Doing My Thinking for Me

As I sit here to write this blog entry today, I’m particularly tired. It was a good week at the university in the sense that I got to teach a lot, but that’s the reason why I’m so tired. I guess I don’t have quite the same stamina as earlier in my life. Could age have something to do with that? Surely not.

Anyway, I’ve decided that since my brain is not at peak efficiency right now, I’ll allow some of the cartoons I’ve been storing do my thinking for me. Here are a couple on that whole blame game initiated by the Tucson shooting:

Obamacare is always a wonderful target:

And did you read about the head of General Electric becoming one of Obama’s chief advisors? I’m sure there’s no conflict of interest there:

Finally, just for fun:

I’m grateful for those who can step in and carry the day when I’m not up to it. I promise to do my own thinking again very soon.

The Civility Ploy

Tonight is the State of the Union Address.  I predict that the two words we’ll hear repeatedly are “civility” and “investment.” The latter has to do with more government spending disguised as “investing in our future.” The former is now the new catchword for politics.

I believe in civility. While I do have a sense of humor and like to poke fun at absurdities in our public life, there’s a line that should not be crossed. The problem is this—that line is subjective. For instance, is this cartoon uncivil?

Or is it simply illustrating the rather rabid rhetoric that has emanated from the Left, not just in the past few weeks, but ever since I can remember? Surely you recall all the Bush hatred, publicly stated. How about the pictures of Bush as Hitler? Go back to Ronald Reagan and we learn that he was a warmonger who loved to starve schoolchildren and throw old people out on the streets.

In the House last week, one Democrat representative made the Nazi connection again. Republicans, he said, are like Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s propaganda minister. In what way, you ask? Well, they are lying about healthcare, and that’s the same tactic that Goebbels used. Oh.

One of the positive things about being a historian is that I have studied the political rhetoric found in all periods of American history. What becomes painfully obvious is that the eras of the type of civility urged upon us now have been few. Read the newspapers of the 1790s, for instance, where you see George Washington being called a traitor to his country and accused of trying to set himself as a king. The vituperative language used against Abraham Lincoln is startling, particularly when you consider that a lot of it came from the North, not the South.

The issues I have with the current calls for civility are these: first, the astounding hypocrisy of those who are demanding it; second, the attempt to use that nice-sounding word to undermine genuine debate on the issues. Often, just disagreeing with President Obama makes one a racist or a “hater.” Yet we have to be able to say when we think policies are wrong. How would Patrick Henry fare today?

Kind of weak, isn’t it? I prefer the original.

So, as you watch the State of the Union Address [if you have the stomach for it], watch for those key words, but understand what’s really going on.

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.

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.

Progressives & the Constitution

I’m always somewhat amused when those of the liberal/progressive persuasion express outrage that the Constitution is not being followed. What is progressivism if not a denial of the original intent of the Constitution and of the rule of law?

The progressive philosophy doesn’t recognize limitations on government power. The Constitution does. Article I, section 8, has a list of powers for the Congress that we call the enumerated powers. They are enumerated for a reason—they spell out specifically what Congress has authority to do, and if Congress passes legislation that is not covered by this enumeration [or any other specific powers mentioned elsewhere], it has acted unconstitutionally.

There is no authority for individual welfare, education, controlling commerce within a state, or hundreds of other things on which we currently spend money. We are so far out of bounds, and have exceeded our authority to such an extent, that it might look like a hopeless task to ever get it back under control.

Yet we must take steps in that direction.

The omnibus bill I mentioned in the previous post is almost entirely unconstitutional. It’s not just that it’s a budget buster or tainted with earmarks, although those are major issues as well, but what it seeks to do is invalid under the Constitution.

And of course there’s Obamacare. One part of it was struck down as unconstitutional earlier this week by a federal judge. Why? The judge apparently understands the constitutional limitations.

So when a progressive complains about infidelity to the Constitution, take that with the largest grain of salt you can find.

May It Be

Yesterday, I wrote about the federal judge in Virginia who astutely speared the healthcare bill by pointing out in his ruling that the individual mandate forcing people to buy health insurance was manifestly unconstitutional. I used a fairly good number of words to describe that, but one cartoonist illustrated it rather succinctly:

Back up that vehicle; let’s restore the original intent.

In other congressional news, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is at it again. He’s attempting to shove another massive bill through the Congress without anyone getting a chance to read it. What is this penchant for 2,000-page bills, anyway? This is reminiscent of the ploy he used to ram through Obamacare.

Reid obviously is ignoring the results of the November elections and acting as if nothing has changed. The bill’s cost is $1.1 trillion [1 billion of which is for the healthcare boondoggle] and includes more than 20,000 earmarks. This is the dying wish of a lame-duck Congress that knows it won’t have this kind of opportunity again. It’s also without conscience–the voters said no to these shenanigans, and many of those who are pushing it won’t be in office next month.

Stated plainly, it is wrong for a discredited legislative body to try to force its way on the American people after those people have thrown them out of power. Republicans are saying they will filibuster and do anything else they can to kill this. Let’s hope they are true to their promise.

The Obama/Democrat policies have been a disaster because they are based on unsound principles. I think I sense a spirit from the past reasserting itself:

May it be, Lord. May it be.