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Seize This Moment

REMINDER: Greg and I discuss this and more tonight at 8 on Red Maryland Radio

I thought this morning of my International Relations professor from my days at Western Maryland College, Volker Franke, who used to always say “There is opportunity in adversity.”

I saw that Twitter, Facebook, and the internet in general went into a state of general apoplexy this morning over the Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act. Seemingly, a lot of my fellow Republicans seemed to be inching closer toward the ledge and toward jumping off said ledge. That with the Obamacare ruling, the end was nigh and that there really wasn’t much worth fighting over.

Bull. While the act being in place is a terrible thing for health care and the American people (notwithstanding this bizarre editorial from the Baltimore Sun) things are not as bad as they seem:

  • Commerce Clause: Chief Justice Roberts stood with the four dissenters as it relates to the application of the Commerce Clause to the individual mandate. What does that mean to you? It means the Commerce Clause has limits. It is a continuation of the court’s refutation of Wickard v. Filburn and other cases which allowed for a broad interpretation of the Commerce Clause. This, in the long run, will be the most significant development from the ruling of this case; that the Federal Government has limits to the exercise of its power (which also extended in this case beyond the Commerce Clause down to Necessary and Proper).
  • The Power of Taxation: Chief Justice Roberts majority opinion on the individual mandate was based on the idea that the Federal Government had the power to tax; a power that most rational people agreed the Federal Government already had anyway. Those are the narrow grounds on which this decision was based. The Court, in the Roberts opinion, does not hold that the taxation power is the creation of a new authority, just an exercise of already existing Constitutional authority. And while we strongly oppose their use of this authority in this case, it isn’t anything knew under the sun.
  • Federalism Still Holds: Randy Barnett called the ruling a “Weird Victory for Federalism” and he’s right. One of the things that the Roberts opinion also does is note that Federal Government does not have the power to penalize states for opting out of the ACA’s Medicaid expansion. The Court has clearly ruled that the power of the Federal Government to penalize states also has limits, which could make for some very interesting challenges on funded and unfunded mandates later on down the road.
  • The Game is Changed: The Administration and the Democrats have said time and time again that they have not raised taxes on the middle class. That argument was thoroughly destroyed by the Court today given the fact that the Court upheld the Individual mandate solely on its status as a tax. It is impossible for the Democrats to make the argument now that they didn’t just pass the largest middle class tax hike in American history.

Face some facts: The Commerce Clause has been reigned in. Obamacare is still wickedly unpopular. And the Court hung the label of passing record taxation around the Administration and the Democratic Party. While at the same time I concur with the editors of the National Review who note that “The law, as rewritten by judges, remains incompatible with the country’s tradition of limited government, the future strength of our health-care system, and the nation’s solvency.”

It’s go time folks. Get ready to help your candidates. Mitt Romney, Dan Bongino, Andy Harris, Nancy Jacobs, Eric Knowles, Faith Loudon, Tony O’Donnell, Roscoe Bartlett, Frank Mirabile and Ken Timmerman are going to need all of the help that they can get in order to win this November and to work together to repeal this unconscionable act.

There is opportunity in adversity. Now let’s go make the most of it.






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