Centralized Government

Friday when President Bush was speaking in Wisconsin, he said “…My opponent takes the side of more centralized government. There’s a word for that attitude: it’s called liberalism.”

Now, I understand that Bush & his supporters think being a liberal is a horrible nasty thing, but what I don’t get is the connection to centralized government.

What exactly is so horrible about a centralized government that the notion gets greeted with loud boos whenever it’s brought up in the USA? Do people actually want to dissolve the federal government and revert to 50 individual states?

And please, for the love of all that’s dopey, don’t let this thread shift to GD!

My guess is that he’s implying that with a centralised government local issues are ignored and so the government loses touch with “the common man”.

And, of course, there’s the traditional association of centralization with communism.

Its not that people want the US to dissolve into 50 different nations, its just that in a nation as large and diverse as the US, having the same set of rules for everywhere just doesn’t make sense, and that the best way to set up different laws for different areas is to have the people in those areas make them. Nevada doesn’t need people from New York telling them how set up zoning laws, and New York doesn’t need people from Nevada telling them how to restrict water useage.

And Southerners don’t need Yankee abolitionists lecturing them about their “peculiar institution.”

It’s also a code term for “raising taxes to feed the ravening government beast.”

Having worked for government, I can testify that at all levels people want - no, demand, insist, jump up and down and scream for - government to do things that directly benefit them, and decry - no, abuse, asperse, bad-mouth, belittle, blame, calumniate, censure, condemn, cry down, defame, denounce, depreciate, derogate, detract, devalue, diminish, discount, discredit, disgrace, disparage, downgrade, dump on, hit, knock, lower, malign, mark down, minimize, opprobriate, pan, poor-mouth, put down, rail against, rap, reprehend, reprobate, run down, slam, take away, traduce, underestimate, underrate, undervalue, vilify, write off, and jump up and down and scream against - government that does things that don’t directly benefit them.

The President is just feeding this beast.

I think there is a widespread perception that centralized government has been used as a tool by liberals to shove their agenda down the throats of the states and localities. Even when there isn’t obvious constitutional authority for the federal government to do something, they can tie it to federal spending. For example, you can’t have any federal highway funds unless you enact certain state laws. Federal “gifts” tend to have many strings attached to them, and it can be almost impossible to refuse them. Combine that with liberal special interest groups that are much more popular in Washington, D.C. than they are in “fly-over land”.

The whole thing is based on our Constitution. Particularly the part where rights not given to the federal government belong to the several states. The liberalisation of the government in the 20th century has usurped a great majority of these states’ rights. This isn’t meant to be an opinion that gets this booted to GD. Liberals will admit that this is what they want: a strong central government to do all our thinking for us (well, they won’t word it that clearly, though).

Hell, study why our Constitution is what it is. Originally it was meant to solve the very problem of the correct balance between the powers of the several states versus the federal government.

Well, it’s not myConstitution, but I have read it, and still didn’t really “get” this particular call to arms, especially since Bush is running to be the central authority of the United States, (and as far as I can tell, is pretty much seen as the closest thing to the pope/god-on-earth by many of his base supporters).

Wow, then this is going to be super hard to answer without editorializing outside the scope of GQ. I’ll try:

The President does execute the central authority of the USA. The Constitution gives him certain powers. Congress as our law-making body can give him certain other powers. Supreme Court can interpret the constitutionality of any of these if a complaint is lodged.

There are certain powers that the President doesn’t have, that the central government as a whole doesn’t have. These are the powers reserved for the states.

Our country under the predecessor of the Constitution was weak; there was virtually no central authority. Too much central power historically had been a bad, bad thing – remember this was the day of kings and emperors. The brilliance of the founding fathers’ writing the Constitution was how the proper balance was achieved between the effectiveness of a central authority and the indepenence of the several states.

To most Republicans and Libertarians and (editorializing deleted), what the United States has become as a result of the 20th century is vastly different from what the Constitution intends. Remember the phrase, “Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.” This is why the Right (and the Libertarians who are regarded as Left but really are Right) don’t want a stronger central government. No one in Washington knows our locality better than we do. For most people, the President should have no effect on day to day life, but he does these days.

I’ll point out that there are a number of Bush supportors who would claim he’s too far Left, and has made the central government stronger. Despite the potential truth in that, the rallying cry still works. Free thinkers (non-welfare-state free-thinkers) will still choose an average Republican for this very principal rather than any Democrat whose entire call-to-arms is to increase the power of the federal government.

I guess it can be summed up to the liberals who don’t understand my point of view (I’m trying to stay objective) like this: given the same amount of money to a local charity or the federal government, who’s more likely to be able to help you effectively if you’re unemployed and homeless and penniless? Conversely, I run a small but profitable landscaping business. Who’s likely to be better at regulating my activities? The people I do business with (business pressure), the local government, or someone in Washington? Finally, some totaltarian jackass comes to town. Is he going to do more damage when he’s in charge of Vermont or in charge of the whole country? (if the central government properly respects the states’ powers, it doesn’t matter).