The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Republicans fight against states' rights. Again!

One of the most egregious examples of why Bush Republicans aren't Republicans at all is their eagerness to betray one of the core beliefs of the party: federal government's power is best limited rather than expanded, and the closer decision making gets to the individual level, the better off people will be. States rights should trump federal power. But the 'conservatives' that hold power now-- from the Supreme Court's Scalia, Roberts, Alito and Thomas, on to pretty much every yes-man Republican who's currently in the legislative branch, and (it goes without saying) the White House-- really don't give a shit about principles and values. Troublesome concepts like that are an impediment to absolute power.

Witness the latest example: a bill that will do away with state and local food safety regulation in favor of uniform federally-proposed standards. In the name of preventing 'customer confusion.'

But aside from the obvious questions a genuine conservative might raise, such as "aren't local officials more familiar with local products and thus better able to regulate them?" there's the simple matter of how much money GOP proponents of the law stand to make by promoting the increased federal bureaucracy that they swear is the enemy. And the answer is just one more king's ransom from corporate lobbyists.

According to a report from Associated Press, [consumer advocacy attorney Ben] Cohen stated: “This helps explain why the food industry has blocked any efforts to have hearings. They think they’ve got it greased by using well-connected lobbyists to slip this thing through the full House without following the normal procedures.

Reports filed with Congress indicate the bill’s lobbyists include the wife of Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), who works for Altria, the parent company of Kraft Foods.

They also include former staffers of Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) Mason Wiggins (lobbyist for the Food Products Association) and Brenda Reese (lobbyist for the American Beverage Association).

Brad Card, the brother of White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card and former top aide to Rep. John Sweeney (R-NY), has lobbied on food labeling issues for the Food Products Association, an association headed by former Republican congressman Cal Dooley of California.

I wonder if a contemporary Shakespeare might have Dick the Butcher say, "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lobbyists." Of course, the play would have to be George II instead of Henry VI. He could even rework the end of Henry V a bit to make it more appropriate:

"George the Second, with infant's mind crown'd king
Of Free World and America, did Clinton succeed;
Whose state had so many mismanaging
That they lost the world and made America bleed.
Which oft their acts have shown; and, for all men's sake,
In you fair minds let this acceptance take."