(UnitedVoice.com) – For decades, Conservatives have complained that the federal government is too big, too intrusive, and has become too liberal. They are right. It has expanded far beyond the imagination of the founding fathers and abuses its power against the states regularly.
Four months into the COVID-19 pandemic and we see those who once lambasted the overreaching power of the federal government are now changing their tune. They moan that it, and President Donald Trump, haven’t done enough for them.
Some Republicans are acting like petulant adult children who want freedom from mom and dad while also wanting all of the benefits of living at home.
This week, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R-MD) wrote a scathing critique of President Trump and the administration’s response to COVID-19. In summary, he wanted the federal government to do more for his state.
On one hand, Hogan acknowledged the work of governors; on the other hand, he advocated for the federal government to strip them of their constitutional responsibilities.
President Trump Governing as a True Conservative
Ever since President Ronald Reagan, conservatives have yearned for a president who would govern as one of their own. Trump has delivered. Yet, the Republican Party has shifted to the left just enough to where they don’t recognize the doublespeak. They want their autonomy while also having the federal government meet their every need.
When the framers created the Constitution, they didn’t intend to abolish independent colonies for one big national government. That idea stoked claims of imperial power and dictatorship they had just fought against.
In 1792, just as today, a state was actually a sovereign entity with different constitutions, cultures, and economic interests. The “United” States is a conglomerate of independent countries joined together as one for the purpose of defense, securing debt, international trade, and ensuring the well-being of the nation. Therefore, the Constitution limits the powers of the federal government over the states.
Or, at least it’s supposed to in our form of federalist government.
10th Amendment Secures State Responsibilities
The 10th Amendment to the United States Constitution reminds us of how limited the federal government is in relation to the 50 states. It says:
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
By not federalizing the response to COVID-19, Trump was adhering to the Constitution, which does not give the president or Congress the authority to dictate how to handle public health. That’s why the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) does not have the power to dictate to the states how to handle the pandemic. It can only make recommendations.
It’s up to each state to decide how it will implement and execute a public health plan while also adhering to the liberties enshrined in the Bill of Rights.
It’s Time for Conservatives to Behave Like Conservatives
Conservative governors and state legislatures need to take responsibility for their part in the pandemic. They must stop looking to the president and Congress to solve all the problems within their borders. The federal government can make recommendations. However, it’s up to the states to heed or not its suggestions. They, and they alone, own what happens inside their borders.
So, the next time you hear your state leaders blame the president for something, ask them what they are doing to fulfill their responsibilities.
Governor Hogan is wrong in his critique of the president. Trump responded to the pandemic the way any conservative or constitutionalists should — he deferred to the states as required by the law of the land. Anything more opens Pandora’s box filled with more federal power and only serves to empower the states to act irresponsibly in how they govern.
By Don Purdum, Freelance Contributor
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