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July 12, 2012
Key Man or the Constitution?
Much discussion on the ObamaCare ruling has centered on the surprising identity of the tie-breaking Supreme Court justice, rather than the disturbing fact that such a crucial decision hinged on the opinion of just one man.
Experts were primarily focused on which direction the vote of Justice Kennedy would swing, with the general consensus that his would be the critical decider between the four "liberal" and four "conservative" justices. The other eight votes, although cast by some brilliant minds, became overshadowed in importance by the supposed tiebreaker -- whether or not the tiebreaker's opinion, by itself, could be considered brilliant, or not.
In the business world, when one individual is considered immensely critical to a company's success, a "key man" insurance policy is often purchased to offset the risk of loss resulting from his incapacity.
Theoretically speaking, while awaiting the ObamaCare decision, most conservatives would not have considered the votes of Justices Alito, Scalia, Thomas, or Roberts as risky, requiring any kind of figurative "key man" insurance. (Some might have, however, placed bets on Intrade that favored Kennedy's siding with the conservatives.) Conservatives likely never dreamed they would lose the vote of the Bush-appointed Chief Justice Roberts.
But isn't the fact that it ultimately came to this one key vote, stunning...and sad? How could our Congress create such a massive law, one that controls one-sixth of our economy and requires practically every single American to have their personal health care micro-managed by bureaucrats? How did our nation find itself at this intersection, waiting for one crossing-guard to decide whether or not to hold up the stop sign?
The American Spectator's Quin Hillyer documented the "litany of injustices" that through "trickery, dishonesty, or breathtaking sophistry" created the gigantic "abomination" that ultimately needed, in order to be "defibrillated back into a heartbeat," the first aid of only one key man.
The structure of our government was the founders' brilliant plan to ensure that our nation would never be entirely dependent on any "key man." Our three-branch system requires every elected or appointed official in the government hierarchy to swear to impartially uphold the laws -- including the laws that limit their own offices.
But today we have an unchecked legislature that has devolved into a sharply divided two-party system. One side boldly progresses toward statism, and the other, once grounded in constitutional principles, often becomes weighed down with earmarks, cronyism, and a penchant for mainstream popularity.
Our constitutional republic is becoming an unconstrained democracy, split nearly down the middle in many aspects. Polls tell us that about half the country approves of this president, which also happens to be the approximate percentage of those who pay no taxes or rely on the government in some way. The other half resents the government's redistribution programs and intrusion into their daily lives. About the only thing both sides agree on is the need for "change," although the change each seeks resides at opposite ends of most every spectrum in this ideological war.
Tiebreakers, over fundamental ideas that formed the basis of our founding documents and were once understood and supported by the majority, are now commonplace. Many elections between candidates who clearly articulate both party platforms are won or lost by extremely thin margins. In a similarly divided court, justices, instead of donning robes of impartiality, consistently seem to wear their team colors and rule accordingly. And the media, rather than providing us with a service of accurate reporting, openly cheers on a president who smugly ignores the law as "the right thing to do" -- while further dividing us with his own vision of "fairness."
Although it took over 200 years, that is where we find ourselves today -- facing a president who issues orders like a "key man," circumventing yet unchallenged by a negligent Congress, aided with a politically-motivated rewriting then upholding of its words by another "key man" in the highest court in our land.
Serious conservatives realize that the key rests not in any one man's hand, and look for a president with the courage to stand by the key principles that made our nation great. That is why we endured painful hours of debates among the candidates: such principles demanded that we took the time to honor them.
Yet how ironic it is that the GOP's chosen nominee once endorsed a similar program to ObamaCare. As Breitbart's Joel Pollak has noted, if candidate Romney won't "go hard or go home" against "Obamatax," the Tea Party may not enthusiastically back him. Are Tea Partiers rightly concerned that they may lack "key man" assurance of Romney's resolve to lead the repeal?
In 1773, the famous insurer Lloyd's of London incurred one of their first significant losses by underwriting the tea thrown into the Boston harbor by the defiant colonists. The events sparked a revolution -- led to victory not by a "key man," but by many courageous men who risked their lives for key principles. Our founders chose, as their first president, a man who humbly yet assertively represented their voices.
Today's powerful Tea Party recognizes that the Constitution is our nation's "key." We don't need a rock star -- we simply need an individual, in the leading role of president, who we can trust to preserve, protect, and defend it. Romney will be enthusiastically supported as our man if he consistently assures us of his resolve.
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