The big political news today, of course, is the overturning of the individual-mandate portion of the health-care bill, which means today will be another one of those days for me, when up is down and down is sideways and who the hell are these people, anyway?
The “victory for liberty” the GOP is celebrating today is the death of an idea born in Republican Hospital, attended by…well, I think Steve Benen gets to the point well enough:
The record here may be inconvenient for the right, but it’s also unambiguous: the mandate Republicans currently hate was their idea. It was championed by the Heritage Foundation. It was part of Bob Dole’s 1996 presidential campaign platform*. Nixon embraced it in the 1970s, and George H.W. Bush kept it going in the 1980s.
For years, it was touted by the likes of John McCain, Mitt Romney, Scott Brown, Chuck Grassley, Bob Bennett, Tommy Thompson, Lamar Alexander, Lindsey Graham, John Thune, Judd Gregg, and many others all notable GOP officials.
My personal favorite is Grassley, who proclaimed on Fox News last year, during the fight over Obama’s plan, “I believe that there is a bipartisan consensus to have an individual mandate.” (A year later, Grassley signed onto a legal brief insisting that the mandate is unconstitutional.)
Yes, the “liberty” the opponents of health-care reform are celebrating is what, exactly? The freedom to not have health insurance? Woot! How many of the aforementioned go bareback, for that old-time freedom-y feeling enjoyed by our forefathers? Oh, none of them? But of course. They work for the government, which has traditionally provided excellent bennies.
As at my last address, I live in a community surrounded by Republicans. They tip more to the moderate/sane wing of the party than in Fort Wayne, but election after election, the vote tallies show it plainly: This is GOP country. Which is why I was chuckling over a story for my hyperlocal that I edited last night, about my own city’s enforcement of a ban on neon signage. The council passed it two years ago with a sunset period, which is coming to an end, which means businesses like this must part with their little piece of Vegas in the front window:
I chuckle because I was always told — continue to be told — that Republicans believe in less government, in personal liberty, and in the near-unquestioned belief that business knows best. And yet, throughout the Pointes, you can be bored into unconsciousness at council meetings while the members wrestle over matters like this, over zoning regulations for fencing and signs and cracks in the driveway. And for good reason — I was stunned to see a local sneering on Facebook that a T-Mobile storefront in a particular shopping district was indisputable evidence of a dangerous comedown. People worry aloud that sidewalk tables at a restaurant might attract the wrong element.
The rallying cry, the unifying force, is property values!, which is even more of a bedrock value than liberty and limited government. You don’t hear that so much outside of city councils, however.
What’s the old joke? Republican boys marry Republican girls, but they want to fool around with a few Democrats first? Republican voters support Republican candidates, but they want a few Democrats on their local zoning boards. Even a few homosexual gentlemen, with their famous good taste.
Six degrees this morning. I just took out the trash. Brr. So how’s about some bloggage?
Do you have the Big Picture blog bookmarked? You should, although I don’t. That way I forget about it until they put up another buttload of pictures that reminds us that even in the age of ubiquitous video and a camera in every cell phone, there’s something about a single, well-composed, professionally taken photograph that’s worth the proverbial thousand words. Behold, 37 Christmas photos that say more about the holiday than 37,000 words.
(Which seems a perfect time to mention that Hank Stuever’s great book about the holiday, Tinsel, is out in a paperback edition, with a much better cover at half the price, available now in the Kickback Lounge.) “Best book about Christmas, ever!” — MMJeff (I made up that quote, by the way. But I know he thinks very highly of it.)
For you military people, an excellent essay on today’s fighting force by a young Marine, on Thomas Ricks’ first-rate military-affairs blog. He gets right to the point:
As an OIF vet and Jarhead, and above all someone trying to find a healthy balance as a civilian once more, I’ve watched the military from within and without and the truest observation I can make is that we fight with a conscripted force in all but name.
The Huffington Post says it will post a profit this year. Of course it won’t pay its contributors, silly — then it wouldn’t be profitable.
And with that, better go some work of my own. Have a good one, all.