The concept of "creative federalism"' is as elusive as it is new. As a descriptive term, "creative federalism" describes not what federalstate relations presently are but what they ought to be. In order to appreciate the concept it is necessary to understand the argument that governmental activities no longer revolve around a politics of issues but rather now center in a politics of problem-solving. The question no longer is: Is it to be done? Rather the inquiry is: How is it to be done? Creative federalism recognizes the need of asking state and local governments the "how to do it" questions. By asking these questions a federal-state partnership is formed. This partnership is designed to capture the problem-solving genius of various societal groups and to create an inner tension through the advocacy of conflicting solutions. Out of this tension is supposed to flow a creativity which will lead to the optimum solutions of today's problems.
Water Resources Planning Act of 1965—An Experiment in Creative Federalism,
42 Wash. L. Rev.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.uw.edu/wlr/vol42/iss3/31