Secessionist Mike Nozzolio is also a Tenther
by: WayneCounty
Sun May 09, 2010 at 13:24:33 PM EDT

I already knew my idiot senator was a secessionist, advocating the spinning off of Upstate a la West Virginia a century and a half ago. (Not to say the idea is completely without merit. Reasonable arguments can and have been made by reasonable people in favor of the idea. The problem is that Nozzolio makes none of these rational points, favoring instead to argue his case for secession with bullsh## and baseless bluster.) So I already knew that Nozzolio was halfwit lifer (He's been in Albany almost 30 years now) who, instead of actually actually doing anything, was prone to spewing half baked solutions in search of problems.
What I didn't know was that he had decided to embrace the Teabagger's new cause du jour, "Tentherism." You've heard of these people, right? They are the geniuses who want to party like it's 1854. My idiot senator has introduced a "tenther" resolution to the NY Senate.

New York State Senator Michael Nozzolio (R-54th District) has informed me just today that he has drafted and introduced J4716, a resolution to "Re-Establish our State's Sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment." See

According to the introductory text this Legislative Resolution, affirms, "the sovereignty of the of the people of the State of New York pursuant to the Tenth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States." The resolution continues by requesting, "Congress cease and desist from enacting mandates that are beyond the scope of the enumerated powers granted to Congress by the Constitution of the United States." The legislation also seeks to establish a joint committee on the constitutionality of acts, orders, laws, statutes, regulations and rules of the government of the United States of America in order to protect state sovereignty."

This introduced legislation resides in the Senate's Finance Committee where it was referred on Friday, April 16, 2010. Current co-sponsors include Senators Larkin, Maziarz, Seward, Farley, Johnson O, Ranzenhofer, Winner, Alesi, Lanza, Morahan and Young.

In his remarks accompanying the legislation, Nozzolio reminds his fellow Senators, "For the last fourteen months, the U.S. Congress and the President have tried everything they could to consolidate total power in the federal government." Apparently, Albany is beginning to understand what "We the People" have been becoming increasingly frustrated and concerned about since January 21, 2009. The Senator also displays his recognition that the healthcare legislation is only the latest in a long list of federal actions that are in direct violation of the constitutionally enumerated and limited powers granted the federal government by the states and the people.

Who are the "tenthers" and what kind of ridiculousness has Nozzolio (and Libous, Maziarz, Alesi, Winner, Ranzenhofer, Young and several other GOP dittoheads) signed off on deemed worthy of his attentions? This American Prospect piece is probably the definitive tenther takedown:

Rally 'Round the "True Constitution"

Tentherism, in a nutshell, proclaims that New Deal-era reformers led an unlawful coup against the "True Constitution," exploiting Depression-born desperation to expand the federal government's powers beyond recognition. Under the tenther constitution, Barack Obama's health-care reform is forbidden, as is Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. The federal minimum wage is a crime against state sovereignty; the federal ban on workplace discrimination and whites-only lunch counters is an unlawful encroachment on local businesses.

Tenthers divine all this from the brief language of the 10th Amendment, which provides that "the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." In layman's terms, this simply means that the Constitution contains an itemized list of federal powers -- such as the power to regulate interstate commerce or establish post offices or make war on foreign nations -- and anything not contained in that list is beyond Congress' authority.

The tenther constitution, however, reads each of these powers very narrowly -- too narrowly, it turns out, to permit much of the progress of the last century. As the nation emerges from the worst economic downturn in three generations, the tenthers would strip away the very reforms and economic regulations that beat back the Great Depression, and they would hamstring any attempt to enact new progressive legislation.

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Additionally, while the Depression-era justices provided much of the movement's intellectual framework, today's tenthers are extreme even by 1930s standards. The Constitution gives Congress the power "to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States," thus empowering the federal government to levy taxes and leverage these revenues to benefit the American people. Tenthers, however, insist that these words don't actually mean what they say, claiming that spending on things like health care, education, and Social Security is simply not allowed.

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More important, there is something fundamentally authoritarian about the tenther constitution. Social Security, Medicare, and health-care reform are all wildly popular, yet the tenther constitution would shackle our democracy and forbid Congress from enacting the same policies that the American people elected them to advance. After years of raging against mythical judges who "legislate from the bench," tenther conservatives now demand a constitution that will not let anyone legislate at all.

My favorite blogger, Digby, described the tenthers perfectly:

Really, there's nothing new about Tentherism - it's basically nullification prettied up for the 21st century. But of course, nullification was a prelude to eventual secession and Civil War. It's not completely out of bounds to see us headed in that direction.

When George Bush sought to take money out of people's paychecks and deposit them in private retirement accounts, that was fine. Only when a Democrat takes office can the majority of actions of the federal government be seen as not only misguided, but actually in violation of the Constitution. Because conservatives consider it against the natural order of things for them not to control the government and distribute its Treasury to their favored corporate interests, a circumstance with them out of control must be criminal in nature.

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This is the inevitable point where all the anti-government rhetoric of the post-Reagan years was bound to go. Tenthers literally want a government that cannot govern, period. And the movement is growing. Ultimately, this is where the teabaggers meet up with the corporate interests who would thrive in an era of no regulation and no ability for the government to use their power.

But, you know, liberals are the Constitutional "activists."

So, in the eyes of the tenthers, the New Deal, the GI Bill, Medicare, Social Security, all federal education spending the VA health system --even the Interstate Highway System-- are illegal. I suppose you could call it a "Leave Every Child Behind All The Time" interpretation of our founding document.

I guess we can then assume that Nozzolio and his co-sponsors share the view that Social Security and Medicare should be abolished post haste? If so, will he be introducing a bill to the Senate to insist that New York opt out of these programs because he believes them to be illegal? While we're at it, I don't see the terms "oil spill," "emergency management" or "food safety" in the Constitution either. Does Nozzolio believe we should abolish them as well? What about Libous, et al?

Or is this just ill informed grandstanding by a career politician who has both failed to deliver for his constituents for decades and is predisposed to propose, time and time again, stupid, half cocked right-wing solutions to problems that don't exist. When will Nozzolio and the rest of the GOP Upstaters in Albany accept even a smidgin of responsibility for the region's decline instead of constantly searching for boogeymen in NYC or Albany and putting forth scaremongering crackpot answers to our very real problems?