The mainstream conservatives’ alternative reality
After the Supreme Court decision was announced yesterday morning, I wondered aloud to a friend by what devices the mainstream conservatives would go on pretending that America as a constitutional republic of limited powers still exists, and that conservatism as allegiance to that republic still exists.
It didn’t take long before I got an answer. Incredibly, the mainstream conservatives are claiming that the decision is a victory for conservatism.
Dov Fischer at American Thinker writes:
Chief Justice John Roberts has handed a remarkable victory to American conservatives by threading the judicial needle with perfect precision. The initial disappointment collectively felt by Americans who had hoped for a Supreme Court ruling that would overturn Obamacare soon will be replaced, upon further reflection, by the excitement that will come with a fuller appreciation of what the Chief Justice has wrought.Joe Battenfeld in the Boston Herald writes:
Chief Justice John Roberts may be the Democrats’ new best buddy but come November he’ll be President Obama’s worst nightmare.Lucianne Goldberg posts an article by Tom Scocca at Slate followed by her editorial comment:
Obama Wins the Battle, Roberts Wins the WarCharles Krauthammer, not exactly celebrating the decision, praises and rationalizes it as a brilliant stroke by Roberts:
It’s the judiciary’s Nixon-to-China: Chief Justice John Roberts joins the liberal wing of the Supreme Court and upholds the constitutionality of Obamacare. How? By pulling off one of the great constitutional finesses of all time. He managed to uphold the central conservative argument against Obamacare, while at the same time finding a narrow definitional dodge to uphold the law—and thus prevented the Court from being seen as having overturned, presumably on political grounds, the signature legislation of this administration.Finally and most audaciously, Sean Trende argues at Real Clear Politics that the decision is good news for conservatives because, even though it approves Obamacare, and, at the very least, makes it more likely that it will be implemented, the decision will make it harder in the future for liberals to claim unlimited powers of Congress under the Commerce Clause. To repeat: the approval of Obamacare is a good thing, because it can be seen as placing certain limits on the powers of Congress in the future.
So I have my answer. There is no absurdity to which conservatives will not resort in order to claim that conservatism has really won, and thus that conservatism is still a viable movement. America could be officially proclaimed a Soviet state tomorrow, and the conservative pundits would chortle—just as they did about every leftward move by George W. Bush—that this is really a brilliant Machiavellian maneuver by which the conservative agenda is being advanced
Also, I see that George Will said this:Robert B. writes:
You left out Front Page Magazine where Joseph Klein draws the same absurd conclusion.James R. writes:
Here’s Instapundit’s roundup of demented “this is a win for conservatism” spin. [LA replies: Is Instapundut criticizing the “this is a conservative win” spin or aggreeing with it?]Dave T. writes:
What really gets to me are the conservatives who think that the court’s decision yesterday placed some kind of enduring limits on the way in which the Commerce Clause can be used in the future. It’s true that the court did not affirm the constitutionality of the mandate under the Commerce Clause, but realistically we are only one justice away from the brazenly leftist faction of the court doing whatever it wants under the Commerce Clause. It’s not as if the left is about to let a little thing like legal precedent get in their way.LA writes:
When I told a conservative acquaintance today about the many conservative writers who are saying that this catastrophic decision is a victory for conservatism, her first response was that many conservatives are opposed to the decision. As though the fact that many conservatives naturally oppose the decision cancels out the astonishing fact that many other conservatives are applauding it.Eric B. in Nashville writes:
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with noting the silver lining in this decision. Passage of Obamacare is, without a doubt, the most significant defeat of conservatism in recent memory. The AZ decision is a close second.Joseph S. writes:
Technically, Roberts was correct that Obamacare AS WRITTEN was a tax—it is implemented by having people fill out their 1040 forms and they get an exemption from paying an additional amount if they have bought health care coverage, in the same way they can currently claim deductions for medical expenses and (if they are self-employed) insurance premiums. Although the legislative debates involved dissimulation by proponents of the bill who swore it wasn’t a tax, the statements of legislators about what they meant are only relevant when the law itself is unclear, and, functionally, this law is clear. The clincher: there is no taint of criminality or violation for choosing to pay the extra tax rather than get health coverage, and furthermore, if your tax liability is low enough, you don’t owe anything because the amount you would pay related to Obamacare is outweighed by your other tax credits and exemptions and so on.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at June 29, 2012 10:30 AM | Send