Both political parties have issues on which they are systematically rank hypocrites. Republicans are particularly so on Federalism, or on the power of states vs. the Federal government.
A Flagstaff lawmaker is hoping to throw a new roadblock in the path of those who want to legalize marijuana in Arizona.
Only thing is, his plan may be too little – and too late.
The measure by Republican Rep. Bob Thorpe would spell out that any voter-sponsored initiative that proposed anything that conflicts with federal law could take effect only if approved by 75 percent of those who cast ballots. Right now, a simple majority is all that is needed.
Thorpe told Capitol Media Services he has one particular measure in mind: a proposal by the Marijuana Policy Project to get voters here to adopt a Colorado-style law legalizing the recreational use of marijuana.
He pointed out that marijuana use remains illegal under federal law. Yet Arizona voters decided in 2010, by a margin of just 4,340 votes, to allow the use of the drug for medical purposes.
Wow, principled stand for the rule of law, right? Well, just year or so ago the same AZ state Republicans put on the ballot, and got passed, a Constitutional amendment essentially pre-empting large parts of the PPACA, a different Federal law:
A. To preserve the freedom of Arizonans to provide for their health care:
1. A law or rule shall not compel, directly or indirectly, any person, employer or health care provider to participate in any health care system.
2. A person or employer may pay directly for lawful health care services and shall not be required to pay penalties or fines for paying directly for lawful health care services. A health care provider may accept direct payment for lawful health care services and shall not be required to pay penalties or fines for accepting direct payment from a person or employer for lawful health care services.
B. Subject to reasonable and necessary rules that do not substantially limit a person's options, the purchase or sale of health insurance in private health care systems shall not be prohibited by law or rule.
And just so it is understood that this is not some populist end-around Republican legislators, these same Republicans passed a bill last year, vetoed by the Governor, to essentially ban enforcement of Federal health care law
Arizona - S 1088, passed House and Senate; vetoed by governor, May 28, 2011. Would oppose any state role in compulsory participation in a health care system or purchase of health insurance; would prohibit any government official from enforcing prohibitions on purchase or sale of health insurance in private health care systems otherwise authorized by the laws of the state; would affirm a right to direct payment or purchase of lawful health care services; would prohibit threats of penalties, fines, taxes, salaries, wage withholding, surcharges or fees to punish or discourage the exercise of such right. Also would establish an Interstate Health Freedom Compact, to unify states opposing the ACA.
In the last several years, I can count at least four "principled" positions taken by AZ Republicans on Federalism:
- State law should not pre-empt Federal law (marijuana criminalization)
- State law should pre-empt Federal law (Obamacare)
- States should enforce Federal laws that we think the Feds refuse to enforce sufficiently aggressively (immigration)
- States should prevent the Feds from enforcing Federal law when we think they are being too aggressive in enforcing (Grand Canyon National Park closure during shutdown)
So there you have it. Pick a position, stick to it.