McCain, the Federalist?
whoooo26505 at yahoo.com
Thu Oct 16 07:37:13 PDT 2008
... there are three senses of the term. "Federalist" as a name refers to the ideology held by those who became identified with the federalist political party. "Federalism" as a jargon refers to the concept of a central state sharing sovereignty with other states, and has adjective uses that denote theories about what is a wise allocation of responsibility between the two (dual federalism, central federalism, new federalism, etc). The third sense of the term, used only by conservatives, unfortunately appears to mean "state's rights." I think it tries to turn the label into a name for an ideology that holds that states have rights over certain subjects of governance. So in this vernacular, the Four Horsemen were "federalists." So was Ronald Reagan. Hence, political scientists use the term as a description, historians to name ideology A, and conservatives to name ideology B. You will note that in McCain's language game the brain must figure
out which object the name applies to. Hence the confusion.
It is an unfortunate use of the word, but as we all know, meaning is use.
Yours in bloody Ludwig,
Dr. Sean Wilson, Esq.
Wright State University
New Website: http://seanwilson.org
SSRN papers: http://ssrn.com/author=596860
----- Original Message ----
From: "RJLipkin at aol.com" <RJLipkin at aol.com>
To: CONLAWPROF at lists.ucla.edu
Sent: Thursday, October 16, 2008 10:13:17 AM
Subject: McCain, the Federalist?
In last night's debate, I thought I heard John McCain describe himself as a "federalist" when answering the question on abortion. (Rough paraphrase: "I'm a federalist, I want the states to decide the abortion issue.") Can anyone confirm this? If so, what does his use of the term mean? Surely, not the Federalist Party of the early republic? Does it refer to the Federalist Society? Has the contemporary use of the term "federalist" acquired a states rights meaning? My question is entirely non-argumentative. I'm simply inquiring about the use (meaning) of the current term "federalist." Thanks.
Robert Justin Lipkin
Distinguished Professor of Law
Widener University School of Law
, Contributor: http://ratiojuris.blogspot.com/
Essentially Contested America, Editor-In-Chief http://www.essentiallycontestedamerica.org/Ratio Juris
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