Monday, June 18, 2012


You know what I think when I read this Kevin Drum paragraph about the Supreme Court's pending health care decision?
If the court does overturn the mandate, it's going to be hard to know how to react. It's been more than 75 years since the Supreme Court overturned a piece of legislation as big as ACA, and I can't think of any example of the court overturning landmark legislation this big based on a principle as flimsy and manufactured as activity vs. inactivity. When the court overturned the NRA in 1935, it was a shock -- but it was also a unanimous decision and, despite FDR's pique, not really a surprising ruling given existing precedent. Overturning ACA would be a whole different kind of game changer. It would mean that the Supreme Court had officially entered an era where they were frankly willing to overturn liberal legislation just because they don't like it. Pile that on top of Bush v. Gore and Citizens United and you have a Supreme Court that's pretty explicitly chosen up sides in American electoral politics. This would be, in no uncertain terms, no longer business as usual.
I read that and I think it's 2003 all over again.

Back then, I couldn't believe that people whose opinions I respected were still struggling with the question of whether the Bush administration was making a wise move by going into Iraq; now, I can't believe that people I respect are still asking, "Could it be? Is it really conceivable that the Supreme Court is highly politicized?"

Kevin Drum himself came around on the Iraq War a week and a half before it began. As Atrios said at the time, what took him so long? But people like Drum just can't believe that people in positions of great responsibility might be acting in utterly bad faith, or might have effectively joined a political cult that believes extremist zealotry is reasonable behavior.

And what the Drums of the world always struggle to grasp is the degree to which decision-making on the right is done on the basis of "whatever liberals hate must be wise and responsible and good." Ultimately, the war was pursued and fought because it was the perfect wedge issue; Citizens United was decided the way it was because liberals rail against corporate power; and the health care law will be partially overturned in the way likely to cause maximum political pain for the Obama administration.

If you're Kevin Drum, you can't really believe that powerful people who hold positions of great responsibility act like this. You can't believe, for instance, that they'd saddle their own political primaries with a Sheldon Adelson just because freeing people like him to give unlimited cash pisses us off. Even now, they can't believe the Supreme Court will overturn a law that reduces government spending, and that Republicans in Congress won't replace it with something that addresses the country's real health care problems in some serious way.

But that's not how it goes anymore. Right-wing decision-makers, first and foremost, want to crush liberalism. They are not acting in good faith. And everyone needs to grasp how seriously messed up a political system is when half its actors are out of control in this way.


Ten Bears said...

Well, young Mr Drum Is an AUTHORITY, knows everything there is to know, just ask him, he'll tell you so.

joseph said...

Don Ohlmeyer said, "The answer to all your questions is money." Or in the case of the Republicans, "Money and power."


Victor said...

Why is this so obvious to some of us, and not to others?

Is it because we don't go to the same cocktail parties, or kid's soccer games?

Or is it that we're not paid to be obtuse?

Almost everything Obama's tried isn't really Liberal at all.
They were Conservative policies that were once supported by them, and tweaked a tiny bit, in the hopes of bipartisan passing of that policy.

PunTWITS, if you can't tell that the Conservatives have been doing 180's on their own ideas and policies, WTF are doing judging and opining?
Giving cover for the Conservatives? And where's there ANY cover for the Liberals?

You remind me of the old Soviet Olympic ice-skating judges - when an American pixie did will, you gave her a 7 point something, to lower her overall score - but if your own little pixie tripped over her skates, fell on her ass, hit the wall headfirst, and had to be carried off a bloody and concussed mess, well, that warranted A PERFECT 10!

Feckin' idjits, almost one and all...

Unknown said...

They could easily do it and even kick the legs out from under everything from Obama care back thru the Great Society and the New Deal to the beginnings of the regulatory state at the dawn of the 20th Century.

And for their next act they can kill the right to privacy that guarantees access to contraception and abortion and protects against recriminalization of all sex outside marriage between one man and one woman, forever.

And then the string of liberal decisions that made legal restriction of pornography impossible in America.

And then what the hell will anybody do about it?

What was FDR going to do afte he backed down over court packing?

What was Lincoln going to do about Dred Scott and the slavery issue after 1860, had the South decided to sit still with their winning hand?

I have no idea, friends.

Steve M. said...

I may be in the minority here, but I think they'll leave contraception alone (because oil billionaires' trophy wives use it), and possibly also porn (because right-leaning Heartland white males like it). Santorum is an outlier, I think.

Abortion, however, is just going to continue its path to effective illegality in all but the bluest states in the next few years.

The New York Crank said...

Oil billionaires' trophy wives won't have to worry about getting arrested for using contraception if the Supremes declare it illegal, any more than rich women had to worry about abortion before it was legal.

The rich are different from you and me. It says so right in the Constitution. And if you don't believe me, ask the five right wing members of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Yours crankily,
The New York Crank

Steve M. said...

Kevin Drum says on Twitter that I mischaracterized his argument. Wouldn't be the first time for me, but I'd like to hear why.

Steve M. said...

Oil billionaires' trophy wives won't have to worry about getting arrested for using contraception if the Supremes declare it illegal, any more than rich women had to worry about abortion before it was legal.

Abortion is a once-in-a-while thing. The rich can fly little fifteen-year-old Kirsten to New York or Switzerland if there's a problem.

Contraception is an ongoing need. The rich don't want to have to get it from dealers; that's unsavory. So they'll leave it alone.