Crushing Blow or Landslide Win?

I’m still desperately trying to fully understand their ruling, but an executive summary, as I’m reading the info on the Supreme Court’s ruling on the PPACA:

  • Congress has the power to enforce the individual mandate only if it is structured as a tax (not as a mandate with a penalty).  In other words, they can’t make you buy broccoli directly, but they can tax the crap out of you to pay for broccoli for everyone.  The only good news is that the commerce clause argument was struck down, meaning that Progressives have found some sort of limit on what they can argue falls within Congressional power to regulate interstate commerce.  If they want to do something like this again, they can’t try to argue that it isn’t a tax.
  • The medicaid expansion provision of the law, which includes penalties for states refusing to accept additional medicaid funds from the government, was ruled unconstitutional only in so much as the penalties for the states couldn’t be enforced.  Congress has to the power to be an ATM, but not a thief.  They can give states money, but states have a right to refuse it without penalty.
  • The rest of the law is upheld for now (as the court has not entertained every question).
Several problems with this:
ObamaCare was sold to the American people by Congress as NOT raising taxes.  For the millions of Americans who currently don’t have insurance by CHOICE (because they can’t afford it), they now have only the choice of being taxed or buying insurance.  This ruling is, essentially, the end of any attempts by Conservatives to stop the spread of Congressional power in any way other than voting in a very Republican House AND Senate AND President (the confluence of which will be rare, no matter how well our ideas actually work).  The amazing thing is that, although Verilli argued that the mandate could be viewed as a tax in court, the bill was passed by lying to the American people and claiming it was NOT a tax.  Of course, you won’t be taxed if you buy insurance, but how is there any moral or ethical distinction between holding a gun at someone’s head and saying, “buy this or I’ll blow you away!” and holding out the same gun and saying “you have a choice…you can do what I tell you, you can take the gun and blow YOURSELF away, or I can do it for you?”  I don’t see how taxing people for not doing what the government orders is any less evil than simply charging a fee.  Are we really saying that this is actually a constitutional provision simply because we’ve been calling it the wrong thing all along?  REALLY?
I also don’t see how that can’t be viewed as a huge win for Progressivism.  After all, if all Congress has to do is call something a fee that is ruled by the courts as a tax to get us to buy anything they want, what’s next?  Solar panel ‘mandates’?  Democrat party donation ‘mandates’?
The medicaid thing will help…because there are still 28 red states who will be eager to turn down medicaid funds just to make a point about the Federal Government’s attempted power grab, but on the whole, this decision is disastrous from a legal perspective.
HOWEVER…
This gives Romney two huge gifts in the Presidential election.  First, he can now say that the Dems were lying all along about this not raising your taxes by pointing out that there is now, on the books, a $4000 tax for every American family (less the ones whose employers happen to offer free insurance whose ranks will continue to drop as companies realize that they can’t afford rising premium costs) – they can either pay it by buying insurance or by writing a check to the IRS, but they’re paying it despite Congress telling them there was no tax.  And second, he can now spend the rest of the campaign standing next to an issue and smiling, as they say in “politico” school.  The American people don’t like ObamaCare…that isn’t going to change by November.  Especially if Romney hammers away at it every chance he gets, running on a platform starting with “I’ll repeal this monstrosity!”
I now look forward to Presidential debates…because this issue will be front and center and if Romney can pick Obama apart, it could be a hilariously lopsided election win for Conservatives.
The problem is…even if we win in 2012…we lose the war.  We can overturn laws and reap the rewards, but Progressives have no hard limits on their power to continue to push an agenda favoring gigantic government power and endless government intrusion.  If this Supreme Court won’t stop them…no one will.  I genuinely fear for the country today.
Advertisements

Northern Virginia SWATting

In case the readers here are unaware of the practice, a trend has emerged among certain members of the radical left, particularly apologists for and members of Islamofascist terror groups and far-left socialists – if they decide that you need to be silenced, they find out who you are, call your local police and claim that you have been spotted murdering someone.  This brings the cops to your house wielding very large guns – sometimes even a SWAT team in riot gear holding M4s and clubs to charge your property.  If they don’t manage to get you killed by police mistakenly believing that you’re wielding deadly weapons, they will certainly make you fear for your life and, they hope, think twice about speaking truth to power in the future.

Well, I think it’s important to pass along this story from my old stomping grounds in Northern Virginia.  A man by the name of Aaron Walker was SWATted by a man who tried to frame him for a crime (and failed). Prince William County police came to his home based on reports that he had just killed his wife, but thankfully, they smelled a hoax and didn’t have their really big guns drawn immediately.  The situation was quickly contained, but this trend should terrify us to our very souls.

Read about it here.  And send him some encouragement if you feel moved to support him.

Big Week for Supremes

Today, the Supreme Court issued rulings on some key cases in the Conservative Grist Mill – a split decision regarding Arizona’s controversial (but basically just, IMHO) immigration law and a unanimous ruling against Montana which re-confirmed the right of corporations to finance public election campaigns first codified by Citizen’s United (2010).

On the Arizona law, the Supremes ruled 5-3 against Arizona regarding its right to prosecute individuals or companies for hiring illegal aliens, to execute searches without a warrant if there is reasonable suspicion that a crime may have been committed warranting deportation (on this one I actually agree…sorry Arizona, this is the one part of your law that I think goes too far), and the state’s right to impose fines on aliens working but not carrying valid immigration documents.  It did, however, unanimously (minus the recused Justice Obama…er…Kagan) rule in favor of the state’s right to check the residency status of anyone suspected of being here illegally (the so-called “show your papers” clause), stating that Federal law already requires legal residents to have proof of citizenship if it is requested by law enforcement and that the state law simply makes it easier for police to enforce the existing Federal statues.

In Montana, meanwhile, an attempt by the state to claim that its politics are so corrupted by shady bribes and the like that it should be exempt from Citizen’s United was rejected (though, disturbingly, by party-line 5-4 vote).

Next up…ObamaCae.  A decision is expected Thursday.  We’ll report on it when we have the facts.

The Fortnight for (Religious) Freedom

Catholics, take note: The USCCB is launching a Fortnight for Freedom tomorrow night to pray for the restoration of our religious liberty. Click here to find out where and when Holy Hours and other activities will be held in your diocese, and click here for prayer cards and other resources.

I usually attend the Conservative Soiree at Bull Run Regional Park come the 4th of July, but this year, I will spend the 4th at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception for the Fortnight’s closing mass. I’ll be sure to post a short report after the event!

Bring It, B****es

I’ve been reading the various and sundry articles linked at accumulator-sites like RealClearPolitics.com and the Drudge Report the last couple of days as I anxiously await the Supreme Court’s ruling on the constitutionality of ObamaCare.  I’ve come away with several clear themes from the various left-wing and right-wing commentators and from polling agencies like Rasmussen, Ipsos and PPP.

1) Favorability toward ObamaCare

Rasmussen has been tracking public sentiment toward the ACA for the last year now.  Here are the last six monthly reports, when asked whether they wanted the Supreme Court to overturn the Individual Mandate:

January 2012: 38% favor individual mandate / 51% oppose it
February: 35% favor / 52% oppose
March: 28% favor / 59% oppose
April: 28% favor / 66% oppose
May: 27% favor / 70% oppose
June: 21% favor / 74% oppose

When asked about whether they wanted the Supreme to strike down the ACA in its entirety, here are the last six months:

January: 59% favor keeping some of ACA / 32% want it all gone
February: 58% favor keeping some / 36% all gone
March: 55% / 38%
April: 56% / 42%
May: 52% / 47%
June: 45% / 52%

The trend is clear…the GOP is winning the public debate on the ACA and despite the majority of Americans now not being thrilling with the job performance of the Supremes, they seem to think ObamaCare has unconstitutional elements.

Ipsos ran a survey written with the intent of sounding favorable to democrats (the Dems commissioned the survey)…that wording: “Would you rather that the Affordable Care Act remain in place or that no such reform were enacted?”

44% wanted no such reform, 47% wanted the ACA.  In other words, even if yous tack the deck toward the ACA by offering a false dichotomy (you can either have it our way or no way), the people are evenly split.

2) Favorability toward Obama vs. tone of Obama’s Campaign

I’ve been watching the daily tracking polls and have observed that the more negative Obama runs, the uglier his personal favorability ratings get (sliding belwo 50% for the first time in his entire Presidency as we speak)…in fact there are a slew of articles from left wing pundits today and from the weekend decrying the President’s recent trend toward blaming the slow recovery on Bush.  That’s the LEFT saying this is a bad idea.  They correctly realize that, even if you want to make the case that the Bush years damaged the economy in a way that would have been hard to completely escape by now, it’s the president’s RESPONSIBILITY (not fault…responsibility) to put forward a coherent path out of the mess.  Obama’s first path didn’t work AT ALL and he has no other ideas.  So now, when he gets up there and rehashes the blame Bush doctrine, even Progressives are starting to get irritated.  He recently gave a speech in Ohio that flopped like a fish on the dock and the main reason was that he was using soaring rhetoric in one paragraph and then petty, petulent whining and finger-pointing in the next.  You can’t run on hope and change when your administration has provided no real change and Americans don’t feel much hope…let alone when you spend half of your big speeches whining.

3) The Undertone in Washington

I’ve now read three different articles – one at “The Hill” blog, one at Politico and one in the LA Times, suggesting that Obama and a number of Congressional Democrats are preparing to go to war with the Supreme Court in the hopes of energizing their base if the SCOTUS rules against all or part of ObamaCare.  Reports are that some Dems are actually HOPING that the SCOTUS will rule against the ACA so that they can unleash a torrent of scathing rhetoric attacking the court as a political tool of the Republican party…an activist judiciary bent on opposing the will of the people.  Yes…they really are THAT out of touch with the will of the people.

To all of this, I can only say…

BRING IT, B****ES!!

In all seriousness…I desperately hope that the Dems’ response to a negative ACA ruling is to attack the Supreme Court for making a rational decision supported by the majority of the American people.  The more negative they play, the worse they do, especially when it demonstrates just how lost in their own echo chamber they’ve really become.  It could lead to an historic reversal of fortunes for their party and signal a sweeping victory for the GOP if the GOP’s response to the Dems’ negativity is simply to point and laugh.

Romney’s ads are pretty good at this…pointing and laughing at the hypocracy and creepiness of Progressives.  Let’s go, SCOTUS…I can’t WAIT for the fireworks.

Dear American Catholic Bishops:

Please excommunicate Nancy Pelosi.

We can no longer excuse Pelosi on the grounds that she’s pig ignorant regarding the teachings of the Church. She is pig ignorant, granted, but that is quite clearly a deliberate choice on her part. By now, she has been given plenty of opportunities to receive correct catechesis; indeed, she was recently chastised by none other than the Holy Father himself regarding the Church’s clear and ancient position on life issues. Yet despite this instruction, Pelosi persists in her heretical support of abortion, contraception, and sterilization. This is a scandal that wounds the American Church as a whole.

Pelosi emphatically does not have a right to publicly claim a Catholic identity. Such an identity must be earned by one’s obedience to the Magisterium. Our Church is not a country club in which you can choose to enjoy the pool but not the golf course. It’s a package deal — and if Pelosi can’t handle that, she should be encouraged to do the honorable thing and leave.

Sincerely,
Stephanie S.

Rare Good Op-Ed in the Times (!)

Holy Crap – The NY Times Delivers Real Thought!

In this blog post, Ross Douthat of the NY Times puts forward a theory that’s gaining popularity in Political Science departments around the country – the theory that the increasing polarization and vitriol offered by both parties in Washington and in the many states along the purple front lines in the war for this country is caused by something called “The Politics of Loss.”  He believes, and I think he’s got a great point here, that for fifty years since the end of WWII, America was able to avoid getting into ugly political battles because our economy was almost continuously exploding with revenues that could be taxed without generating pain and suffering for the middle class.  That era is plainly over – liberals had it mostly their way for a long time – the GOP raised spending to fund their idea of social construction and the Dems increased spending to fund their idea of social construction and no one had to raise taxes to painful levels or cut spending for key programs.  To quote Che Guevara in Evita:

“When the money keeps rolling in, you don’t need books.”

But this is a new era…an era of no margins for error, massive, crippling debts, a weak market, and unrest abroad.  An era of expensive wars against terrorist regimes and expensive quests for ideal social safety nets.  The American people have been lulled into a false sense of safety for fifty years, thinking their programs and benefits would always be there for them and now they’re being told the money’s gone.

Douthat is speaking from a personal liberal conviction and observing that his side is weak and not proving to be very good at defending against conservative cavalry raids or at going on the offensive themselves at the state level, but what he might see as his side’s tragic lack of fortitude, I see as the unavoidable weakness of a position based on bad logic, doctored history and the lack of moral foundations.  Today’s Democrats can’t propose a budget that the people would accept because their ideas didn’t work, still can’t work, and they know it.  They can’t go on the offensive when Walker cripples public sector unions because public sector unions are crushing state budgets and have been for thirty years…and they KNOW it!  They can’t formulate a solid party platform and execute it because all of the ideas have been tested and have failed the test.  They are paralyzed by their own incompetence.

This is a war to save the country from collapsing under the weight of its own arrogance – both parties contributed to that arrogance, but one party is now trying to push back.  The other side is weak…their lines are collapsing.  Now is the time for confident aggression (not the physical type…this is a metaphorical war, not one waged with guns and knifes)…when you have a chance for final victory, you have to take it, and there can be no fear.  The GOP has the edge in public opinion on the key issues of the day…if they can convert that into solid majorities in the House and Senate, further gains at the state level and Romney in the White House come November…they will need to go “all in.”  No half-measures, no compromises, no kowtowing to special interests.  If they falter, the left will again get the upper hand as happened in France…and we will be well and truly screwed.

The Good News Just Keeps Coming

While the conservative blogosphere is appropriately giddy over Scott Walker’s win, let’s not forget that there were other local elections yesterday — and other big victories for fiscal sanity. For instance:

  •  In San Diego, a ballot measure calling for pension reform for new city hires passed 66-33.
  • In San Jose, a similar ballot measure passed 70-30.

And just in case you were curious, San Diego and San Jose are hardly reliable Republican strongholds. Both cities went to Obama in 2008.

Yes, yes, I know — as Glenn Reynolds has repeatedly reminded us, “Don’t get cocky, kid.” But I don’t think we’re wrong to interpret these election outcomes as a sign that we’re winning the argument in re: the power of public sector unions. Evidently, even moderate liberals are smart enough to notice that the growth of a city’s pension liabilities and the quality of its municipal services are inversely related. As more and more money is devoted to feeding the retirement behemoth, current city employees are laid off by the thousands, libraries close, and potholes go unrepaired — and people are understandably fed up with this nonsense.

Look — my late granddaddy was a union man (in the private sector), so I’m not 100% opposed to the concept. If the unions were truly representing their rank-and-file members in legitimate disputes with their employers, I’d stamp them with my seal of approval. Unfortunately, that’s not what today’s unions are doing — a reality revealed by all the employees who immediately stop paying their dues the moment a Right to Work measure is passed. Even the workers themselves are sick of their unions’ corruption and hard-left refusal to be reasonable. Which means we should follow Scott Walker’s example and continue to calmly but doggedly press the issue. 

Obamacare Ruling Imminent

The Supremes took their initial votes on March 30th, so say the press corps that have been trailing the Obamacare case.  In the last couple of months since that date, the press has pushed the case to the back-burner while Obama officials have been quoted as saying that the President is alerting his allies that he will likely need to revisit healthcare in a second term.

NRO has some open speculation as to the meaning of these quiet murmurs of concern from Obama’s people, and I’m gonna take a wild guess that the individual mandate has been struck down (YAY!) but the rest of the law has not (meaning Romney will have to do it himself WHEN he wins the White House, as he seems increasingly likely to do with recent polling trends in swing states looking very encouraging).

The behemoth that is Obamacare will have to be rewritten considerably if that mandate is struck down…and that will introduce market uncertainty for a time…BUT…the mandate was the scariest part of the bill for small businesses, who were going to be required to either buy into the Government system or purchase equivalent plans for all of their employees.  This could do Obama a favor by causing a mild jobs spike on the eve of the election as employers breathe a bit easier about new hires.

We’ll know in a few days.  Here’s hoping the conventional wisdom holds up.

Big Night for GOP: Scott Walker Clobbers Tom Barrett in Recall Effort

Well, the organized effort of the giant three-headed hydra of public-sector unions, Occupy Madison types and establishment DNC forces all working to dethrone the Republican with the stones to do the logical, necessary thing and attack the source of Wisconsin’s budget problems (the public sector unions)…has failed in its tantrum-like quest.  And failed badly.

Tom Barrett has lost Wisconsin a second time, and this time likely by an even larger margin than last time.

Pardon me for a moment…

NEENER NEENER NEEEEEENER!!
NEENER NEENER NEEEEEENER!!

*ahem*

Sorry…it had to be said. 🙂