For Some, It’s Just a Constitution of Convenience

The Tea Party holds up Rep. Allen West as one of its darlings.

But the Florida Republican consistently proves himself just as much an enemy of limited constitutional government as the Obama administration Tea Partiers so despise.

West clings to a Constitution of convenience.

West vocally supports detention provisions written into the National Defense Authorization Act. He supports Patriot Act spying. And now he’s signed on to an unconstitutional piece of legislation dubbed the STANDUP Act, which would create “minimum Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) standards for all young drivers to protect them on America’s highways and roads.”

“As the father of two teenage daughters, I am personally concerned with the dangers of young people on the road,” West said in a press release. “The STANDUP Act will do exactly that- ‘Stand Up’ for our children, by taking a bold approach to strengthening the laws on teens and driving. I encourage my colleagues across both sides of the Congressional aisle to support the STANDUP Act.”

West goes on to list all of the benefits of standardizing licensing requirements across the U.S.


Disaster Response and Federalism

The title of a New York Times editorial claims that “A Big Storm Requires Big Government.” The Times’ implies that when confronted with a major natural disaster like Hurricane Sandy, Americans would be screwed if they didn’t have bureaucrats from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to “to decide where rescuers should go, where drinking water should be shipped, and how to assist hospitals that have to evacuate.”

(Gee, I had no idea that it was government planners who directed my local Wegmans to ramp up shipments of bottled water to meet the demand of people rushing to stock up on H2O.)

One would think that the Times’ might have been more restrained in casting as our savior the same outfit that responded to Hurricane Katrina with trailers contaminated with formaldehyde. Nope. According to the Times, it’s crazy to think that the “financially strapped states” could handle disaster relief. “Who would make decisions about where to send federal aid?” the Times asks. “Or perhaps there would be no federal aid, and every state would bear the burden of billions of dollars in damages.”

Why shouldn’t the states be responsible for paying for disaster response? The last time I checked, the federal government was also financially strapped. Regardless of which level of government assumes the responsibility of paying for it, the money ultimately comes from taxpayers. Under the current arrangement, taxpayers in, say, Arizona will pay for disaster recovery in Pennsylvania. Is it really more absurd to expect the citizens of Pennsylvania to pay for their own disaster response than people living in, say, the Rockies?