Something curious is happening in New York. Andrew Cuomo has sent a message to President Donald Trump: “Start imposing your will on Americans right now.” The state’s Democrat governor took to the air on MSNBC to let everyone know we need a more federalized response to the COVID-19 crisis.
That’s not all. Mario’s son invented new abilities for a federal agency to help. On the Morning Joe program, Cuomo unleashed his desire for dictatorial-style rule to be imposed, proclaiming there are things we need the federal government to do. “[A]ll these patchwork acts by these different states. It makes no sense for me to take an action — I close bars, then people drive to New Jersey and Connecticut.” Sadly, the Empire State governor seems not to have read the U.S. Constitution, which grants the right to alcohol regulation to the states, not the federal government:
“The transportation or importation into any state, territory, or possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited.”
A Man for All Seasons
While the governor has been keen to ignore the 2nd Amendment his whole career, it’s odd to see him trash the 21st, because of the power it gives to him and other state leaders. Regulation of alcohol is explicitly granted to states and remains the only good in commerce for which that is true, as prescribed by the Constitution. I suppose that’s a minor inconvenience when you don’t bother to honor disfavored amendments. Here’s another hiccup to the Cuomo plan: There is simply no legal mechanism for Trump to prevent people from driving across state borders to buy a drink.
As detailed by Liberty Nation, the president does not have such power, and what a good thing that is. To exercise that kind of control would indeed be totalitarian in nature, one any true liberal would oppose as an existential threat. Why Cuomo would seriously want Trump to assume the same was left unsaid. Also unexplained was how a president so empowered would stop. Were Trump to invent powers for this crisis, how could Cuomo object to future inventions? If the president’s actions are grounded in whim rather than Article 1, anything’s possible.
If I Can Make It There
Then, Mayor Bill de Blasio chimed to discuss quarantining New York City! At City Hall on March 17, he said, “New Yorkers should be prepared right now for the possibility of a shelter in place order. It’s gotten to the point where a decision has to be made very soon.” Well, it won’t be made by him.
As soon as he could, Cuomo got out in front of the media, not to ask for a federal takeover but to beat back the city takeover that De Blasio’s comments represented. Cuomo dialed back that threat and asserted his power as the only person who could make a quarantine happen in New York State. A statement from Cuomo’s office read:
“Any blanket quarantine or shelter in place policy would require State action and as the governor has said, there is no consideration of that for any locality at this time.”
Exactly which laws by Cuomo’s standards were okay to ignore was not stated. The governor went on to implore the president to order the Army Corps of Engineers to build hospitals on an emergency construction basis. He was under the impression that the Corps could build a hospital in three weeks. It cannot. Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper explained that “[t]he Corps of Engineers is a contracting body that does program oversight work.” It is a band of paper pushers and about as useful on a construction site as one of the Cuomos.
With the current crisis in the hospitality industry, hotels can’t give away rooms. Should the hospitals become overburdened and need emergency overflow housing for patients, commandeering hotel rooms is a no-brainer move. How can the governor not see that? Maybe if he stopped asking Trump to become a tyrant, he could do some creative problem-solving like that. Right now, it’s a broken record for big government.
Read more from Scott D. Cosenza.