Prospects For The Individual Mandate

are poor, constitutionally speaking. And the great thing is that because the idiots couldn’t find room in a two-thousand-page bill for a severability clause, the entire atrocity will be struck down.

As Somin points out, if this stands, there is essentially no limit to what the federal government can impose on an individual. This was amply illustrated by the back and forth between Elena Kagan and Tom Coburn, when she essentially (and unwittingly) admitted as much. In fact, she got it exactly backwards. A law requiring all Americans to eat a minimum amount of fruits and vegetables a day might actually be a smart, not a stupid one, but it would be unconstitutional. Which is one of many reasons why she should not have been confirmed, and will be a disaster for limited government for decades.

Man, Hitler Is Having A Really Bad Week

First the Dems losing the House big time, and now this.

I have to say, though, that the substitution of “Olbermann” for “Steiner” is a little jarring, given that they’re both German names (hey, I never thought how appropriate his name was until now…). I’m sure that people fluent in German have to find these quite annoying. But for the rest of us, they’re the gift that keeps on giving.

I Don’t Want A Government That Is “Pro Business”

I want one that is for the free market.

Yes, I know that I’ve been complaining that the administration has been anti-business, and it has been, particularly with all of the uncertainty that it’s engendered, with businesspeople not knowing what new atrocity and attack on profits it’s going to commit. But that doesn’t mean that I want it to be subsidizing politically favored business (including energy businesses, of all flavors) either.

Serve Up A Nice Steaming Plate Of Crow

…for Stu Rothenberg. From April of last year:

Over the past couple of weeks, at least three Republicans — House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (Va.), former Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) and campaign consultant Tony Marsh — have raised the possibility of the GOP winning back the House of Representatives next year.

That idea is lunacy and ought to be put to rest immediately.

None of the three actually predicted that Republicans would gain the 40 seats that they need for a majority, but all three held out hope that that’s possible. It isn’t.

So how seriously should we take his prognostications now?

Record Books

They were shattered in Ann Arbor yesterday.

The teams appeared to be evenly matched, but I think that was misleading. What those watching saw was a well-balanced (offense/defense) team play a team with a monster offense, and one of the worst defenses in the nation. Michigan’s offense made Illinois’ defense look much worse than it was, and their defense made Illinois’ offense look much better than it was, so it looked as though it was a purely offensive battle with poor defense on both sides. I have to say, though, that despite the score, Michigan’s defense was looking better than it had been, with some key stops (especially, of course, the final one that won the game by preventing the two-point conversion). Of course, it will have to continue to improve if they’re to have any hope of beating Wisconsin and Ohio State.

[Update Monday morning]

Without looking it up, I’m guessing that Michigan now has another (dubious) record — points allowed while still winning (65).

Egotism Over Pragmatism

On the political tone deafness (and political incompetence) of the White House. On the one hand, it’s frightening to have such clueless people running the country. On the other, given that there’s no signs that they will change, it will make the inevitable political retribution all the more useful and satisfying two years hence.

I’ve never bought into the media myth that Obama won because he was a brilliant campaigner and politician. It was the result of a confluence of events (anger at Republicans, incompetent campaign by McCain, economic meltdown in the middle of the campaign, desire to prove we weren’t racist by giving the black guy a chance, etc.) that allowed him to get into the White House, and that are not going to realign in 2012. But I hope that Axelrod, Plouffe, et al continue to believe in their own mythology, because it will prevent them from learning from their mistakes and actually putting together a competent campaign.

[Update a few minutes later]

Obama was to the Democrats what Watergate was to the Republicans. If so, that’s bad news for them, but good news for the country. Imagine how bad 1976 would have been if Nixon had been running again.

[Update a few minutes later]

How the mighty have fallen, and not just Barack Obama:

All pundits, including yours truly, get it wrong sometimes, and normally there would be little point in dwelling on past blunders. But it this case, it is worth exhuming these vaporous and embarrassing stupidities for a few moments. Many of our nation’s intellectual leaders wonder why the rest of the country isn’t more respectful of their claims to be guided by and speak for the cool voice of celestial reason. That so many of them gushed over Barack Obama with all of the profundity of reflection and intellectual distance of tweeners at a Justin Bieber concert should help them understand why their claims of superior wisdom are sometimes met with caustic cynicism.

A significant chunk of the American liberal intelligentsia completely lost its head over Barack Obama. They mistook hopes and fantasies for reality. Worse, the disease spread to at least some members of the White House team. An administration elected with a mandate to stabilize the country misread the political situation and came to the belief that the country wanted the kinds of serious and deep changes that liberals have wanted for decades. It was 1933, and President Obama was the new FDR.

They did not perceive just how wrong they were; nor did they understand how the error undermined the logical case they wanted to make in favor of a bigger role for government guided by smart, well-credentialed liberal wonks. Give us more power because we understand the world better than you do, was the message. We are so smart, so well-credentialed, so careful to read all the best papers by all the certified experts that the recommendations we make and the regulations we write, however outlandish and burdensome they look to all you non-experts out there, are certain to work. Trust us because we are always right, and only fools and charlatans would be so stupid as to disagree.

They’ve got a big problem — we’ve figured out who the real fools and charlatans were and are. It will take at least one more election to purge the system, though. Fortunately, they continue to behave in such a way as to ensure that will happen.

[Update a couple mintues later]

This is an important point, too, that the administration obviously still doesn’t understand:

The President, for all his virtues, lacks the essential gift of a great orator: the power to persuade. If you already agree with Barack Obama, you will be inspired and uplifted by his ability to express your common convictions in dignified and patriotic terms. If you don’t agree with him, you are unlikely to be convinced.

I find him negatively convincing, myself, and always have.

If You Can Get Through This Entire Article

…you have a stronger stomach than me:

…when I see Obama on television, I’m unfailingly struck by his intelligence and charisma, by his easygoing humor, by the magnificence of his megawatt smile. He just makes me proud. Perhaps this is where I should admit that if there are two categories of Obama critics — conservatives who never liked the guy and have in some cases become unhinged since he was elected, and centrists or Democrats who voted for him but now feel let down — I have more in common with the unhinged nut jobs. My Obama admiration is a kind of emotional inverse of the right-wing Obama antipathy: I can pretend it’s all about policy, but in truth, it’s much more personal. Where his detractors dislike him because of, say, that Muslim vibe he gives off, I like him for similarly nebulous, albeit slightly more factual reasons.

I like that he’s married to—and seemingly still quite taken with—a strong, opinionated, gorgeous woman, and that he has two ridiculously cute daughters. I like his mind-bendingly multicultural extended family. I like that in a campaign interview in Glamour magazine, he could fluently and unabashedly talk about Pap smears. I thought that the beer summit of 2009 was delightful. I was even excited when Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize, not realizing until pundits explained otherwise that I was supposed to be aghast at its prematurity.

Jeez, get a room.

Culture Clash

An interesting article on the divide between pro- and anti-gun cultures in America. And it’s about a lot more than guns:

“The intensity of passion on this issue suggests to me that we are experiencing a sort of low-grade war going on between two alternative views of what America is and ought to be. On the one side are those who take bourgeois Europe as a model of a civilized society: a society just, equitable, and democratic; but well ordered, with the lines of authority clearly drawn, and with decisions made rationally and correctly by intelligent men for the entire nation. To such people, hunting is atavistic, personal violence is shameful, and uncontrolled gun ownership is a blot upon civilization.

“On the other side is a group people who do not tend to be especially articulate or literate, and whose world view is rarely expressed in print. Their model is that of the independent frontiersman who takes care of himself and his family with no interference from the state. They are conservative in the sense that they cling to America’s unique pre-modern tradition—a non-feudal society with a sort of medieval liberty at large for everyman. To these people, ‘sociological’ is an epithet. Life is tough and competitive. Manhood means responsibility and caring for your own.”

“That really kind of spells it out,” Reynolds says. “It is a division between two very different views not only of American society, but also life itself.”

It’s really a low-grade cultural civil war going back to colonial times. But one side is a lot better trained and armed so, fortunately for the other side, it hasn’t turned into a shooting war.

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!