Friday, March 30, 2012

3 days (and Three Cheers?) for Obamacare! Why the Supreme Court's upholding the individual mandate is better for the Conservative movement (politically speaking).

The thesis I am about to propose, that upholding the individual mandate may actually, in the long run, be better for the conservative cause, may well be considered heresy by many in the movement. However, the observations I am about to make are little more than common sense and cannot be doubted of their validity. But first, a disclaimer.

Anyone who reads this blog or follows me on Twitter knows that I do not follow any particularly "party" or conservative line, and that I sometimes enjoy playing, in the words of a college professor with whom I enjoyed many a discussion/debate, the "provocateur," or, what some would call nowdays, "devils advocate." Such an approach is well suited to my intellectually maverick ways, as I have always "followed my own drum" so to speak on such matters, (and have never been afraid to differ from others in sharing my own perspective!)

Further, while our philosophy here at the ACLP is unabashedly conservative in its overall philosophical outlook, (which often lends itself to be more supportive of ideas emanating from Republican rather than Democratic quarters nowdays), we are technically "non" partisan, which means that we do not, (and cannot!) automatically support any particular party or political candidates, but rather must be guided by certain principles and core beliefs, (which are outlined in the info box about us to the right of every blog post).

In that sense, then, rather than being politically driven, and in line with a more coherent and long-term historical approach to the ACLP's goals and conservatism in general, I feel bound to call em like em like I see em in analyzing current legal and political events from more of a historical and philosophical viewpoint (which, of course, always supports the Mission of the ACLP in favor of individual freedom and limited republican government as we see it).

Indeed, as a consequence and emphasis on ideas, rather than focusing on the transient nature of politics any particular party or personalities, we believe good ideas can arise from all quarters of the body politic, and from diverse persons, whatever their personal politics or label. This sets us apart from the ideologues of both right and left with whom I often spar on Twitter in the cause for truth and conservative principles. So please, if you are one of the "bots" or hyperpartisans with whom I am sometimes forced to argue with in the cause who insists on "purist" litmus tests or can only hurl insults against those with whom they disagree, spare me, (and you, as I will surely point out your inanity).

However, if you have a intelligible point of disagreement or clarification and can express yourself with other than four letter words or meaningless labels meant to demonize instead of debate, then by all means, we welcome, indeed, urge you to constructively join in the national discourse for the purpose of addressing the pressing issues facing our very sick republic in these critical times. (Indeed, that's what the "comment" boxes are for). But leave off the personal and ad-hominem attacks, profanities and racial slurs, (or face the consequences, which in the least includes being banned from publication on our site). Now on to the topic at hand!

The scope and goals of the Conservative Movement in 2012 (and beyond).

The reasons we think that upholding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's "individual mandate" is actually better for the goals (and long term vitality) of the Conservative movement, are, as alluded to above, primarily political.

By political we do not mean as involving (and being best effected by) the "political" or elected branches of American government, as one might ordinarily expect, (rather than the permanent class of the robe-wearing cult). This is a topic in itself, which would take far too long to address here.

Indeed, the list of reasons for a healthy distrust and unreliance on the judiciary as the preferred (or only!) branch of government capable of resolving constitutional questions are long and extend back at least as far as our republic's founding, as this author has previously and extensively written upon and others more recently have pointed out, see HERE).

So at the risk of disappointing some of our readers this aspect of the question is not the primary focus of today's editorial. Rather, we are here more interested in an analysis of the political ramifications vis a vis the 2012 Presidential Election, (and less saliently, the Republican primary).

On that score we see the primary goals of the Conservative movement at this point in time, as 1) selecting a viable Republican Candidate who can defeat President Obama in the Fall, a process well under way but which has been a long, and in many ways, damaging process, 2) the revitalization of the American economy, (including fiscal matters such as ending deficit spending and balancing the federal budget), and, 3) restoring the prestige and protection of American interests around the world, (which of course includes a long overdue overhaul and reinvigoration of American defense capabilities at home and around the world).

Although there is some obvious overlap with each other and undoubtedly a multitude of “sub issues” that can reliably be considered matters of importance to "conservatives," at the moment I am limiting myself to these three broad areas a) in the interest of time, and, b) because these broad three issues are unlikely to be controversial to at least the vast majority of those who self identify as "conservative" regardless of party affiliation, (with the exception of those in the Ron Paul crowd, who I have addressed elsewhere).

Dealing with the first of these, it is now quite plain that President Obama is far more likely to be helped, not hurt, by the Supreme Court striking down the Individual Mandate. Don't misunderstand me, as we have clearly expressed in our "So what's the matter with Obamacare?" post, we definitely are opposed to this monstrosity of a law, and moreover, do believe it to be an unconstitutional encroachment upon the rights of the States under the 10th Amendment, (the primary issue at stake in the Supreme Court case in our opinion). That is not the issue here. What we are talking about here is pure politics, i.e., what is more likely to result in a change in the Presidency in 2012? Clearly, the upholding of Obamacare is more likely to do so for several reasons.

Striking down the individual mandate helps re-elect Obama as it motivates his base and demotivates conservatives who are otherwise not overly excited about Romney.  

Dealing with the first of the reasons in support of my thesis, it is now quite plain that President Obama is far more likely to be helped, not hurt, by the Supreme Court striking down the Individual Mandate. Don't misunderstand me, as we have clearly expressed in our "So what's the matter with Obamacare?" post, we definitely are opposed to this monstrosity of a law, and moreover, do believe it to be an unconstitutional encroachment upon the rights of the States under the 10th Amendment, (the primary issue at stake in the Supreme Court case in our opinion). That is not the issue here. What we are talking about here is pure politics, i.e., what is more likely to result in a change in the Presidency in 2012? Clearly, the upholding of Obamacare is more likely to do so for several reasons.

Number one, the President's ability to demagogue the "overreaching" of the Supreme Court in striking down this "wonderful" legislation that "has provided critical needed protections and access to health care of millions," (as the President has previously and repeatedly stated in so many words), should not be underestimated.

As the President did with the Citizens United Supreme Court decision which allowed unlimited "bundling" of campaign contributions by corporations, unions and fat cat party donors to create the Superpacs partly responsible for the extended Republican primary battle we see everyday played out before us-- who can forget Obama's awkward and politically- charged "in-your-face" singling out of the Supreme Court for this decision while they sat in the front row of the President's 2010 State of the Union Address?-- President Obama will relentlessly hammer the narrative that the Supreme Court has become a "tool" of the "right wing Republicans" who, if granted the White House in 2012, will remake the federal judiciary into an activist arm of the GOP in favor of "corporate interests" to the denigration of "ordinary citizens," (never mind that such a claim undermines another of POTUS's claims, that the Republicans are "do nothings" who can only criticize his valiant attempts to save the country!)

Secondly, and somewhat relatedly, is the claim the President will repeat like a mantra on the campaign trail, (already in full swing now), that the "do nothing" Republicans are out and out "obstructionists" who would rather see the country in demise than help or give the President credit for any policy solutions to help our country, (again, regardless of the fact that the evidence is specious that the bailouts, deficit spending, and policies of this administration have actually helped anything but have rather hindered the current economic "recovery," especially the uncertainty of Obamacare's regulatory morass).

Such claims, while certainly ridiculous to the educated and politically astute, are powerful appeals to the lower-middle class who will be much courted in this election cycle, and will be repeated to potentially devastating effect in much the same way as Truman did in fending off a challenge from Dewey to his re-election in the 1946 Presidential elections.

Thirdly, if the President's opponent is Rick Santorum in the general election, Obama can all the more easily paint him as an "extremist" who will solidify his accusations of an alleged "do nothing" approach to health care, which, in spite of the President's own misguided approach in Obamacare, is still a legitimate issue to many voters.

If the individual mandate and/or law is struck down, the President can also attack Romney along the same lines-- although much less effectively-- as opposing efforts to "help" the people on the issue of rising health care costs, (again, in spite of all Romney's clear efforts to lead on this issue and all the evidence which suggests tort reform and a market based approach to health insurance would be fare more effective at stemming the rise of health costs).

And while we, like many, have been tossed and turned by the waves of the constant up and down of the Republican Presidential primary and according rise and fall of many seeking the nomination, it may come as no surprise that, in the final analysis, and all things considered, and barring selection of an unknown at a brokered Republican convention in Tampa in August, that Mitt Romney is probably the most likely GOP nominee who can beat President Obama, (even as he fails to inspire confidence in a great many conservatives, as the primary contest(s) have clearly shown).

Thus, if Obamacare, or it's individual mandate is struck down by the Supreme Court, it will motivate a fierce backlash from the left that will motivate the turnout of liberal voters, who have had the luxury of silently working in the background as they continue to organize their already significant union ground-game and outpaced Republican fundraising efforts while the GOP nominees are busy tearing each other apart in the extended primary campaign.

Indeed, although money isn't everything in politics, the fact that 2012 threatens to be-- thanks to unions and the President's prolific fundraising which promises to raise over a BILLION dollars for his reelection effort-- the most expensive election cycle in history while Republicans squander resources in endless infighting among themselves rather than being able to focus their resources squarely on Obama. In the final analysis, this means that an Administration defeat at the Supreme Court is more likely, rather than less, to help the President's re-election bid, (once all the additional time to fundraise and the increased motivation of POTUS' base that a Supreme Court defeat will cause is factored in. Hmmm, could this be the reason for the dismal performance of the President's solicitor general in arguments before the High Court?)

On the other hand, as above alluded, if Mitt Romney is the nominee, as all indications are that he will be, not only is there a very real risk that many conservatives will lack excitement to get out and vote on election day, but others in converse (and perverse!) fashion, will "rest on their laurels" thinking "now that we've defeated Obamacare there is no reason to get too excited about the election." Of course, nothing could be further from the truth, (which is why I say that the inevitable outcome of an Obama defeat on Obamacare in the Supreme Court is likely to decrease the chances of denying the President reelection, rather than enhance the chances of Republican victory in November. 

Defeating Obamacare, while likely to result in a short term economic boon, in the long term will result in government policies more likely to harm both our freedoms and our economy.

Wait a minute, are you meaning to say that a victory for anti-mandate forces at the Supreme Court will actually have a bad effect on the economy and conservative movement over time?Yes, that's exactly what I am saying! This is so because just as many will not vote once they perceive the "threat" of Obamacare to be gone, the same lack of enthusiasm as outlined above could very well cause a number of Freshman Republican House Members to lose their seats to angry and reinvigorated Democrats, and flip control of the Congress back to Democrats, (indeed, in a close election, as this one is likely to be, voter turnout can win or lose an election!) That means that rather than sane forces for change like Republican Paul Ryan of Wisconsin leading the House Budget Committee, we will have people like Democrat Nancy Pelosi from San Francisco, (who brought us Obamacare in the first place and said we would "have to read it to see what's in it"!) back in charge. Of course, this will inevitably just be a self-perpetuating cycle which will bring in more big government, anti-freedom policy prescriptions on not just health care, but environmental, social, regulatory, and tax policies that makes the freedom loving faint of heart.

Indeed, when added to the next attempt to "fix" health care of the Democrats they will likely try if Obamacare is struck down-- and yes, I am talking about a "single payer" fully-socialized system like Europe's or Canada's, which has really been the plan all along if you read liberal blogs or the legislative history of the 2010 lame duck Congress' attempts to put in the law the so called "public option,"-- whatever the Democrats cook up next will make Obamacare look like "the good old days," I promise you!

This will in turn damage our free-enterprise, choice and consumer driven system that most of us have known and loved all our lives into something little distinguished from European "social democracies" where government has a much larger role in all our lives (with a corresponding reduction in standard of living and rise in national debt, and we've all seen what's happening in Greece and Italy!). Need I say more?

Failure to defeat President Obama and the Democrats will hurt our National Defense

Finally, the economic disaster that Democratic control of the Congress and retention of the White House by the Obama Administration that would result upon re-election, on top of the already draconian cuts the disastrous "automatic cuts" the GOP was forced to concede to the President as part of last years "budget agreements," would cause such an economic downturn as would be likely to ensue that it would incalculably threaten America's ability to defend its prestige and interests at home and around the world!

And while this may not be a problem for the Paulbots who think that if we just "play nice" with the world dictators like Iran's WackedIsHeajob, (I never could spell! lol), Venezeuela's Chavez and N. Korea's child president, (to say nothing of newly invigorated Putin, Al Quaeda, fair weather friends in Pakistan our "friends-with-the-Taliban" government in Afghanistan!) will kindly return the favor, the far more likely result is an increased need for American military presence around the world to protect our way of life at home, (not to mention access to the oil that, like it or not, is still the lifeline of our industrial ability and economy, and I don't have to tell you the policies of this Administration that have exasperated that with the gas prices at record levels, do I? Just think "Keystone" and ANWAR).

And a final word for those Paul supporters and like-minded isolationists/libertarians; while libertarianism has to this point played a somewhat positive role in the GOP, (a subject for another day), and is not to altogether be discounted, if you think for a minute that once America and free countries around the world will somehow not be brought to our knees by lack of energy resources in a way that will make your right to freely smoke pot, have gay sex, engage the services of a prostitute at will, or whatever, (FILL IN THE BLANK) currently prohibited by your own government seem trivial and/or will magically result in less oppressive government with more "opportunity" to exercise basic civil rights you really need to lay off the crack cause your mind is just not working right!! (And this is saying nothing of the President's recently overheard apparent willingness to jettison what little missile defense systems we have planned to yet again appease near-totalitarian Russia). 

Indeed, besides the crippling effect on our readiness to defend strategic interests like the Straits of Hormuz and other friends like Israel, Japan and South Korea, the most basic right of a government is to protect her citizens from harm from hostile foreign governments. Indeed, as many libertarians like to quote Ronald Reagan, perhaps they should heed his very non-isolationist maxim of foreign policy, "peace through strength," (or if you prefer, the certified way to deal with Bullies, for which I refer you to your local elementary school playyard manual-- and no, America is not and never has been an international bully, and if you believe that spare me the mail as you and I will never agree!)

For all the above mentioned reasons, reasons that will be enhanced and not decreased in our view by re-election of President Obama, (which, for the economic and policy reasons as given above will be exasperated by Obamacare being struck down in our view), this core obligation of the Federal government to protect U.S. citizens can only be adequately protected by a strong National Defense capability, (which as pointed out above will be significantly decreased if not economically impossible if the Democrats, and Obama in particular, are re-elected to power).

So, kind reader, what are we to make of all this? Lest you sink into despair, let me encourage you, it is not too late for the greatness of American to be restored. Moreover, I could be wrong; I am no prophet, and the above is not inevitable. However, it is in our view more likely if Obamacare is struck down, (as we predict it will be), so we must be prepared! So what must we do, how can we come to the aid of our country in these perilous times?

We must redouble our efforts to defend conservative principles, to speak out against liberal and ineffective policies, to donate and become involved in the campaigns and causes we believe in, to return our country to fiscal sanity, and to unify the party most in tune with conservative principles; in short, we must work tirelessly to support whoever and whatever candidates support our values and to heed the advice of the man most of us believe was our most effective modern patriot and stalwart of freedom around the globe, our beloved President Ronald Reagan again, who spoke of the importance of unity and the Eleventh Commandment, ("Which you really need to read more and should google if you are that uninformed politically).

And while Reagan undoubtedly was speaking about his own party, which as a matter of public record was the Republican party, we welcome comers of all political stripes who support our mission to join us in this endeavor by linking to this site and following us on Twitter, anything to get the word out about what's at stake in this coming election (and current fight at the Supreme Court for that matter).

Friends, we must do this not out of partisanship but out of patriotism, as Americansin order to insure we have a change in policy in our government that respects our Constitution!
This will will not be easy, it will not be fun, and don't let anyone tell you it is "already baked in the cake" or that we can afford to become complacent, (because we surely can't!).

Rather, if we are to preserve freedom and our Republic's way of life, we must take action, for our lives, our fortune, and our sacred honor. God help us if we don't. Jp

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