America’s Inconvenient Constitution

With more than a little hyperbole, George Will declares "Obama's unconstitutional steps worse than Nixon's."

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With more than a little hyperbole, George Will declares “Obama’s unconstitutional steps worse than Nixon’s.” While inviting that comparison weakens his case, his larger argument is spot on.

Explaining his decision to unilaterally rewrite the Affordable Care Act (ACA), he said: “I didn’t simply choose to” ignore the statutory requirement for beginning in 2014 the employer mandate to provide employees with health care. No, “this was in consultation with businesses.”

He continued: “In a normal political environment, it would have been easier for me to simply call up the speaker and say, you know what, this is a tweak that doesn’t go to the essence of the law. . . . It looks like there may be some better ways to do this, let’s make a technical change to the law. That would be the normal thing that I would prefer to do. But we’re not in a normal atmosphere around here when it comes to Obamacare. We did have the executive authority to do so, and we did so.”

Serving as props in the scripted charade of White House news conferences, journalists did not ask the pertinent question: “Where does the Constitution confer upon presidents the ‘executive authority’ to ignore the separation of powers by revising laws?” The question could have elicited an Obama rarity: brevity. Because there is no such authority.

Obama’s explanation began with an irrelevancy. He consulted with businesses before disregarding his constitutional duty to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” That duty does not lapse when a president decides Washington’s “political environment” is not “normal.”

When was it “normal”? The 1850s? The 1950s? Washington has been the nation’s capital for 213 years; Obama has been here less than nine. Even if he understood “normal” political environments here, the Constitution is not suspended when a president decides the “environment” is abnormal.

Neither does the Constitution confer on presidents the power to rewrite laws if they decide the change is a “tweak” not involving the law’s “essence.” Anyway, the employer mandate is essential to the ACA.

Earlier in the week, I chastised the Attorney General’s selective enforcement of our drug laws, arguing that we should change bad laws through the legislative process, not ignore them. Many readers pushed back using language similar to Obama’s: in essence, since Congressional Republicans are being remarkably uncooperative, the executive should be free to do what it thinks is right, separation of powers be damned.  As I noted in an update, to the post:

First, I’m not comfortable with the Executive deciding on its own authority which laws to ignore simply because it’s frustrated with its inability to get the Legislature to go along. Even though I like the result here, it’s a dangerous notion.

Second, the system hasn’t failed in this instance; it hasn’t been engaged. I would be more sanguine if this were a case where the House had approved the change after a national debate and there were 59 votes in the Senate but action was being thwarted by a petulant minority. Unless I’ve missed it, there has been ZERO attempt by this administration to use the system.

Now, where I differ from Will is that I don’t see this as uniquely mendacious behavior on the part of the Obama administration. Rather, it’s part of a long trend of executive power grabs. But Will’s right that, for the most part, past presidents have grossly exceeded their Constitutional remit in matters of foreign and national security policy. Doing so on matters of routine domestic politics has less precedent.

It’s shocking how little Congress is fighting any of this. The Framers assumed that the branches would jealously safeguard their Constitutional authority and push back hard any attempts by the other branches to encroach or usurp.  In recent years, they’ve barely seemed to notice.

Regardless, and this is more a fact than a prediction, future presidents, including the next Republican president—and, yes, there will be another and likely in the not-too-distant-future–will feel free to ignore inconvenient laws in the future, bolstered by the precedent.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. al-Ameda says:

    Did I miss something or did George Will neglect to be outraged over the number of Signing Statements issued by George W Bush? Essentially Bush issued those statements as a marker of his intention to ignore hundreds of federal statutes.

    I’m sure Will was outraged, right?

  2. gVOR08 says:

    Conservatives took the ACA itself to court, where SCOTUS eventually declared that it is constitutional. However, on a hundred other subjects (maybe hundreds) conservatives are constantly screaming that Obama, the Great Usurper, is violating the constitution. Unless and until they are willing to put their money where their mouths are and go to court, I’m tired of hearing about it. Especially, as @al-Ameda: points out, in the wake of Bush’s signing statements and “unitary presidency”. And to compare this to Nixon is ludicrous. Will, and the rest of the GOPs, should put up or shut up.

    Last week someone in the blogosphere was asking how beltway VSP pundit became a tenured position. Will reminded me of that question. How much mendacity and sloppiness is even WAPO willing to accept?

    Would you be OK with it, James, if Obama had said, “Well, we tried, but we just aren’t going to be able to get it done in ’14. We know the statute said ’14, but the schedules going to have to slip. If you don’t like it, sue me. Force me to expedite implementation.”

  3. James Joyner says:

    @al-Ameda: I can’t figure out what he wrote about signing statements. All the links I’ve Googled up are broken. But he did rail against various power grabs by the Bush administration. See, for example, “For the House GOP, A Belated Evolution” and “Executive Power Play Makes Congress Moot.”

  4. Scott F. says:

    It’s shocking how little Congress is fighting any of this. The Framers assumed that the branches would jealously safeguard their Constitutional authority and push back hard any attempts by the other branches to encroach or usurp. In recent years, they’ve barely seemed to notice.

    How is this shocking? Congress has been capitulating on everything of note for some time, through alternating control of both the Executive and the Legislative by both parties. This is particularly true in foreign policy. It is much easier to defer to the White House and then bitch about it from the sidelines, so that’s what Congress does.

    As I see it, this isn’t a long trend in Executive power grabs, but more growing Legislative political cowardice leading to power freely given. The Executive acting when Congress won’t starts when Congress is completely dysfunctional.

  5. PD Shaw says:

    The reference to Nixon is because Obama is doing what Nixon did by delaying implementation of programs without authorization in the legislation. E.g., Train v. City of N.Y.(1975) Earlier this week, the D.C. Circuit ordered the Administration to start complying with the law by reviewing nuclear waste storage applications, relying on a lot of Nixon-era precedents:

    This case raises significant questions about the scope of the Executive’s authority to disregard federal statutes. The case arises out of a longstanding dispute about nuclear waste storage at Yucca Mountain in Nevada. The underlying policy debate is not our concern. The policy is for Congress and the President to establish as they see fit in enacting statutes, and for the President and subordinate executive agencies (as well as relevant independent agencies such as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission) to implement within statutory boundaries. Our more modest task is to ensure, in justiciable cases, that agencies comply with the law as it has been set by Congress. Here, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has continued to violate the law governing the Yucca Mountain licensing process.

    I assume the underlying motivations are similar in that Nixon and Obama feel like the Congress is hostile and thus an obstacle to be avoided at all costs.

  6. Scott O says:

    @James Joyner:
    For the House GOP, A Belated Evolution seems to be mostly about corrupt Republicans, not executive branch overreach.

  7. michael reynolds says:

    Power abhors a vacuum. When the legislative branch goes on strike and refuses to show up for work, which is what’s happened, the executive will fill the gap. Someone has to run the country. The outrage is properly aimed at Congress which has been utterly irresponsible and completely checked out for years now.

    This, too, is not unique to this Congress, but it has reached crisis proportions.

    Your party, James, refuses to engage in governing. In their absence the show must go on.

  8. David M says:

    Will’s complaints about the implementation of the ACA are nothing but sour grapes. His fake outrage can’t be taken seriously over a routine delay.

  9. PD Shaw says:

    I mostly disagree with James on the drug enforcement policy. The President has wide discretion not to prosecute crimes and pardon criminals. One can argue about whether this is best done on an ad hoc basis or by more formal guidance, but I don’t see the Administration as not enforcing these laws, it will do (as has always been done in the past) bring prosecutions in the most serious cases.

    The downside perhaps is that people, not understanding a lot of the flexible language in the policy, might be encouraged to do something criminal with the mistaken belief that they cannot be prosecuted (much as has been happening in mistaken reliance on the medical marijuana policy).

  10. Mark Ivey says:

    “Your party, James, refuses to engage in governing. In their absence the show must go on.”
    —————————

    There it is…….

  11. David M says:

    And if Will wants Congress to address this, he should pressure Congress to address this. He’s watching the GOP try and cause problems for the ACA and wonders why the Administration is trying to fix the problems. All because they are actively trying to make it fail and are hoping for the day when 30 million people or more will lose health insurance.

    And the adjustment is routine and legal until Congress says otherwise.

  12. Mary Furr says:

    I believe that the Health Insurance Privacy and Portability Act (HIPAA) was rolled out in stages because industry could not adopt all of the electronic commerce transaction standards by the date specified in the law. I’m not a fan of over-reaching executive power, but pragmatism must prevail when organizations learn and adopt new processes and technology. I believe research shows that it takes organizations three attempts to gains the knowledge necessary to successfully implement a approach. When one considers the complexity of the federal government, combined with health insurance complexity and the diversity of the states’ insurance approaches, one could view the roll-out of the ACA as an amazing feat. I have a friend who’s father was closely involved in the first moon landing. He honestly felt that prayer was what held the mission together, because it was so fraught with risks. I imagine one’s view of the ACA implementation is colored by one’s support for the act in the first place, but personally, I’m proud of our government’s efforts in this regard.

  13. C. Clavin says:

    George Will lost all credibility with his Climate Change lies disguised as columns.
    This is all just more effort at getting rid of the PPACA…before everyone realizes it’s working. Yeah…sure…it needs tweeks. Republicans should be helping with those tweeks…perhaps making the law more aligned to their thinking. They are not.
    Republicans…including Will…want people with pre-existing conditions to go get fvcked. They want the un-insured to remain un-insured and to keep freeloading…so that responsible people like myself can keep paying it for them. They want un-sustainable rate increases that employers and employees face to continue. They want it to be difficult for entrprenuers to start businesses because of high insurance costs.
    Newt Gingrich yesterday:

    “…”I will bet you, for most of you, if you go home in the next two weeks while your members of Congress are home and you look them in the eye and say, ‘What is your positive replacement for Obamacare?’ they will have zero answer……Because we are caught up right now in a culture, and you see it every single day, where as long as we’re negative and as long as we’re vicious and as long as we can tear down our opponent, we don’t have to learn anything…”

  14. legion says:

    I think more people need to say this, out loud, whenever this kind of topic comes up:

    If you can’t do your job without violating the law or the Constitution, then either:
    – Your job is inherently illegal and must be abolished to protect society, or
    – You completely suck at your job, and need to be fired.
    There is no third possibility.

  15. Matt Bernius says:

    @PD Shaw:
    Great points on the Drug Enforcement issue. And as I wrote elsewhere on the site, there is significant precedent for the proposition that the Attorney General has often issued interpretive orders about how Federal Prosecutors should charge in various cases. What is unique, therefore, is not so much the interpretive order, but the fact that it was a case of an AG *not* arguing for the maximum possible prosecution.

    Additionally, as you pointed out, it appears that Federal Prosecutors also tend to already exercise a significant amount of discretion in these cases — often not prosecuting at all, or rather leaving the prosecution up to the more flexible state systems,

  16. Moosebreath says:

    Response outsourced to Jon Chait

    “First, even though Obama did not expound upon his legal rationale at the press conference, his administration has provided a legal rationale. I’m not competent to judge it. You can read a good summary of the arguments here. The main point, to me, is that “this is something that the agency has done more than a dozen times before,” which is to say, federal agencies delay the implementation of statutes for practical reasons all the time without anybody bringing up Nixon. Will seems to think that, when a president fails to make a legal argument at a press conference, he forfeits the legal case.”

  17. Tran says:

    To me, an increase of extraconstitutional measures is all but inevitable when the normal constitutional process breaks down. This will likely lead to even less cooperation of the other side, so more congressional gridlock as long as the minority/opposition has blocking power, which leads to more extraconstitutional actions.

    Also I am amazed how naive many people are about the political process. If president Hillary at the end of her first term announces that because of total Republican obstruction she will ignore the recent Supreme Court decision that the government cannot subsidize exchanges set up by the Feds and not the states (because this is an oversight in Obamacare that would need congressional approval to be fixed) and she gets reelected, the populace basically gives her the right to ignore the SC in certain circumstances. This would be a de facto rewrite of the constitution, without going through the appropriate mechanisms set forth by the constitution. This could then lead to even more total opposition from Republicans and maybe even to a new civil war, but it is a possibility.

    This is of course one of the weaknesses of the presidential system. In a parliamentary system, where the executive serves at the pleasure of the legislature, political dysfuntion like it is now apparent in the USA is rather rare. This also reflects badly on the judical system, in regards to the bizarre standing issues that prevent proper judical review. Here in Germany we have “abstract regulation control”, where any law can be brought before the constitutional court as long as one-fourth of the members of the lower house support this move. The court must decide if the law is constitutional, it cannot excuse itself with standing bulls**t and it doesn’t matter if the laws provisions only go into effect at a later date.

    In Britain a failure to pass a budget leads pretty much automatically to fresh elections, which would certainly change the dynamics about a government shutdown now present in the USA. The biggest flaw in the US constitution is that it is not designed for coherent political parties, which is arguably what the Democrats and Republicans evolved/are evolving into of late.

  18. C. Clavin says:

    Jon Chait helpfully points out what Will and James fail to acknowledge:

    “…Now, probably when Will invokes “the Constitution,” he doesn’t mean the actual Constitution but the tea-party Constitution, which is less a set of formal laws than a general principle that Democratic presidents shouldn’t pass laws that really freak out conservatives. Obama may not be violating the law per se, but George Will feels violated by the break-in Obama has ordered into his soul…”

  19. David M says:

    As an aside, why would anyone not want the implementation to try and take unexpected things into account and make the transitions smoother? What is the argument that we’d be better off without these routine delays?

  20. Davebo says:

    @David M:

    As are James’. But then it’s obvious he’s living in a fantasy land regarding what has become of his beloved party.

    Perhaps James can go the Doug route and claim to be a Libertarian to absolve himself of the activities he actively supports.

    Sad really because I used to love reading OTB.

  21. Davebo says:

    And just an example of the total dysfunction of our health care system let me offer you an anecdotal example.

    My wife of 22 years passed away last month from a massive brain aneurysm. (thankfully in her sleep).

    She had always insisted on being an organ donor and due to the nature of her death she was a perfect donor. I allowed her to be kept on life support to allow for the logistics of organ donation to be completed for 24 hours.

    In the end two people received kidneys and various skin grafts were harvested. Then I got a bill of roughly $20,000.00 for the surgery to harvest her organs. CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT SHIT???

    ACA is a band aid and doesn’t really solve any of the problems with our healthcare system but at least it’s a start.

    George Will can kiss my ass.

  22. Matt Bernius says:

    @Davebo:
    I cannot say both how sorry I am for your loss and how WTF! I am over that bill. I have never heard before that families are charged for organ donations. Did the hospital tell you that was standard procedure?

  23. James Joyner says:

    @michael reynolds: I don’t disagree that the GOP has been obstructionist. But, oddly, this was a case where the Republican-dominated House passed a corrective bill and the administration balked. Regardless, we’ve gotten all manner of legislation passed even during these trying times; presidents aren’t allowed to just do whatever they want.

    @Tran: I agree that there are substantial advantages to a responsible government model, although some pretty big disadvantages, too, in a society less homogeneous than Britain’s.

    @David M: I’d prefer to build the flexibility into the law rather than circumvent the law.

    @Davebo: I’m explicitly not making a partisan argument here, noting that Bush and others pushed the envelope. (And I criticized Bush for all manner of overreaches when he was making them.)

    @Davebo: I’m sorry for your loss. Obviously, the situation you describe is outrageous. I don’t think Obamacare does anything to fix it. I opposed it, in fact, precisely because I think it actually makes the system worse, by further propping up the insurance-based system while simultaneously making it less insurance-like. I much prefer a single payer model.

  24. Pinky says:

    @Davebo: I’m sorry for your loss.

  25. Davebo says:

    James, we’re on the same page with a single payer model. And I appreciate your kind words especially considering your own recent loss.

    Matt. It’s just some idiot in billing that did this and it will be resolved eventually I’m assured. But it does serve as an example of what’s wrong with health care in our country. Seriously, at 3:00AM I was supposed to shop around for the best emergency room? The cheapest Life Flight Helicopter?

    The idea of market driven health care is a pathetic joke. For years I worked for a family in a mideast country that kept a large compound here in Houston just because we had the best medical center in the world (and still do). They were billionaires and could afford it. Sadly they got better health care than the average American could afford.

    Thanks again James and I’m sorry if I came across as a bit of an ass. Good luck to you and your daughters. Work to make them as smart as I believe you are. God knows we’re going to need them.

  26. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Yup, once again all Obama has to do is say “obstructionist Republicans” and his lapdogs immediately go into their Pavlovian response of “sure, let’s trash the Constitution! Anything for Obama!”

    When Obama talks about not being able to get anything done, that’s an admission of his own inability and weakness. For example, when folks were talking about the US as being “ungovernable,” they were saying “ungovernable by Obama.”

  27. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @James Joyner:

    I much prefer a single payer model.

    Commie. Meanwhile….

    It’s shocking how little Congress is fighting any of this. The Framers assumed that the branches would jealously safeguard their Constitutional authority and push back hard any attempts by the other branches to encroach or usurp. In recent years, they’ve barely seemed to notice.

    I await the filing of a lawsuit by Boehner and McConnell forcing the President to implement the ACA in 2014 with bated breath.

    BWAAHAHAHAAHHAAAHAHAHAHAAAHAAHAAHAHAHA……. Sometimes I just crack me up.

  28. Tyrell says:

    The president is the nation’s chief law enforcement officer. He does not have the freedom to choose which laws to enforce or ignore based on what just he thinks is right. A lot of presidents have done that, but Congress should stay on top of it. Many laws were passed with large support by the people and signed by former presidents. Now, certainly there has to be a sense of priorities. Parking tickets and sidewalk laws can wait until criminals take a break. There are emergencies such as insurrection, foreign invasion, epidemics, natural disasters, and other things (zombies). The president should take action in those cases, which is subject to Congressional approval after a certain period of time. Now it is understandable that laws and programs need to be studied and changed from time for time. The best way to change this health care law is through some oversight committee made up of health professionals, finance experts, and a few average middle class working people (politicians sit this one out). This act was put on a rush job through Congress and then foisted onto the people. “We have to pass it so we can see what is in it” (Pelosi). Over 1,000 pages of legalese: no telling what is in there. And this thing is to be ran by the IRS? Just great! First thing would be to re-write it so the average person can read it and understand it in about five minutes.
    As far as Nixon goes, I still think he was forced out because he bucked the wrong group. Look at what happened to the two presidents before him.

  29. David M says:

    To be clear, the House sent a single bill to the Senate that delayed both the employer mandate and the individual mandate to the Senate, so it would seem to be more along the lines of a political stunt rather than good faith effort to amend the law.

  30. C. Clavin says:

    @ Jenos…
    Never mind…you’re not worth the effort.

  31. Davebo says:

    Damn Jenos, Spanking your ass has become a near full time job for me.

    When Obama talks about not being able to get anything done, that’s an admission of his own inability and weakness.

    Such projection is very telling I think. Are you one of those guys who immediately closes your browser once you’ve managed to spunk after the online porn?

    But seriously, why do you never come back after your spanking? It’s like “OK, I’m an idiot but I’m moving on to the next thread.”

    Doesn’t that ever get old for you or is character a foreign concept?

  32. David M says:

    @Tyrell:

    The best way to change this health care law is through some oversight committee made up of health professionals, finance experts, and a few average middle class working people

    Why would you want people with no experience or knowledge of issue X writing the laws about issue X. That makes no sense whether the issue is health care or anything else.

  33. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    When Obama talks about not being able to get anything done, that’s an admission of his own inability and weakness. For example, when folks were talking about the US as being “ungovernable,” they were saying “ungovernable by Obama.”

    We aren’t saying “ungovernable by Obama.”, we are saying, plainly and simply, “ungovernable”. No Democrat could work with today’s GOP as they have nothing but hate and fear motivating them and would do all they can to block ANY Dem initiative, even if it is actually a GOP originated policy. And no Republican is interested in governing in any way shape or form.

    Any idiot could see that, but I guess that is why it is too much to expect from you..

  34. Davebo says:

    @Pinky:
    Thanks Pinky.

    If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard that I’d be a rich man right now.

  35. Mikey says:

    @David M:

    Why would you want people with no experience or knowledge of issue X writing the laws about issue X.

    So the perspective of those actually subject to the law is useless?

    I’ll be sure to note that the next time I decide to write my Congressman about something. In fact, why even bother–I’m just a worthless prole with no useful insight whatsoever. 47 years of actually receiving health care and using health insurance are entirely meaningless.

  36. David M says:

    @Mikey:

    Interacting with our health care and insurance system is useful feedback for legislators, but doesn’t necessarily make you public policy expert in those areas.

  37. Mikey says:

    @David M:

    Why would you want people with no experience or knowledge of issue X writing the laws about issue X.

    Why not, Congress does it all the time.

  38. Mikey says:

    @David M: I read Tyrell’s proposal to mean the health care “consumers” would provide feedback, not actually write the legislation. Perhaps I mis-read it.

  39. anjin-san says:

    @ OzarkHillbilly

    Any idiot could see that

    I will have you know that Jenos is not just any idiot…

  40. David M says:

    @Mikey:

    I’ve seen that type of comment before from Tyrell, he really does believe Obamacare should be replaced by whatever a group of regular people come up with, and the list never seems to include any public health care policy experts. And unless the final bill is something as simple as Medicare for all, there’s no reason to expect it not to be incredibly complex.

  41. wr says:

    @anjin-san: “I will have you know that Jenos is not just any idiot… ”

    Hey, be nice to Jenos. He’s had a tough morning standing in line outside the GI Joe Fantasy Soldier Camp Recruitment Center, trying to sign up for that secret mission on which he’d parachute into Cairo and kill all the evil Muslims, thus stopping their brilliant plan of, um, being killed by the military.

    Oh, who am I kidding? Even volunteering for a pretend mission is more than Jenos would ever do. “Let those other guys get pretend killed — it’s nice and warm under my bed!”

  42. Tyrell says:

    @David M: I did say health professionals and finance experts. Professionals: doctors, hospital directors
    Finance experts: who can check the numbers

  43. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    When Obama talks about not being able to get anything done, that’s an admission of his own inability and weakness. For example, when folks were talking about the US as being “ungovernable,” they were saying “ungovernable by Obama.”

    Actually, people are rightfully saying that Republicans are responsible for the dysfunction of our federal government. It really is that simple.

    It’s not an admission of his (Obama’s) inability to govern, it’s his way of acknowledging what most people know and understand about the governing in DC today, that Republicans are not interested in reform of institutions, they interested in presiding over the phasing out of social benefit programs.

  44. wr says:

    @David M: “I’ve seen that type of comment before from Tyrell, he really does believe Obamacare should be replaced by whatever a group of regular people come up with, and the list never seems to include any public health care policy experts.”

    I pretty much stopped paying attention to Tyrell’s policy solutions after he put out a rant about the government conspiracy covering up the aliens at Roswell or Area 51…

  45. C. Clavin says:

    @ Davebo…
    Seriously???
    I’ve never heard of being charged to harvast organs for donation.

    Not to make light of your tragic loss…
    But if they charge you…it seems you should be able to sell them on the open market.

  46. C. Clavin says:
  47. Moosebreath says:

    @anjin-san:

    “I will have you know that Jenos is not just any idiot…”

    Reminds me of the old Far Side cartoon. A group of scientists in lab coats are examining a group of subjects. The oldest scientist says “I know they’re fools, but what kind of fools are they?”

  48. William Wilgus says:

    Where was the press when Duh-bya was making all those signing statements, which constituted the same thing?

    It was bending over behind him, kissing it.

  49. William Wilgus says:

    @al-Ameda: EXACTLY! The pompous prig is two-faced, a hypocrite.

    While I’m certainly no knowledgeable insider, it seems to me that nothing DUH-bya did was legal.

  50. michael reynolds says:

    James:

    Institutions are not perpetual motion machines running along on their own. The Constitution, and our form of government, require leaders who are willing to make the institution work.

    It is painfully obvious that the Republican Congress is no longer willing to participate i governing this country. But the party’s mental breakdown, brought on largely by the fact that a black man occupies the White House, cannot be allowed to bring down the government.

    The Republican party’s abdication of responsibility is the core problem here. The sickness at the heart of your party is the problem here. It is becoming dangerous. Yes, the Constitution is being harmed. Yes, the government is being damaged. Yes, people are being hurt.

    It’s all very upsetting. But none of this is news. Democrats have been warning about the extremism and obstructionism of the GOP for a long time, now. Republicans haven’t cared or they’ve made tut-tut noises from the sidelines. But this is dangerous stuff.

  51. William Wilgus says:

    @PD Shaw: Federal funding for Yucca Mountain ended in 2010. “funding for development of Yucca Mountain waste site was terminated effective via amendment to the Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, passed by Congress on April 14, 2011.”
    I’ve read that despite the lack of funding, the NRC has resumed work on the license for it.

  52. William Wilgus says:

    “next Republican president—and, yes, there will be another and likely in the not-too-distant-future–”

    Right now the Republican Party is a motley crew of radicals who’s sanity is questionable. Without a significant change in course, there will not only fail to be a Republican President in the future, there will fail to be a Republican Party as well.

    Face it: the political pendulum has started to swing the other way.

  53. David M says:

    @michael reynolds:

    It also needs to be pointed out again that the delays in question are routine and normal. The irresponsible behavior by the GOP is unprecedented and has the potential to cause much more damage.

    Why the outrage over one but not the other?

  54. Davebo says:

    @C. Clavin:
    Thanks but I don’t want to hijack this thread. This thing will get worked out eventually (long before I cough up 20k…)

    Suffice to say there are at least two people living better lives and that’s the only freaking positive I can reach for so you reach for what you can.

    As to the point of the post. At a time when I can laugh at almost nothing James garnered a chuckle from me with this post.

  55. PD Shaw says:

    @William Wilgus: The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals disagrees with you. Multiple panels no less.

  56. Woody says:

    Davebo, I’m sorry for your loss. And thank you and your wife for organ donation – sorry about the idiotic charges.

    As to Dr Joyner’s post, I’ve believed Congress to be a broken institution when a Republican Congress joined with a Democratic President to largely make Congress irrelevant by granting the Executive a line-item veto in appropriations bills (Clinton v. New York). Only a functioning Supreme Court turned them back with a 6 – 3 decision (noted Originalist Antonin Scalia was in dissent, btw).

    The Executive gives safely-districted Congressfolk a convenient evil – a bit like many Middle Eastern rulers take our aid, then blame the US for every problem.

  57. PD Shaw says:

    @PD Shaw: Or I should rather say that there is funding for the regulators to begin reviewing the application and they only began reviewing the application two years after the Court told the regulators they were violating the law that required them to review the application and refused to come into compliance. That’s the gist of the D.C. Circuit opinion I linked to above.

  58. Pinky says:

    I remember when the federal government was just too big to be run by one man – it was the Carter years, as I recall. We had to adjust to the new reality that the Soviet Union was our military superior, and that the US didn’t have the right to lead the “free” world (the quotes around the word free were vintage 1970’s). Inflation and unemployment were going to be in the double digits forever. Thirty years later, government is too broken, again, the economy is permanently upended, again, and we’re taking a back seat in the world, again. Good thing we’ve got a smart president, again.

  59. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @anjin-san:

    I will have you know that Jenos is not just any idiot…

    Not to point out the obvious, but you just did.

  60. Pinky says:

    @Davebo:

    If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard that I’d be a rich man right now.

    Well, it’s about the only thing I can say. I know this isn’t exactly the most religious site on the internet, so I don’t know if “you’ll be in my prayers” will mean anything to you, or even tick you off, but you’ll be in my prayers.

  61. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Pinky:

    We had to adjust to the new reality that the Soviet Union was our military superior,

    What world was that? Because in the real world the Soviet Union had been going broke since 1949. I was there, and the SU never could have won a war against us. (mind you, we never could have “won” a war against them either… We both would have ended up in the stone age) Really, where do you pull this sh!t out of? And no, I don’t think your a$$ is that big.

  62. David M says:

    @PD Shaw:

    The reference to Nixon is because Obama is doing what Nixon did by delaying implementation of programs without authorization in the legislation. E.g., Train v. City of N.Y.(1975) Earlier this week, the D.C. Circuit ordered the Administration to start complying with the law by reviewing nuclear waste storage applications

    Given that neither Will or Joyner mentioned Yucca mountain, I’m not sure this defense holds water. Secondly, don’t you think these constant cries of wolf are problematic when an actual case of executive overreach occurs? This includes your reference to Nixon here.

  63. Laurence Bachmann says:

    Since when is “they did it too” an acceptable justification for illegal or unconstitutional behavior? Obama routinely defies international law with drone attacks; regime change in Libya spurns the War Powers Act and we laughably pretend there hasn’t been a coup in Egypt, otherwise we would have to obey the law and suspend aid. Now signing statements are regrettably acceptable. Our AG needs to think a few days before agreeing the president can’t authorize the killing of a citizen residing in the US, and the surveillance state expands unchecked.

    Our defense apparently is we’re the party that regrets ignoring the Constitution. Appalling.

  64. michael reynolds says:

    @Laurence Bachmann:

    Our defense apparently is we’re the party that regrets ignoring the Constitution. Appalling.

    This reminds me of the ever-so-reasonable advice on child-rearing one gets from childless people who’ve never actually gone up against a three year-old’s tantrum. There’s theory, and then there is reality.

    We can’t just pull the car over to the side of road and sit there until the three year-olds decide to behave. We still have to get from A to B.

  65. David M says:

    @Laurence Bachmann:

    Most of what you’ve mentioned there either has bipartisan support or is a ridiculous caricature of reality. The GOP only cares about these delays because they are related to Obamacare, any other issue and they likely wouldn’t care at all.

    It is all about making Obamacare look bad for political gain, and there’s no reason for adults to play along with their charade.

  66. Andy says:

    @al-Ameda:

    What does Will’s hypocrisy have to do with Executive overreach? Does that fact that Bush issued signing statements somehow excuse excesses by President Obama (who, incidentally, also issues signing statements)?

    The hypocrisy of George Will, real or imagined, is irrelevant to these important questions.

    Your party, James, refuses to engage in governing. In their absence the show must go on.

    Michael, what would you suggest the GoP-dominated Congress do in response to Executive overreach?

  67. michael reynolds says:

    @Andy:

    I would suggest they not make it necessary, that would be a start.

    Though this didn’t start with this Congress. Congresses have been refusing to take responsibility for a long time now, most notably in war powers decisions. But this Congress spends its days passing endless symbolic repeals of Obamacare in what can only be seen as a tantrum.

    No immigration reform, no tax reform, no jobs program, no infrastructure plan, just 40 utterly pointless repeals of Obamacare. How does one deal with people like that? These are not people interested in governing or in protecting the Constitution. They’ve violated the oath they took when they were sworn in, which goes like this:

    “I, (name of Member), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God”

    You notice how it does not say that they will shape each and every vote in a pathetic effort to pander to their gerrymandered constituents with meaningless symbolic votes and thus get re-elected?

  68. David M says:

    @Andy:

    What should the GOP do?

    Stop filibustering things for no reason
    Stop opposing their own ideas
    Start working constructively with Democrats
    Stop threatening to not raise the debt ceiling
    Stop threatening to shut down the government
    Stop crying wolf over routine disagreements

    In short, start doing their jobs and stop throwing temper tantrums. Join the adults in the Democratic Party.

  69. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @David M: Stop filibustering things for no reason

    They have reasons. Just because you don’t like them doesn’t mean there isn’t a reason.

    Stop opposing their own ideas

    I assume you mean ObamaCare here, using the tilred old crock of “since some reputed conservatives once proposed something vaguely like this, they are obligated to go along with it.” ObamaCare was written by Democrats (or, more likely, written by lobbyists and signed off on, sight unseen, by Democrats) and was passed in both Houses with a single GOP vote.

    Start working constructively with Democrats

    By which, I mean, “rubber stamp whatever the Democrats want.” The GOP heard Obama’s call to change the deadlines in ObamaCare and tried to go along with him, but he chose instead to listen to the lobbyists and just unilaterally announce that the law that was to go into effect this year wouldn’t go into effect for another year.

    Stop threatening to not raise the debt ceiling

    Just how much should we owe (largely to China) before we actually start spending no more than we take in? How many future generations do you want to enslave to our inability to exercise the slightest bit of fiscal restraint and responsibility?

    Stop threatening to shut down the government

    It takes two to tango there, chum. The House has the Constitutional responsibility to pass the budget — and they’ve done it every year since the GOP took over. It’s the Senate and Obama that have decided that we don’t really need a budget. So if they won’t pass a budget, then why not just shut it down? If nothing else, it’ll reduce the deficit.

    And the GOP doesn’t just say “we’re going to shut down the government.” If they did, then they’d do it. They couple it with a conditional. If the Democrats choose to not yield or negotiate, then they get some of the blame.

    Stop crying wolf over routine disagreements

    Like calling them “phony scandals” and insisting that any disagreement or criticism of Obama is racist? Like calling the GOP “hostage takers” and “terrorists” for not bending over backwards and giving the Democrats whatever they want?

    That last one is particularly disturbing. Obama has made it clear that he believes he has the legal authority to kill terrorists without bothering to even try to arrest them, or even indict them. He has demonstrated that he will do this even to American citizens. And his administration has refused to rule out killing Americans not charged with any crimes on American soil. So if Congressional Republicans are “terrorists” and “hostage takers,” and the Obama administration has the legal right to kill such people freely…

    Yeah, that last bit is a bit hyperbolic. But I’m not making that up out of whole cloth. Every single element I cited is factually accurate.

  70. michael reynolds says:

    Imagine the Supreme Court equivalent of 40 symbolic repeals of Obamacare: Maybe, John Roberts puts his fingers in his ears and yells, “Na na na na na na, I can’t hear you!” repeatedly during oral arguments while Sotomayor clips her toenails and Thomas chugs a cold one? Would anyone be saying we still needed to take the Supremes seriously?

    You want power? You take responsibility with it. Want to behave like a bratty three year-old? Then the adults carry on without you.

  71. bill says:

    @al-Ameda: thx, i said to myself “i’m going to scroll down to the comments and see how far i get before someone says “Bush”! you saved me a few scrolls.

  72. Andy says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Michael, I agree with you about Congress failing in its duties, which is a point I’ve belabored for a very long time. But immigration reform, tax reform, a jobs program, an infrastructure plan, ect., which is what you specifically mentioned, have absolutely nothing to do with Congress filling it’s role as a “check and balance” on executive power. So again, what is it you think Congress should do about executive power?

  73. David M says:

    @Andy:

    The two issues aren’t unrelated, as most of the things the GOP complains about are direct responses to a lack of action by Congress.

  74. Andre Kenji says:

    @Andy:

    But immigration reform, tax reform, a jobs program, an infrastructure plan, ect., which is what you specifically mentioned, have absolutely nothing to do with Congress filling it’s role as a “check and balance” on executive power.

    I don´t want to defend the House´s GOP, but in other countries that are both Federations and Presidential Republics it´s very difficult to pass meaningful legislation. Specially large countries, where you have lots of different interests. In part, precisely because “check and balance” and passing Legislation is not the same thing, far from that.

    It´s not a coincidence that there are dozens of bizarre and clearly outdated pieces of Legislation in Brazil and in Mexico. In Brazil, Presidents are very dependent of a Constitutional device that allows the president to pass provisional pieces of legislation without Congress(That then should approve them in 60 days).

    Besides that, the problem of the GOP is their base. If you are not going to cut Medicare for current recipients, if you are not going to significantly cut defense and if you are not going to raise taxes, the Math does not add up.

    And THAT´s something that their base does not understand.

  75. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    the Math does not add up.

    And THAT´s something that their base does not understand.

    Which is something that has been eminently clear to those of us with eyes and the will to see what is really going on ever since 2004 when Bush, a Republican House and a Republican Senate were all returned to Washington to continue their exponential growth of the Federal debt while keeping not one, but 2 wars off the books, AND having the chutzpah to claim they were “fiscal conservatives”.

    That and unicorns and fairy dust….

  76. C. Clavin says:

    @ Pinky 17:12…

    “…Thirty years later, government is too broken, again, the economy is permanently upended, again, and we’re taking a back seat in the world, again. Good thing we’ve got a smart president, again…”

    Actually the Government is working…it’s the Republicans that are not.
    The economy is well on it’s way to mending…in spite of the death Spiral Bush43 left it in and the best efforts of Republicans to sabotage it now.
    We took a back seat in the world…becuase of torture and invading sovereign nations for no reason and abu-garib and gitmo. But our standing in the world is on the mend too.
    So yeah…it’s a damn good thing we have a smart President again.

  77. Rob in CT says:

    @Davebo:

    F*cking A. All of that.

    Band-aid is right. Single payer would be better. ACA w/public option would’ve been better. But ACA vs. no ACA? ACA every day and twice on Sunday.

  78. Rob in CT says:

    And, of course, I’m sorry to hear about your wife, Dave.

  79. gVOR08 says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: @Andre Kenji: And their base does not understand because they keep lying to their base. Let’s not pretend the GOPs are innocent victims of a base that just sprang up from nowhere. They bought it, they paid for it, they own it. They sowed the wind and they are reaping the whirlwind.

  80. Pharoah Narim says:

    @Andy: I think you framed the question “What should Congress do about Executive power?” wrong. Let me rehash for you: The Founders created 3 EQUAL, and synergistic branches of government so that each branch’s role, if completed, served as a check and balance on the other 2 branches. Conversely, since these branches have a synergistic relationship, if any branch does not perform its role, it cedes power to the other two branches by default.

    Therefore, the short answer to your question is: DO THEIR DAMN JOB!

    It is their avoidance of responsibility that allows Executive (and Judicial) Power to increase in the first place. This outcome is baked into the system.

    What folks like you miss is that Congress is getting EXACTLY what they want. A foil in the Executive and Judicial Branch they can use to push the narritive at home that they are “fighting” the good fight against tyranny. “Im the only thing standing in between you and the bad decisions by the Administration and Supreme court”. Its really an extortion tactic but works quite well as most Congress people are re-elected.

    Sequestration? You think Congress people want to take responsibility for funding cuts in their district. Voters hate pork barrel spending–unless its spend in THEIR district. So the entire debt ceiling debate / sequestration farce is nothing more that a WWF-style “battle royale” that allows cuts to be made but no one specific Congress person can be blamed for cuts in a State or District. In other words everybody is blamed which effectively means that no-one is blamed. CheckMate.

    So I say again, Congress should stop deceiving people with their narritive that Executive power is on its owe independent march to ubiquity. If they actually made decisions–Executive power would be checked as a feature of the system. PT Barnum was wrong–one sucker isn’t born every minute…its probably more like a thousand.

  81. michael reynolds says:

    @Andy:

    What Pharaoh said: do their damn job. If they do their jobs the system works and there is no executive overreach.

  82. Franklin says:

    @Davebo: Sorry for your loss, I hope you find peace.

    That’s a good point about market-driven healthcare. While I have previously assumed there’s some merit to the idea, you’re right that you certainly can’t do it in an emergency. And even regular healthcare choices are going to be very limited in many areas; it’s not like ordering a juicer from Amazon.

    But I guess I still don’t understand how single payer is really going to control the spiraling costs. Anybody got some good reading on the subject?

  83. Pinky says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Great comment. To sum up David’s list, Congress should ask itself, what can we do today to forward David’s political agenda, and act on it. I think he made the list unironically.

    If you look at the recent budget agreements, you’ll see that Congress and the executive branch can work together to get a little bit of what each of them wants. Biden and McConnell know how to get things done.

  84. Andre Kenji says:

    @Franklin:

    That’s a good point about market-driven healthcare. While I have previously assumed there’s some merit to the idea, you’re right that you certainly can’t do it in an emergency. And even regular healthcare choices are going to be very limited in many areas; it’s not like ordering a juicer from Amazon.

    One thing does not exclude the other. You can have basic healthcare provided by the government, while having a competitive market for private insurance. To me, that´s the best model.

    But I guess I still don’t understand how single payer is really going to control the spiraling costs. Anybody got some good reading on the subject?

    With single payer, the government can impose costs controls. The problem of the American Healthcare system is that the system is private, but the financing is not(Note that the employer provided healthcare is hardly a free market, specially because of the tax deductions).

  85. gVOR08 says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    I assume you mean ObamaCare here, using the tilred old crock of “since some reputed conservatives once proposed something vaguely like this…”

    I think he meant your parties last presidential candidate who had actually implemented something almost exactly like Obamacare. Or are you like every other conservative I know, and any mention of Romneycare causes you to stick your fingers in your ears and go “lalalalalala”?

  86. Andre Kenji says:

    @gVOR08:

    Let’s not pretend the GOPs are innocent victims of a base that just sprang up from nowhere.

    True. The problem is that the GOP is that so many people that does not have to govern(Like Grover norquist or the Club for Growth people) have an enormous power there.

  87. al-Ameda says:

    @bill:

    @al-Ameda: thx, i said to myself “i’m going to scroll down to the comments and see how far i get before someone says “Bush”! you saved me a few scrolls.

    I’m always pleased to be of service to conservatives who had no problem when the proverbial constitutional sky was falling when Bush was issuing signing statements, but seem to have lit their hair on fire after Obama got ACA passed (and which the Supreme Court later decided is constitutional.)

    Sorry, that was a long way of saying, “you’re welcome.”

  88. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Like calling them “phony scandals” and insisting that any disagreement or criticism of Obama is racist?

    L O L !
    (1) Can you name even one “real scandal”? (that is, apart from the fact that he uses teleprompter technology.)
    (2) Can you point out wherein regular disagreements with Obama have been dismissed as racist? (that is, apart from the actually racist Birther stuff.)

  89. Pinky says:

    @al-Ameda:

    Can you point out wherein regular disagreements with Obama have been dismissed as racist?

    Is that some kind of joke?

  90. David M says:

    @Pinky:

    Absolutely not, it’s a common claim on the right. The GOP couldn’t have been using it as an excuse to dismiss their opponents arguments, could they?

  91. anjin-san says:

    @ David M

    In Pinky’s world, there are no racists on the right, but Democrats cry wolf over racism approximately every seven seconds.

  92. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Pinky:

    Is that some kind of joke?

    Is your neglecting to list even one the punch line?

  93. al-Ameda says:

    @Pinky:

    Can you point out wherein regular disagreements with Obama have been dismissed as racist?
    Is that some kind of joke?

    No joke. Go ahead, feel free to point out where a significant number of people dismissed a policy disagreement with Obama as ‘racist.’

    The bailout of GM? Don’t think so.
    The tracking down and killing of Bin Laden? Don’t think so.
    Repeal DOMA? Don’t think so.
    Support Libyan rebels and overthrow of Qadaffi? Don’t think so.
    Criticism of loan to Solyndra? Don’t think so.

    You’re imagining this widespread victimization by liberals, and it’s not supported by facts.

  94. anjin-san says:

    Thirty years later, government is too broken, again, the economy is permanently upended, again, and we’re taking a back seat in the world, again.

    Well, it is true that Obama inherited an economic crisis of historic proportions, oh wait, are we pretending Bush never happened today?

    At any rate, this heading from the Economist caught my eye:

    The global economy is gaining momentum. But only in America is the acceleration likely to last

    http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21583686-global-economy-gaining-momentum-only-america-acceleration-likely-last

  95. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Franklin:

    While I have previously assumed there’s some merit to the idea, you’re right that you certainly can’t do it in an emergency.

    You should try getting an accurate quote for minor non-emergency surgery. It can’t be done in less than a half day of phone calls. The answers are evasive in the extreme. Just as a joke I once tried to get them to sign a form stating that because they could/would not tell me how much it was going to cost, I could assume I would be out no more than my co-pay. Of course they wouldn’t sign it, but the look on their faces was priceless. For everything else, I had to use Master Card.

  96. Pinky says:

    @al-Ameda:

    No joke. Go ahead, feel free to point out where a significant number of people dismissed a policy disagreement with Obama as ‘racist.’

    That’s very clever construction. The only way I can argue against it is to cite a significant number of people. If I point out that most of the people on this site blame everything on racism, you can ignore it. You also excluded any policies that the Tea Party has reacted to, which works out very conveniently for you.

  97. Andre Kenji says:

    Obama is an interesting target for racism because he is very different the average Black Male. His father was an African Politician, his mother was White. He is well articulated and he speaks with a Midwestern accent. So, it´s more difficult to paint him like a Willie Horton figure – the famously Big, threatening and superhuman Black male that´s a *physical* threat for people.

    On the other hand, as Pat Buchanan once pointed out, Obama “transpires affirmative action”. That´s the other racist stereotype: the Black Middle class people that stole a White people place because of Affirmative action. No wonder that we see people asking for Obama´s college records or talking about the teleprompter.

    As you can see, no racism involved.

  98. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @anjin-san:

    The global economy is gaining momentum. But only in America is the acceleration likely to last

    Dogdamn commies at the Economist…. Of course, they only say that because they really think the GOP will blink in it’s latest game of chicken.

  99. al-Ameda says:

    @Pinky:

    That’s very clever construction. The only way I can argue against it is to cite a significant number of people. If I point out that most of the people on this site blame everything on racism, you can ignore it. You also excluded any policies that the Tea Party has reacted to, which works out very conveniently for you.

    Okay, apparently you can’t point out a good example.

    Which Obama policy that Tea Party members have reacted to have liberals dismissed as a racist criticism?

  100. anjin-san says:

    @ Andre Kenji

    The rights reaction to Obama is fascinating to watch. We constantly hear that Obama “does not embrace American values.” Yet, were he white, Obama would be a Norman Rockwell painting come to life. Hardworking, ambitious, devoted to his family, a self-made millionaire, a relentless believer in education and bettering ones self, a guy who loves to shoot hoops.

    When I was younger, I had a girlfriend who’s father was a diplomat. She did not live in this country until she was 17, and she spent much of her childhood/teen years in a Muslim country.

    As far as I know, no one ever questioned that she was a “real American.” Of course she was very blonde with stunning blue eyes.

  101. anjin-san says:

    That’s very clever construction. You are requiring me to support my argument with facts.

    FTFY

  102. David M says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13 & @Pinky:

    I said stop filibustering things for no reason, not stop filibustering everything. Currently even uncontroversial business is filibustered, and the GOP should stop immediately.

    The GOP has been opposing their own ideas for political reasons, which leaves the Democrats as the only ones with viable policies. That’s not a healthy development.

    Working constructively with the Democrats would involve passing actual fixes to the ACA that would benefit their constituents, rather than still reflexively opposing it. Included in that would be acknowledging and describing what the ACA does accurately.

    Threatening to not raise the debt ceiling or shut down the government should be off the table, period. This is a problem that is 100% due to the GOP and is up to them to act like grownups and do their jobs.

    And yes, they need to stop trying to gin up scandals out of nothing, including minor regulatory adjustments to the ACA.

    None of those require the GOP to adopt Democratic positions, I’m looking for them to take their responsibilities seriously.

  103. Pharoah Narim says:

    @Franklin: I once woke up in the middle of the night with a other worldly pain near my chest I was sure was the beginning stage of a heart attack. I drove myself to the nearest emergency room which also was “in-network” for my employee insurance–everything is good so far.

    They ran tests and gave me some serious pain meds that was worth the price of admission. I was high as Lindsey Lohan on top of the Sears Tower! At any rate, they couldn’t find anything– but guessed it to be some sort of gall bladder blockage that cleared before they could take the x-rays and ultra-sounds.

    Imagine my surprise when several weeks later I get all these bills that I have to pay out of pocket because, although the HOSPITAL was in my network, all the doctors and specialist that took care of me are not employees of the hospital and happened to be OUT of my network. There were about 4 seperate bills that came to 17K…5K of which I was on the hook for because of this “out of network” scam. It was basically a 2-hour emergency room visit with about 4 test and 1 med! WTF are people supposed to do when they receive emergency care? Ask the doctors, radiologists, etc ,”Are you in my network?” Its a straight up scam.

    I attempted to call and negotiate the bills but only one office would negotiate. They gave me 30% off so I paid them promptly. The other 3 basically said, we only negotiate with insurance companies so F. U. Pay us! I thought long and hard about it but decided to vote with my wallet for this injustice by not giving these crooks a dime. I know they probably didn’t even care but there comes a point when you got to stop bending over for people and that was the tipping point for me. I had been screwed by my insurance company that I was locked into by my employer on 2 other occasions. I just wasn’t going to take it anymore. I appealed to my insurance company to settle with the people coming after me for payment but they denied the appeal saying I should have found a hospital that was “in network” with “in network” companies providing services. Crooks

  104. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @C. Clavin: So yeah…it’s a damn good thing we have a smart President again.

    Objection, your honor: presumes facts not in evidence.

    Please cite examples of Obama demonstrating “smarts.” And be prepared for counterexamples of Obama doing stupid things, and saying even stupider things.

    Free examples: taking Joe Biden on as his veep, and accusing doctors of performing unnecessary amputations and tonsillectomies purely for profit

  105. anjin-san says:

    @ Pharoah Narim

    I could go on and on about the billing practices of my former health care provider. The one that sticks out in my head was over a minor surgery. I met with their billing dept. before hand and they told me what my out of pocket costs would be. Had the surgery, got the bill, paid that bill. About 9 months later, I got a much larger bill. Called and said “WTF, you told me what it would cost, you billed me, I paid the bill.”

    Well, there had been “adjustments” – they basically said it was fine if I did not want to pay, they would just screw up my credit.

    The same outfit sends all your invoices to you non-itemized. To get details on your bill, something that should be SOP, you have to call and waste roughly an hour per bill battling your way through their “customer service” department. When I asked them why they did not itemize, I was told “we can’t itemize bills because of HIPAA, which is a bald face lie. When I asked for a written copy of their billing policies, the call was suddenly disconnected. Return to go, do not collect $200.

    I had more billing problems with this health care provider than ever other organization I do business with put together. After years of frustration, I got fed up and switched to Kaiser. Too bad, because their standard of care was excellent and I liked my Dr. I just got tired of them trying to rip me off.

  106. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @gVOR08: I think he meant your parties last presidential candidate who had actually implemented something almost exactly like Obamacare.

    RomneyCare was passed by the Democratic legislature with a thoroughly veto-proof majority. Romney never had a chance to disapprove of it. All he could do was ride that tiger — influence it in some small ways. And it’s already showing real signs of being a disaster, too.

    Plus, as conservatives like to point out, the 10th Amendment says that the states can do some things that the federal government can’t. As I see it, implementing that kind of stupid policy certainly qualifies.

    Finally, Romney was the left’s favorite candidate — right up until he won the nomination. Just like McCain was in 2008.

  107. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @David M: I said stop filibustering things for no reason, not stop filibustering everything. Currently even uncontroversial business is filibustered, and the GOP should stop immediately.

    You know what would really help your argument here? Examples.

  108. David M says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    The threat of filibuster, and the requirement for multiple cloture votes on bills and nominees that are entirely uncontroversial—all to take up precious floor time and delay or obstruct outright—is new and different.

    Via Norm Ornstein at AEI. It’s not really up for debate whether the GOP is filibustering uncontroversial bills and nominees, as the whole point of the 60 vote Senate is to filibuster everything. And it should be obvious that everything includes things that should be routine.

  109. C. Clavin says:

    “…RomneyCare was passed by the Democratic legislature with a thoroughly veto-proof majority. Romney never had a chance to disapprove of it. All he could do was ride that tiger — influence it in some small ways. And it’s already showing real signs of being a disaster, too…”

    Fictional nonsense. If your opinions are based on fiction…then your opinions are pretty much fictional.

    “…Plus, as conservatives like to point out, the 10th Amendment says that the states can do some things that the federal government can’t. As I see it, implementing that kind of stupid policy certainly qualifies…”

    Actually Romneycare was instituted with the aid of Federal money…so the truth is that we all paid for it already. And the truth is that the States really cannot do much without the help of the Government. And the fact that Red States are the biggest welfare queens proves it.

  110. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @C. Clavin: Have you ever let facts get in the way of your rants?

    Romney vetoed eight provisions of the Massachusetts plan, and all eight were overridden.
    And just where is the contradiction between “the states can do things that the federal government can’t” and “the federal government helped pay for it?”

  111. Rob in CT says:

    @Pharoah Narim:

    I’ve seen other people mention this in different comment threads on other blogs. This is utterly flabbergasting. How the F*CK is that even legal?

    Our healthcare “system” is a travshamockery. The ACA won’t fix most of it. It addresses particular problems. MUCH more needs to be done. I’ll be over here holding my breath waiting for the GOP to wake up and decide to work the problem(s). Oh, wait, no I won’t!

  112. Rob in CT says:

    Finally, Romney was the left’s favorite candidate — right up until he won the nomination. Just like McCain was in 2008.

    False.

    He was the Left’s least-hated candidate until he had to actually compete in the primaries. Whereupon he did his best crazed “severe conservative” impression. At which point “the Left” had no favorite.

    Before he won.

    Similarly, I didn’t much mind McCain… until he picked Palin. This was actually a good thing, in that it helped knock the scales from my eyes. “Maverick” can also mean “attention whore with impulse control problems.”

  113. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos

    Clearly, Romney had nothing to do with health care reform in Mass. It was all those darned Democrats:

    “With regards to women’s health care, look, I’m the guy that was able to get health care for all the women and men in my state,” Mitt Romney said in an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” before making sure to attack Obama’s law. “There’s talking about it at the federal level, we actually did something. And we did it without cutting Medicare and without raising taxes.”

    “So you’re saying, look at Romneycare?” host Chris Wallace responded.

    “Absolutely. I’m very proud of what we did. And the fact that we helped women and men and children in our state,” Romney said.

    “Health care is a big issue. That’s why my health care plan I put in place in my state has everybody insured,”

    http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/08/romney-touts-massachusetts-health-care-overhaul-in-appeal-to-women-voters.php

    Romney added that he was “very proud” of his signature on the 2006 law when he was governor of Massachusetts

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0812/80154.html

    “One hundred percent of the kids in our state had health insurance. I don’t think there’s anything that shows more empathy and care about the people of this country than that kind of record.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/26/mitt-romney-health-care-law_n_1917784.html

    I think Mr. Romney made it very clear that this was “his” health care plan, not something that he was dragged into kicking and screaming.

  114. David M says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13 & @Rob in CT:

    [Jenos]: Finally, Romney was the left’s favorite candidate — right up until he won the nomination. Just like McCain was in 2008.

    While I agree with Rob, I would like to note for the record how truly moronic this complaint from Jenos would be, even if it were completely accurate. Apparently Jenos is unable to follow along with this logic:

    Person A: I really feel like pizza, but where do you want to eat?
    Person B: Well, McD’s, Arby’s and Wendy’s are right there.
    Person A: OK, if those are the choices, Arby’s it is.
    Person B: Wait, Pizza Hut is here too.
    Person A: OK, Pizza Hut then, it’s totally better.

    Confused Jenos: I don’t understand why Person A wants pizza, they said they wanted Arby’s…don’t they know it has the roast beef?

  115. Pharoah Narim says:

    @Rob in CT: It’s an outrageous ploy for sure but apparently it is legal. I went to the emergency room in South Carolina not long ago and there was signage everywhere that the hospital was an independent company and the contract companies that provided doctors and technicians may or may not be part of the same networks the hospital belonged to… so do your research. At least they warned you to have vaseline on. Im not surprised—SC being the free market utopia its politicians laud so often. The smell of freedom there can bring tears to your eyes–or maybe that’s the cow patties.

  116. michael reynolds says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Gosh, if Romney wasn’t responsible for RomneyCare I wonder why he claimed responsibility before the election.

    “I think there are a number of features in the Massachusetts plan that could inform Washington on ways to improve health care for all Americans,” he said “The fact that we were able to get people insured without a government option is a model I think they can learn from.”

    “Some of my libertarian friends balk at an individual mandate. But is it libertarian to insist that government pick up the tab for those without insurance or means to pay? An uninsured libertarian might counter that he could refuse the free care, but under law, that is impossible — and inhumane.”

    And even in 2012:

    “First of all, with regards to women’s health care, look, I’m the guy that was about to get health care for all of the women — and men — in my state,” Romney said. “They’re talking about it on the federal level, we actually did something. And we did it without cutting Medicare and raising taxes.”

    “So you’re saying, ‘Look at Romneycare?'” Wallace interjected.

    “Absolutely. I am very proud of what we did, and the fact that we helped women and men and children in our state. And we did it without cutting Medicare.”

  117. michael reynolds says:

    @David M:

    Yeah, you see pretty clearly the rigidity of Jenos’ mental process. It’s the conservative mind, generally. There’s a reason 90% of artists of all types are liberals. Conservatives don’t do creativity — brains made of concrete rarely paint pretty flowers.

  118. Pinky says:

    @al-Ameda:

    Which Obama policy that Tea Party members have reacted to have liberals dismissed as a racist criticism?

    I don’t know if it’s that I lack a killer instinct, but when someone makes a statement that’s so absurd that you could spot it from an airplane, I consider my work done. After that it’s just piling on. I figure I’m not going to persuade someone like that, but the reader will understand that one side has just made a reductio ad absurdum on himself.

  119. David M says:

    @Pinky:

    I’m starting to think it’s more likely that the GOP has internalized their own nonsense again, as they constantly bring up “you’re called racist if you criticize Obama”, but never provide examples.

    And I wouldn’t be very quick to bring up absurd statements after this: “most of the people on this site blame everything on racism”

  120. Andre Kenji says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Conservatives don’t do creativity — brains made of concrete rarely paint pretty flowers.

    Renoir was the perfect Republican: he defended the aristocracy and he compared women to puppies. And he painted pretty flowers.

  121. al-Ameda says:

    @Pinky:

    I don’t know if it’s that I lack a killer instinct, but when someone makes a statement that’s so absurd that you could spot it from an airplane, I consider my work done. After that it’s just piling on. I figure I’m not going to persuade someone like that, but the reader will understand that one side has just made a reductio ad absurdum on himself.

    You lack a “provide examples” instinct.
    It seems like a simple to me: provide an example of a Tea Party criticism of Obama
    that was dismissed as racist, and I’ll give you my opinion as to whether or not the claim of racism was baseless or not.
    The fact that you cannot name any such issue is amazing, considering how strongly you claim that quite often criticism of Obama is dismissed as racist.

  122. michael reynolds says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    There are exceptions. Dali was a fascist. Pound was a Nazi sympathizer. That’s why I included the 10% margin for the few. But you’ll notice we’re going pretty far back in time.

  123. michael reynolds says:

    @Pinky:

    Dude, Al-ameda has you pinned. You either come up with examples or lose the point. Right now you’re just mugging for the camera.

  124. michael reynolds says:

    The whole, “They blame everything on racism,” is actually an attempt to deny the existence of racism altogether. The reason no examples are forthcoming is that conservatives aren’t actually saying what they pretend to say, they’re saying something quite different. It’s hard to source what is really just a dog whistle to begin with.

  125. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @michael reynolds: Gosh, if Romney wasn’t responsible for RomneyCare I wonder why he claimed responsibility before the election.

    That beat the hell out of me in 2008, in 2012, and still baffles me to this day. Maybe he just didn’t want to appear weak. Maybe he was just proud of some parts of it. But the actual record doesn’t back up his claims.

  126. David M says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    You’re now claiming Romney was feigning support for something he secretly opposed when he took credit for Romneycare, rather than accepting the obvious explanation of the fact he [and plenty of other Republicans] actually supported the policy?

  127. michael reynolds says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    In other words, having been proven wrong, you refute the evidence by assuming Mr. Romney is a liar.

  128. C. Clavin says:

    @ Jenos…

    “…Have you ever let facts get in the way of your rants?…”

    For my response please refer to the numerous comments above that schooled you on this topic.
    Seriously…why do you refuse to even try to understand the issues?

  129. michael reynolds says:

    @David M:

    rather than accepting the obvious explanation

    Jenos doesn’t do facts. He’s post-factual.

  130. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @michael reynolds: You didn’t prove jack squat. You cited a quote from Romney. I pointed out how the legislature overrode all eight of Romney’s line-item vetoes on the bill.

    You can either prove that I’m lying about the overrides, or find some way of saying that Romney’s quote overrules actual history.

  131. David M says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    No one cares if Romney objected to small pieces of Romneycare, as he’s on record supporting it even if he didn’t get his way on everything.

  132. C. Clavin says:

    “…That beat the hell out of me in 2008, in 2012, and still baffles me to this day. Maybe he just didn’t want to appear weak. Maybe he was just proud of some parts of it. But the actual record doesn’t back up his claims…”

    So…Romney is lying about his role in Romneycare…because????
    It certainly wasn’t to help him in the Republican Clown Circus Primaries.
    You are the most pathetic example of epstemic closure and the Dunning Kruger effect that there is, I think.

  133. Andre Kenji says:

    @michael reynolds:

    That’s why I included the 10% margin for the few. But you’ll notice we’re going pretty far back in time.

    Yes. Until the Romanticism, painters usually sided with the Aristocrats, the Catholic Church and the the rich merchants, basically because Art, with the exception of Religious Art(That was used mostly to teach the Gospels to a mass that could not read) was a privilege of the 1%.

    Here in Brazil that became an issue because the most beloved children´s author in the country was a defender of Eugenics and the KKK, and there are several racist clichés in his books.

  134. michael reynolds says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Why do you do this to yourself? Are you into humiliation?

    From your own Wiki link:

    In November 2004, political leaders began advocating major reforms of the Massachusetts health care insurance system to expand coverage. First, the Senate President Robert Travaglini called for a plan to reduce the number of uninsured by half. A few days later, the Governor, Mitt Romney, announced that he would propose a plan to cover virtually all of the uninsured.

    On April 12, 2006, Governor Mitt Romney signed the health legislation.[22] Romney vetoed eight sections of the health care legislation, including the controversial employer assessment.[23] Romney also vetoed provisions providing dental benefits to poor residents on the Medicaid program, and providing health coverage to senior and disabled legal immigrants not eligible for federal Medicaid.[24] The legislature promptly overrode six of the eight gubernatorial section vetoes, on May 4, 2006, and by mid-June 2006 had overridden the remaining two.

    So, he signed the legislation he had proposed and vetoed some minor provisions. And in your head this proves that Romney was not responsible for RomneyCare.

    I mean, dude, you’re losing even your status as the troll who is slightly smarter than Florack. Dumber than Florack is not the way you want to be seen.

    So, try thinking about your argument just a little bit before you make it. And by “thinking” I don’t mean, “try to remember what Hannity said.”

  135. C. Clavin says:

    “…Dumber than Florack is not the way you want to be seen…”

    HEHEHEHEHEHE

  136. michael reynolds says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    Yeah, and here we do have Orson Scott Card who is a bit of a racist and a whole lot of a gay-basher. It does happen.

    But it would be interesting to debate how far back in time, and how far beyond our own cultural norms, we can extend labels like conservative and liberal, or tolerant vs. intolerant. To stick with kidlit, was Herge (of Tintin fame) a racist? Kinda looks like it. But as a Belgian raised in the 20’s does he bear the same stigma as an American would, given that he’d probably never met a black person in his life? The Belgians did a pretty good job of covering up their atrocities in Congo, so maybe he’d never even been confronted with a need to consider the issue.

    Interesting moral and philosophical question that I’d love to see deeper minds than mine discuss.

  137. David M says:

    @michael reynolds:

    It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!

    If they acknowledge the truth about Romneycare, then they have to admit the opposition to Obamacare was politically motivated, and was not policy based.

    At this point, it’s clear they would rather be dishonest charlatans, wrapped in the warm cocoon of GOP Goodness.

  138. gVOR08 says:

    @michael reynolds: Nicely played. Thank you.

  139. Pinky says:

    @michael reynolds: Dude, he said

    “Which Obama policy that Tea Party members have reacted to have liberals dismissed as a racist criticism?”

    “Res ipsa loquitur” is sufficient.

  140. michael reynolds says:

    @Pinky:

    “Res ipsa loquitur”

    Latin for, “I got nothin’.”

  141. Andre Kenji says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Yeah, and here we do have Orson Scott Card who is a bit of a racist and a whole lot of a gay-basher. It does happen.

    Monteiro Lobato is worse, because the most known character of the whole series is a doll that does racist rants, there is also a very stereotyped Black house maid. But he was a very skilled kidlit writer, that managed to blend Greek Mythology with local folklore.With Adult Literature(He is famous in the US for “predicting” that a Black would be elected President) he is much less interesting.

    But I would say that´s even a good investment to learn Portuguese just to read and understand him.

    But it would be interesting to debate how far back in time, and how far beyond our own cultural norms, we can extend labels like conservative and liberal, or tolerant vs. intolerant.

    I think that we can use labels, even if they are a complicated issue(Wagner is an example). Until the 1800´s, being Conservative and being a defender of the Monarchy/Aristocracy was the same thing, and several writers and painters are on the record defending that.

    The Simon Schama BBC´s series The Power of Art talks about the relationship between artists like Bernini and David and the power.

    To stick with kidlit, was Herge (of Tintin fame) a racist? Kinda looks like it.

    I don´t think so. He had Chinese friends, and Tintin is very popular in Asia and in the Middle East. His first books were clearly problematic, but he distanced from most of these material(He rewrote most of the first three books).

    On the other hand, I find horrible that Bianca Castafiore is the only woman ever to appear in the whole series. Misogyny is a much better accusation than racism.

  142. sam says:

    @Andy:

    So again, what is it you think Congress should do about executive power?

    The constitutional remedy, of course, is impeachment by the House and conviction on the charges by the Senate. The problem is that Congressman X (R-Generic, D-Generic) doesn’t really object to a vigorous executive as long as that executive is of the proper persuasion–and this is obvious to everybody. Orin Kerr over at Volokh developed a short-hand for this phenomenon:

    When we are in/out of power, we support/oppose this exercise of executive authority, but now that we are out of/in power, we oppose/support this exercise of executive power.

    This leads to a highly cynical electorate. So cynical, in fact, that I think any move to impeach the president (absent some criminal activity that strikes at the heart of the Republic) by the House (D or R controlled) would be seen as the pure politics it would be. And that would just reaffirm Orin’s principle. There would be no moral authority in that impeachment process. Thus does hyperpartisanship on the part of Congresscritters serve to rob them of the one and only weapon they have to put a brake on executive power. Truly, they have met the enemy, and they is them.

  143. michael reynolds says:

    @sam:

    Thus does hyperpartisanship on the part of Congresscritters serve to rob them of the one and only weapon they have to put a brake on executive power. Truly, they have met the enemy, and they is them.

    Let’s hope that’s not an epitaph.

  144. David M says:

    @Pinky:

    Which Obama policy that Tea Party members have reacted to have liberals dismissed as a racist criticism?

    You seemed to be struggling with the question, so I thought I’d help you out. I’m pretty sure the Tea Party outcry of reparations over the Pigford II settlement are quite racist.

  145. al-Ameda says:

    @Pinky:

    “Res ipsa loquitur” is sufficient.

    I suppose you could have said, “non-compos mentis.”

    Really, all of those purported examples of baseless claims of racism leveled at critics of Obama and you cannot identify a single one?

  146. Davebo says:

    @Pinky:

    There’s something about a dead Party invoking a dead language to avoid the fact that they got absolutely nothing.

  147. Davebo says:

    146 comments on OTB can’t be good.

    James, throw up a new post or get Doug to come up with another twisted explanation of why he’s not really a Republican.

    I fear I may have hijacked this one and that wasn’t my goal.

  148. Davebo says:

    @Pinky:

    We had to adjust to the new reality that the Soviet Union was our military superior

    No, if that’s how you remember it then your judgement is totally impaired.

    I have a client who is almost exactly the same age as myself and who served in the Soviet Navy at the same time I was in the US Navy.

    He’d tell you that the Soviet military was held together with baling wire and duct tape at the time (late 80’s). Had it come to a non nuclear war it would have made WWII look like the cake walk Iraq was. Had it come to a nuclear confrontation, well nothing would have mattered.

  149. Barry says:

    @al-Ameda: “Did I miss something or did George Will neglect to be outraged over the number of Signing Statements issued by George W Bush? Essentially Bush issued those statements as a marker of his intention to ignore hundreds of federal statutes.”

    He was, but his tongue was too tired from boot-licking Bush and Cheney to actually say something.

  150. Barry says:

    @David M: “Will’s complaints about the implementation of the ACA are nothing but sour grapes. His fake outrage can’t be taken seriously over a routine delay. ”

    Seriously – when was the last time that George Will had something to say worth hearing?

    He’d been washed up for decades now.

  151. Barry says:

    @PD Shaw: ” The President has wide discretion not to prosecute crimes and pardon criminals.”

    As in torture; I don’t recall George Will having a problem there, both with doing it, and deliberately allowing it to go unpunished.

  152. Andre Kenji says:

    @Barry:

    Seriously – when was the last time that George Will had something to say worth hearing?

    I pardon George Will for all his sins because he called Sarah Palin Pancho Villa in 2008.

  153. EdMigPer says:

    Fact is, congress has been releasing power to the executive branch for several decades. They don’t want the responsibility of power, they only want the illusion of power and relevance. This is why when you ask a Tea Party Republican what they want to do in office, they say they want to stop laws from being passed. They don’t want to govern, they want to end governance whether it’s a good form of governance or not.

    Instead of congress deliberately giving the executive branch more power, they are doing it out of negligence. They won’t care that Obama has unilaterally changed the ACA by himself because it relieves them of the responsibility of having to change it with a vote. A vote in the House to adjust the ACA, even if it helps businesses transition more smoothly, means the House Republicans would have to acknowledge the ACA is here to stay.

    The House Republicans would rather pretend that the ACA is an illegitimate law that needs to be repealed; therefore Obama had no choice, whether he’s right in doing it or not.