PRA fellows Fred Clarkson and Rachel Tabachnick are featured prominently in the latest article out of Salon. They discuss the disturbing new trend emerging from the Right, a push for a Constitutional Convention which would strip power away from the United States and feed it to conservatives in state legislatures.
Check out the snippet below, and read the full Salon article by author Paul Rosenberg here.
What if there were a fourth branch of government that would allow the fans of “Duck Dynasty” to overturn Roe v. Wade, repeal Obamacare and pretty much nullify any federal law or Supreme Court decision they don’t like, based on the support of as little as 12 percent of the nation’s population? And what if that fourth branch already existed in the American constitutional order, just waiting to be properly realized?
That’s basically the dream of conservative activist Charles Kacprowicz, as described in a recent conference call with supporters, effectively summing up many of the deepest hopes and fears of right-wing America in the post-Bush era.
In tandem, the two blind spots have obscured the story of state-level conservative radicalization throughout the post-Vietnam era. The most recent issue of the Public Eye magazine from Political Research Associates is devoted to highlighting this neglected concern, and two of the contributing authors, Frederick Clarkson and Rachel Tabachnick, monitored Kacprowicz’s call and shared some thoughts about it.
Clarkson wrote “Exposed: How the Right’s State-Based Think Tanks are Transforming U.S. Politics,” while Tabachnick co-authored the article “Nullification, Neo-Confederates, and the Revenge of the Old Right” with Frank L. Cocozzelli. The first story examines the extensive state-level networks of Heritage-style free market think tanks (the State Policy Network) and Family Research Council-style social conservative think tanks (the Family Policy Councils). These have been instrumental in nourishing a culture of state-level right-wing activism that goes largely unnoticed by the national media. Clarkson called Kacprowicz “an obscure figure who may have found the missing link — the unifying logic that can unite far right factions into a campaign to make the greatest change in the Constitution since ratification. At least in his own mind.” While his ideas may be too radical to succeed, Clarkson warns, “The amendment’s very radical nature could generate an inflammatory debate that makes other competing proposals seem moderate by comparison, even though there is nothing moderate them.”
The second story examines the ideological infrastructure at play behind recent state-level political developments, which it traces back to the Old Right “paleoconservatives” whose ideas have often been presented as libertarian in the hands of Ron Paul and his associates. As it quickly points out, “Since 2010, state legislators have introduced nearly 200 bills — on 11 issues alone — challenging federal laws that they deem unconstitutional,” including anti-gun control bills in at least 38 states, and anti-Obamacare laws in at least 20 states. Such activism even “extends beyond the 50 state legislatures, spreading to county and local governments, including about 500 county sheriffs who have affirmed their commitment to ‘saying “no” to Obama gun control.’”
Of course, nullification is unconstitutional. …