The Weakness Of The Case For ObamaCare

Some useful thoughts from James Taranto:

In defense of Marshall, he runs a political blog and is not a lawyer. But our sense is that he accurately captures, as well as mirrors, the prevailing mentality of those on the progressive left who are lawyers. They refused to take seriously the argument that ObamaCare is constitutionally infirm, and they are now realizing that was a mistake.

We recall a conversation with a young liberal lawyer we met at an event in late March, a few days after the House passed ObamaCare. When we pointed out that there were likely to be court challenges to the new law, particularly the mandate to purchase insurance, she was dismissive. She asserted that the constitutional questions were well settled. When we offered arguments to the contrary, she did not engage them but became emphatic to the point of belligerence, insisting that it was “crazy” to harbor any doubts about the constitutionality of ObamaCare.

Our position was not that ObamaCare was clearly unconstitutional or that it was likely to be struck down, merely that there were serious constitutional arguments against it that had some possibility of prevailing. This modest claim so shocked our new acquaintance that an initially pleasant encounter turned rancorous and left us feeling she had insulted our intelligence.

Don’t worry, we got over our hurt feelings. But the dismissive attitude we encountered in that conversation and again in Marshall’s post leads us to think that the pro-ObamaCare side may not be prepared to mount a convincing legal defense. If there were five Stephen Breyers on the Supreme Court, they wouldn’t need to. But there are only four. If the Obama administration’s lawyers are to win over Justice Anthony Kennedy, they’ll have to do a lot better than arguing that the other side’s case is stupid, crazy and laughable.

And yet, based on the evidence, they don’t seem to be capable of it. Remember Crazy Nancy’s cackles of “Are you serious?! Are you serious?!” Yes, we were.

This is just a special case of the general proposition that the left, because it has cocooned itself in academia, the Beltway and the mainstream media, and excluded those with other views, isn’t used to actually having to defend its views, and when confronted with actual arguments against them, has to resort to “hater,” “racist,” “wingnut,” etc. It’s arguments, such as they are, are hothouse flowers that can’t survive in the wild. And probably won’t survive the SCOTUS, either.

The Two Californias

And one of them is making the other into part of the Third World:

Many of the rural trailer-house compounds I saw appear to the naked eye no different from what I have seen in the Third World. There is a Caribbean look to the junked cars, electric wires crisscrossing between various outbuildings, plastic tarps substituting for replacement shingles, lean-tos cobbled together as auxiliary housing, pit bulls unleashed, and geese, goats, and chickens roaming around the yards. The public hears about all sorts of tough California regulations that stymie business — rigid zoning laws, strict building codes, constant inspections — but apparently none of that applies out here.

It is almost as if the more California regulates, the more it does not regulate. Its public employees prefer to go after misdemeanors in the upscale areas to justify our expensive oversight industry, while ignoring the felonies in the downtrodden areas, which are becoming feral and beyond the ability of any inspector to do anything but feel irrelevant. But in the regulators’ defense, where would one get the money to redo an ad hoc trailer park with a spider web of illegal bare wires?

As far as I’m concerned, the people in Sacramento are criminals against humanity. But the Californians continue to reelect them, voting to hit the iceberg.

[Update a few minutes later]

Here’s some more:

I think it fair to say that the predominant theme of the Chicano and Latin American Studies program’s sizable curriculum was a fuzzy American culpability. By that I mean that students in those classes heard of the sins of America more often than its attractions. In my home town, Mexican flag decals on car windows are far more common than their American counterparts.

I note this because hundreds of students here illegally are now terrified of being deported to Mexico. I can understand that, given the chaos in Mexico and their own long residency in the United States. But here is what still confuses me: If one were to consider the classes that deal with Mexico at the university, or the visible displays of national chauvinism, then one might conclude that Mexico is a far more attractive and moral place than the United States.

So there is a surreal nature to these protests: something like, “Please do not send me back to the culture I nostalgically praise; please let me stay in the culture that I ignore or deprecate.” I think the DREAM Act protestors might have been far more successful in winning public opinion had they stopped blaming the U.S. for suggesting that they might have to leave at some point, and instead explained why, in fact, they want to stay. What it is about America that makes a youth of 21 go on a hunger strike or demonstrate to be allowed to remain in this country rather than return to the place of his birth?

I think I know the answer to this paradox. Missing entirely in the above description is the attitude of the host, which by any historical standard can only be termed “indifferent.” California does not care whether one broke the law to arrive here or continues to break it by staying. It asks nothing of the illegal immigrant — no proficiency in English, no acquaintance with American history and values, no proof of income, no record of education or skills. It does provide all the public assistance that it can afford (and more that it borrows for), and apparently waives enforcement of most of California’s burdensome regulations and civic statutes that increasingly have plagued productive citizens to the point of driving them out. How odd that we overregulate those who are citizens and have capital to the point of banishing them from the state, but do not regulate those who are aliens and without capital to the point of encouraging millions more to follow in their footsteps. How odd — to paraphrase what Critias once said of ancient Sparta — that California is at once both the nation’s most unfree and most free state, the most repressed and the wildest.


[Update a few minutes later]

Hasta la vista, Failure:

Schwarzenegger never grew beyond the role of a clueless political narcissist. As the state sunk into an ever deeper fiscal crisis, he continued to expend his energy on the grandiose and beyond the point: establishing a Californian policy for combating climate change, boosting an unaffordable High-Speed Rail system, and even eliminating plastic bags. These may be great issues of import, but they are far less pressing than a state’s descent into insolvency.

The Terminator came into office ostensibly to reform California politics, reduce taxation and “blow up the boxes” of the state’s bureaucracy. He failed on all three counts. The California political system–particularly after the GOP’s November Golden State wipeout–is, if anything, more dominated by public employee unions and special interests (including “green” venture capitalists) than when Gray Davis ruled. Taxes, despite efforts by members of Schwarzenegger’s own Republican Party, have steadily increased, mostly in the form of sales and other regressive taxes. The bureaucracy, with its huge pension costs, continued to swell until this year even as state unemployment climbed well over double digits.

Schwarzenegger’s fiscal street cred was undermined by his support for unessential new bond issues for such things as stem cell research and high-speed rail. He threw financial prudence out the window in order to appease his business cronies and faithful media claque, particularly those working for mainstream eastern media.

The idiotic climate bill, which the voters idiotically continue to support in November (mostly because of the deceptive add campaign) was the last straw for me. Girlie man. And I’ll bet that Maria was a big part of the reason.

How Does That Work?

Aren’t appropriations bills supposed to originate in the House? How does Harry Reid come up with an omnibus?

[Update a while later]

As is noted in comments, I was thinking of revenue bills, not spending bills.

[Update a while later]

Why so many? 13% of the people still approve of Congress. What is wrong with them?

[Update a couple minutes later]

The zombie Congress stumbles along. The really frightening thing about this zombie is that it doesn’t even have a brain to shoot.


The Media Will Be Quite Disappointed

The Panama city shooter wasn’t exactly a Tea Partier:

Clay Duke, the man who opened fire on a Florida school board Tuesday, posted a “last testament” on Facebook decrying the wealthy and linking to a slew of progressive sites including and

Doesn’t matter, of course — they’ll just lie about it, and call him a “violent right winger.” Because “right wingers” are violent by definition, right? Or perhaps they’ll just pretend he didn’t exist, though if he really were a “right winger,” there would be endless blathering by the lefty punditocracy about how the violent rhetoric of the racist Tea Partiers encouraged him. After all, these are the same hacks who still say that Tim McVeigh was a Christian.

[Update a while later]

Related: Guess which party the media never mentions the Westboro Baptist Church is affiliated with?

A Question For Leftists

Are there any limitations on the federal government under the Constitution?

[Update a while later]

I don’t know if Radley’ site is still down, but meanwhile, via Paul Hsieh at Facebook, the nation’s political history in two lines:

Our political history in two lines:
“The Constitution is the guide which I never will abandon.” – G. Washington
“The Constitution? Are you serious?” – N. Pelosi

I don’t think she was serious when she took her oath of office. Then again, neither was George Bush, in that regard.

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