Welcome to Glenn Beck's World: What If the Tea Partiers Ruled the Country?
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Although it’s easy to scoff at the state’s buffoonish legislators, it would be a mistake to look at their shenanigans, outrageous as they are, and think: it can’t happen here. Maybe not all of it, but if the Republican base and its Tea Party allies can get their hooks into your state or local government, some of it will come your way, too. Utah, after all, is where the right wing shows its hand. Right-wing jihadis get their training in Glennbeckistan and then march off to places like California to battle gay marriage.
Guess where polluters will go if Utah exempts itself from environmental laws that the rest of the country decides are reasonable to protect your health? If Utah-made guns are exempt from federal regulation, guess where guns will be made? And that’s the idea -- to create “nullification sanctuaries” where congressional laws and presidential directives cannot be enforced. Asserting states' rights is not simply a way of pursuing regional independence and expressing differences, it is a means of avoiding and undermining the national consensus on any number of important issues.
States-rights legislators are not shy about their long-range goals. Representative Keith Grover said of the 2010 session, “It doesn’t end at midnight.” Members of the Patrick Henry caucus have already contacted lawmakers in Nevada, Montana, Wyoming, Texas, Arizona, and Virginia to trade ideas and strategies. South Dakota and Wyoming have also declared their gun-makers exempt from federal law, and Oklahoma’s legislature will also try to block health care reform.
Better pay attention: Tea-hadi warriors from the Republic of Glennbeckistan could be coming soon to a legislative theater near you.