Obamacare Upheld, Roberts Joins the Left

Discussion in 'Politics' started by madanthonywayne, Jun 28, 2012.

  1. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Well, yes

    Well, yes. But I might be missing the point of your question because my first thought is: But that's sort of the point.

    See, the Republican outlook on this seems to be that their own plan, cooked up by the Heritage Foundation nearly twenty years ago in order to stave off single-payer healthcare, is now just too meddling. As near as anyone can tell from the GOP's counteroffers for health reform, the conservative answer is to shut the government up, let the insurance companies take as much money from their customers as they want, and then cancel the policies when the time comes to pay out for services.

    Because, well, that's what society is for, in the conservative mind. The great mass of society exists to support the excesses of a few elites.

    I was thrilled today when Steven Brust, one of my favorite authors, wrote, "In my opinion, as long as you accept that profit is more important than health, you cannot fix health care." Indeed, as I have long expressed, this is exactly correct. But Brust, who is not a fan of the ACA, also notes, "But I'm sure others have different opinions."

    And that different opinion is largely the conservative outlook, which comes down, in effect, to the idea that you cannot fix health care unless the goal is to maximize private-sector profits.

    My father, a Reagan Republican back in the day, used to explain capitalism simply enough: You see a need, you fill the niche, you make a profit.

    Where he has become disgusted with the capitalists he has admired all his life is the point at which the products and services became viewed as inconvenient necessities of collecting money.

    And, to be certain, there are plenty who would disagree with that expression, but in my lifetime, the idea of fulfilling a need and making a tidy profit from doing so has been replaced by the idea of creating a need in order to make larger profits. These days, the actual goods and services seem to be viewed as mere overhead, instead of the reason for the business existing.

    Of course the Republicans whine whenever Democrats think government needs to be involved. The only role of government, in this sense, is regulating the business community to increase the flow of money into private-sector coffers.

    Well, as we've witnessed, Republicans have whined ad nauseam about the socialist totalitarianism of their own damn plan.

    That's certainly one way to express it. Certes, everyone feels that way from time to time. Let the courts decide? Like in Santa Clara? Or Scott? Or Plessy? Okay, so Santa Clara isn't necessarily fair; it's a headnote inserted by the clerk of the Court that made corporations into people—the effects of the decision were not immediately apparent. But, while I might not have noticed that point in the day, I'm actually glad I wasn't alive when Scott v. Sanford reiterated the exclusion of blacks from humanity. Indeed, I can't imagine how I would have reacted to Plessy. In that case, it would have been, "Let the courts decide what's best for the country except when it's uncomfortable for Republicans?" Sure, we can argue that there are stark differences in the principles at stake, but those are too subtle for some conservatives. Unfortunately, that candle burns at both ends.

    However, as Sahil Kapur noted, in the article I cited earlier:

    "I have always had the impression that Justice Scalia's primary approach to judging is political," Tim Jost, a professor of law at Washington and Lee University, told TPM. "Therefore, he will interpret the Commerce Clause broadly to support federal laws he likes but narrowly to strike down those he doesn't."

    "This is typical Scalia," said Adam Winkler, a professor at UCLA School of Law. "He respects precedents when they fit his conservative ideology and disregards them when they don't ... Once again, we see that Scalia's originalism is a charade."

    Principles, in the conservative world, often seem flexible according to need. While the general notion of flexible principles is certainly human, we should not pretend all people are equally flexible with all principles. The fluctuation among conservatives in itself is not especially notable; its magnitude and frequency, however, are astounding.


    Brust, Steven. "On Health Care in the US". Words Words Words. June 28, 2012. DreamCafe.com. June 28, 2012. http://dreamcafe.com/words/2012/06/28/on-health-care-in-the-us/

    Kapur, Sahil. "Scalia Reverses Himself: Now Disagrees With Key Precedent Supporting Constitutionality Of Health Care Reform". Talking Points Memo DC. June 18, 2012. TPMDC.TalkingPointsMemo.com. June 28, 2012. http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/...ilburn-raich-constitution-commerce-clause.php
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  3. brucep Valued Senior Member

    Great post. Thanks for writing that down. Needs to be pointed out more frequently yet you keep hoping folks are going to wake up and you won't need to. The great neoconservative hope. Utter ignorance and confusion.
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  5. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

    That could backfire. The slow learners among them might begin to wonder whether repeal is constitutional.

    I can just hear Sarah Palin: "...well, maybe as a rider to our repeal of Roe v Wade."

    Romney: "...and when I'm president I will make John Roberts a 1-term Chief Justice."
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  7. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    The provision of Obamacare that Roberts crucially upheld is a rightwing provision, not a leftwing.

    If such terms have any meaning at all, any more.

    And this is critical in understanding Roberts's vote, which does not indicate a return of political independence in the Court.

    As always, Madanthony has led off a thread with a wingnut falsehood.
  8. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

    Nope, you didn't miss a thing.

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  9. superstring01 Moderator

    Not a fan of the law--I've come to grips that Congress should have just consolidated all the insurance companies and then either allowed the states to administer (through a funded mandate) or just kept a large, independent company that is fully funded through Congress (i.e. single payer). I don't like the individual mandate. Taken on the whole, I don't think universal health care (and that is where we're heading) it's the end of the world (otherwise, we'd have seen Australia and German collapse years ago).

    What? Huh? Since when do we use a rephrasing of the "slippery slope" argument? That's puerile. The argument can be reversed and taken to any extreme. There are better examples to give and none of them imaginary suppositions about where things might go in an alternate timeline.

    Amen to that.

  10. Cowboy My Aim Is True Valued Senior Member

    You only have to pay if you do something the government doesn't like. That means it's a fine, not a tax.

    I guess this means the government can pass laws requiring people to do all sorts of things as long as the punishment is described as a "tax"?
  11. Cowboy My Aim Is True Valued Senior Member

    Speak for yourself. I'm not in favor of this sort of policy no matter who comes up with it.
  12. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

    Well then there are a lot of "fines" in the tax code. If you don't have the latest insulated windows, using your logic you are fined. If you don't have an electric car, using your logic, you are fined. If you don't have solar panels on your home, you are fined using your logic. If you rent versus buy, then you are fined, using your reasoning. If you are not married, then you are fined again using your logic. If you don't drill oil wells, using your reasoning, you are fined. Depending on when you made capital investments, you are fined. If you don't invest in tax advantaged securities, using your reasoning, you are fined.
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2012
  13. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

    Show me where you opposed this policy during the 20-ish years when it was being advocated by right-wing think tanks and politicians, before it became associated with Obama, and I'll believe you.

    I mean, sure, I recognize that there do exist genuine libertarians who don't like the individual mandate regardless of who's pushing it. I just don't recall hearing any complaints from them back when Republicans were spending years trumpetting this idea, enacting it in certain states, etc.
  14. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

    We're down to semantic quibbles now?

    Yeah, that's been the situation for a long, long, long time. This is news to you?
  15. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

    Well, he didn't actually say that he was shocked that Roberts upheld the position because it's "leftwing." The outrage seems to be simply that Roberts did not act as a craven GOP partisan, irrespective of where the GOP's current preferred outcome might sit on any political axis.

    Except, wait, I just recalled the thread title, which does say "Left." Although, I read that as referring to the other Justices in the majority, rather than to the contents of the provisions in question. I dunno...
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2012
  16. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Republican Chess

    Republican Chess

    Sometimes, it is easy to see what comes next. Keep your eye on this one:

    • Several states generally under Republican governance decided that they would not begin fashioning insurance exchanges because they hoped or expected that the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, would be repealed by the Supreme Court. While the exchanges officially begin in 2014, states must be able to demonstrate the viability of their exchanges by January 1, 2013; if they do not, the statute directs the federal Department of Health and Human Services to "establish and operate" those exchanges instead. Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin, for instance, announced that his state "will not take any action to implement Obamacare". It is his hope that Republicans will achieve a clean sweep in November, and in January abolish the whole of health reform. In May, Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey vetoed the establishment of his state's insurance exchange. States like Florida and Idaho have even refused federal money to help them research and craft exchanges. Kansas even received over $31 million to help with theirs, but Governor Sam Brownback gave it back. And so on, &c.

    • Ironically, as conservatives have lamented a "federal takeover" of the health care industry, it is conservatives in state government who are putting their states at risk of federal intervention.

    • Or maybe it's not so ironic. Certes, one might suggest that these Republicans are deliberately inviting HHS intervention in order to construe a talking point and say, "See? We told you it was a federal takeover!"

    • And if that happens, people need to remind Republicans pushing that point that responsible states, including many under Democratic control, avoided federal intervention by attending to their responsibilities.​

    These Republicans are literally staking the election on the abolition of health care reform. For that gamble to pay off, Republicans need to win the White House, retain their majority in the House of Representatives, and achieve a majority in the Senate. As it is, no newly elected officials will be sworn in by the viability deadline; they cannot undo the law, under any circumstances, before HHS gets involved in establishing insurance exchanges for recalcitrant states.

    It's a high-stakes chess game at best. Some might suggest it's just a political game of Chicken.

    In which case, I'm thinking of a former Republican governor, from his acting career:

    Jack: Damn! That hurt!

    Danny: You're lucky to be alive, you dumb idiot!

    Jack: '89 Mercury Sable: standard airbag. Checker cab: no airbag. Who's dumb?

    The Last Action Hero

    Chess or Chicken? Airbag or no?

    Just remember, when the talking point emerges that they told us so about federal takeovers, they chose federal intervention.


    Sack, Kevin and Reed Abelson. "States Face a Challenge to Meet Health Law's Deadline". The New York Times. June 28, 2012. NYTimes.com. June 29, 2012. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/29/us/states-face-a-challenge-to-hit-laws-deadlines.html

    Associated Press. "Where states stand on implementing health care law". USA Today. June 28, 2012. USAToday.com. June 29, 2012. http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2012-06-28/health-care-states/55889922/1
  17. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    PR Wars In the Obamacare Era

    PR Wars In the Obamacare Era

    Yuki Noguchi's story about how the business community is responding to the ACA ruling runs on NPR's website under the title, "Business Owners Mixed On Health Care Ruling".

    NBC's Nightly News ran a segment last night on reactions to the Supreme Court ruling; the segment online is called, "Polar reactions to SCOTUS decision".

    A common aspect of both stories is that they both feature a business owner named Joe Olivo.

    Blogger Steve M. noticed:

    Wow -- two news organizations covering the same story scoured the nation for a random small business owner to comment on that story -- and they both found the same one! How'd that happen? What are the odds?

    Well, as it turns out, Joe Olivo of Perfect Printing turns up quite a bit in public discussions of this and other issues. Here he is testifying against the health care law before House and Senate committees in January 2011. Here he is on the Fox Business Network around the same time, discussing the same subject. Here he is a few days ago, also on Fox Business, talking to John Stossel about the law. Here he is discussing the same subject on a New Jersey Fox affiliate.

    And here he is in July 2010 discussing small business hiring with Neil Cavuto on Fox News. Here he is opposing an increase in the minimum wage in an MSNBC debate a couple of weeks ago.

    Mr. Olivo keeps turning up, talking about how the ACA will hurt his business.

    From the Nightly News segment:

    Kathy Watson (NBC News): For small business owners like Joe Olivo, it is the unknown cost of the law that could impact his printing business.

    Joe Olivo: Without a doubt, it's something we're ready to expand and at this point what I'll do is either hold off, or I may hire part-time employees instead of full-time employees.

    Watson: He offers health care to his 48 workers. If he goes to 50, he says the law would require him to provide more comprehensive and expensive care or pay a penalty. He says the penalty makes more sense.

    Olivo: The penalty is far below my premiums. It'll be cheaper for me to allow the employees to go and purchase insurance on the exchange by themselves.

    Watson: A potential unintended consequence of a law aimed at expanding health care ....

    As anti-reform arguments go, it's a perfect talking point. Of course, it's intended to be. As Steve M. notes:

    Go to many of these links and you find out something about Joe Olivo that NPR and NBC didn't tell you: he's a member of the National Federation of Independent Business. NFIB's site and YouTube page promote many of Olivo's public appearances. He was the subject of an NFIB "My Voice in Washington" online video in 2011.

    NFIB, you will not be surprised to learn, is linked to the ALEC and Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS, and to the usual rogues' gallery of right-wing zillionaires.

    So Joe Olivo isn't just some random business owner -- he's dispatched by NFIB whenever there's a need for someone to play a random small business owner on TV.

    Thanks, NPR and NBC -- you asked us to smell the grass, and you didn't even notice it was Astroturf. Or you noticed, but you didn't want us to.

    Steve Benen adds a very important point:

    If the name "National Federation of Independent Business" sounds familiar, there's a good reason for that: yesterday's Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act has a specific case name: National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius ....

    .... The larger point, though, is that when the public sees Olivo doing interviews, it's worth keeping in mind that he's not just expressing his own perspective; he appears to be representing the interests of a group trying to kill the health care reform law.

    So Yuki Noguchi and Kathy Watson missed one. Big deal. One need not raise spectres of conspiracy, especially as that would involve accusing the "liberal media conspiracy" of covering for conservatives.

    But we do need to remember that Joe Olivo is not some random, average business owner. He's a shill for the organization that sued the ACA and lost.


    Noguchi, Yuki. "Business Owners Mixed On Health Care Ruling". Morning Edition. June 29, 2012. NPR.com. http://www.npr.org/2012/06/29/155939281/business-owners-mixed-on-health-care-ruling

    Watson, Kathy and Brian Williams. "Polar reactions to SCOTUS decision". NBC Nightly News. June 28, 2012. MSNBC.MSN.com. June 29, 2012. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/48004990#48004990

    M., Steve. "Just a Humble Tradesman, Trapped In a World He Never Made". Nore More Mister Nice Blog. June 29, 2012. NoMoreMister.BlogSpot.com. June 29, 2012. http://nomoremister.blogspot.com/2012/06/just-humble-tradesman-trapped-in-world.html

    Benen, Steve. "Why Joe Olivo's name sounds familiar". The Maddow Blog. June 29, 2012. MaddowBlog.MSNBC.MSN.com. June 29, 2012. http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/06/29/12485075-why-joe-olivos-name-sounds-familiar
  18. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    The Obvious

    Source: The New York Times
    Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/29/opinion/the-real-winners.html
    Title: "The Real Winners", by Paul Krugman
    Date: June 28, 2012

    As shockwaves continue to ripple through conservative quarters, the question of history and future emerges. In terms of politics, Paul Krugman makes the familiar—that is, obvious—points:

    At one level, the most striking thing about the campaign against reform was its dishonesty. Remember "death panels"? Remember how reform's opponents would, in the same breath, accuse Mr. Obama of promoting big government and denounce him for cutting Medicare? Politics ain't beanbag, but, even in these partisan times, the unscrupulous nature of the campaign against reform was exceptional. And, rest assured, all the old lies and probably a bunch of new ones will be rolled out again in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision. Let's hope the Democrats are ready.

    But what was and is really striking about the anti-reformers is their cruelty. It would be one thing if, at any point, they had offered any hint of an alternative proposal to help Americans with pre-existing conditions, Americans who simply can't afford expensive individual insurance, Americans who lose coverage along with their jobs. But it has long been obvious that the opposition's goal is simply to kill reform, never mind the human consequences. We should all be thankful that, for the moment at least, that effort has failed.

    Moving forward, it would behoove us to remember these points.
  19. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

    Robert's opinion is 59-page tome. In it, you'll find him nailing back down all the boards around the Commerce Clause that Ginsburg et al dismantled. To identify him with the Left is a wingnut that's been cross-threaded.
  20. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

    Those very points (Republican dishonesty) can't be forgotten easily, at least by anyone who followed current events over the past decade. Anyone with a pulse, that is. As for countermeasures, what's needed is an anti-Rove. But what kind of cyclops would that be?

    Voters tend to be stubbornly mean and ignorant. Republicans glorify those base instincts and keep their mobs fired up and foaming at the mouth. I'm remembering how easy it was for Sarah Palin to provoke the attacks on Democratic offices just by reminding her constituents of their 2nd Amendment rights. That scenario was like the Manchurian Candidate, only with Barbie representing Chairman Mao (and in the context of modern jingoism). Some serious deprogramming is needed to undo the insidious effects of the points you mention.

    Let's see if the Supreme Court decision begins to help some scales fall from the eyes. The "shockwave", as it's being called, may snap them out of their comas a little: the haters are now discovering that the constitutional grounds of the case was never one of their rights (as in the Bill of Rights). That error seems to be reflected in some of the opinions posted here.

    Tactically, the best retort might be for them to whine louder for tax reform. But that's a double edged sword, since it reminds them that they just extended the tax breaks for the wealthy.
  21. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Rovian Rubber

    There is also some strange expectation, such as Bells pointed out and Madanthonywayne affirmed, that Supreme Court justices are supposed to be political poodles.

    Ann Coulter certainly thinks so, writing in 2005, of Roberts' nomination:

    So all we know about him for sure is that he can't dance and he probably doesn't know who Jay-Z is. Other than that, he is a blank slate. Tabula rasa. Big zippo. Nada. Oh, yeah ... We also know he's argued cases before the Supreme Court. Big deal; so has Larry Flynt's attorney.

    But unfortunately, other than that that, we don't know much about John Roberts. Stealth nominees have never turned out to be a pleasant surprise for conservatives. Never. Not ever ....

    .... And it makes no difference that conservatives in the White House are assuring us Roberts can be trusted. We got the exact same assurances from officials working for the last president Bush about David Hackett Souter.

    I believe their exact words were, "Read our lips; Souter's a reliable conservative" ....

    .... Maybe Roberts will contravene the sordid history of "stealth nominees" and be the Scalia or Thomas that Bush promised us when he was asking for our votes. Or maybe he won't. The Supreme Court shouldn't be a game of Russian roulette.

    And Rush Limbaugh, as well: "All I know is that we were defrauded in front of our eyes, wide open. We were taunted, frauded, defrauded, mocked, laughed at."

    I can't quite figure it out because it eventually gets really complicated, but we see certain hints. For instance, there is the Rovian tactic of taking one's exposure and trying to put it onto one's opponent. Mitt Romney, for instance, is evading affirmative policy explanations while accusing President Obama of having a secret agenda. Sure, it sounds like an interesting attack line, except when he says Obama has no jobs plan, he overlooks that the president already offered one. When he says Obama has no immigration plan, he overlooks that Obama already offered one.

    Romney's most glaring policy problem is his abysmal jobs record -- he failed in Massachusetts and orchestrated mass layoffs at his vulture-capital firm -- so he accuses President Obama of failing to create jobs. Romney intends to end Medicare and replace it with a voucher scheme, so he accuses Obama of undermining Medicare. Romney favors European-style austerity and spent several years in France, so he accuses Obama of wanting to turn the U.S. into Europe.

    (Benen; April 4, 2012)

    • • •​

    A few weeks ago, just as the Republicans' "war on women" was capturing national attention, the Republican National Committee decided to argue President Obama was the one who was actually waging a "war on women." It was silly; it was impossible to take seriously; and the RNC dropped the line pretty quickly.

    (Benen; April 11, 2012)

    • • •​

    While others perfect their own "I'm rubber, you're glue" tactics, I continue to believe Karl Rove is in a league of his own. Today, for example, the former Bush/Cheney aide used his Wall Street Journal column to condemn President Obama for politicizing national security. No, seriously.

    (Benen; May 3, 2012)

    • • •​

    Republicans are trying to buy the 2012 presidential election, so they're accusing Democrats of trying to buy the 2012 presidential election. The Republican presidential candidate is trying to keep his policy agenda vague and unspecific until after the election, so he's accusing the Democratic candidate of trying to keep his policy agenda vague and unspecific until after the election.

    Republicans launched a policy agenda that was characterized as a "war on women," so they accused Democrats of launching a "war on women." The Republican candidate appears to be an out-of-touch elitist, so he accused the Democratic candidate of being an out-of-touch elitist.

    (Benen; June 29, 2012)

    Looking back, Republicans have long accused liberal judicial decisions of activism and political bias. Is it any wonder that they expect Republican-appointed justices to be conservative poodles? This is apparently how they see the world: Whatever you're doing wrong, accuse your opponent of doing it.

    And it's been going on for a while. After all, FOX News justifies its bias, in part, by accusing a "liberal media conspiracy".

    I don't know if conservatives are discovering anything specific about their health care argument. Perhaps you're right. And perhaps this is just habitual behavior. The phantoms they accuse are often, quite simply, their own mirror reflections.

    It's a strange phenomenon, and difficult to untangle because we might be witnessing multiple behaviors that simply look similar. But there is a bizarrely thematic consistency about how conservatives accuse everyone else of doing what conservatives are seen doing every day in our political arena.


    Coulter, Ann. "Souter in Roberts' Clothing". July 20, 2005. AnnCoulter.com. June 29, 2012. http://www.anncoulter.com/columns/2005-07-20.html

    Halperin, Mark. "Rushbo on Roberts". The Page. June 29, 2012. ThePage.Time.com. June 29, 2012. http://thepage.time.com/2012/06/29/rushbo-on-roberts/

    Benen, Steve. "The rubber-glue phenomenon". The Maddow Blog. April 4, 2012. MaddowBlog.MSNBC.MSN.com. June 29,2012. http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/04/04/11017426-the-rubber-glue-phenomenon

    —————. "Rubber, glue, and the 'war on women'". The Maddow Blog. April 11, 2012. MaddowBlog.MSNBC.MSN.com. June 29, 2012. http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/04/11/11140876-rubber-glue-and-the-war-on-women

    —————. "The reigning 'I'm rubber, you're glue' champion". The Maddow Blog. May 3, 2012. MaddowBlog.MSNBC.MSN.com. June 29, 2012. http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/05/03/11520194-the-reigning-im-rubber-youre-glue-champion

    —————. "Taking 'I'm rubber, you're glue' to the extreme". The Maddow Blog. June 29, 2012. MaddowBlog.MSNBC.MSN.com. June 29, 2012. http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/06/29/12480732-taking-im-rubber-youre-glue-to-the-extreme
  22. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

    LOL that was good, and the sad part is, I can see it too with thousands of Tea Partiers cheering them on.

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  23. John T. Galt marxism is legalized hatred!! Registered Senior Member

    You continue to display your abject failure to understand the whole concept of what this country was founded under. But alas, you are not alone, include your buddies tiassa, bells, and all the other numb nuts who generally conform to tyrannical tendencies.

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