Transparent Dishonesty

All the news and controversy surrounding Hillary Clinton, on the one hand, and the Iran deal and the administration’s loathing of Israel, on the other, have pushed other important issues to the background. You know, all that “old” news that we’re supposed to forget about, and how it’s time to “move on?”

As an example, when’s the last time you heard much about the IRS scandal? Did the mainstream media, for instance, pick up on this story?

Bonuses

Then there’s the case that went to the Supreme Court about Obamacare. A reading of the law itself would automatically destroy it because the government has illegally provided subsidies expressly forbidden by that law. Yet the outcome is in doubt because one Supreme Court justice should have recused herself but refused to do so. Elena Kagan, when she served as solicitor general, helped ensure Obamacare’s passage. Rules require that justices recuse themselves if in their previous capacity they served as “counselor or advisor” concerning a current matter before the Court, or if there is anything about the proceeding by which the justice’s impartiality can reasonably be called into question.

Justice Kagan, though, has made sure her “yes” vote for Obamacare is counted:

Recuse

And despite all the many scandals swirling around this presidency, we are told that the president has nothing to do with any of them. Why, he only learned about them the way we did:

Learned About It

All this from the self-proclaimed “most transparent administration in American history”:

Government Transparency

I guess that all rests on one’s definition of “transparency.” The only thing transparent about this administration is its dishonesty.

Obamacare & the Court

With campaigns and the economic mess dominating the news, Obamacare has taken a back seat lately. It shouldn’t, because it is the harbinger of even greater economic calamity and government interference in the market. It did break through recently, though, with the announcement that the Supreme Court will hear the suit being brought by twenty-six states against the forced nature of the law. What kind of questions should the Court ask? One is obvious:

That kind of coercion is inherently inconsistent with constitutional liberty. How best to illustrate it? Cartoonist Michael Ramirez captures it perfectly:

Liberals are so upset over the possible overturning of this act that they are demanding Clarence Thomas recuse himself from the case. Why? His wife works with a group opposed to this takeover of the nation’s healthcare system. Now if Clarence Thomas himself were involved, I would understand the possibility of recusal, but it’s his wife, not him.

The real conflict of interest is with Elena Kagan, who served as solicitor general in the Obama administration and helped craft the law, or at least come up with ways to defend it. E-mails have surfaced showing her elation over the prospect of the law’s passage. If anyone should withdraw from this case, I think Kagan is the prime candidate, not Thomas. Her participation in the promotion of the law is undeniable, as is her enthusiasm for it:

Will she do the right thing and recuse herself? Don’t bet on it.

Brave New World?

So a homosexual judge has decided that seven million Californians are heterosexual bigots. That’s the essence of the decision handed down the other day in the Prop 8 case. One judge with a desire to normalize homosexuality and destroy the concept of marriage has precedence over the actual vote of the citizenry of the state. Vaughn Walker, the judge [the term is a loose one], in his decision devoted a lot of space to undermining traditional marriage and only a nod toward constitutionalism. That nod was not even constitutional. National Review has the details here if you can stand to read them.

His decision is already being appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, but everyone knows how that’s going to turn out. That court is a mirror image of Judge Walker. Then it’s going to go to the Supreme Court of the United States, where it will be decided by a 5-4 vote, but no one really knows which side the vote will favor. Justice Anthony Kennedy, a supposed believer in judicial restraint, doesn’t always rule that way.

The Court that will hear this case will now include Elena Kagan, confirmed by the Senate yesterday by a vote of 63-37. Five Republicans voted in favor of confirmation; one Democrat voted no. So the woman who was rubber-stamped through the Senate will now become a faithful rubber stamp for the “living Constitution.” The only saving grace is that she’s replacing an ideological twin, so the Court’s balance remains the same.

The bright side is that these developments will energize conservative opposition even more—and that energy is already apparent. The primaries on Tuesday revealed a Republican base that is eager to see change and a Democratic base that is dampened in enthusiasm. One of the most startling votes took place in Missouri where 71% of the voters marked ballots in favor of repealing the provision in Obamacare that requires everyone to buy health insurance or pay a penalty. This also will go to the courts; even if it loses, it will push more voters into the polls in November.

Republicans in the Congress have come up with a chart that shows what the bureaucracy of Obamacare entails:

Good luck figuring out that one. Maybe this one will be easier to understand:

Brave new world or the nation’s worst nightmare?

Lindsey Graham & the Liberal Ethos

The Senate Judiciary Committee just voted for the Elena Kagan nomination for the Supreme Court to go before the full Senate. Every Democrat on the committee voted in favor of her; every Republican—except one—voted against. That one was Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

I met Sen. Graham when he was still a congressman back in 2000. At the time, I was interviewing all the congressmen who had taken on the responsibility as House Managers to get the Senate to vote for the removal of President Clinton from office. The result of those interviews was my book Mission: Impeachable. Lindsey Graham was a House Manager.

We sat in his House office talking about the failed impeachment proceedings while I recorded his answers to my questions. I liked him very much. He was personable, with a good sense of humor. One of the chapters in my book was devoted to his involvement in the impeachment. Even at the time, though, some of the other Managers were not pleased with his actions as part of the team. He never seemed to have the same depth of commitment to the cause nor as strong a commitment to the rule of law.

Graham’s notoriety as a House Manager probably helped him win the Senate seat later. As a senator, he has been just as unpredictable as he was while serving as a Manager. He’s still folksy and likeable, but his views are not always in sync with the majority in the Republican party. Not too long ago, he declared that the Tea Party movement would soon fade away. Needless to say, that did not endear him to those who are seeking real change.

Now he has voted in favor of Kagan. This vote may lead to a primary challenge for him within the party when he is up for reelection in 2014. What was his rationale for the vote? He said, in effect, elections have consequences; since Obama won the presidency, he should get the nominees he wants.

I couldn’t disagree more. Senator Graham, your election should have consequences as well. People put you into office to counter the moves of a Democratic president who wants to foist another extremist upon the nation.

Republicans who just go along to get along will never make a dent in the dominant liberal/progressive agenda. They are in the establishment and are more concerned with being part of the liberal ethos that continues to rule within our government institutions and the culture of Washington politics. Sadly, Lindsey Graham appears to be one of those. It’s time for Republicans in South Carolina to hold him accountable and make sure they send someone to the Senate who will not kowtow to an agenda that is alien to our founding principles.

Honesty: Another Casualty of This Administration

Politics is not known overall for its forthrightness, but there are different levels of dishonesty. Some administrations have hidden certain facts from the American people for the sake of national security—sometimes bogus, but other times essential. I have no problem with the latter.

Other administrations have practically cornered the market on being disingenuous. While I didn’t expect any real answers from Elena Kagan last week in her Supreme Court confirmation hearings, I was more perturbed than usual when she was asked if her legal philosophy was progressive and she responded:

Let’s be honest for a moment, please. Does anyone really believe that answer? Anyone who thinks that was a forthright statement has no grounds for ever being considered a credible analyst. Kagan is a convinced progressive who will do her best to overturn the Constitution even more than it is currently being subverted.

Then there was this big announcement from the president that we are now in the “Summer of Recovery.” Oh, please. This is another in a long line of dishonest pronouncements.

I am enjoined by my faith to respect government. I will do so. I have the utmost respect for the institutions set up by the Constitution. I have the utmost respect for the Constitution itself. I will respect the Supreme Court, the Congress, and the office of the President. That’s not the same, though, as having respect for those who hold those offices. Some people do not deserve respect.

We have an opportunity this November to restore a higher degree of honesty in our government. I would like Independence Day to have more meaning next year.

Friday Potpourri

Aren’t you glad we’re in the Summer of Recovery? Now that it’s gotten that label, we know how we’re supposed to feel. Don’t you think it’s kind of strange, though, to label it as such and then be told by Vice President Biden that we’ll never recover those eight million lost jobs?

Gives you all kinds of confidence in the administration, doesn’t it? I have an idea. How about just allowing the private sector to create those jobs instead of going into a black hole of debt that will never work? Too radical?

Well, at least Congress is doing its job. They have almost designed a brand new federal agency to look out for us foolish consumers. It’s also going to have the power to pass regulations without the approval of Congress. Oh, and it’s going to hit the financial industry with more costs. You know, the kind that get passed on to us. And guess who’s not covered or mentioned at all in this “reform” package.

At least we had some comic relief during the week with the Kagan hearings, where we were treated to in-depth answers to some of our greatest constitutional issues.

Well, what do you expect from someone who has never been a judge who is now about to take a seat on the highest court in the land? Is that a problem?

Oh, we’ve already been down this road. How’s that working out?

What Real Hearings Would Be Like

I don’t watch Supreme Court confirmation hearings. I have much better things to do than see a preordained script followed. What’s taking place in the Kagan hearings right now is nothing but a show for the cameras. You won’t hear the nominee say anything of substance.

Then again, that’s really not necessary in her case. We may play a game about not knowing what she believes, but everyone really does know already. The key is for her not to tell.

The really sad part is that even if she were to tell all, she would still be confirmed. If she said the Constitution should be trampled and torn into shreds, she would be confirmed. It’s simply a matter of math—too many Democrats who will vote for her no matter what.

Hearings should get to the bottom of a nominee’s judicial philosophy. The nominee should be required to respond to specific questions about how he or she would determine constitutionality in various cases. Nominees should say why they agree or disagree with decisions the Court has made in the past. The funny thing is that Elena Kagan once wrote that those were what the hearings should be like. Apparently, she doesn’t agree with herself anymore.

There should be one overriding qualification: does the nominee believe that the Constitution, as originally understood, is the law of the land. If someone should argue that no one can know how it was originally understood, that’s an invalid argument. We have the Federalist Papers, we have the notes from the Constitutional Convention, and we have other commentaries from that period, particularly the one written by Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story. Original intent is not a mystery.

Of course, we shouldn’t even be so concerned about who sits on the Supreme Court. If it were to stay within constitutional limitations, it wouldn’t be deciding the future of the country on a series of 5-4 votes anyway. Alexander Hamilton declared that the federal courts would be the weakest of the three branches. The ascendancy of the philosophy of the “living Constitution” changed that—and not for the better.

Federalism. Does anyone remember that? It’s when we have three co-equal and balancing branches of the government, each keeping a check on the others. It would be nice to get back to that basic understanding once again.