Iowa Senate minority leader Paul McKinley has been on a Twitter tear this week complaining about Democrats “obstructing” his “state sovereignty resolution.” According to the Omaha World-Herald, McKinley
offered a resolution this year calling on the federal government to “cease and desist” in issuing mandates that go beyond what the 10th Amendment allows. The [Iowa Senate]’s Democratic majority has kept the resolution alive but bottled up in committee.
The article goes on to quote two constitutional scholars saying such resolutions carry a political message but no legal weight.
Not only is McKinley’s resolution an empty political gesture, it contradicts volumes of case law supporting the federal government’s authority to put strings on money it appropriates. Mr. desmoinesdem reminded me that conservatives love this case law when it suits their purposes–for instance, when federal courts have said universities accepting federal grants must allow military recruiters and the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) on campus.
I’m glad Senate Democrats are not spending the public’s time and money to advance McKinley’s “state sovereignty” campaign. It isn’t the first time McKinley has wasted the Senate’s time on matters settled by courts. During the closing weeks of the session, McKinley pleaded with Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal to co-sponsor a leadership bill to ban same-sex marriage. Gronstal refused.
McKinley seems to be using the “state sovereignty” resolution to set himself apart from other Republicans as he “aggressively” explores a run for governor. I’m guessing that will be a waste of his own time. He has few relationships with heavy-hitting Republican donors, and social conservatives blame him for not making sure a marriage bill was filed in time to reach the floor during this year’s legislative session (see also here). He doesn’t have a lot of legislative achievements to run on, unless you count holding his caucus together to vote down three of Governor Chet Culver’s nominees on specious grounds.
McKinley’s campaign website and recent media interviews have highlighted his experience as a business owner. I give full credit to McKinley for managing and growing a company during the 1980s. But his ideology on economic policy looks like it’s stuck in the 1920s. Central Iowa business Republicans don’t seem sold on him yet, though it’s possible that McKinley is among the potential candidates the Iowa First Foundation is focus-grouping.
Share any relevant thoughts in this thread. Are McKinley’s gubernatorial ambitions for real, or is Bleeding Heartland user ragbrai08 right to suspect that he is a stalking horse for Christian Fong?