Alexandra Forter Sirota’s thoughtful June 20 column “ ‘Outsiders’ shouldn’t sway N.C.” suggested that traditional Republicans face a contradiction. Republicans have long been the party of states’ rights, arguing that states can better judge what fits their needs and circumstances than can the federal government. This is a reasonable, time-honored point of view that has mitigated the urges for strong central government. The tension between federalism and republicanism serves us well.
But as Sirota reminds us, Republican marching orders these days do not come from the diverse states with their unique circumstances. Instead, they come from self-appointed ideologues who have gained national influence because of the money they control. Grover Norquist, for example, believes he knows the best tax policy for every state. The American Legislative Exchange Council knows what’s best for education. The Koch brothers and Americans for Prosperity know best who should represent each state in Congress.
In effect, the Republican Party is being run by a collective of national dictators who couldn’t care less about states’ rights. At least the federal government is nominally run by people we elect. Who elected these dictators to run the Republican Party?