A few days ago in “Flanking Maneuvers” I discussed how the states might be where the resistance to Obama might be most dramatic and effective, and pointed to imminent events in Michigan as an example. The reaction of the Left and their union goons (but I repeat myself) shows how serious they take this challenge to their power. They’ve reacted with their usual grace and calm reason. Not. (Over at Instapundit Glenn Reynolds has assembled a roundup of on scene news and video. I especially like this comment from one of his readers, John Steakley: “[Hoffa promises] Civil war? So violence, decay, despair, filth and chaos in the streets while innocent people flee as fast as they can? In other words, Hoffa threatens that Detroit will look like . . . Detroit.”)
Meanwhile, back here on Power Line, reader Don Bagwell posed a good question in the comments section:
Do you envision any States vs. Washington constitutional crisis to arise from this? If so, around what points of the constitution would you imagine they would occur, and what outcome scenarios would you imagine?
I’m asking a very sincere and serious question here. I like the general concept of flanking the Federal Government from the bottom up. But Washington is unlikely to simply roll over if the states flex their muscles. At some point the Federal Government will attempt to force the states into submission. If the states refuse… then what? Lots of possibilities exist, of course… but what would you imagine to be some probable ones?
I’m not sure we’ll have a constitutional crisis, but I do think there could be some serious frictions that could happen in any number of ways. First, note than Obama’s first fiscal cliff offer last week included $50 billion for a new “stimulus” package. What’s this? Even if you’re a Keynesnian Kool Aid drinker this isn’t large enough to be a real stimulus for the whole economy. So it has to be a Blue State bailout fund for California, Illinois, and New York. The GOP House isn’t likely to agree to a slush fund for profligate liberal states, so the fallback position will be for Obama to try to bail out the failing Blue States through the back door, with administrative changes to funding formulas for Medicaid and other federal match programs run through the states. When he tries this, watch Red State governors to scream from the rooftops, and fight back perhaps by changing their own eligibility standards or other methods that would bring their states in conflict with the Dept. of Health and Human Services. And then the whole thing would head to federal court, though the House GOP might add riders to legislation affecting the whole scene, which the Senate would of course kill off.
The second way this might happen would be a state—probably Texas—that refuses to implement new EPA dictates on greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act. Obama will threaten to cut off federal funds to the states, and then things might get even more interesting. Will Obama actually send in federal marshals to enforce federal regulations? Love to see federal marshals meet up with Texas rangers. (Maybe Tommy Lee Jones can play both parts in the movie version.)