News Record & Sentinel, April 2020

I believe in states’ rights….I believe we’ve distorted the balance of our government today by giving powers that were never intended in the Constitution to that federal establishment.

Ronald Reagan, Neshoba (Mississippi) County Fair, August 3, 1980

The federal government’s not supposed to be out there buying vast amounts of items and then shipping, you know, we’re not a shipping clerk….The governors are supposed to be doing it. 

Donald Trump, March 20, 2020

Who says Donald Trump is not a Reagan Republican?

Who?  Everybody.  Reagan was speaking right out of the Old South, when “states’ rights” meant “Don’t touch my slaves.”  Reagan was promising the South in his presidential campaign that his government would leave them alone to be as “conservative” as they wished.  He was playing Dixiecrat.  (Dixiecrats, incidentally, were officially the States’ Rights Democratic Party.)

Trump is something entirely different.  He’s playing dodgeball.  He’s a cop-out.  The buck doesn’t even pause at his desk.

He’s totally incapable of doing what managers do — seeing situations realistically, gathering the best available advisers and making hard decisions.  He’s a bogus chief executive just like he was a bogus businessman.  He’s emptied his government of competent people and replaced them with embarrassing duds who mostly know how to pucker up.

That’s why Trump’s top doc, Anthony Faucci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has achieved hero status.  He’s competent.  He knows what he’s talking about, and he speaks plainly.

Faucci answered Anderson Cooper’s question about a nationwide lockdown this way:  “The tension between federal mandate and states’ rights is something I’m not going to get into, but when you look at what’s going on in this country, I don’t understand why it’s not being done.  It should be.”    

Trump isn’t acting out of any philosophy of states’ rights.  No, he’s just acting – strutting and fretting his daily hour of self-glorification, undisguised untruth and belligerence toward the unappreciative.

The states are his scapegoat.  “The complainers (that is, states needing equipment) should have been stocked up and ready long before this crisis hit,” he said.

Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has formed an ad hoc team outside government to attempt a rescue.  He dropped this zinger: “The federal stockpile…is supposed to be our stockpile.  It’s not supposed to be the states’ stockpiles that they then use.”

Ad hoc must be Latin for, “Blame somebody else!”