“ … states' rights, states’ rights, states' rights!” — Rick Perry at the Alamo, June 15, 2009
Until you get higher in the hills, Laconia might be considered the vortex of New Hampshire redneck politics, heavy into the Tea Party. The Lakes Region Tea Party is small but might be indicative of how things will go. A straw poll on Nov. 16 gave Newt Gingrich 49 percent while Cain tied with Ron Paul at 15. Romney 12 percent and Rick Perry 0. Similar results in a straw poll at a Republican club in Alabama on Saturday: Newt 45 percent, Cain 13, Paul and Romney both 11 and Perry 3. Interesting because Perry first gave national credence to the Tea Party when he chanted for states’ rights at the Alamo. But with the sudden rise of Newt, the consummate Washington insider, the Tea Party is no longer really about states’ rights and specific issues. It’s about passion.
I'm all about the Rick Perry uprising, as he described it Friday night on Neil Cavuto's show. He is serious about a part-time legislature, term limits for judges, a balanced budget and state sovereignty issues.
His thinking and direction could save America. But it may take longer. For five years before the Texas governor cut loose at the original Tea Party rally at the Alamo 2009 event with Ted Nugent and Judge Andrew Napolitano present, I had been writing about states’ rights in northern New England. We were well-informed by the best lawyers and scholars in North America on these issues. Legal counsel advised that systemic change as great as this takes time and a lot of conversation.
Perry needs more time for this to sink in and he needs a posse; he needs allies. Not senators, not representatives, but likeminded governors and passionate advocates like Sarah Palin. His brilliant and brave manifesto, Fed Up! describes a path to "save America from Washington.” But it is clearly a world that devolves power to states, regions and their governors. And most governors today are not prepared to receive it.
For Perry's form to advance, governors’ power must be enhanced, their confidence and the people’s confidence in them must rise and the political status of states must rise. It is not a project for an aging and predictable “supercommittee,” but for rising young stars like Alaska’s Joe Miller, Tennessee’s Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulDemocrats fret as longshot candidates pull money, attention Journalist Dave Levinthal discusses 'uptick' in congressional stock trade violations McConnell vows GOP won't help raise debt ceiling in December after Schumer 'tantrum' MORE and Utah’s Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeRetreating economy creates new hurdle for Democrats in 2022 McConnell vows GOP won't help raise debt ceiling in December after Schumer 'tantrum' Senate locks in deal to vote on debt ceiling hike Thursday MORE and independent heartland governors like Idaho’s “Butch” Otter. Since 1913 and the 17th Amendment, states and their governors have lost status to Washington. This first must change, and possibly only a Constitutional Convention can change it.
I'd suggest a long-term plan and a council of governors or a “supercommittee of governors”; a council of elders, if you will, made up of former or current governors to consider devolution of power to states and regions. How would the country work then? Who would do what?
Thomas Jefferson’s premise is that the only defense against a bloated or malevolent federal government is the states organically related in their regions. In this model Texans are Texans, Alaskans Alaskan and New England may find its Emersonian soul again. Perry was first to go there again. But it can’t happen overnight.
Maybe the change Perry calls for is impossible. Things don’t change. They break. Then they start over again as something else. The colossal and predictable failure of the “supercommittee” is symptomatic of breakage ahead. But when it starts again, this time it might start with Perry.