Wednesday, June 20, 2012
- On The Bleachers
This quizzical AP piece caught my attention day before last because one reporter echoing the story changed “full speed” quote to “ramming speed.” So I got to think about one of my favorite pictures of all time – the Deathmobile emerging from the multicolor smoke bombs. The AP piece is sinking beneath the news flow sediment, except for an interview with the articulate and left thinking Gerry Connolly. These show a glimpse of the general shape of the administration spin and media coverage that will follow when the Supreme Court cuts the commerce clause cake.
The AP piece relies on a “leading Democrat familiar with the administration's thinking” and “a high-level Capitol Hill staffer,” who said that, in the event the Supreme Court finds the individual mandate unconstitutional, but severable, "Legislatively we can't do a thing, and we are going to move full speed ahead (with implementation)." No big deal, really.
The reporter goes on, however, to provide some unattributed analysis on the commerce clause argument, which I think is spin originating from the sources. It casts conservatives as rigid ideologues: “Opponents say the requirement that individuals have coverage is unconstitutional, that the federal government can't tell people to obtain particular goods or services.” It then portrays statists as intelligent problem solvers: “Supporters say the mandate is a necessary component of a broader scheme to regulate health insurance, which is well within the powers of Congress. By requiring people to carry health insurance or pay a fine, the law seeks to broaden the pool of people with coverage, helping to keep premiums affordable.” The statists score first by defining the argument.
Connolly was a great choice to clarify the rest of the gibberish in the AP piece. He believes passionately that expanding the state will best serve the underserved, he understands the law and he speaks well. He concludes, as have I, that Obamacare cannot stand in its entirety without the individual mandate. He is poised to say that if the Court finds no constitutional power to compel the purchase of insurance, “One of the most partisan courts we’ve had since the 1930s” illegitimately “second-guess[ed] the legitimate decision made by the elected representatives of the people,” which is biggest mistake since Plessy v. Ferguson, where the Court allowed slavery and Dred Scott v. Sandford, which “actually nullified the Missouri Compromise, and it led directly to the Civil War.” He went on, “I would hope he [the President] would criticize the Supreme Court for such a radical intrusion in the constitutional role of the Congress of the United States.” I have to admit, I didn’t see the race baiting part of it coming. Hat tip to Mr. Connolly and score 2 for statists and 0 for the forces of liberty.
I am not foolish enough to think that the media will give air to the present Romney campaign thinking about how to portray the loss of the individual mandate. We know Mr. Romney has said the entire law should be repealed, which sets up cloaking himself in a mantle of correctness. Perhaps he will say that without Obamacare, the lights will stay on at old jobs, a message that well targets battleground states. Perhaps the markets will show evidence before November that a gigantic weight on small business has been lifted. I just hope that the Romney campaign doesn’t stay on the bleachers too long, so it ends up on the ground making use of Marion Wormer’s other thumb.