Archive for June, 2012
Chief Justice Roberts, in writing the final Obamacare opinion, made an argument for Obamacare that Obama and his minions refused to: It’s a tax. So, Justice Roberts found that Obamacare wasn’t okay under the Commerce clause but it was a-ok under the constitution’s provision allowing Congress to levy taxes.
Obamacare is, according to Justice Roberts, the biggest middle class tax hike in history and therefore, constitutional.
Leftists praise the ruling. Conservatives, many of them, are disheartened.
And then there’s these guys who look admiringly at John Roberts for being politically savvy and outmaneuvering the President. You can read Tom Scocca of Slate here, Ezra Klein of the Washington Post here, and George Will here.
Ezra Klein summarizes the Evil Genius argument:
By voting with the liberals to uphold the Affordable Care Act, Roberts has put himself above partisan reproach. No one can accuse Roberts of ruling as a movement conservative. He’s made himself bulletproof against insinuations that he’s animated by party allegiances.
But by voting with the conservatives on every major legal question before the court, he nevertheless furthered the major conservative projects before the court — namely, imposing limits on federal power. And by securing his own reputation for impartiality, he made his own advocacy in those areas much more effective. If, in the future, Roberts leads the court in cases that more radically constrain the federal government’s power to regulate interstate commerce, today’s decision will help insulate him from criticism. And he did it while rendering a decision that Democrats are applauding.
I am not persuaded by this thinking, more on why in a minute.
Erick Erickson had a more reasoned response to the ruling (and I have noted that many conservative lawyers are walking this line, but as I’ve said before, and will repeat here, lawyers don’t think like normal people. They think in the constraints of the law and not in the constraints of morality — what is right and wrong — and this skewed perspective can be technocratic and miss the overarching point. I’m not sure that my conservative lawyer friends are quite missing the point, but I feel murky about this parsing). You can read Erick’s nuanced view here.
One point Erick makes is that Roberts is trying to keep the Supreme Court above the partisan fray. That is all noble but is the opinion constitutional?
Sorry if this question makes me literal, but that’s all I care about. The constitution being upheld is of paramount importance. By attempting to be “non-partisan”, Roberts is conceding that he was influenced by President Obama and the left’s fit-throwing. The toddlers won and so the finding becomes a partisan affair.
Today, Ben Domenech came on the Malcolm & Melissa podcast with Andrew and Me and he noted that if Roberts was politically influenced (and it seems he was), that the Right is going to have to reconsider its longstanding aversion to trying to bully courts into decisions the way the Left has traditionally done. He sees that outcome as profoundly troubling. [Aside: It was a great podcast and I’ll link it as soon as it’s produced.]
The Obamacare ruling makes the hated legislation an election and taxation issue. Some say that Roberts delivered the White House to Romney.
Consider this: Only 47% of American workers even pay Federal Income Tax. The non-tax payers have little vested interest in caring about this tax hike. It won’t affect them. As Avik Roy of Forbes pointed out, 67% of Americans already have subsidized health care. The abused American tax payer is already in the minority. The Democrats were playing the odds with this legislation and they know it. They gambled and time after time, they’ve won.
In addition, the Evil Genius argument not only counts on the American people and Congress to overturn Obamacare, it assumes that Congress will be bound by a tightened Commerce Clause interpretation.
When has a Democrat majority felt constrained by, well, anything? Look at how they were willing to ram Obamacare down America’s throat. There is no constraining statists. The Commerce Clause won’t do it, either. In addition, Roberts gives Congress essentially unchecked taxing ability.
Will a Republican Senate and White House overturn Obamacare now known as Obamatax?
If, if, IF.
From the beginning, I’ve felt that if Obamacare passed, repealing it would be nigh to impossible. No, this Supreme Court decision didn’t surprise me.
And in this way, Justice Roberts is right: Voters should be careful about who they elect. Voters shouldn’t be so cavalier about voting for big government Dems.
Voters, and Congress who represents them, need to be more circumspect and take responsibility.
Maybe that’s why I’m despondent: Personal responsibility seems like a quaint, old-fashioned American notion. Trusting Congress is folly.
This video captures it: Excellent job Ben Howe:
The War on Women panel featuring Elizabeth Warren revealed much about the leftist perspective on abortion. In an act of public bullying, one of the three speakers, Darcy Burner of Washington (the others being Elizabeth Warren and Mazie Hirono of Hawaii), asked women who had had an abortion to stand up in front of other attendees.
It was difficult to estimate the number of women as they were sprinkled through out the audience. They stood alone while Burner admonished the attendees to hold their applause.
Then Burner asked the others seated in the audience to stand and give these women a standing ovation. The audience complied enthusiastically.
I sat during this spectacle.
Burner said,”If you are a woman in this room, and statistically this is true of about 1/3 of the women in this room, if you’re a woman in this room who has had an abortion and is willing to come out about it, please stand up.”
She continued, “Now, if you are willing to stand with every woman who is willing to come out about having had an abortion, please stand up.”
Nearly everyone stood.
Burner said,”This is how we change the stories in people’s past. We need to make it okay for women to come out about the choices they make.”
The left will say that they’re not pro-abortion, they’re pro-choice or they’re pro-women. It was clear, though, that abortion itself was elevated as something good and something to be celebrated.
The speaker and the audience was honoring women who had an abortion as though the action was an objectively good thing.
You can listen for yourself here:
Burner had some other interesting advice, too. She spoke of the six elements of Power versus the less effective, in her mind, use of Force by the Republicans. I don’t know if her speech was an allusion to the book Power vs. Force: The Hidden Determinants of Human Behavior-Author’s Official Revised Edition 2012.
Anyway, her advice, shortened for brevity’s sake (her whole speech is on the audio) is as follows. As much as possible, these are direct quotes from Bower’s speech:
In the war on women there’s an obvious application of economic power. Bower mention that women make 80% of consumer buying decisions. She talked about all the products made by the evil Koch brothers and how it is difficult to keep track of their products.
“It’s a difficult thing to remember all the things you’re not supposed to buy,” she said.
So Burner suggested an iPhone application that would scan the product to see “how good it is for you to buy.”
Get women to vote.
Cultural Power – stories we tell about ourselves
Burner spoke of changing the culture through TV and how it’s paid huge cultural dividends. She used as an example the perception of gay people now.
“Because of television, now everybody has a gay best friend whether they do or not.”
This is where Burner talked about coming out about abortion would change the culture to positively value it. She found it offensive that there was still a fight for abortion rights and cultural acceptance.
Perhaps one of the most shocking parts of Burner’s presentation, second only to the abortion talk, was her prescription to gain moral power.
She consistently recommended using people who were innocent to get public opinion on their side. She included the use of children as a means to change public perception. Her examples included an old lady at an Occupy rebellion with a bloodied face and a young teen on the ground.
1. Innocents — the protest has to use innocent children (explicit advocacy for using children)
3. Use of official force
4. Widely communicated
5. Shocks conscience
Burner said that it was about “high time we pass the equal rights amendment.” She suggesting using older women as the face of the campaign. The “American public considers older women to be innocent.” So, older women should be used for the equal rights movement.
Here she talked about proactive steps to combat the War on Women.
What to do in the next year, to go on offense in the War Against Women:
1. Boycott everything that “feeds the Koch brothers machine.”
2. Get women to vote.
3. Court/police power: proactive suits against discrimination; shareholder lawsuits
4. Cultural power: coming out project about women who’ve had abortion
5. Moral power ERA protests
6. Build networks. “One of the biggest holes in the women’s movement. We need a network of networks.”
Darcy Burner’s presentation gives insight to how the left sees women and their place in the world. It is abortion focused and rooted in the past.