Governors vs. the Presidency

I’m torn on the Governors-for-President issue. No doubt that their executive experience is valuable, but this is easily a double-edged concept: they know how politics are played, so they play politics. Not a bad thing in and of itself, since government is politics, but they are of that class and the siren call to business-as-(more or less)-usual is compelling.

My main issue, though, is that I am very much in agreement with Gov. Perry’s stated objective that the Federal government should be largely irrelevant to our daily lives. The primary purpose of the Federal government is the defense and maintenance of the Federation. The role of the government in the lives of the citizens should be conducted at the States’ levels: that’s where the arguments on public policies and public funding should be conducted.

That’s not where we are as a nation. We have relegated the States to being administrative districts to a national government. Reversing this, and returning the States to being the 50 independent nations that they are constituted to be is the direction we should be taking. To achieve that, we need strong Governors in the States. They will have to wrest power away from DC, and it will not be an easy or pleasant battle. The Tenth Amendment movements are a start toward this, as is the increasing occurrence of lawsuits by the States against the executive agencies. To send our best Governors to DC is to dilute these and other efforts on behalf of the States.; their attention will be caught by, well, other things.

Meanwhile, we have experienced a couple generations of a steadily expanding domestic national government, whose growth momentum is uncheckable. It will require a strong executive to break that momentum, and a sturdy character to willingly surrender executive power back to the States. For that, it is nearly a given condition that such a governance would require a deep knowledge of the politics. A President who could enter office to significantly wind down the domestic affairs of the office, while being attentive to the foreign threats, would almost certainly need the political acumen that few besides an effective Governor could bring to the office. Further, only a Conservative Governor would even contemplate such a course of governance.

It’s a lot to ask for: strong Governors in the States, and a strong executive in the Presidency. The Conservative bench for carrying out both sides of this mission is not deep enough. That there is such a shortage is the very cause as to why we find ourselves in the political mess that we have.  But anything less that that will merely allow the continued growth of the Administrative State.