With all the big ticket items on the docket, some of the smaller issues may slip through. This is justifiable. There is no issue more important than health care right now and resources are limited.
But the Senate introduced a bill banning texting and driving today. Here. And I think conservatives can make a little hay out of it, especially in libertarian-minded states.
There are two debates; whether such legislation is necessary; and whether this is a matter for federal intervention. I don’t want to get stuck on the former. Whatever one may think about texting and driving, conservatives should agree that federal intervention is unwarranted. The federal government is not usurping state power, but they are threatening to cut state highway budgets by twenty five percent.
Sometimes, the issues that draw people to conservatism may seem random. We like to hope its grandiose principles and ideas, but it can be the little things that impact daily life. In New Hampshire, there is such a strong resistance to seat belt and helmet laws that it almost defies explanation. New Hampshire remains the only state with no seat belt laws. And bikers from neighboring states flock to New Hampshire just to ride without helmets. How do you think the people of New Hampshire are going to react to Chuck Schumer and Mary Landrieu forcing their state to criminalize texting and driving?
There are seemingly arbitrary strains of conservatism that run through certain areas and demographics. And one such strain is a sort of localized, lifestyle libertarianism that permeates places like the White Mountains, as noted above. The greater philosophy may escape them and they may not be full fledged conservatives, but these people don’t want government interfering with their every day activities. The thought of such interference from Washington is even more upsetting. This is a small matter, but it is tangible, even for a dim-witted eighteen year old voters.
I suspect that this may backfire against the Democrats in New Hampshire. As stated in the New York Times, when New Hampshire rejected a seat belt law last June.
“The citizens of New Hampshire don’t like to be told by anyone else what to do,” said Senator Robert E. Clegg Jr., a Hudson Republican who voted against the legislation. “It preserves New Hampshire’s way of not succumbing to the bribes of the federal government and New Hampshire’s belief that every adult can make his or her own choices in life.”
Recently, there has been a tremendous assertion of states rights. This is just more fuel for the fire. Tell your neighbors that Big Bother is on steroids and he’s coming to your neighborhood.