Quotes of the day

The Supreme Court’s healthcare ruling Thursday will deliver a definitive judgment on President Obama’s effectiveness as a leader

[P]recisely because of the scale of the [legislative] victory and its sweetness, its reversal in court on Thursday would be an especially bitter pill for the Obama camp to swallow…

“If this goes down, it reinforces the idea that he may be a very nice guy but he does not have the qualifications to be president,” [Ron Bonjean] said.


Mr. Obama has been doing more than sitting back and waiting. The president has three separate speeches prepared in anticipation of the ruling on his signature legislative achievement, a person familiar with them said.

One of the speeches addresses a complete overturn of the law, while another is crafted as if the court strikes down the law’s individual mandate but upholds other provisions. The third speech, for if the court upholds the entire law, is more celebratory, according to this person.


Let’s put all this in historical context. The Democratic party is the oldest existing political party in the entire world, and it was founded as a people’s party. Andrew Jackson’s veto message of a bill to recharter the Bank of the United States stands to this day as a kind of mission statement for the modern party…

The individual mandate is an overwhelmingly unpopular item that requires a patently unjust transfer of wealth for the purpose of paying off the interest groups that have the biggest financial stake in health care. Considered next to Jackson’s veto message: It is a signal that the Democratic party has become the opposite of what its founders intended to be. The individual mandate is a testimony to the broken nature of the modern party. It is a symbol that, despite their egalitarian rhetoric, contemporary Democrats are ready, willing, and able to bend the policy needle toward the interests of “the rich… and the potent,” at the expense of the “farmers, mechanics, and laborers.”


Mitt Romney reserved some of his harshest criticism of President Barack Obama’s health care reform law for the eve of the Supreme Court ruling that will decide its fate, labeling the law as “moral failure” by a president who chose to focus on healthcare, rather than jobs, at a time of national economic crisis.

“His policies were not focused on creating jobs. They were focused on implementing his liberal agenda. There’s nothing wrong with people having an agenda, but when the country’s in crisis, you have a moral responsibility to focus on helping people come out of that crisis,” Romney said at a rally here Wednesday evening. “It was not just bad policy; it was a moral failure to put forward a piece of legislation that wouldn’t help Americans get back to work, and to focus the energy of the White House on Obamacare.”


“I believe 6-3,” Pelosi told the Reuters Washington Summit on Wednesday…

“If you get Kennedy, I don’t think that Roberts would want it to look political” and oppose it, Pelosi said, alluding to the fact that Roberts has said he favors unanimity on his court…

Pelosi voiced confidence that the healthcare law she helped draft will meet any constitutional test. “It is ironclad. We didn’t do this off the back of our hand,” she said.


Becerra said the “worst outcome” would be a 5-4 decision, because “that will go, unfortunately, a long way [toward] confirming this growing belief in the gut of the American people that the Supreme Court no longer cares so much about the Constitution, it cares more about politics.”

Becerra added, “We should all take some time tonight to pray a little to make sure the Supreme Court doesn’t come out with another 5-4 decision which, once again, unmasks its political tendencies.”


When Democrats lose, however, they tend to place the blame a little higher. The Supreme Court is rigged. The election was stolen by Diebold voting machines. After John Kerry lost in 2004, Democrats snickered about an electoral map showing the “real America” being composed of the West Coast and Northeast. The rest of the map — the red states Bush carried — was dubbed “Jesusland.” The inference being that the real problem was with the American people.

All of which is why, facing the prospect of losing the Obamacare case, the left’s first instinct hasn’t been to blame a bad law. Or bad lawyering. Or even just bad luck. No, to the liberal mind there are no bad outcomes; only broken systems. (In the Washington Post, Jonathan Turley claimed the very possibility Obamacare might be struck down suggested we should rethink the structure of the high court. He proposes we start by installing 10 more justices.)

And so, later this week liberal Democrats will condemn the high court as a body no longer fit to adjudicate our nation’s laws. It will have to be reformed and remade before any American, anywhere, can sleep soundly.


[Ezra] Klein wrote this week of how the Right built a “permission structure” allowing conservative judges to rule the individual mandate unconstitutional.

Here’s the flip side of that story: liberal Strategic Epistemic Closure is all about dismantling any permission structure on the Right. For instance, get enough elites to dismiss an idea, and boom, it’s “discredited.” Get enough liberals to act shocked at a proposal, and you’ve made it “controversial.” Then pretend some objective standard has been met, and warn the media not to give credence to discredited or controversial ideas…

[A] permission structure has been built in the form of legal precedent — including many bad decisions by liberal judges — slowly making it possible for Washington to do what sounds absurd on its face: forcing us into intrastate commerce in the name of regulating interstate commerce.


It would be easy to criticize all this for its sheer unselfconscious lack of seriousness: These people are actually saying that any outcome except the one they want must be driven by an outcome-oriented political crusade. Only their view could result from an actual engagement with the question before the Court, and any other view could only be a function of corruption or of cynicism. It must be nice to be so enlightened…

This debate is indeed a political debate, in the best and highest sense. But that does not make it a cynical debate, or an illegitimate one. On the contrary. The apparent inability of many left-wing commentators to see that point tells us more than all their diatribes in recent days. Their anger about the very possibility that the Court might disagree with them about Obamacare suggests that they do not believe that there can be such a thing as a serious political debate — they take serious and political to be opposites. And it shows.


“My guess is they’re not sleeping real well at the White House tonight — that’s the way it ought to be,” Romney said of the pending decision during a campaign speech in Virginia…

Returning to his earlier remark, Romney predicted “there’s going to be a lot of sleepless nights in the White House in the next few months.”


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