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Liberals Discover States’ Rights


By Doug Patton

December 8, 2003

“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.” - Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

After decades of carefully usurping the rights of individual states and gathering ever more power unto the federal government, Democrats have suddenly developed an affinity for a phrase formerly anathema to liberals: “states’ rights.”

Professional liberals have made careers out of manipulating people’s lives through the use of federal governmental power – and they like it. They will lie, cheat, steal, undermine the Constitution and jeopardize the security of the nation whenever necessary to sell their radical agenda as “mainstream.”

Most of the Democrats running for president this year are professional liberals. Howard Dean leads the list, but when it comes to social policy, every one of them fits into that category. So why are they now embracing the Tenth Amendment? Why are these people, who have supported federal control of everything from energy to farming to public education to taxes, suddenly calling for states’ rights? Because they have stumbled across an issue that is too hot for them to handle.

The issue that has elicited the “states’ rights” response from all the major Democrat presidential candidates is one that is threatening to become the political hot potato of 2004: same-sex marriage. After years of courting the gay rights lobby, Democrats are suddenly very nervous about promoting an idea whose time has decidedly not come – and hopefully never will.

Despite the scourge of AIDS, poll after poll over the past two decades indicated a steady societal slide toward “tolerance” of the homosexual lifestyle. But now that homosexual relations have been established as a “right” (Lawrence vs. Texas), and the people of Massachusetts have been prohibited from banning same-sex marriages, this last year has brought about a backlash among the American people that has the Democrat presidential candidates running from their “progressive” position on the issue. Hence, the call to “let the states decide.”

Sen. John Edwards used the phrase just last week. He said he does not favor “gay marriages.” In the next breath, he bent over backward to proclaim that homosexuals should be afforded the same “rights” as everyone else (they are, of course), and that he believes states should decide their own policies on civil unions, domestic partnerships or whatever they want to call these arrangements.

Sen. John Kerry, lagging badly in the polls and desperate to redefine himself as something other than the Ted Kennedy liberal he has always been, is parroting the same lines. Ditto for Congressman Richard Gephardt and retired Gen. Wesley Clark, the only other two real candidates in the race, other than Dean.

Dean, of course, is the most vulnerable of the nine on this issue, since as Governor of Vermont, he signed the nation’s only civil unions law, effectively giving homosexual couples something equivalent to marital status. But he, too, seems willing to allow the states to decide these matters.

So, what is going on? Have these left-wing social engineers seen the light? Hardly. The tool of the left is not the legislative process, and even if it were, they certainly would never trust state legislatures to implement their agenda. No, their vehicle is the court system, especially the federal courts.

So, you see, it really matters little to them whether the states decide anything. If the legislation does not fit the radical agenda of the ACLU and the Democrat Party, it will be ruled unconstitutional by the courts.

So, the next time you hear Howard Dean, John Kerry, Dick Gephardt, Wesley Clark, Joe Lieberman, or any of the other embarrassing presidential wannabes say, “Let the states decide,” know that it is nothing but professional liberal-speak for, “The courts are on our side.”

Doug Patton is a freelance columnist who has served as a speechwriter and policy advisor for federal, state and local candidates, elected officials and public policy organizations. His weekly columns can be read in newspapers across the country, on www.MensNewsDaily.com, and on www.GOPUSA.com, where he serves as the Nebraska Editor. He also writes for Talon News Service (www.TalonNews.com). Readers can e-mail him at dpatton@neonamp.com.

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