In federal elections, campaign ads from candidates of all political stripes have a tendency to be boisterous and full of big promises. When a president’s popularity is high in a midterm election, people of the same party will boast of their association with him, while people of the other major party highlight their willingness to “reach across the aisle.” When those same approval numbers are low, the opposition will strike, and fellow party members rush to paint themselves as different from the chief executive, so in some ways, the new campaign ad from West Virginia Secretary of State and US Senate candidate Natalie Tennant is nothing new.
What is different, though still not exactly new, about Ms. Tennant’s ad is the message behind it. The concept behind the ad, shutting off power to a federal building, bears some striking similarities to the OffNow campaign against the NSA’s domestic spying program. While the Tenth Amendment Center does not endorse candidates in any elections, especially federal elections, the message Ms. Tennant sends is certainly worth exploring. The parallels between stopping domestic spying and the protection of jobs from federal regulations are pretty obvious. Both stem from a reaction to federal overreach and a desire to defend and restore particular freedoms that are either in danger or have already been violated.
Shutting off the power to federal buildings in response to DC’s bullying of an industry that provides a significant portion of the nation’s energy and no small number of jobs is a fitting way of fighting back against oppressive regulations and making the feds eat their own words. In 2008, then Senator Obama spoke of the need to cut back on our energy usage. His own lifestyle after becoming president, however, has been typical of the ruling class; do as I say and not as I do.
Regardless of who wins the Senate election in West Virginia this year, those within the state government there should give serious consideration to Ms. Tennant’s proposal, but take it a step further. There are federal buildings in West Virginia, all of which need energy to run, all of which depend to some extent on coal mined within that state’s borders. If they want energy, they’re going to have to consider the consequences of their employer’s war on energy.
If one candidate for federal office makes a big deal about it, that’s just one voice, which will likely be silenced or at least muffled not long after taking office. If a whole state, Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals, third party and no party members, can unite around an issue like this, then it is likely to spread to other states. This is how we chain down the monster of DC. This is how we starve the beast.
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