Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Fate of the Mandate

"Do you not have a heavy burden of justification to show authorization under the Constitution" for the individual mandate? asked Justice Anthony Kennedy today at the SCOTUS argument on the individual mandate.

My prediction: Kennedy will find that the government has met its heavy burden. All the current breathlessness about the administration's "train wreck" this morning is hype. The individual mandate will survive. The vote could easily be 6-3. An 8-1 result would not shock me.

Of course, I'd be pleased to be proven incorrect.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

"Orgies of insincerity"

Michael Kinsley on Rush Limbaugh (via Radley Balko's Twitter feed):
These umbrage episodes that have become the principal narrative line of our politics are orgies of insincerity. Pols declare that they are distraught, offended, outraged by some stray remark by a political opponent, or judicial nominee, or radio talk-show host. They demand apology, firing, crucifixion. The target resists for a few days, then caves in and steps down or apologizes. Occasionally they survive, as Limbaugh probably will, but wounded and more careful from now on.

More careful means less interesting. Limbaugh is under no obligation to keep saying offensive things just to keep me entertained. Still, it’s a pity.

Of course, the insincerity is on both sides. The pursuers all pretend to be horrified and "saddened" by this unexpected turn of events. In fact, they are delighted. Why not? Their opponent has committed the cardinal political sin: a gaffe.

A gaffe, as someone once said, is when a politician tells the truth.
Kinsley was the someone who said that. (And to be clear, he's not defending Limbaugh; he notes that "the truth" here certainly isn't.)