The Twitter world is all abuzz with the news of the Supreme Court decision to uphold Obamacare, and especially with the proviso that it cannot be regulated under the Commerce clause, but can be as a new tax. I have little to add to what the pundits are already saying about Chief Justice Roberts, about some of the amazingly intemperate responses by leading democrats, and about the fact that this was sold to Congress not as a new tax but argued before the Court as just such a thing. Commentary on the slimy and deceitful ways of politicians and their lawyers are redundant. But it is at least to be noted. I want simply to dwell for a few minutes on the question, “And then what?”
And then what for the Democratic Party in Congress? Let me mention a couple of things. First, the Democratic Party is going to have to own up to its assault on religious liberty implicit in this law. If companies are going to have to provide insurance guarantees for contraceptives, including abortifacients, then the clamor from religious conservatives is going to become a roar, and Democratic members of Congress are going to feel the wrath of their constituents. They will either have to pony up to Obama and tow the line, or join the opposition party’s rallying cry to throw the law out. Vast numbers of those in the current House did not vote for this law. And now they will have a chance to throw down the gauntlet and get rid of this monstrosity.
What else for the Democrats? Marco Rubio has already gone on the air and made it clear that, if this is a tax, and it is going to be progressively implemented over the next few months, a dramatic tax hike on the middle class will have to be enacted. So, the Democrats are out in the unenviable situation of proposing tax hikes on middle Americans while we are still in the throes of steep unemployment and are teetering on the edge of recession. Add to that the very real fear that this decision will actually slow job growth (except in the IRS) since employers now really are going to be afraid of the fiscal implications of a massive government program that has survived judicial review.
And then what for the Republican Party and for Romney? Obviously, many factors have yet to be sorted out. I am neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet, but I do have a tentative prediction. I predict that this will galvanize the Republican base. After twenty-four to forty-eight hours of venting on Twitter and in the hallways at businesses, I think many conservative Americans (remember that 60% of Americans oppose this law) will quietly resolve to band together and do what they can to “throw the bums out” in November.
I could not help but think of the scene in Lord of the Rings (The Two Towers) where the Ents assaulted Isengard. After crashing their way into the inner circle of the fortress they assaulted the Tower of Orthanc in their fury over years of injustice, until suddenly liquid fire was poured from above and one of the Ents went up in flames, dying a horrible death. At that point the others simply stopped their destruction, and quietly left the tower, only to begin their internal and subterranean destruction of the fortress, eventually flooding it with water and destroying all of their enemies except the two inhabitants of the tower itself, Saruman and Wormtongue, who were now imprisoned in their own fortress.
Slings and arrows will fly over the next few days. But if the opponents of this monstrous (in more ways than one) legislation want to end this insanity, they will settle down to doing the spade work that is necessary to save our country.
Chad Owen Brand