Susan, This Nullification Word You Are Using; I Don’t Think It Means What You Think It Means…on February 22nd, 2013 at 1:55 am
“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.” Abraham Lincoln.
As I mentioned here Thursday, we traveled to the Bedford Tea Party meeting to deliver our presentation on state nullification. What I didn’t realize is that we would get a chance to meet up with Lt. Governor Candidate Susan Stimpson. Susan is the Chair of the Board of Supervisors in Stafford County. After going through a somewhat impressive, (if slightly policy wonkish) exposition on her accomplishments in that role, she then acknowledged our presentation on nullification. I guess she felt the need to show solidarity for the 10th Amendment before she had to leave for another meeting in Lynchburg.
She then said, much to my surprise, that she was a supporter of nullification. My heart skipped a beat, as most politicians run from this concept; especially ones who are tight with Speaker of the House of Delegates Bill Howell. Howell is one of the architects of the GOP surrenders in the general assembly on taxes, Obamacare and Agenda 21. Howell has made it clear to GOP rank and file that nullification bills are not welcome in the House of Delegates. From the picture above, it certainly seems like Stimpson and Howell are on good terms as they posed last year to support George Allen in the Republican Senate Primary.
Friends of Speaker Howell and George Allen are rarely going to support something so anti-establishment as nullification. So support of state nullification from Stimpson was very surprising.
But as Stimpson explained what she actually meant, I was simultaneously disappointed and bemused. To her, nullification meant having an Attorney General willing to sue the Federal Government in Federal court. When I asked her for a clarification on how far she would be willing to go to interpose between Virginia citizens and Federal tyranny if she were elected, she then, in a slightly irritated voice, stated that she had already explained that it meant suing the Federal government like Ken Cuccinelli did. She was soon offstage and off to Lynchburg.
We can have a debate about the wisdom and utility of using state nullification, but it is hard to do that when the candidate doesn’t seem to know what nullification is…
To make sure we are all on the same page, the dictionary definition of nullification is the “Refusal or failure of a U.S. state to recognize or enforce a federal law within its boundaries.” It has nothing to do with lawsuits filed in federal court despite Stimpson’s somewhat strident efforts to make it so.
The fact we have a candidate running for the 2nd highest state office and who doesn’t seem to know the definition of nullification is more than a little disconcerting. What is also mystifying is that Stimpson knew that Elizabeth Aldridge and I were there specifically to do a presentation on nullification immediately following her remarks. Why jump into those nullification waters if you can’t even swim?
Does one picture with Speaker Howell prove Stimpson is in cahoots with the Dark Lord of the Virginia GOP? Not necessarily. Does one bad moment at an event mean she isn’t ready to be the Lt. Governor? Not necessarily. While it appears she has a good record of cutting taxes in Stafford County, is she ready for the big time? If you were one of the 25 people in that room last night, the answer you probably came away with was no.
While experience at creatively managing a county budget is impressive, the office of Lt. Governor is really about leadership and the ability to set an agenda and inspire support. I saw very little last night that would lead me to think that at this critical moment in history; this is the person we would want in this key role. I’ve never been shy about my admiration for E.W. Jackson, who is also running for Lt. Governor. Jackson gained even more in my estimation by demanding the state “defy not comply” with Obamacare. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for someone who is willing to stand up to the Feds and fight the big battle NOW.
And I remain convinced nullification and interposition are tools to do just that.
If the Stimpson campaign (or anyone else) would like to see what real nullification bills look like, click here for a very detailed account of the Utah 2nd Amendment Bill that we’d love for someone in Virginia to have the courage to support. Now this is how you deal with the Feds and gun control! Susan…read up and the next time you are in Roanoke we can actually talk about the topic.
P.S. The other thing this exchange with Susan brought to mind was a running gag in the classic movie The Princess Bride. That thought inspired the title of this article. Click here for a 1:08 of light hearted fun…we all can use a laugh these days.