States Pursuing Their Self-Interest!

George Will makes an odd assertion near the beginning of a column tut-tutting the race toward early primaries: “With scant thought given to the national interest, particular states pursuing what they fancy is in their iinterest….”

To quote the noted British philosopher Sir Paul McCartney, “What’s wrong with that, I’d like to know?”

Indeed, isn’t the whole point of federalism that states should be empowered to do what they fancy in their self-interest on matters which haven’t been put under the Constitutional authority of the national government?

(His argument for the merits of a protracted primary schedule — that it “tests truly presidential attributes – physical stamina and the abilities to think strategically, to be tactically nimble, to select good staff and use its advice and criticism, and to respond to surprises and setbacks” — would be much more persuasive if it actually achieved that end with some regularity.)

FILED UNDER: Political Theory, US Constitution, US Politics, ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Further, it seems to me that the now very protracted pre-primary campaign fulfills much of the much vaunted stamina testing function.