Political Cowardice in the Senate and House isn't Unconstitutional, but the Individual Mandate Is


While I was a professor at the University of Virginia, the Washington Post was my daily paper.  For 25 years, I read it every morning at about 4:00.  The Post is regarded as a liberal newspaper, but by and large it covers global news events with a reasonable degree of balance. 

If you want real balance, though, you must be willing to do some digging.  There is bias in everything you read, hear, and see.  It's unavoidable and understandable, so it's our job to find content that presents the balance that we seek.  You must cast your net broadly if you hope to haul in a balanced catch.

Some of the Post's columnists make no effort to be objective and balanced, E.J. Dionne being chief among them.  His view of the world is so slanted that his opinions are essentially useless.  Candidly, Dionne doesn't even present the causes in which he believes effectively.  E.J. Dionne is to the Washington Post what Paul Krugman is to the New York Times.  They are one-note singers masquerading as musicians.  They flail away at anything that challenges their liberal /progressive, Democratic Party orthodoxy.

The title of Dionne's piece in today's Washington Post captured my attention: "Activist judges at the Court".  In a nutshell, he says that conservative justices on the Supreme Court are poised to abandon democracy and in its place substitute a "judicial dictatorship" by striking down Obamacare.  Nothing could be further from the truth, and even suggesting that Obamacare was the product of the democratic process is dishonest. 

"Legislative overreach" is the term that opponents of Obamacare typically use to describe the problem with the bill.  That's fair as far as it goes, but the process by which Obamacare came into existence wasn't just legislative overreach.  It was thuggery at the highest levels of our government that resembled a form of dictatorship, but it was Democratic Party dictatorship.  I'll go one step further.  It was Democratic Party dictatorship where precious few Democrats' voices were heard.  You could even say that Barack Obama, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi gave us Obamacare since no other legislator was even allowed to read the bill before votes were cast.  We now know that Obama, Reid, and Pelosi didn't read the bill either, so in the truest sense, it was totally ignorant Democratic Party dictatorship.

Obamacare is a disgrace to our nation and a black mark on the Senate and House of Representatives.  Barack Obama wasted a wonderful opportunity to improve healthcare in America when he shoved Obamacare down our throats over strong objections from roughly 60% of the electorate.  He wouldn't even consider alternatives that were far better than the ideas that he presented.  Instead, he made senseless side deals to win support for his bill, and today we are trying to work around the mess that he created.

To date, more than 1,000 waivers to Obamacare have been granted by the Obama administration.  Coincidentally, most of those waivers have gone to unions and other groups that supported candidate Obama in 2008.  That tells us two things: 1) Obamacare isn't a serious healthcare reform effort and 2) Obamacare is a shameless example of politics at its worst. 

Despite what E.J. Dionne thinks, conservative justices are not positioning the Supreme Court to nullify the legislative process.  There was no legislative process.  That should be evident to anyone who has eyes and ears, and it should be the logic for driving a wooden stake through Obamacare's heart.  Unfortunately, political cowardice in the Senate and House isn't unconstitutional, but the individual mandate provision is.  That will be the constitutional rationale for striking down Obamacare if the Supreme Court decides that Obama and his band of merry henchmen went too far.

Neil Snyder is a chaired professor emeritus at the University of Virginia.  His blog, SnyderTalk.com, is posted daily.