Washington – What with the nation in a crisis over law enforcement issues in Minnesota, it's time to reprise two blog posts. One is about an undisciplined, mercurial, inexperienced president's potential use of the National Guard, which would conflict with its role as State Guard under a governor. The other is an earlier look at the governor of Minnesota, a native Nebraskan whom I much admire and who himself is a long-serving guardsman.
...Therein lies the potential for conflict, even armed conflict. Suppose ... the president tr[ies] to nationalize the State Guard [to use it as] local law enforcement.... What would the governor do, allow it or oppose it on grounds of the state's own police powers?
Or suppose the president attempted to nationalize a State Guard to operate detention camps.... This would test the limits of "just supremacy" of the federal government over the states, inasmuch as individuals' rights against the government were themselves developed by a federal jurisprudence that has recognized the importance of state sovereignty as a check and balance in our division-of-powers system of government.
It is a very real possibility that the United States could divide over such questions in the next few months and years.
The Presidency (from February, 2019)
Lately when I've been asked for whom I'd like to vote for president in 2020, I tell them I have a Nebraskan in mind. He was born in West Point, Nebraska, and graduated from Butte high school and Chadron State College. He is a retired master sergeant in the Army National Guard. He taught English in China for two years and high school social studies in Mankato, Minnesota, for many years thereafter, where he was also a football coach. He went on to become a congressman from Minnesota and more recently was elected governor there.
I met Tim Walz last summer on Capitol Hill, in the Cannon building where he was hosting a meeting on soil health and conservation. He was a member of the House Agriculture Committee and arranged for the meeting to be held in the Veterans Affairs Committee's hearing room, as he was also a member of that committee. Unfortunately, I did not get into a sufficiently long conversation to compare notes with him as a fellow Nebraskan.
What a fine president he'd make: decent, knowledgeable, experienced. He was rated as having the 7th most bipartisan voting record in the House, demonstrating his ability to bring people together. Even Nebraska Republicans would have to give him a look, despite his being a Democrat (Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party). A lot of veterans from the enlisted ranks would like the idea of a master sergeant in charge of the Department of Defense, especially if the 2020 alternative is a draft-dodger. Many former high school football players would like the idea of a coach in the Oval Office, who could send poor performers for a lap around the White House when they need it. Governor Tim Walz for President!