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Saturday, February 10, 2007

Praising Schwarznegger!!??

Terrific OpEd piece by Gar Alperovitz in this morning's New York Times, although it feels a bit strange to be supporting the wisdom of Arnold Schwarzenegger.

But the desirability of reinstating the progressive notion of federalism -- one reflected in Brandeis' praise of the American states as the "laboratories of democracy" -- needs to become part of the debate as we attempt to overcome the knee-jerk anti-governmentalism of the past 30+ years. California and a few other states (Massachusetts, Washington, etc.) are now taken on the role that new York, Wisconsin and even Texas had during the Progressive era. Especially in the areas of health care, environmental sustainability and even economic development, certain states are driving the public agenda.

Many students of US government in my discipline (political science) have bought into the convention wisdom (which we have been teaching for decades) that such activity is the exception to a historical trend in which the national administrative state becomes increasingly dominant. In that light, the recent reemergence of federalist principles in the (Rehnquist) Supreme Court seems like a throwback to the pre-New Deal doctrines of constitutional law. But the de facto reenergizing of state activism in those public policy arenas that have been under attack in Washington is a truly hopeful sign for the future.

Onward Schwarzenegger! (I cannot believe I am writing that...)


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Blogger meditations71 said ... (12:18 PM) : 

Interesting. But California a 'city state' (according to Schwarzennegger)?! The renaissance cities come to mind, and perhaps modern day equivalents like Hong Kong and Macau. But a state stretching from the Redwoods to the Mexican border, with soon 40 million inhabitants?

 

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