As Obamacare marches civil society down the Green Mile toward the nanny state death of soft tyranny, Republicans have been arguing whether to identify the uniformed officers next to us as security guards or policemen.
On the issue of whether to call the individual mandate a “tax” or a “penalty,” Republicans—like Democrats before last week’s Supreme Court ruling—are trying to have it both ways.
Republicans are seeking to have it both ways like Democrats during oral argument. Like John Roberts during the ruling. Like Democrats after the ruling.
Obamacare is the new social justice, but not in the way liberals intended. Instead, like social justice, no one can say for sure what it means, but that won’t stop them from using it as a rhetorical sledgehammer. Even Nancy “pass it to find out what’s in it” Pelosi was overwhelmed by the 2700-page Pandora’s Box of Orwellian doublethink.
RNC Chair Reince Priebus also jumps down the rabbit hole into Democrat Wonderland (though not for the first time):
“In a Tuesday morning interview, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus joined the conflicted chorus.
Appearing on CNN, Priebus insisted that, like Mitt Romney, he disagreed with Chief Justice John Roberts’ ruling that the individual mandate was constitutional under Congress’ power to tax, but that that disagreement would not stop Republicans from accusing President Barack Obama of hiking taxes.
“Even though I don’t agree with it, and even though I agree with the dissent of that opinion, it doesn’t mean that the truth is not the truth once the Supreme Court speaks,” Priebus said. “And the Supreme Court has stated that Obamacare is a tax, and so since they have ruled that it’s a tax, it is a tax.”
Looks like John Roberts’ plan worked, as the Supreme Court’s legitimacy is so unquestioned after the ruling, even those who purportedly disagree with it are accepting a 5-4 ruling as near religious “truth”. Given the illogic of the situation, perhaps religious doctrine such as the paradoxical mystery of Catholicism’s Holy Trinity may be the best analogy for how Obamacare can be a mandate, tax, and tax penalty all at the same time.
So in election season attack ads—despite top Republicans’ on-the-record statements to the contrary—party groups will call it a tax.
“Our position is the same as Mitt Romney’s position. It’s a tax,” Priebus went on to say. “That’s the only way the Supreme Court came up with the decision it did in order to make it constitutional; otherwise it would fail.”
By ruling the mandate a “tax,” Roberts handed a political gift to Republicans, who can use his language to slam Obama for raising taxes by passing the health care law.
Obama passes a new entitlement that even many Democrats who voted for it agree was rushed, and not well thought out. He vastly expands government in a way that will scare off doctors, crush religious freedom, and further bankrupt the country in the process. Instead of discussing that, the Supreme Court has everyone debating semantics. If that’s a “political gift”, can we return it?
But Eric Fehrnstrom, chief strategist for Mitt Romney, said Monday that the presumptive Republican presidential nominee did not consider the mandate to be a “tax.” (The reasons for this are varied, but while Romney was governor of Massachusetts, he championed a similar statewide measure and insisted it wasn’t a tax either, so doing so now would have opened him up to charges of hypocrisy.)
In this case, Democrats are not entirely innocent, either. While Congress was debating the bill in 2010, Obama insisted that the individual mandate was not a tax, and the measure ultimately passed through both chambers. But while the president’s solicitor general was defending the constitutionality of the case before the Supreme Court in March 2012, he expressly argued that it was a tax, in hopes that if the court found the mandate to be unconstitutional under the Commerce Clause, the taxing power could be used as a lifeline.
Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of this semantic argument is its ‘heads I win-tails you lose’ nature. As broad swaths of the country celebrate the anniversary of our independence without power and without fireworks, perhaps a re-reading of our founding document is in order, as we like a flock of sheep abrogate what was gained . In light of the solidification of Obamacare as law of the land, one grievance from the Declaration of Independence stands out above the others:
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.