I’m sorry about your dog, Jonah, but your column is ridiculous. Let’s take a look.
‘It’s the law of the land.”
This is rapidly becoming the preferred shorthand argument for why criticism of Obamacare is just so, so wrong. It also serves as the lead sentence of a larger claim that all attempts to overturn the Affordable Care Act are really symptoms of a kind of extremist right-wing lunacy.
Let’s be clear at the outset that the Republicans are not currently attempting to overturn the Affordable Care Act. They have yet to identify one Democrat in either chamber of Congress who is willing to join them in overturning the Affordable Care Act. (And, no, Sen. Joe Manchin doesn’t want to repeal the Affordable Care Act). The Republicans are not unaware of this. Whatever it is that they are doing, it is not an actual effort at repeal, so let’s not call it that.
When people point out that ObamaCare is the Supreme Court-vetted law of the land, what they mean is that you can’t change that without overriding the president’s veto. So, what exactly are you idiots doing closing down the government and threatening to destroy the global economy? That sounds like something only a right-wing loon would do.
For instance, here’s Senate majority leader Harry Reid, who walked out of the painting American Gothic to deliver this homespun wisdom: “We’re not going to bow to tea-party anarchists who deny the mere fact that Obamacare is the law. We will not bow to tea-party anarchists who refuse to accept that the Supreme Court ruled that Obamacare is constitutional.”
Where to begin? For starters, I know a great many self-described members of the Tea Party, and I’ve yet to meet one who would not acknowledge — admittedly with dismay — that Obamacare is the law. Nor have I met one unwilling to concede that the Supreme Court ruled that Obamacare is constitutional.
I think Jonah needs to read more Red State comment threads. This next bit is going to take your breath away.
Lurking beneath such lazy rhetoric is a nasty psychological insinuation that there’s something deranged not just about opposing Obamacare, but about being a conservative. This is an ancient smear, used to discredit conservatives in order to avoid debating them.
Reid is a dim and sallow man whose tin ear long ago started to rust. But it’s worth pointing out that “anarchy” is not defined in any textbook or dictionary I can find as “the absence of Obamacare.”
Okay, so first Mr. Goldberg complains about using smears to avoid debate, and then in the next sentence he says that Harry Reid is stupid and sickly-looking. Second, after he’s done questioning Harry Reid’s intelligence, he obtusely argues that Harry Reid’s reference to anarchy had something to do with opposing ObamaCare rather than everything to do with throwing abstruse tantrums and threatening the reputation of America’s credit and currency. But don’t worry, he’s going to go for a walk with this misunderstanding.
More to the point, petitioning Congress to repeal a bad law through formal procedures is not the kind of behavior educated people normally associate with anarchism. Indeed, the hypocrisy of liberals who find it somehow “extreme” for citizens to organize peacefully to overturn a law they consider bad and unjust is a marvel to behold. The Fugitive Slave Act was once the law of the land. So was the Defense of Marriage Act. Were those determined to overturn them anarchists?
Can we agree that Congress cannot “petition” Congress, and that the majority in the House of Representatives is not seriously asking for anything? I’m a fully grown man in my mid-40’s, and if I make a wish-list for Santa Claus, I am not petitioning him “through formal procedures.” I’m fucking nuts, okay? I don’t know how Goldberg got to talking about “citizens” who are “organizing peacefully” because Harry Reid wasn’t talking about citizens. Lastly, I wasn’t around when The Fugitive Slave Act was the law of the land, but the Democrats never held the debt ceiling hostage to force the repeal of DOMA. In fact, our president signed it into law.
On an almost daily basis, I get a fundraising e-mail from a Democrat or from liberal outfits begging for help to overturn Citizens United, which in case you hadn’t heard is the law of the land. Why won’t these anarchists and extremists accept that the Supreme Court has ruled? I cannot wait for the Supreme Court to overrule Roe v. Wade, just to hear liberals announce, “Well, the fight is over. The Court has spoken.”
Again, he is confusing citizens who organize politically around an issue with politicians who shut down the government and threaten our credit rating for, well, we still don’t quite know why they’re doing that. The president was quite vocal about his displeasure with the Citizens United ruling, even making a point about it to the Justices’ faces during one of his State of the Union speeches. But, so far, he hasn’t refused to keep the government operating until Congress agrees to pass a law that overrides the Court’s ruling.
Nearly the whole story of American liberalism is a story of dedicated ideologues seeking to overturn what they consider to be bad laws and replace them with good ones. Sometimes those efforts were laudable, as when they fought to overturn the doctrine of “separate but equal” (despite fierce opposition from Democrats). And sometimes they are lamentable, as when they routinely labor to overturn or deny school-choice laws, consigning underprivileged children to horrible schools just to placate teachers’ unions.
History, as taught by conservatives, allows you to say in one breath that “liberalism” got rid of the separate but equal doctrine over the fierce opposition of “Democrats.” He forgot to mention that those “Democrats” were conservatives who left the party to hang out with Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan. It turned out that those “Democrats” weren’t too loyal to the party but they understood very well the concept of being a “dedicated ideologue,” or racist, as the case may be.
But where’s he going with this line of argument?
But when conservatives try to do the exact same thing, they can’t simply be wrong, according to liberals. They must be demented extremists, anarchists, and — another favorite epithet these days — nihilists.
Forgive me for saying it, but if the Republicans are doing the exact same thing that Thurgood Marshall did before the Supreme Court as counsel for the NAACP, and if they doing the exact same thing as the Democrats are doing when they fight to keep public money in public schools, then their tactics should look the exact same, too. But their tactics look totally foreign and unprecedented. So, I think these comparisons might not be too apt.
In an article like this, it was inevitable that Goldberg would eventually get around to making shit up and start spewing tired talking points. This is the point where Goldberg argues that everything that the Affordable Care Act authorizes must be fully-implemented at a time certain or the president is violating the statute and acting like he has no respect for the rule of law. Nothing can be delayed, even if it isn’t ready to go, or the president is a tyrant. If anyone is responsible for anarchy, it’s the people who passed this law and are trying to implement it. Etc.
While this is closer to anarchy than anything the tea partiers have pushed for, anarchy still isn’t the right word for it. Because President Obama still believes people should obey the law of the land — when it pleases him, that is.
I’m sorry, but what we’ve been reading is the definition of “extremist right-wing lunacy.”
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