Despotism vs. the Constitution

Even though the Senate, by a strictly partisan vote, refused to pass Obamacare repeal, the initial steps in that direction have been taken. More steps will follow. This can be frustrating to those who want to see sweeping change immediately, but rarely does anything change that quickly. This is a long-term commitment, but its progress can be measured, bit by bit:

I remember the arrogance with which it was proclaimed as a “big deal.” Well, now that big deal isn’t on quite as steady ground. Two federal judges have declared it unconstitutional, and really, it doesn’t take a law degree to grasp just how fundamentally it violates the Constitution. In fact, some people with law degrees are positively clueless when it comes to judging constitutionality:

The passage of Obamacare was no more than a power play. The president had the numbers in Congress, so he pushed it through regardless of the will of the majority in the nation—and there’s no way he can say he didn’t realize how much resistance there was to his healthcare plan. In effect, he simply made it happen in the face of strong opposition. There’s a definition for that type of political leader:

Despotic rulers are not the sole possession of Third World countries and Islamic kingdoms. It’s time we recognize what we are experiencing here.

The Promised Land of Restored Constitutionalism

As almost anyone who pays any attention to politics probably knows by now, the lawsuit against Obamacare by twenty-six states received a favorable ruling yesterday. Federal District Court Judge Roger Vinson concluded that the law was a violation of the Constitution since it mandated that people buy health insurance.

Judge Vinson

Vinson went further than the Virginia judge who ruled against the law a number of weeks ago. Instead of declaring that only one part of the law was unconstitutional, he noted that you cannot sever that one part from the whole: since that one part was so foundational to the statute, the entire law is unconstitutional. That makes eminent sense.

Already the law’s backers are challenging the ruling. The Obama administration calls the decision “judicial activism.” How ironic. Obama stretches constitutional provisions beyond recognition, while Judge Vinson calls us back to original intent, and Vinson is the activist? There’s an academic term for that: baloney.

While this is an important milestone in the drive to overturn Obamacare, it isn’t the last word. It will be appealed through the system until it arrives on the steps of the Supreme Court, and there’s still no telling how the Court will rule.

Meanwhile, Sen. Jim DeMint has prepared an Obamacare repeal bill for the Senate, following on the House’s vote for repeal earlier. At last report, DeMint had all forty-seven Republican senators on board. That’s almost unheard of, considering who some of those senators are. All it will take is for four Democrats to come over to the Republicans’ side and this could be sent to the president’s desk. Yes, it will be vetoed if that occurs, but the sense of the entire Congress will be clear and Obama will be the lone obstruction. In a nation where more than 50% of the electorate (particularly among those who are most likely to vote) wants it repealed, he will suffer politically for his stubborn resistance to constitutional limitations.

Most of what Obama has proposed is unconstitutional; beyond that, none of it has ever worked for anyone else, so why believe it will work here?

There’s a lot that needs to be reversed after the past two years. The Promised Land of restored constitutionalism is not yet in view, but one gets a feeling we’re at least marching in the right direction.

Obamacare's Fate

The House vote to repeal Obamacare was the fulfillment of a pledge to the electorate. Thus far, Republicans have kept their promise. Even though Harry Reid has said he will not allow any debate on the measure in the Senate, Republican leaders in that body are saying they have ways to make it happen. Again, it appears they are remaining faithful to the platform on which they ran in November.

It is possible that a few Democrat senators, particularly those who feel vulnerable in the upcoming 2012 elections, may jump ship and join with the Republicans if they can force a vote. If that happens, it will then all be on the president’s shoulders if he vetoes the bill. It will be him versus the Congress, making it clear to the American people that he is the obstacle to true reform. He may not like being in that position.

The “third” opinion may come from the courts. There are now 26 states combined together in one lawsuit to overturn the healthcare law, making the case that it is unconstitutional. That means that more than half the states don’t want it. This may be the quickest and most efficient route for its demise.

Forcing anyone to buy health insurance is so far removed from constitutional authority that, in a better political world, there shouldn’t even be a debate about it. But we live in this world instead, so we will have to be patient and wait for this to run its course.

Repealing Obamacare

Finally. Debate began yesterday in the House of Representatives over a bill that would repeal Obamacare. Republicans ran on this message for the November elections, so they are holding true to their promise. They are doing what their constituents required of them:

The monster has not yet been fully implemented, so now is a perfect time to kill it [oops, I ventured into dangerous dialogue territory—please, don’t anyone take that too seriously. Remember, Sarah Palin is to blame for everything, not me.]

Democrats are declaring that this would be a big mistake because repeal would raise the deficit, while keeping it would reduce the deficit. Proof? Why, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says so. Yes, as long as it is constrained to use the phony numbers given to it by Democrat leaders. There’s a principle at work here:

It is true, though, that Republicans are going to have to be in this struggle for the long haul. Repeal is not going to occur soon:

Harry Reid has already promised that if the House passes the repeal bill, he won’t allow it to come to a vote in the Senate. If only all the Senate seats had been up for that last election instead of just one-third. I do believe in the Founders’ provision to stagger the Senate elections for the sake of stability, but sometimes it would be nice to have wholesale “repeal” of most of these senators:

But at least one thing will change. In light of last week’s call for civility, we can be sure that a new tone will be set in these debates, right? Right?

Sometimes, a public repentance isn’t what it appears to be. We’ll see.

Pelosi vs. Reality

There are times when a statement by a politician is so far from reality that it takes a while to be able to come up with a response other than laughter.

For instance, in case you missed it, Nancy Pelosi, defending her four years as House Speaker made this astounding claim:

“Deficit reduction has been a high priority for us. It is our mantra, pay-as-you-go.”

When I first heard her say this, I thought perhaps I had misunderstood, but it becomes more ludicrous each time the soundbite is played. Here are the facts:

When the Pelosi Democrats took control of Congress on January 4, 2007, the national debt stood at $8,670,596,242,973.04. The last day of the 111th Congress and Pelosi’s Speakership on December 22, 2010 the national debt was $13,858,529,371,601.09 – a roughly $5.2 trillion increase in just four years. Furthermore, the year over year federal deficit has roughly quadrupled during Pelosi’s four years as speaker, from $342 billion in fiscal year 2007 to an estimated $1.6 trillion at the end of fiscal year 2010.

She also claims that the Democrats were “all about market-oriented solutions” and that the reason the unemployment rate is so high is due to [are you ready for this?] the policies of George W. Bush. There just doesn’t seem to be any statute of limitations on this blame game. Businesses, however, know why things have been so bad:

Pelosi’s comments beg the question: does she really believe what she is saying? Option one: she does believe it, thereby showing how blind a person can become when wedded to a false ideology. What the apostle Paul said with respect to people being blind to the Gospel message can have application here as well:

And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case  the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ. [2 Corinthians 4:3-3]

In this case, she is blinded from seeing the truth because she already has a predetermined philosophy that keeps her in the darkness.

Option 2: she doesn’t really believe what she is saying but hopes to mislead the public and return to power in two years. 

I’m not really sure which option is the case, but if the first, she is out of touch with reality—and if the second, her character disqualifies her from public service.

There are always those who will be fooled, either because they are enmeshed in false ideas—or for other reasons:

That part of the electorate can always be counted on to remain faithful to whatever policies “progressive” leadership enacts. Others, though, are becoming more skeptical:

In fact, the number of skeptics is growing and becoming quite vocal, as witnessed by the events of the past two years and the election results:

May true enlightenment continue, and may the veil that blinds the people be pulled aside.

Watch the Back Door

Now that the House is Republican, probably no radical legislation is going to succeed. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that there are other ways an administration can try to achieve its agenda. We have to be alert to those possibilities:

Last week, some alert observers noticed that the end-of-life provision [a.k.a., death panels] that had to be excised from Obamacare because of the uproar created over the government determining whether or not someone would be allowed to receive treatment, reared its head again on the administrative side, bypassing the Congress.

Once again, Obama officials had to back down, but this is only a temporary change, I’m sure. It will reappear, primarily because the man at the top believes he should have his way regardless of the obstacles:

The largest obstacle he has to overcome, of course, is the Constitution itself, but I don’t think he cares that much about it:

If he doesn’t take the Constitution seriously, we have to provide the balance. Are we too late?

It’s true that we are in dire straits, but the situation is not hopeless. I continue to believe that hope exists.

Return of the Constitution

I remember standing in the freezing rain outside the Capitol on inaugural day 2001, watching George W. Bush replace Bill Clinton as president. It’s hard to describe the relief that swept through the crowd once he took the oath of office. Eight years of one of the sleaziest episodes in American presidential history had mercifully come to an end.

I wasn’t present on Wednesday when the Republicans once again took control of the House of Representatives, but something similar to that 2001 feeling returned. At least one step had been taken to redeem the congressional follies of the past four years.

I’m not going to speculate what was going through John Boehner’s mind in this picture as he held the gavel, but for many of us, this political cartoon captures the emotion accurately:

New Speaker Boehner, once Nancy Pelosi finally yielded the floor to him, gave a sober, humble address about taking care of the nation’s business. While Boehner is not a charismatic speaker, he spoke words of truth. Aren’t we tired yet of charismatic speakers who spout little else but platitudes? Wednesday’s transfer of authority will hopefully give us more responsible leadership in the House:

Then yesterday, the new Republican leadership made its first order of business a reading of the Constitution on the House floor. Critics called it a publicity stunt, yet when all members were sworn in, what were they pledging to do? Uphold the Constitution. Why then is the reading of the document they pledge to follow and maintain a stunt? I fear that for some of those representatives, this was the first time they’ve heard some of these provisions.

Yes, I know it won’t change anyone’s mind about what is constitutional. Progressives will mouth the pledge and proceed to undermine the authority of the Constitution. But reading it publicly served a good purpose—it was a reminder to the entire nation that lawmakers are not supposed to flout its authority. The Republicans’ new rule that each piece of legislation must also include a specific constitutional authorization serves that same purpose. Some lawmakers will have to be very creative to provide their constitutional rationales for what they want. At the very least, it opens up a much-needed debate on original intent.

For many years, I have been a voice calling for a return to the governmental limitations found in the Constitution. Please forgive me if I feel a sense of elation at this turn of events. I realize that this is only a beginning, and that the representatives’ resolve will be tested, but I rejoice still to see this day. Will even better days arrive?