Modern political liberalism is a lot like the old triangle trades of the 18th century, in which crops were traded for manufactured goods which were then used to buy slaves, which were then sold to planters in exchange for more crops.
On the modern liberal plantation the formula has changed to “bigger government = more people dependent on (or at the mercy of) government = more votes for politicians who will further expand government”.
It’s a heck of a way to run a country, but liberals have gotten a lot of mileage out of it. Obamacare is just the latest example. It is one of the ultimate triumphs of political liberalism in America, which is why Joe Biden whispered to Obama at the signing ceremony that it was “a big f@*&ing deal”.
Joe was right, which means that the current Supreme Court case is a big deal too.
The impact of how the Court ultimately rules will reverberate across the country and impact every citizen and their relationship to every level of government from this point forward.
At its essence the case has nothing to do with health care. It’s all about whether or not our Constitution has any limits. Are there real boundaries to federal power, or are they just made up on the fly? Is Congress able to determine the scope of its own power? The founders would be aghast that we even have to ask such questions.
If Obamacare survives it will be a green light to every imaginable liberal pipe dream of federal government growth. It would essentially say that “Congress can do whatever it wants, so long as it can somehow be defined as regulating commerce”. That’s not the government that our Constitution gave us, and it’s not one that most Americans want to live under.
Our Founding Fathers distrusted power, especially centralized power, which is why they wrote the Constitution. But if everything can be extrapolated to impact “interstate commerce”, then there truly is no limit on what Congress (and government) can do, which kind of makes the rest of the Constitution pointless.
One of the most amusing things about the recent ObamaCare hearings is the reaction from the media. Their shock when they had to report that a majority of justices took a dim view of the bill’s constitutionality, and that they had the audacity to ask tough questions of Obama’s lawyer was hilarious.
They were incredulous that anyone could seriously be skeptical of the notion that the federal government can do as it pleases. It’s the same mindset that led Nancy Pelosi to stare blankly and ask “are you serious?” when asked if Congress really had the constitutional authority to pass Obamacare. (Yes, Nancy, we are serious).
The case will be one of the most consequential in modern American history for several reasons:
From a regulatory standpoint, Obmacare represents thousands of untold new regulations and attendant bureaucrats. Just think of each of the different elements of your life that could relate to health care, (your diet for example), and you have an entirely new sphere of potential government regulation.
Politically it’s big because a majority of the country has consistently opposed it, so much so that it gave rise to a new political movement oriented around smaller government (the Tea Party) and brought about the Democrat shellacking in the 2010 midterm elections.
But constitutionally, it is important because it presents a direct challenge to the engine of growth for the modern liberal, big-government philosophy - the Commerce Clause; those few words in our Constitution through which liberalism’s camel’s nose has preceded, followed by an endless train of more camels.
In the end, there’s a very good chance that the case will be decided by a five-to-four vote, which would mean that we are just one Presidential appointment away from a completely different result and a drastic change in our relationship with government.
As we get closer to Election Day, issues like Obamacare will remind voters that elections really do have consequences. They matter in terms of policy, as well as court appointments. Will our laws stay within their constitutional boundaries? And will a President appoint judges who will enforce those boundaries or not?
One of the reasons why our politics is becoming so vitriolic is because we’re no longer just arguing over issues at the margins, we’re really arguing over the fundamental nature of government. Issues like health care are just proxies.
One of the key differences between now and the 2010 midterm elections is that conservatives have a singular target – defeating Obama. They know that if they do nothing else but go to the polls in November and vote against Obama that they can strike a blow against the liberal plantation. Which leads me to think we’ll see even more of them at the polls this fall.