by Josh Eboch


In a recent piece at the Huffington Post, columnist David Sirota attempted to advance a somewhat tortured political theory, one he called “Progressive Federalism,” that demonstrated two important things; neither of which were likely what he intended.

First, despite the ignorant vitriol against “tenthers,” the state sovereignty movement is alive, well, and continuing to gain much-needed penetration into the national political discussion.

And second, when it comes to advancing statism, some members of the so-called media elite either utterly lack knowledge of history or have no regard whatsoever for the meaning of words.

Sirota’s article starts out innocently enough, quoting the New York Times‘ definition of Progressive Federalism as an ideology whereby “governors and activist state attorneys general [are allowed to] lead the way on environmental initiatives, consumer protection and other issues.”

States setting their own environmental and consumer protection standards? So far so good.

In fact, one might be forgiven for confusing Sirota’s Progressive Federalism with the good old fashioned Jeffersonian kind that was codified in our Constitution.

But then, showing his ignorance of the history behind both federalism and state sovereignty, Sirota follows up with this gem:

[I]n order for Progressive Federalism to happen, the federal government has to be supportive of floors, not ceilings — that is, oriented toward setting minimum progressive regulatory standards that states must at least comply with, not maximum regulatory ceilings that states are not allowed to go above and beyond.

In other words, “governors and activist state attorneys general” may foist as much progressive policy onto voters as they can get away with, but no less than the bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. determine is necessary for their own power lust.

Heads they win, tails you lose.

Experimenting with 50 laboratories of progressivism may sound like a great idea to some, but a wasteful, corrupt political class holding sway over the entire country sounds like a nightmare to me. Which is why the point of