When Things Ain’t Over Till They’re Over (Fortnight: Day 08)
“It's always darkest just before they turn the lights on.” (Do you know where that line is from?)
By now, most Americans are aware of the five-to-four decision of the United States Supreme Court, which declared that the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) was constitutional. But that wasn't the big surprise. It was, rather, that the tie-breaker was not the perennial swing-voter Justice Anthony Kennedy, but the presumedly-conservative Chief Justice John Roberts. From sea to shining sea, those who were against the health care bill are wringing their hands. "This is the end of America as we know it," was the declaration of one right-wing yahoo who sends e-mails to yours truly every day
Let's keep a few things in mind.
One and a half centuries ago, the Supreme Court declared, in the Dred Scott decision, that slaves were property, not persons. A century later, their right to vote was affirmed by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Four decades ago, the Supreme Court said that a woman had a right to kill her unborn baby. That ruling may crumble under its own weight within the next decade. And now, we are told we have to buy something we may not want, or pay a penalty which the President says is not a tax, but which Chief Justice Roberts says ... is. At least he's honest.
That might be why Erick Erickson is taking the news rather well.
Roberts forces everyone to deal with the issue as a political, not a legal issue. In the past twenty years, Republicans have punted a number of issues to the Supreme Court asking the Court to save us from ourselves. They can’t do that with Roberts .. [I]n forcing us to deal with this politically, the Democrats are going to have a hard time running to November claiming the American people need to vote for them to preserve Obamacare. It remains deeply, deeply unpopular with the American people. If they want to make a vote for them a vote for keeping a massive tax increase, let them try.
Then my Close and Personal Friend Steve Skojec drew my attention to a piece writing in The Atlantic, of how Roberts may have had the early landmark case of Madison v Marbury in mind.
And then there's Sarah Palin, a regular Pollyanna about the whole thing.
Thank you, SCOTUS. This Obamacare ruling fires up the troops as America’s eyes are opened! Thank God ... We now see that this is the largest tax increase in history. It will slam every business owner and every one of the 50% of Americans who currently pay their taxes ...
The thing is, she's right. While the rest of you wait for what Justice Antonin Scalia calls "nine hot-shot lawyers" to save you, you don't bother to save yourselves. The House of Representatives (guys you can vote for, unlike judges) can already vote to repeal, or at least defund, Obamacare. And if Romney wins the election AND the Republicans get sixty seats in the Senate (for whom you can also vote in or out), both sides of the Hill will kill it, and Romney (hey, there's another guy you can actually elect) will sign the death warrant.
I know what you're thinking right now. Yes, Romney pushed socialized medicine while Governor of Massachusetts. There's a big difference, my dear minions. That was a state program; this is a Federal program. Under our Constitution, states have the power to do things that are not given to the Federal government. You'd know that if you cracked open a book on the subject every now and then.
So you see, all is not lost, but you can't just sit there and wait for a knight on a white horse to rescue you from yourself and your abysmal ignorance of the laws and governance that affects you.
So quit your damn bitching, America, and get to work.
ADDENDUM: Hey, I forgot to include what Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal said:
“Ironically, the Supreme Court has decided to be far more honest about Obamacare than Obama was. They rightly have called it a tax. Today’s decision is a blow to our freedoms. The Court should have protected our constitutional freedoms, but remember it was the President that forced this law on us.
“The American people did not want or approve of Obamacare then, and they do not now. Americans oppose it because it will decrease the quality of health care in America, raise taxes, cut Medicare, and break the bank. All of this is still true. Republicans must drive hard toward repeal, this is no time to go weak in the knees.”