Thursday, June 28, 2012

Double-Header in D.C.

My original intention for today was to write an exciting post about the use of dactylic hexameter in Homer's Iliad. But as hot as that topic is, I'm afraid I'm going to have to bend to the popular will on today's twofer. First, we have the Supreme Court ruling on Obamacare. Second, the Holder contempt vote in the House. Note: 12:47 Eastern Time--One down, one to go. I'm currently hiding under my bed.

By the time this posts, we should have the results of both the Obamacare case and the Holder contempt vote, though there is the possibility of a further delay in the Holder matter if there is a last-minute agreement (unlikely).

Consider this a combination comment, rant, scream of triumph, open thread to discuss the two events. It is likely many of you will already have commented on the morning post, but feel free to repeat, expand, or revise. The results of these two conflagrations will have no simple, single outcome. Now that the excitement of the morning has passed, I'd like to hear everybody's views on what the decisions mean, where we go from here, and how the politicians, particularly the Republican candidates, will or should react.

Regardless of how either of the two watershed matters comes out, there will be repercussions and a lot of finger-pointing in D.C. Let's hear your predictions (and I promise I'll put my two cents in as well). It will be fun to keep track of the comments to see how they actually play out in the political arena in November.

Enjoy!

84 comments:

Jocelyn said...

I haven't read anything additional about Obamacare, but my understanding is that the Court decided we can be taxed if we opt out of healthcare. This makes no sense what so ever if this is true. I feel like then the government can just sue anyone they don't like and then be allowed to tax them if people want to opt out of laws already in place.

Tennessee Jed said...

I hope this means the election is about Obamaa/Robertscare and the economy. What it will take is a lot of effective ads reminding people that this act is essentially a massive tax on the middle care and will assuredly raise health care costs and quickly kill off the private insurance sector. I am amazed how dumb a lot of people are about this. They think they are getting reduce premiums.

Holder - I don't know what this means to be honest. It is all about keeping the damning documents hidden until after the election. I honestly don't know how we speed up that process. Roberts, now that he is a liberal legislate from the bench justice may help to protect them. Dark day for the future of the republic.

Tam said...

We and Romney need to start calling this the Obamacare-Tax. TAX TAX TAX TAX TAX. It was PROMISED and SOLD and GUARANTEED not a TAX. Also, I contacted my local TEA Party and asked what I can do. He said to call him at 2:00. I'm interested to see what they want my boots on the ground doing.

I am off suicide watch, I managed to come off the ledge, and now I'm just mad as hell. One battle down, the war yet to win. We.Must.Win.

LawHawkRFD said...

Jocelyn: If you're forced to hand your wallet over to an armed robber, or to hand your money over to the government or face major penalties, you have not been given a free choice either way. If you have no choice as to what to do next, you have been mandated to do something. At least the armed robber doesn't claim he's doing it for your own good. Calling a mandate a tax doesn't change the nature of the beast one iota. America lost a big battle in the war on our freedoms. Now it's up to the voters and a new Congress and White House to reverse the damage.

T-Rav said...

Keep us posted, Tam!

It will be interesting to see how this affects the presidential race. A few new polls out this morning had Romney up in NC, Obama up in Michigan but just barely, and a dead heat in NH. I hope this fires up the conservative base enough to drive Romney over the mark in several purple states.

LawHawkRFD said...

Tennessee: I think that's exactly what it means. I think Roberts was wrong, wrong, wrong. But I'm not quite ready yet to write him off as a born-again liberal. I want to read the opinion carefully, including citations. For now, it seems to me that he took a perfectly valid Supreme Court precedent and lost sight of the main issue. He has always said that he believes that in political matters, great weight must be given to the idea that the Supreme Court should not be second-guessing Congress. Fair enough. But inherent in that thinking is a great danger. What if what Congress did is a purely political-social matter, but rests solely on one provision that creates an all-new power for Congress that the Founders specifically avoided granting?

That was the case here. Almost every other provision of Obamacare can be argued as bad policy and bad economics, but not necessarily unconstitutional. But without a severability clause, the whole political argument goes out the window and a wholly unconstitutional exercise of government power has been confirmed. As I will repeat constantly, ad nauseam, you can call it a tax, but it's still a mandate, something never intended in the Constitution. Congress is granted the power to regulate interstate commerce, not to create it, let alone mandate it.

Some financial pundits are suggesting that Roberts declared it a tax in order to throw the issue back into the political arena and effect a change in the Senate and White House. Even if they're right, this was absolutely the wrong way to do it. Establishing bad precedent to produce a desired result is what "living constitutionalists" do. And it always ends badly.

Tam said...

Also, I think we need to remind people of all the waivers. If this is such a great thing for all Americans, why did so many get waivers? And, I WANT MY WAIVER!

BevfromNYC said...

House voted to hold Holder in contempt

255 yes, 67 No, 1 present
100 Dems walked out without a vote...
17 Dems crossed to vote "yes".

Kit said...

Good news, Bev, good news.

Tam said...

And, contempt vote passes. Now what?

LawHawkRFD said...

Tam: Right on. This is the biggest tax increase in American history, and even if I think this "tax" is a mandate, it doesn't really matter. The Republicans must get American voters to understand that they are now going to get taxed like Greeks unless there is a massive shake-up in Congress and the White House. And who is behind it? The same president who promised that for 95% of the American people there would not be one penny of increased taxes during his term. LIAR. LIAR. LIAR!

I'm no longer curled up under the bed, and I've stopped sucking my thumb, so I may be back on the offensive shortly. LOL

BevfromNYC said...

Tam, frankly it doesn't matter. Let them take over. I'm moving to Canada.

Tennessee Jed said...

As I stated in my rant on the morning post, Hawk-- we will never know Roberts' motives. However, I don't believe he did it to throw it back into the political arena, since, as you state, that is so clearly wrong to do. I don't think Roberts is that dumb. But by getting this one wrong, he now deserves to be treated as "what a crappy justice" until further notice. I swear, somebody must have gotten compromising information on him somehow.

LawHawkRFD said...

T-Rav: I think Obama has a temporary victory, but once the Republicans get their teeth into it, it's going to be a big minus for the tax-and-spend Democrats. The vast majority of the American people either hate Obamacare or think that in its present form, it goes way too far. That's what the Republicans must hammer on, and then add a perpetual tag line--"and it's a huge tax increase for everyone. EVERYONE." The quality of care will go down, and the price of care will go up.

AndrewPrice said...

Tam, It's ultimately meaningless. I outlined the other day what it could lead to and theoretically it could lead to Holder being locked up, but the odds of that are 0.0%. So this is just for show and odds are that the vast majority of the public won't even know it happened -- if they can even name Holder.

Tam said...

Bev, does going to Canada count as going Galt? That's how I felt this morning...burn it down. Let it crash. We'll rebuild.

LawHawkRFD said...

Tam: That's going to have to be contained in the Republican talking points.

rlaWTX said...

Bev, Canada isn't really a move in the "right" direction...

LawHawkRFD said...

Bev: That's the first vote. It's important, but the vote on contempt and asking a court to order the documents be released is the more important step, and that vote is still pending. Right now, the debate on that issue is continuing.

LawHawkRFD said...

Bev: The second vote (to reconsider the contempt citation) failed. So, he's in contempt.

T-Rav said...

Jed, maybe they threatened his family or something. Or maybe he's just been sucked into the Beltway black hole. Or maybe he just made a really stupid, big-government decision.

LawHawkRFD said...

Tam: This is essentially a vote of no-confidence, which has great meaning in the British system, but not in ours. I agree with Andrew that the likelihood of Holder ending up in jail is pretty slim. But I don't agree that the vote is ultimately meaningless. It certainly has political ramifications which can be used during the campaign. If the House can ultimately get a court to order Holder to turn over the requested documents, and he refuses to do so, then we have another confrontation. That said, it's also unlikely that most of this could play out before election day.

The House is now voting on finding Holder in civil contempt, which would lead to the House seeking declaratory relief in court. How that (the court case) will play out is anybody's guess (particularly after today's Obamacare decision). But the issue is joined, and I don't think it can be dismissed as entirely insignificant.

LawHawkRFD said...

Bev: Have you forgotten about the Canadian health care system? And their Supreme Court makes ours look like a bunch of strict constitutionalists.

LawHawkRFD said...

Tennessee: It wouldn't be the first time a good man got co-opted.

LawHawkRFD said...

Andrew: As I indicated in my response to Tam, I concur in part and dissent in part.

LawHawkRFD said...

T-Rav: I tend to lean toward the really stupid, big government analysis. We'll be watching Roberts very carefully from here on out.

K said...

Yes, we'll certainly be watching Roberts. I'll be interested on his ruling on a "hate speech tax". And the "evil looking gun tax" should be fun to consider on the merits as well.

LawHawkRFD said...

The motion for reconsideration and debate are done, and Holder is in contempt. Now it's up to the Republicans to do what needs to be done to get the message out to the American people that Holder is a sneak and a liar. I wish this victory were as significant for conservative principles as the Supreme Court decision is for liberal principles, but that would be entirely unrealistic. At this point, Brian Terry's family remains unredressed and the Fast and Furious mess will continue unresolved for the foreseeable future.

LawHawkRFD said...

K: Thanks for injecting a little humor here, it's badly needed.

BevfromNYC said...

Lawhawk - At least I know what Canada is. THe US right now, I am not so sure anymore. If they want it, they can have it. The alternative is to move to Mexico and renounce my citizenship and just come back an live illegally. It seems one has more rights as an illegal than one does as a citizen...

tryanmax said...

LawHawk, not only do the Republicans need to hammer away at the Obamacare Tax as a tax, they need to characterize it as onerously as it exists. To my understanding, this is a tax for merely being alive. Putting aside comments by Ben Franklin, that's just a bit more than most people can handle.

Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but the mandatax applies to newborns as soon as they draw breath. The GOP needs to paint a picture of diapered babies in hock to the IRS. I know that angle has been tried in regards to the national debt with limited success, but I think this issue is much more tangible.

T-Rav said...

LawHawk, I know this. Anyone who even dares suggest that racism is at work in this contempt vote needs to be loudly and profanely shouted down. Turn every gun on them.

tryanmax said...

T-Rav, you can't use such uncivil rhetoric! You know that. LOL!

Kit said...

The RNC has put out an ad.

And Here is Romney's speech on the vote: LINK

patti said...

i don't know much about anything, but my gut tells me this is galvanizing the movement against barry and masked crew. the sucker-punched the gullible. even the blatantly stupid don't take kindly to that.

i'm disgusted and steady. let's go get the wh.

tryanmax said...

Romney or somebody needs to make the point that SCOTUS basically ruled that Congress has the right to tax us into submission. That ought to light a fire under the tax-reform debate.

T-Rav said...

tryanmax, I of course denounce myself.

rlaWTX said...

ah, but, T-Rav, do you loudly and profanely denounce yourself? ;)

LawHawkRFD said...

Bev: The difference between us and Mexico is we can actually change things. If we give up on America, Obama and his gang of one-world socialists win. You're too much of a fighter to let that happen.

LawHawkRFD said...

tryanmax: That's just the kind of think the Republicans need to point out. Mandatory cradle to grave health coverage means cradle to grave submission to the government.

LawHawkRFD said...

T-Rav: Too violent. Too violent. LOL

LawHawkRFD said...

tryanmax: Awful isn't it (I wish I'd said it, though)?

LawHawkRFD said...

Kit: The RNC ad was pretty good. Romney's speech was right on target, but I can't help wishing he would get some more fire in his delivery. Soaring rhetoric is called for these days, and Romney just seems too professorial.

LawHawkRFD said...

Patti: I think Obama will get a small bump out of his victory, but then reality is going to start to set in when the general public starts to see that Supreme Court decisions don't make good economic policy, and bad medicine is still bad medicine.

Kit said...

"Romney just seems too professorial."

That's Romney for you. But you are right, he was right on target.

LawHawkRFD said...

tryanmax: Every point being made here needs to be adopted by the Republicans. Romney needs to shorten the college courses and start talking in terms of impending disaster if this is allowed to go on. He talks about this as if he's discussing a hangnail when he should be talking about Obamacare as an aggressive form of government cancer.

LawHawkRFD said...

T-Rav: Good boy. Now load up on ammo. LOL

Kit said...

But when that small bump appears, elect a bunch of conservatives on a bunch message boards to start screaming "Game over man, game over!"

Tam said...

I think Patti is right...the Tea Party Patriots have collected a lot of donations today and I just saw that Romney's donations have reached $2 million.

Silver lining.

LawHawkRFD said...

Kit: He needs a good speech coach. John Kennedy was a great speechmaker, but even he went to a speech instructor to fix some of his overly Boston-like pronunciations. I don't want Romney to be a phony, but I also want him to be able to discuss policy with both intelligence and fervor. These are perilous times. This is no time to be pleasant.

LawHawkRFD said...

Tam: If grassroots donations and even big business donations are any indication, this is already beginning to work for the Republicans. For once, it's the Democrats who have to worry about their base getting complacent.

LawHawkRFD said...

Just in the past two hours, I've already seen our tax dollars at work with three different ads telling us "I'm from the government, and I'm here to help you" about the wonders of Obamacare.

LawHawkRFD said...

Some legal scholars are suggesting that the wording of Kennedy's dissent indicates that Roberts changed his mind at the last minute. Kennedy's dissent uses the word "we" in a way that is usually used only in a majority opinion. You can see the theorizing here: Kennedy's Dissent.

Tam said...

Well, I FINALLY got in touch with our Tucson Tea Party guy and he needs help with an event coming up in about 3 weeks that will have candidates for all the key local races and will focus on repealing ObamaCareTax and Fast & Furious. Apparently, we may have a member of Brian Terry's family at the event. He said we need to get Navadans to really work hard to boot Harry Reid.

I'm ready to rumble.

LawHawkRFD said...

Tam: That's exactly what we all need to do. Take a deep breath, lick our wounds, then get back into the fight.

LawHawkRFD said...

In his "victory speech," Holder actually had the nerve to invoke the name of Brian Terry. His praise for Terry is too little, too late, and doesn't change the fact that his sneaky tactics are the largest reason why the Terry family still doesn't know when, how or why Holder got involved in Fast and Furious.

Jen said...

Tam, I'm with you, I'm ready to rumble. I'm also with those in favor of burnin' dis mo-fo down!

I've been kicked down lots of times, and I get back up. I guess it's now time for me to channel 'Rambo'. I pity the fool that wants to start trouble with me. I've had it. Game over (for the libs that is).

BevfromNYC said...

So can someone explain to me why the House is going to vote to repeal Obamacare when they know the Senate won't do a damn thing about it?? Why waste the time now?

obiwan2009 said...

Bev, the Senate needs 50 votes to make the cut. That's not impossible to make the changes. And the Vice President can even be a tie breaker. Let's keep a little optimism here.

T-Rav said...

rla, every day. Usually in front of a mirror, while smearing lipstick on my forehead and cutting myself. Er...too personal?

LawHawkRFD said...

Jen: Maintain that attitude all the way through to November. It's not in the nature of most Americans to take any defeat as permanent. So in the words of that Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers song: "Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again."

BevfromNYC said...

But Obiwan - the Senate has to bring it up for a vote to get those 50 votes. So far Reid has let about 50 bill languish so he can blame the Repubs for "doing nothing". Why on earth do you think that Reid is going to bring THIS up for a vote? Someone has to be the voice of reality!

LawHawkRFD said...

Bev: Even magnificent failures can be inspiring. If the House decides to try to dismantle Obamacare now, and the Senate blocks it (almost inevitably), it's still not entirely a waste of time. It would help to clearly draw the distinctions between the Republican Party which is responding to the people's disdain for Obamacare and the Democratic Senate, which is imperiously ignoring the will of the people.

I'm not suggesting that the House should do it, but if it does, it won't be entirely an exercise in futility. I imagine we'll find out soon what the House is going to do.

LawHawkRFD said...

obiwan: The fifty plus one vote only works on a Senate-House reconciliation. Anything's possible, but at this point, prior to picking up seats in the Senate in November, I don't see it as a realistic possibility. Not to mention Reid is a master at parliamentary procedure to keep issues from coming to a vote. I'm optimistic about repealing Obamacare, but pessimistic about it happening before the November elections.

LawHawkRFD said...

Bev: I think you're right about Reid and the Senate. I also think you have the same knot in your stomach that I have right now. We're down, but far from out, so never abandon hope and carry a big stick.

BevfromNYC said...

It is clear that our government does not give a flying fig about our "disdain". As a matter of fact, their disdain for us far outweighs the disdain that we have for them. They have made that very clear. The only thing our government is good for is to spend more and more and more and "We the People" are powerless, short of armed revolution, to stop them. Though a tax revolution would be more entertaining.

Jen said...

LawHawk: Believe me Bro', I intend on it. It's my nature to do so. I've fallen of the horse (literally), and got back on, so this may just be child's play. I've also been run over, trampled, dragged, kicked (in the face as well), knocked down, and even had over 800 lbs. fall on me. I'm still here. It wasn't enough to scare me off, because I got back into it.

Maybe we ought to bring back the Roman Coliseum, or whatever. I can think of more than just lions to entertain us. Rodeo anyone? You get your eight seconds, and no clowns for distraction. Now THAT I could watch.

T-Rav said...

Jen, a horse weighs 800 pounds?! I mean, I don't know anything about them, but that seems rather excessive.

Jen said...

T-Rav, I wasn't meaning a horse (although the one I had weighed about 1500 lbs. before he got sick--from maybe cancer, and died).

Some of my beasts weigh around 1100 to 1400 lbs. Most of the larger ones are gone, so I have a lot of little girls now.

LawHawkRFD said...

Bev: Don't forget that Obamacare was put over the top after sneaky deals, late in the night, by one vote. If we give up in exasperation, all the good work of the Tea Party and movement conservatives will have been for naught. I don't believe that to be true, and in your heart of hearts I don't think you do either. We're going to take the government back and let the people rule again. Provided we don't lose heart.

LawHawkRFD said...

Jen: That's the spirit. We won a Revolution, but I wouldn't have wanted to be there taking bets at Valley Forge. But Washington and the Founders refused to accept defeat.

LawHawkRFD said...

T-Rav: Come and visit me in horse and cattle country. Most American horses weigh between 800 and 1500 pounds, and some breeds can be even larger (like the Budweiser Clydesdales).

Tam said...

This is my thought on the repeal...get the bastards on record right before the election. Of course the senate is a challenge, but we'll see what our republican senators can come up with. I'm disgusted but I'm hanging on to the faint glimmer of hope.

BevfromNYC said...

But LawHawk - we had to have an armed revolution to get to Valley Forge whether we won or not. Is it really worth an armed revolution?

And no offense to my fellow Commentarama-ians, but no entitlement legislation has EVER been repealed, has it? The pandora's box has been opened and it's just never going to go away.

T-Rav said...

Okay, clearly I know nothing about horses. Ignore me.

Bev, all I can say is, there's a first time for everything.

T-Rav said...

Some blogger wrote this open letter to the GOP this afternoon. I like the sentiment in it.

***

Dear GOP,

This is your last chance. If you blow this, I'm out and you need to be destroyed.

What is it? Repeal ObamaCare on Day 1. Don't worry about replace, don't worry about anything else. We will do everything we have to drag your sorry asses over the line this fall, including electing Mitt F---ing Romney.

In return this is what you will do:

Instead of adjourning for pictures and tea and cake to celebrate getting your pathetic asses elected to 2 or 6 years on the government teet, you will immediately pass a one line bill that says, "The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (and whatever statute number has to be included) is hereby repealed."

That's it. Nothing more, nothing less.

Since Congress meets before Inauguration Day, Obama will still be President. Simply hold the legislation at the desk so the 10 day pocket veto clock doesn't start. If other parliamentary BS is needed, just do it.

Then as soon as Mitt takes the oath of office, before his speech no one will care or remember, walk the bill up to him at the podium to sign.

If this does not happen, the GOP must be destroyed and a new party built to replace it. We've tried the carrot approach (votes, money, volunteers) to change your behavior. Now it's time to show you the stick.

No more, "oh the other guys are worse" scare tactics. That might be true but it doesn't mean you are any good.

This is your one job, do it or join the Whig Party in the dustbin of history.

Jen said...

T-Rav, I second that! We can speak softly, and carry a REALLY BIG STICK. Okay, forget the speak softly part, but the stick stays.

Anyone for open season on Bambi, Thumper, or Flower? I already know where the skunks are (WH, hint, hint). I need some target practice. Go ahead lefty trolls, take this literal. WTF do I care (pssst.--make sure you sleep with one eye open, LOL!).

LawHawkRFD said...

Bev: I was making a point about perseverance, but you're right about the revolution. Oh well, we're overdue anyway.

No entitlement has ever been repealed that I know of. But then, no Attorney General has ever been held in contempt before. There's a first time for everything.

Tam said...

Bev, no sitting member of the president's cabinet has ever been held in contempt of congress. It's time for some historic moments of our own.

To the mattresses!

LawHawkRFD said...

T-Rav: You got there ahead of me.

LawHawkRFD said...

T-Rav: That was a good rant. The GOP does need to take drastic surgical action as soon as it possibly can if it wants to remain a major party. Beyond that, I think I'll wait to see what happens. I'll await that blogger's plans for how to eliminate a major party and effectively replace it while keeping the left from grabbing power in a vacuum.

LawHawkRFD said...

Jen: The biggest stick of all is the ballot box. But if we're going to whip the Democrats with the ballot box, we have to first make firm pledges of conservative principles, stick to them, and quit playing by the Marquess of Queensberry rules. Thugs in the Democratic Party see gentlemanly behavior as a weakness to be exploited. Time to take off the gloves.

USArtguy said...

I am as shocked and depressed as anyone by Roberts traitorous vote to uphold Obamacare. I don't mean to be a downer, but while we talk about things the GOP must do, I feel the need to interject a small dose of reality: they'll probably do nothing. Or at most as little as they can get away with. Another controversial case, Roe V. Wade, comes to mind. I know it's completely different, but since it was upheld in 1973, for nearly 40 years I've been hearing what a terrible decision it has been and what "bad law" it is ever since. I've also heard promise after promise to overturn or severely limit it and yet it still the law of the land. While I hope not, I'm afraid ObamaCare is here to stay.

LawHawkRFD said...

USArtguy: There has been considerable progress on the abortion front since Roe v. Wade. The tide of public opinion has turned against late term abortions, and laws prohibiting them are holding up. But there's a difference that means a great deal. Until Roe is reversed, we will never get rid of abortion on demand. As bad as the current decision is, it left the political branches the option to decide what's good and what's bad. Roe set a standard from which states cannot deviate no matter what the political winds (first trimester). The current decision wrongfully OKs the mandate/tax and allows Obamacare to proceed, but leaves it entirely to the political branches to decide what they want to do with it--tomorrow if they choose. The court placed no restrictions on how draconian the opponents of Obamacare can be.

Abortion will be with us until the Court rewrites Roe. Obamacare could theoretically be gone tomorrow and the legislation would not be affected by this decision.

Obamacare is abortion-friendly, which is another reason to repeal it in its entirety. But that won't change the decision in Roe.

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