Monday, October 7, 2013

Federalist #58

President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have both insisted in so many words that the House Republicans, in seeking to defund or curtail the Affordable Care Act, are somehow doing something illicit.

They both need to brush up on, or perhaps introduce themselves to, the thinking of the American Founding Fathers, particularly James Madison. A student of mine reminds me that in the Federalist Papers (#58) Madison wrote this:
The House of Representatives cannot only refuse, but they alone can propose the supplies requisite for the support of government. They, in a word, hold the purse....This power over the purse may, in fact, be regarded as the most complete and effectual weapon with which any constitution can arm the representatives of the people, for obtaining a redress of every grievance, and for carrying into effect every just and salutary measure."
The House of Representatives, by withholding funding from a law they believe will have disastrous consequences for the American people, is doing precisely the sort of thing the Founders envisioned.

The objections raised against the Republican refusal to fund the law with no strings attached are ludicrous. We hear it said, for example, that Obamacare is the law of the land and therefore must be obeyed, but where were these voices when Mr. Obama by executive fiat modified this law in a dozen different ways, carving out exemptions for special interests and imposing delays, none of which he has the legal authority to do?

Where were these voices when the Obama administration simply decided that it would no longer enforce our immigration laws or the Defense of Marriage Act? Why are Republican congressmen obligated to uphold the law but Democratic presidents are not?

That something is the law of the land doesn't seem to matter to those who have no respect for law in the first place and have the power to flout it, but the House GOP, we are to believe, is doing something nefarious when they exercise their constitutional prerogative to refuse to fund a law that has already had devastating consequences for millions of people.

Neither the Democrats nor their media groupies have offered anything close to a rebuttal of the arguments made by people like Senator Ted Cruz and others. They've offered no rejoinder because they have none. Bereft of compelling arguments, they're reduced to the tactic of name-calling ("terrorists," "arsonists," "suicide bombers," etc.) and the politics of personal destruction.

It's very sad and even sadder that the general public seems not to care that our political discourse has sunk to so low a level and does not demand that, instead of ad hominem, the media and the Democrats offer solid reasons why the Republicans are wrong in their assessment of the damage that the AFA will do to the country.

After all, what matters is whether the Republican assessment of the effects of the law is correct. If it is then they are certainly right, indeed duty-bound, to do everything in their constitutional power to stop it.

The House Republicans and their colleagues in the Senate may not succeed, but they're fighting the good fight against the creeping leviathan state and the people who are throwing verbal acid in their faces in the media and in Washington are doing so because there's nothing else they can say or do.