January 16, 2005


Red, Blue and Angry All Over: Many of the state and local complaints about the heavy heel of federal authority are being made by - and against - conservative Republicans. (JAMES DAO, 1/16/05, NY Times)

Ten years after Newt Gingrich's Republican revolutionaries won control of the House under the banner of states' rights, states across the country are again complaining about the heavy heel of federal authority on everything from taxes to tort law to education to the environment.

But now, the mandates and pre-emptions emanating from Washington are coming not from big-government Democrats but conservative Republicans. And thanks to the party's successes in recent years, more of the state and local officials who are complaining about those actions are Republicans, too.

As a result, the major political battles this year in Washington may not be between Democrats and Republicans in Congress, but between the states and the federal government. "The principle of federalism has gotten lost in the weeds by a Republican Congress that was elected to uphold it in 1994," said Senator Lamar Alexander, a Republican and former governor of Tennessee who is an advocate for states on Capitol Hill. "Conservatives are as bad as liberals about imposing mandates once they come to Washington."

The National Conference of State Legislatures says the problem has grown so large that it has restarted its Mandate Monitor, which had been discontinued in 1995, to scrutinize the cost of federal regulations on states.

Even as Republicans have begun marking the 10th anniversary of the "Contract With America," which called for ending so-called unfunded mandates, the conference estimates that the federal government has fallen $25 billion short in fiscal year 2005 in paying for the requirements it imposes on state and local governments. The biggest problems: Medicaid and President Bush's signature education program, No Child Left Behind, which established ambitious, and costly, testing regimes and performance standards for public schools.

Funny thing--the more trouble the NY Times thinks George Bush has on the Right the better he does.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 16, 2005 10:48 AM

That's just mostly BS about NCLB.

If the conservatives would review UFs from the 60s and 70s for starters and lift them, there'd be money.

And where did the NYT stand on block grants W wanted to do?

Just received an offer for the NYT yesterday.



Think the person who opens the response will get the message?

Posted by: Sandy P at January 16, 2005 11:55 AM

It's interesting that with Bush having been re-elected with a pure majority and the Congressional Republicans keeping Tom DeLay at a relatively low profile despite the best efforts of Washington and Austin Democrats, the media is really scrambling to put some sort of malevolent face on the GOP for the upcoming legislative session.

They haven't been able to put the horns on Hastert or Frist, so in the past 10 days we've suddenly gone on the Newt Gingrich nostalga tour, where his presence in the national debate (admittedly with Gingrich's own desire to stay in the limelight and with a possible 2008 presidential bid on his mind) has been resurrected, and if you didn't know better, you'd swear he's still Speaker of the House judging by some of the stories on upcoming legislation. Hence, the drumbeat in the media last week when Gingrich made his remarks criticizing the administration's handling of the run up to the Iraqi elections.

(Of course, with his admitted infedelity problems, if Newt thinks he has a snowball's chance in hell of winning the GOP nomination three years from now, he's nowhere near the accute observer of the U.S. political scene as some make him out to be.)

Posted by: John at January 16, 2005 12:30 PM

Pinkoes talking about "federalism" is another leftist flim-flam, on the nature of them talking about freedom of speech.

Just remember, principles, such as truth and consistency, mean literally less than nothing to these people.

Posted by: Lou Gots at January 16, 2005 5:14 PM

No surprise that they quote Lamar Alexander, a former governor who wants to give states the power to tax the Internet.

Posted by: jim hamlen at January 16, 2005 10:28 PM