If Democrats were moved by principle and reason, instead of crisis, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton would be their chosen candidate for president in November.
For example, as the Democrats (well, all but 17) walked out of the House chambers last week in protest of the anticipated vote to hold Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in contempt, Rep. James E. Clyburn, D-S.C., said, "This is not about oversight, this is about overkill." Such childish displays should be an embarrassment to the Democratic Party and equally so to the Republican Party when they participate in such nonsense.
Sadly, it was about "underkill." I doubt Democrats would have been so cavalier about this gravely serious matter had the Mexican drug cartels sent 1,000 of its thugs across our border, half of them armed with guns their administration handed over, resulting in the murder of 200 American border agents, 100 American civilians and the entire El Paso city council. A crisis of such magnitude would have spurned a national day of mourning, prayer vigils across the land and a serious investigation searching for responsibility, wherever the cards may fall. Right?
The reasoning and principles for such an investigation wouldn't change, but somehow, one dead American and who-knows-how-many dead Mexicans apparently are insufficient for the mainstream media and the majority of the Democratic Party to label the Republican-led contempt citation as anything more than a witch hunt.
Need more proof? A nation that spends more than it takes in year after year after year ultimately will fail. Who doesn't know that much? One would think we have endured a sufficient number of economic setbacks to easily understand that doubling down on the national debt during this president's tenure is destroying our nation. The reasoning and principles are the same, but will our citizenry only be moved to action by a 1930s-type depression?
And, the jury is out on whether the American people, in sufficient number, understand that the decision to uphold the fundamental aspects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 is a crisis of such magnitude that our very freedom is at stake this November and beyond.
On the day after an attack on American freedom by five of our own, conservative pundit George Will, while not directly attributing Chief Justice John Roberts' startling shift to the left to some clever maneuver on his part, nevertheless thanked him for rejecting the Commerce Clause rationale while rekindling "the Constitution's foundational premise" that "enumerated powers are necessarily limited." Apparently, Will likes the ruling and believes it will help to revive an insurgency against Obamatax (formerly known as Obamacare).
It is equally alarming that, while conservative writer Charles Krauthammer believes the case was incorrectly decided, he generously gives Chief Justice Roberts kudos for maintaining the institutional integrity of the Court.
What has gotten into my conservative brethren? I agree that Justice Roberts' decision had to be based on a desire to appear above the political fray. That means, however, that he has sacrificed the Constitution and his own independence on the altar of "mainstream media and politically elite opinion," not on the altar of public opinion, for public opinion is decidedly against his ruling. If that is the case, he should resign, but even I would want him to wait until after the next election.
If the decision had been based upon a liberal interpretation of the Commerce Clause, a Republican victory for the White House and the Senate would ensure a repeal of Obamatax and a constitutional amendment to rein in the Commerce Clause would be relatively easy to draft.
With the ruling, however, Congress has been handed more power than the Commerce Clause could possibly grant. In fact, the Commerce Clause now is irrelevant and no longer will be used as the cornerstone of any future congressional act. Why would a power-hungry Congress do so when it now can tax us into any decision it believes we cannot handle on our own in the land of the free? True, Obamatax can be repealed with a victory this fall, but reining in the Tax and Spend Clause with an amendment will be extraordinarily difficult to draft.
Will and Krauthammer should know better. There is no joy in Mudville. Yet, surely, the American people now have enough crises, when coupled with reason and principle, as Justice Roberts so candidly alluded to in his opinion, to "throw" those that manufactured this administrative nightmare out of office real soon.
Tad Armstrong is an Edwardsville lawyer, founder of ELL Constitution Clubs (www.ellconstitutionclubs.com) and author of "It's OK to Say 'God.'"