are seeing more and more decisions taken out of the hands of the individual and placed into the greedy hands of the government. We are seeing government conducting its business more and more behind closed doors and making laws without consulting or at least listening to the majorities who elected them. The political winds have shifted to either set up a system where it becomes too confusing or too much work to be engaged so the government can simply say we are no longer needed in the decision making process. This is what our forefathers warned us about. Governments are not here to solve our problems, they have never solved a problem in human history! Governments take on a life of their own, and when unrestrained they will become large, fat, malevolent entities that act in selfish ways until it can no longer move or function, at which point calamity happens. Trust in government, media, and the future is at historic lows in America. The largest problem is we are accepting what others are telling us instead of opening our eyes, ears, and minds and acting on our own intelligence instead of what is spoon fed to us by those who wish to control the game. We need to stop looking to others to solve our problems and solve them for ourselves, through our own actions, works, and efforts. This is what created our nation and sustained it for 200 years, too bad it only took 33 years to wreck it all over the promise of easier life and decisions.