The Obamacare Echo Chamber
posted at 12:24 pm on March 29, 2012 by Karl
At the New York Post, John Podhoretz notes liberal shock that the Supreme Court arguments on Obamacare do not point to an obvious progressive triumph:
Jeffrey Toobin of the New Yorker and CNN confidently asserted on Charlie Rose at the beginning of the week that the court would rule 7-2, maybe even 8-1 in favor of ObamaCare. The previous week, he called the anti-ObamaCare arguments “really weak.”
His view was echoed by an equally confident op-ed assertion by the veteran court reporter Linda Greenhouse, who in The New York Times declared the case against ObamaCare “analytically so weak that it dissolves on close inspection.”
It was quite a change, then, to see Toobin emerge almost hysterical from the Supreme Court chamber after two hours of argument on Tuesday and declare the proceedings “a train wreck for the Obama administration.”
Yesterday, after another two hours of argument, he suggested it might even be a “plane wreck.”
Meanwhile, at another New York-based outlet, NYT columnist (and former editorial page editor) Gail Collins emotes:
I can’t believe this might be overturned. How can this law not be constitutional? The other alternatives are forcing taxpayers to cover the cost of the care in emergency rooms for people who don’t want to pay for their insurance, even if they can, or letting human beings just die on the side of the road. I can’t believe fiscal conservatives think either of those options is a good idea.Really, I have my hands over my ears. Not listening.
All the News That’s Fit to Print: “Lalalalalalalalala…”
Yesterday, I noted the libs are likely overreacting, but also noted similar self-delusion from Dahlia Lithwick and Michael Kinsley. Lithwick relied heavily on the aforementioned Linda Greenhouse, whom Ed Whelan shows to be engaged in denial and dismissal herself (along with claiming Nancy Pelosi as a constitutional scholar). Lithwick also asserted an an “argument” that Obamacare’s constitutionality is “best illustrated by the fact that—until recently—the Obama administration expended almost no energy defending it.” Whelan correctly notes that this is as factually false as it is bizarre. The same goes for Kinsley’s claim that that nobody argued the mandate was unconstitutional until after Obamacare passed. Ramesh Ponnuru notes Kinsley is factually wrong, not to mention making a claim progressives would never make regarding legal bans on abortion or sodomy.
Liberals and liberaltarians are increasingly fond of claiming the right lives in an echo chamber. It is said — sometimes even on the right — that the right’s successes in the past few decades has made them intellectually lazy, unable to engage and overcome progressive arguments and attacks as they did in the halcyon days of Buckley and Reagan. However, when it comes to Pres. Obama’s signature achievement, and a major step toward socialized healthcare, the progressives’ experts and top-shelf pundits display the judgment, rhetorical skill and logic of toddlers. The liberal echo chamber has a long history, exemplified nicely in the apocryphal quote attributed to New Yorker film critic Pauline Kael: “I can’t believe Nixon won. I don’t know anyone who voted for him.” Having started with John Podhoretz, we come full circle with his account of the real quotation, which may be even worse.