Skip to comments.The Dangerous Self-Delusion of Some Conservatives
Posted on 06/30/2012 10:23:54 AM PDT by EternalVigilance
In the wake of the Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act, I have noticed a curious phenomenon in which some conservative commentators seem to be so desperate to find a silver lining to the ruling that they have abandoned all logic. Consider George Will, who wrote a column in the aftermath of the ruling that actually puts forward the argument that we conservatives should take the fact that Roberts didnt rely upon the commerce clause as evidence that there might be some constitutional limitation on the federal government after all. That would be a wonderful aspect of this ruling, if they had overturned the law! Instead, what we have is a monstrous precedent set in which the court re-writes a law in order to make it constitutional by imputing into the act a tax that had not existed in fact. This is an unmitigated disaster. I have heard a few who have noted hopefully that this ruling will energize the conservative base, and while thats probably the case, Im not certain I am so concerned about the political fall-out as I am about the long-run constitutional implications. You see, the political situation may permit us to repair the law, but it doesnt permit us to immediately repair the damage done to the body of case law upon which future courts will rely as precedents in their own rulings.
The other thing I have read is the bizarre notion put forward by the National Review that what Roberts did was more conservative because he exercised judicial restraint in not striking down the law. Balderdash! Once you realize the legal contortions through which Roberts arrived at this ruling, it makes no sense whatever to claim he hadnt acted as an activist. The convoluted logic by which he found a tax in a law that plainly states it does not contain one is an onerous breech of any notion of strict construction. I cannot conceive of any intellectually rigorous examination of this ruling by which this can be seen as a positive by anybody who is in favor of strict construction. When it came to the Anti-Injunction section of the ruling, it was held not to have been a tax, but just a few pages later, as Roberts performed mental gymnastics, he declared it was a tax after all.
On Thursday evening, Mark Levin summarized the matter better than anybody Ive heard speak to this matter, in part because he understands the legalities in question, his Landmark Legal Foundation having been a participant in this case, but also because he knew Justice Roberts years ago when they both worked in the Reagan administration. Levins critique of the decision mirrors most of my own, and indeed, there was one aspect I hadnt considered until Levin led me to it. That premise led me to yet another that I dont believe Levin has yet realized in full. What one must understand is that this ruling is an unmitigated disaster, and no search for some alleged silver lining can repair it.
What Justice Roberts actually did was to expand the definition of what constitutes a permissible tax . Congress is permitted to levy only certain forms of tax, and this one doesnt fit the definition of any of them. In dispensing with that issue, Roberts held that it didnt matter, and that words dont matter, and that plain-written legislative language doesnt matter. He also ignored the context of the law, and the intent of Congress. One version of this bill had an actual tax, but Congress could not pass it in that form, so Congress altered it to contain no tax. What John Roberts did was to ignore the actual text of the legislation, and to say that the labels didnt matter: If it looks like a tax, it is one. The problem with this is that it does nothing to restrain Congress from levying new taxes, and ignores the definitions of what sort of taxes Congress may enact. This is a wholesale extension of Congressional taxing authority because what Roberts ruled with respect to the particular form of the tax, insofar as the question of whether Congress had met the constitutional limits on whether it could impose it was effectively: Close enough.
That is offered to us as evidence of John Roberts alleged strict construction? Close enough? What this means, effectively, is that if Congress enacts some tax that it has questionable constitutional authority to levy, smiling John will be there to tell us its close enough, with every leftist monster on the court standing behind him to uphold it.
Ladies and gentlemen, there exists no silver lining to this ruling. All of the crackpot, delusional happy-talk from some conservatives in media is designed to make you feel better. Youve just lost both arms and legs in a brutal assault, but they tell you, you should consider this a happy opportunity to enjoy the comforts of a new wheelchair and mouth-controlled joystick. Youve just lost your family to a violent home-invasion, but, they tell you, you should view this as a chance to start over. The intention here is to keep you calm. The intention now is to serve a political end, while your country is dying around you. Your most sacred law, the US Constitution, has been crumpled and tossed into the ash-bin of history, and you are told you should do a happy-dance to the calming sounds of Oh Happy Days.
Id like you to inventory the whole of the conservatives to whom you listen, or whose columns and opinions you read, and I want you to take care to note which of them are imploring you to consider some silver lining. They are lying. They have good intentions, many of them, and they have contorted themselves into a formless spaghetti of reasoning in order to find some good in this awful plate of refuse youve been handed. Dont surrender your minds by sprinkling Parmesan on it and wolfing it down. Are there some limited political opportunities as a result of this decision? Yes, but they require the fulfillment of a whole laundry-list of if-then statements.
IF Mitt Romney is elected, and IF he doesnt sell us out, and IF we hold the House, and IF we recapture the Senate(and at least 60 votes) and IF the moderates in either house dont screw us, and IF Boehner and McConnell have the guts to do in repealing what the villains Reid and Pelosi did in passing the ACA, and IF they can deliver a bill to President Romneys desk, and IF John Roberts and the other liberals on the court can be replaced, and IF Mitt Romney can replace them with actual strict constructionists, THEN you might have a chance to undo this damage. IF any of these dont happen, your constitution is effectively dead as a restraint on government.
The danger of self-imposed delusions is that you come to believe them, like a pathological liar. It is by this form of self-delusion that weve permitted our country to lose its roots in reverence for the Constitution. We cannot defeat the statists by pretending this isnt the disaster that it is, if we can defeat them at all. I believe some talking heads know this, but do not want to yield to what will come in the wake of such a monstrosity. Theyre hanging on, stubbornly telling us that the stench of smoke reaching our nostrils is merely an air freshener of a novel scent. Rather than screaming Fire, and warning conservative Americans that the house is ablaze, the barn is wiped out, the surviving farm animals running loose in a frantic bid to stay ahead of the flames licking at their heels, many are now telling you that its all okay. It will be fine.
And, that's okay, because we at least understand one another.
If Romney keeps moving to the left in preparation for November, there may come a time when you'll be looking for another candidate. And, maybe, if Romney renounces and sincerely apologizes for Romneycare, and commits himself publicly to getting the federal government completely out of all health care, there may come a time when I can give him a second look.
Anything's possible, I guess, but I think that in his heart, Romney's a liberal.
You must have a pretty sweet superhero costume.
I agree BUT...another reason is the nasty bullying by MIttBots against Jim Robinson and every other FReeper who doesn't kiss Mitt's "Choose the Right" mormon symbol ring.
These bullies are the best advertisement for thinking that "if this an example of Romney voters, I want no part of him!"
By equating the two, it sounds like you don't see a substantive difference between what happened in Wisconsin and what happened in the Supreme Court ruling.
“You must have a pretty sweet superhero costume. “
It’s a team uniform. Kinda like the Avengers. Except the group is called “The John Roberts Conservatives”.
They will be there to defend your honor, safety and bring justice to everyone! Except when it’s not expedient for them to do so.
In what way, specifically, has Romney moved to the left since beginning his 2012 campaign?
You must have nothing intelligent to say.
Any person claiming to be a conservative and campaigning for a person with Mitt Romney’s voting record and history of liberal actions questioning the intelligence of ANYONE is the height of the absurd.
I don't claim to be more intelligent than anyone else. I was merely making a comment on your hilariously inflated sense of self-importance. Carry on, Crusader for Truth.
Now that the primaries are over, do you expect him to say that he will force all of the illegal Mexicans to return to Mexico?
Okay, let's add that to my short list in post 341.
It should, I took those 4 examples from one of your posts!
You are trying to read assumptions into my post that were not there in the first place. I was not trying to “equate” the recall results with the decision on Obamacare. My post was not intended to be a comparison of the election in Wisconsin with the Supreme Court decision.
The point of my post had to do with comparing reactions to a political defeat. I was comparing (not necessarily equating) the reaction of the crying man in Madison with the the hand wringing that seems to be occupying the attention of a number of conservatives. It is not a flattering comparison and I did not intend it to be so. It is my hope that the grieving process (if that is what it is) will quickly end and all can get focused on what comes next.
I would want to point out that in my post I specifically said that we should not sugar coat the decision or pretend that it is really a good thing. I feel horrible about it and said so. But dwelling on an attitude of “all is lost” is not realistic or helpful. What I believe is realistic is understanding that it will be a tough road ahead and the sooner we get off the grief thing the better.
Amen to that!
I believe he is right. I find no comfort in the words of those who proclaim otherwise.
>> If your POS wins, you should consider vacating FR immediately because you will be deemed responsible for his each and every heresy in office.
I’m confused about the benefits of continuing Obama’s tyranny. Do you know something I don’t know?
I’d agree, that’s trolling beyond the pale, and you never know who is actually doing this (on the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog). For many others it’s the choice of the more tolerable of two stenches. With enough pressure (and the USA in general is going to loudly demand “severely conservative” things of him that Massachusetts only did feebly if at all), Mitt could be pliable — but to not recognize Mitt’s default shape is, agreed, self delusion.
“mission” is a Romney talking point...
Willard has started talking about “my mission”
So it seems the RomneyBots have picked up the mantra..
eagerly doing the dirty work of their little master...
“my mission” sounds quite heroic and soldierly doesnt it ???
Except Wee Willie Mitty dodged the draft and ran off to France during Nam...
and has never served his country..
the term also sounds brave and self sacrificing for law and order and the country with concern for the life and liberty of others the old Mission Impossible...
“Your mission if you choose to take it is to...”
But Willie Mitty is none of those either...
Willie Mitty is a coward and self serving...an opportunist and a polititian first...
The reinvention and reimaging of Willard Mitt Romney continues...
“I’m also concerned about too much Mitt bashing discouraging turnout for the down-ticket races. That is something we really can’t afford.”
I don’t think you need worry about that. Although I “preach” against Romney and the GOPe at every opportunity...I equally encourage folks to get out a VOTE FOR CONSERVATIVES for the House and Senate. In my current state of residence, Missouri, I have a conservative congresswoman (elected in 2010) to help get reelected. Plus, a terrible Senator, McCaskill, to help get rid of...she is very vulnerable. I will being supporting (donations, etc.) the eventual Republican nominee (he have several to chose from).
“As conservatives we really have to start thinking two or three moves ahead.....”
I AM thinking “moves” ahead. Supporting Romney would be a serious blow to conservatives getting control of the GOP, and thus the national government. The GOPe approved candidates, like Romney, are not for the good of the country. The GOPe needs to go down in flames. However, I mainly just cannot support someone so antithetical to what I believe and am. Ergo, I cannot suport Romney. He is just too much compromise for me stomach and soul.
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