Wednesday, February 02, 2011

The ObamaCare “individual mandate” case will determine America’s future

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 2/2/11

We haven’t heard from Bono and Lady Gaga yet, so it is too early to say, but in our age of second acts – Wikileaks, Jane Fonda workouts, Hawaii five o, Jimmy Carter (and isn’t the TV show “Dexter,” in which liberal frustration leads to weekly ritual sacrifice by a serial killer, a redo- of the very popular “Death Wish” in 1974?) - the Egyptian uprising appears to be a latte version of the Ayatollah Revolution in 1979; but one without the Ayatollah. And without the American hostages. The first brought Ronald Reagan from nowhere on to a steady trajectory to the most successful Presidency perhaps in the post-war period. Possibly we will see that heartland instinct which emerged in the Reagan period awaken now to dominance. Indeed, it is what we have been seeing with Tea Party, Constitutional Conservatives, Sarah Palin and Judge Andrew Napolitano these last two years. The key, in my mind, is one case rising before the Supreme Court; the case of ObamaCare’s “individual mandate.” It will determine America’s future.

The Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto today has a good analysis. “If the Supreme Court were to uphold ObamaCare, it would mark a radical expansion of congressional power,” he writes. “The court would have to find that Congress's authority ‘to regulate Commerce . . . among the several States’ is so vast as to permit the enactment of laws forcing individuals to transact business with private companies.”

The 26-state challenge to the “individual mandate” is itself a second act. The first onslaught came when First Lady Hillary Clinton led Congress to try for a national health care bill in the first Clinton Administration. It descended into fiasco. But this time it was different. This time, under the good grace that allowed up to 70% of the people to support Barack Obama when he was running for president, Obama betrayed America’s good will to jam through this bill via the dark quaternity; Frank, Pelosi, Reid, Obama. In a sterling moment of character unprecedented in the post-war period, the people stood up and took it back.

As Taranto writes, the Supreme Court has expanded congressional power before, but in almost all such cases it was or at least seemed to be, going with the political grain. “By contrast, in upholding ObamaCare, the Supreme Court would be validating an unprecedented congressional power grab while upholding a law so at odds with the popular will that, to borrow the words of The New Republic's Jonathan Cohn, ‘there was something fundamentally illegitimate about the process that produced it.’"

If on the surface we are in late Seventies redux, our age has for the past decade brought to my mind the mid-1800s and the shift from the Colonial Period to the rustic Jacksonian era. In the people’s battle against the Obama Quaternity, the people are winning. The passage of ObamaCare legislation by a Congress which had the full support of 11 percent of Americans brings to mind the Fugitive Slave Act passed by Congress in 1850 which compelled citizens of northern states to act against their conscience and help return escaped former slaves into bondage.

As Texas Governor Rick Perry writes in his book, “Fed Up!: Our Fight to Save America from Washington,” “. . . while the southern states seceded in the name of ‘states’ rights,’ in many ways it was the northern states whose sovereignty was violated in the run-up to the Civil War.”

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