Richard Thompson Ford has an interesting article up on Slate, "The New Blue Federalists: the case for liberal federalism." His thesis is that while federalism is most oft-used as a conservative tool of judicial activism, it may also serve liberals equally well. It’s a challenging idea, but I can’t help but feel like it would ultimately be bad for the country.
Ford in his concluding paragraph argues, "let the red states experience more of the consequences of their political
ideology and the blue states of theirs." IMHO, that’s another way of saying that reds and blues can’t be reconciled, and that our house should be divided. While I may be a raging lunatic liberal, I don’t favor a nation where substantive rights vary as you cross state lines. Disunity among the states is bad for liberal business, I think, because us liberal softies are (or should be) all about coming together for the common good. Ford’s idea would permit the establishment of liberal strongholds in the coastal states at the expense of further alienating the rest of the nation. If SSM and other ideas become rooted in the blues, what do you think the red states will do? The net result could be a further tightening of liberties.
I like the idea of depoliticizing federalism; it’s a concept that should, ideally, work for both sides of the political spectrum. However, in either camp’s hands, overreliance on state’s rights can lead to a fragmented and harsher America.