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'Progressive Federalism' Comes to Washington

Is President Obama embracing states' rights? Odd as that may be for a liberal African American, yes. That's because these days, on regulatory issues at least, the states are often more progressive than the lobbyist-clogged federal government.

John Schwartz writes in the New York Times: "The Obama administration seems to be open to a movement known as 'progressive federalism,' in which governors and activist state attorneys general have been trying to lead the way on environmental initiatives, consumer protection and other issues, several constitutional experts say.

"A recent decision by President Obama that could open the way for California and other states to set their own limits on greenhouse gases from cars and trucks represents a shift in the delicate and often acrimonious relationship between the federal government and the states, legal experts say, possibly signaling a new view of federalism....

"The general trend under previous administrations had favored federal pre-emption, the belief that the best law comes from Washington, a concept still favored by business leaders...

"Many liberal thinkers skeptical of states’ rights and state actions since the days of segregation have begun to see that the states, to use Justice Louis Brandeis’s words from the 1930s, can 'serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country.'"

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 30, 2009; 12:56 PM ET
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When the Federal government is ruled by lobbyists one must look elsewhere to advance the interests of the citizens beyond those of the entrenched.

I would like to see a constitutional amendment that prohibits being paid to lobby. Allow people to petition the government all they want as is our right, but don't allow a third party to pay them to do so. The fact that foreign governments can pay lobbyists to influence our elected officials to work against the interests of the people who elected them is a travesty. Some would call it treason.

Posted by: troyd2009 | January 30, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Okay. You've won me over to the style of WhiteHouse Watch. That's significant because I am a long time fan. I do miss the cartoon links so far. But I enjoy the variety of posts and read together (not all of them) there is a discernable thread there.

You're page is the most useful on the web in terms of sensible and inclusive.

Thanks for your fine effort.

Best Regads,


Posted by: mickster1 | January 30, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

The author has jumped the gun on this after ONE policy decision. Furthermore, liberals have always used the states' rights mantra. The very vocal invoking of states' rights by Southern states during slavery and Jim Crow has overshadowed its usage by liberals as well.

Posted by: darrren12000 | January 31, 2009 7:09 AM | Report abuse

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