Idaho to the Feds: Screw Off
The state of Idaho, if it is thought of at all, is probably considered one of the more mundane states in the Union. Its claim to fame does rest, after all, on the production of high-quality potatoes and not much else. Unlike the cosmopolitan thrill of LA, or the scenic fishing villages along the coast of Maine, Idaho simply doesn’t have a very exciting resume with which to “wow” the world. On top of that, Idaho is mainly rural with a grand total of one “city” with a population over 200,000. I put city in quotation marks because Boise only has a hair above 200,000 people and would probably seem quaint to a visitor from, say, Minneapolis.
Its small population and rather bland qualities ensure that Idaho typically only plays a minor role in national politics. The country in general takes at least a bit of an interest in the policies that California passes; but, it’s rare to find Idaho ever make the national news. Lately, however, Idaho seems to be on a mission to be noticed. Like the little train “that could”, Idaho is giving the nation its best attempt to make waves on the national scene.
Just what could such an insignificant state do to get the attention of the movers and shakers around the country? Idaho has effectively given the metaphorical middle-finger to the federal government, that’s what. Last year it became one of the first to challenge the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare” for those of you who are Glenn Beck devotees) in court and just today the House voted, by a good majority, to “nullify” the healthcare law. What does this mean? It means that if this bill passes the Senate and is signed by the Governor, Idaho will effectively refuse to enforce the healthcare law. It isn’t just challenging this law; it’s taking matters into its own hands and refusing to back down.
Other states, it turns out, are also considering the strategy of nullification to fight Obama’s healthcare law. If enough of them actually pass these measures, it could represent the first modern case of official state nullification, which I find a bit exciting. Now, I realize there could be some serious ramifications from something like this; ramifications which could be potentially disastrous for many people. But we’ve become so used to seeing the system work in a familiar way that it’s refreshing to witness some truly radical activities take place. Variety is the spice of life, as they say, but most people seem to insist only on the familiar and mundane.
I think it will be quite interesting to watch the response from the federal government if a number of states do, in fact, choose nullification. Hey, worst thing that could happen is another civil war, right?