All of a Sudden, the States Don't Like Being States
Hey, newsies: I'll throw a trend out there before the Tea Party or Bill O'Reilly can lay claim.
Seems the wild and increasingly wacky West is also where governors are choosing to ignore federal laws that they don't feel like enforcing. No matter that that's not the way our system of government works. But don't let the Constitution stand in the way of a populist revolt.
Exhibit A: Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer said he'll defy federal protections for gray wolf packs that he says have been hurting elk herds. He's cheesed off that the wolves haven't been knocked off the endangered species list even though their numbers have grown. So, he's encouraging livestock owners in the northern part of the state to shoot away, federal laws be damned.
That might be that kind of rabble-rousing you'd hear from a rancher, which Schweitzer also happens to be when he's not allegedly running his state. But his day job, for now, is governor. You'd think he'd lead by example. Suffice to say, this won't be a case study in local civics classes.
Ironically, Schweitzer received kudos from groups like the Greater Yellowstone Coalition for an order he signed Tuesday that blocked the importation of bison from Yellowstone National Park to Montana slaughterhouses. As the Associated Press reported:
The Democratic governor told The Associated Press that he was worried the shipments could spread brucellosis to Montana livestock. And he said he was sending a message to federal officials in Washington, D.C., to rein in a diseased bison population that regularly spills out of the park and into Montana.
Caught off guard by the governor’s action, park administrators scrambled Tuesday to craft a response. Yellowstone spokesman Al Nash noted that the slaughter plan was agreed to last month by the Montana Department of Livestock and Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks. He said past bison shipments did not lead to brucellosis infections in cattle.
You have the sense Schweitzer's falling off the holiday card list at the Department of Interiorl
Then there's Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell, who said today he won't enforce the federal health care reform law. A judge in Florida last week struck down the law as unconstitutional and Parnell says he considers that the law of the land.
It appears, though, that Parnell's thought processes are suffering seasonal affective disorder. What Parnell doesn't know or is conveniently ignoring is that the judge in Florida Roger Vinson, said the law remained in effect while the ruling goes through the appeals process. And heaven forfend that Parnell would even look at two other federal court decisions that said the law passes constitutional muster.
Of course, Alaska was one of 26 states that was party to the Florida lawsuit. It's nice to be vindicated. Except when you're not. Parnell is not.
Next up: what will the Obama administration do about all these gubernatorial ne'er do wells? And will others join their club? Bear in mind that the only beverage served in these clubs is tea.