‘States know best’ vs. energy crisis
Commentary by PAT MURPHY
Shame on Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne for seeming to be so
Along with his western peers, Kempthorne is upset that
President Bush seems to have fibbed when he claimed "states know
best," leaving the clear impression he would defer to states rather
than use Washington power.
Now, Kempthorne discovers that Bush’s new energy
blueprint would have the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission stomp across
states seizing private land for power transmission towers.
Plus, it’s possible the energy program will also
eliminate the crazy quilt of chemical standards for gasoline enacted by
individual states and be replaced by a national standard dictated by
Republicans can blame themselves for any backlash.
Conservatives use doublespeak to promote the myth that the 50 states are
fully capable of doing anything Washington can do. But they know, as a
practical matter, that leaving national issues to provincial decisions of
50 states would be madness.
States are no longer scattered collections of frontier
forts separated by long stretches of untamed wilderness and forced to be
self-reliant. A checkerboard of state decisions would lead to chaos.
Imagine the condition of the U.S. airport and airways
system if each state decided its own standards for communicating with
airliners and designing airports.
Polluted air and water don’t stop at state boundaries;
hence, a semblance of national standards. Ditto for vehicle safety
features and aircraft design as well as health standards for food and
Kempthorne knows this, as well as knowing that candidates
for president routinely make statements they know are untrue or promises
they can’t and won’t keep.
Bush, for example, was only in office a matter of weeks
before `fessing up that he wouldn’t enforce tougher carbon dioxide
standards on industrial air emissions despite a campaign promise.
Building interstate power transmissions lines across
several states for the national grid would be a nightmare if each state
took its sweet time to devise its own standards or decide which route the
line should take.
The Bush presidency has more than three years remaining on
its first term. Gov. Kempthorne should get accustomed to campaign pledges
While on the subject of Republicans:
Twice in the last year, the Republican Party has flattered
me with letters I didn’t deserve.
Last year, the Republican National Committee informed me I
was one of only 10 Republicans in Idaho picked to join a committee to work
for George Bush’s election. I was asked to send a check with my
acceptance, of course.
Only someone who’d just fallen off the turnip truck
would believe that they were one of only 10 persons in an entire state
picked to join a blue ribbon Bush committee. And especially not me, not
known as a Bush supporter.
In last week’s mail was a letter from Vice President
Dick Cheney, who said "we have reserved a special place of honor for
you. . .(I)n recognition of the crucial role you played in the 2000
That "special place of honor" is at The
President’s Dinner in Washington on June 27, Cheney writes ¾ at $2,500
per seat, of course.
Alas, I didn’t vote for Bush and still remain
apprehensive about his presidency.
So much for words from politicians without meaning.