Opinion

A few reasons for optimism in 2010

Robert Laurie Freelance Writer

I was looking over my past few articles and I’ve come to the conclusion that people who don’t know me might think I’m a frightening malcontent. Due to the current political climate, it feels like I’m constantly complaining. Thanks to the train wreck being created by the president and Congress, it’s true that I haven’t been so upbeat lately. However, I’m not just some miserably bitter grouch, so I figured I should take some time run down a few things that fill me with genuine optimism.

Ordinary people are mad: I’ll be honest. Up until last year, I was wondering if “normal people” cared anymore. Sure, writers, wonks, and news junkies were up in arms about the country’s direction, but I was getting jaded. I was beginning to buy the whole “nobody gives a damn anymore, so why should I” line. Then, the Tea Party movement, the march on Washington, and the multitude of regional protests came along, snapping me out of my funk.

The beauty of what happened last summer is not the derailing of health care or cap-and-trade. It’s the fact that everyday Americans, most of whom had never been politically active, finally got mad enough to pick up their pitchforks and take to the streets. It wasn’t a bunch of beltway Republicans who overcame the Democrat’s supermajority; it was a groundswell of everyday citizens who’d simply had enough. They’re what Obama refers to as “a buzzsaw.” Thank God they’re still out there.

The growing Tenth Amendment battle: The single-most important political fight of the last hundred years is on its way—the battle over the Tenth Amendment. While most people are still unaware that it’s coming, more and more states are digging in, usually by challenging federal gun laws. At the center of the conflict is the fact that the Constitution grants the government the power to “regulate interstate commerce.”

For the sake of brevity, we’ll put aside disagreements about the founder’s definition of the word “regulate.” The more important argument is that any object being manufactured, bought, and sold solely within the confines of a state’s borders does not constitute interstate commerce, and therefore should not be controlled by a federal authority. After all, the Constitution gives the feds zero authority over intrastate commerce.


Ramifications of such court cases are widespread, going well beyond gun control. In the end, they could be the last hope of re-establishing state’s rights, and returning the country to the true Republic it was intended to be. Already, multiple states have passed laws reaffirming their Tenth Amendment rights, and dozens more have measures on the way. That so many people are becoming so interested in the issue is, regardless of where we end up, extremely heartening.

States nullifying health care, even before it’s passed: Arizona recently passed HCR2014. The bill places the question of federal health care on a statewide ballot. If the voters pass it, the state will constitutionally override any federal law requiring people to participate in any health care program. In addition, it will nullify any fines or penalties for people or businesses refusing to purchase insurance, and will supersede any federal law banning private insurance. Indiana, Wyoming, North Dakota, Minnesota, and New Mexico are also looking at such ballot initiatives. In addition, Virginia’s Legislature is about to pass a similar law, and 23 others are examining them.

The Obama administration has gone on-record saying such laws are “meaningless.” Unfortunately for the White House, if nullification bills pass in even a few states, it will be awfully hard for the feds to ignore.

Robert Gibbs: If there’s one central theme to Obama’s first year, it’s that Democrats have no concept of public relations. The administration’s handling of Gitmo, the beer summit, the stimulus, health care, cap-and-trade, trying terrorists in NYC, Fort Hood, and the Christmas day bombing attempt might as well have been balloons in a Fifth Avenue parade of PR disasters.

Leading the way, baton in hand, is a comedian named Robert Gibbs. Never have I seen a man who is, at once, so utterly inept and so completely arrogant. Gibbs’ press conferences are hilarious, so poorly executed that you can’t help but watch, and do absolutely nothing to further administration goals. The longer he stands before the American people, pouring his derision over them like a Victoria Falls of condescension, the better off Republicans will be in 2012. Let’s hope he keeps his job.

So, there you have it. Four things that give me hope. The next three years will be rocky, but at least there are people out there fighting the fight, issues worth arguing, and an administration mouthpiece to keep us laughing.

Robert Laurie writes a daily political commentary blog, The Robalution. Robert holds a degree in English from Wayne State University, and has worked in advertising as a graphic designer and copy writer.