The ball is now in Paul Ryan’s court to produce a dramatic, shock therapy budget. The grassroots are expecting nothing less.
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Republicans should embrace the Roadmap and frame the debate this way for the next year, for it would be a huge winner politically as compared to the President’s Debt Commission. Those scared to do so are actually just too intellectually lazy to make the effort to understand and communicate the issues.
By 2012, whoever emerges from the Republican presidential primaries will reframe the issues with a new agenda. Through more aggressively pursuing emerging ideas such as block granting welfare back to the states, proposing even broader long-term opportunities for working people, and rounding off some of the rougher edges of the Roadmap, that new agenda can offer even greater political appeal.
Bye, Bye Obamacare
On Monday, Federal Judge Henry Hudson granted America an early Christmas present by declaring the individual mandate in Obamacare unconstitutional. The individual mandate is the provision that all individuals without employer-provided coverage must purchase health insurance with all of the benefits and provisions as specified by the federal government. A new dynamic has now been set in motion on this issue as well.
Hudson ruled that Congress does not have authority to impose such a mandate under the Commerce Clause, saying, “Neither the Supreme Court nor any federal circuit court of appeals has extended Commerce Clause powers to compel an individual to involuntarily enter the stream of commerce by purchasing a commodity in the private market.”
Hudson also rejected the attempt of President Obama’s lawyers to argue that the individual mandate was constitutional as an exercise of Congress’s power to tax. In a famous exchange on national television with George Stephanopoulos in 2009, President Obama vigorously denied that the individual mandate was in any sense a tax.
Hudson relied on this and the statement in the legislation itself that its authority arises from the Commerce Clause to base his decision on “the unequivocal denials by the Executive and Legislative branches that the [individual mandate] was a tax.” As a legal matter, the individual mandate is transparently a regulation, not a tax. Judge Roger Vinson hearing a suit in Florida by 20 states challenging the constitutionality of Obamacare has already dismissed that claim on the same grounds.
However, even though the legislation does not include a severability clause, which traditionally provides that the legislation would remain in force if any of its provisions are found invalid, Hudson nevertheless declined to strike down the entire act.
The ruling is an enormous victory for Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who is building a tidal wave of momentum for political graduation to Governor or Senator soon. I filed a brief in this case on behalf of the American Civil Rights Union (ACRU), supporting Cuccinelli and Virginia.
One of the unique arguments of that brief was that the uniform discussion of the lawyers in the case of the “interstate market for health insurance” made no sense, because there is no interstate market in health insurance, particularly in regard to the individual insurance that the individual mandate compels citizens to buy. All such insurance is sold only intrastate, under federal and state law. One of the central arguments of the opponents of Obamacare was that allowing health insurance to be sold interstate was a superior reform that would hold down costs through increased competition.
Having filed a brief for the ACRU in the Florida case as well, I predict that with this precedent, Judge Vinson in Florida will also rule the individual mandate unconstitutional, on the same grounds. And I predict that the Supreme Court will as well, going on to strike down the entire Act because as even the government argued so persuasively in its briefs, the legislation is unworkable without the individual mandate.
If Judges Hudson and Vinson see the issue this way, then the handwriting is on the wall that Justices Scalia, Thomas, Roberts. and Alito will as well. That leaves Justice Kennedy with the decisive vote, as the liberals on the court will typically abandon all serious legal analysis and go with the politics for Obama.
What will be crucial in winning Kennedy’s vote in my view is another unique argument made in the ACRU’s briefs. Congress has other alternatives to achieve all of the social goals of Obamacare that would be constitutional. Kennedy would be loath to rule, I believe, that the Constitution just doesn’t allow the social goals of Obamacare to be achieved at all, leaving some without essential health care.
Indeed, those alternatives would achieve all of those goals at far less cost. They would involve creating a true health care safety net for the poor and the sick. President Obama and the Democrats just didn’t want to pursue those alternatives because they don’t involve the government takeover of health care.
If these predictions come to pass, in two years the only legacy President Obama will leave behind is a skyscraper of wasted federal spending, a mountain of new federal debt, and a nuclear Iran.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?