RSN Fundraising Banner
FB Share
Email This Page
add comment

Lakoff and Wehling write: "What Roberts accomplished on one issue was to enshrine two conservative ideologies - without the Democrats even noticing while they were cheering."

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts greets President Barack Obama on Capitol Hill. (photo: AP)
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts greets President Barack Obama on Capitol Hill. (photo: AP)

What Hath Roberts Wrought?

By George Lakoff, Elisabeth Wehling, Common Dreams

03 July 12


emocrats all over America are claiming victory in the Chief Justice Roberts' vote to uphold the constitutionality of the President's Health Care Law. Conservatives all over America are campaigning all the harder for a president and a congress that will overthrow the law in the future. Chief Justice John Roberts is a conservative, and a very smart, forward-looking one at that. (Photo: Chuck Kennedy/KRT)

Thomas Friedman in his New York Times column praises Roberts to skies for putting the country ahead of ideology. Others have seen Roberts as saving “his court” from the appearance of ideological control.

But Roberts is a conservative, and a very smart, forward-looking one at that. What Roberts accomplished on one issue was to enshrine two conservative ideologies - without the Democrats even noticing while they were cheering. He did this by using the Court's ability to turn metaphors into law. He accomplished this with two votes.

First he was the swing vote that imposed the idea that Health Care Is A Product and set the stage for a possible general principle: The Interstate Commerce Clause governs the buying and selling of products and the government cannot force anyone to people to buy a product (real or metaphorical).

Second, Roberts was the swing vote on the ruling that saved the Affordable Health Care Act by creating a precedent for another metaphorical legal principle: A fee or payment imposed by the government is a tax.

In short, in his votes on one single issue, Roberts single-handedly extended the power of the Court to turn metaphor into law in two conservative directions.

Many important laws, especially in the area of environmental protection, use the interstate commerce clause. The Court in this session held that the EPA cannot keep a property owner from developing, and hence destroying, a wetland on their property. Will the general principle that comes out of the latest Supreme Court decisions be seen to be that the Commerce Clause cannot be used to preserve the environment but only to govern commercial transactions? The Endangered Species Act is based on the Commerce Clause. Will the above principle be used to kill the Endangered Species Act?

Given the conservatives' success in rousing public ire against taxes, will all fees and other government payments be argued to be taxes that should be minimized, eliminated, or not even proposed?

Roberts is no fool. In one stroke, he both protected the Court from charges of ideology and became categorized as a “moderate,” while enshrining two metaphor-based legal principles that can be used to promote and implement conservative policy in the future, with devastating broad effects.

We are as happy as other Democrats that the Affordable Care Act has mostly been declared constitutional. But we caution Democrats throughout the country to keep an eye out for conservative uses of the two metaphors that played the central role in the latest Supreme Court rulings - and for ways to keep them from being extended to impose conservative beliefs and doctrines. your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+38 # wantrealdemocracy 2012-07-03 16:40
Poor George is still a Democrat and he believes that the Democrats are a lesser evil than the other corrupt corporately funded political party. It is not good that Obama care was blessed by our Supremos--quite the opposite. Now we are all forced to remain in a health care system that has the main purpose of enriching some people but has NO PLAN TO PROVIDE HEALTH CARE FOR ANYONE. The purpose of a corporation, as explained by the grate conservative economist Milton Friedman, is to turn a profit. The purpose of a corporation is to TURN A PROFIT for the investors. Any health care is just an unimportant side issue. This is not, as hopeful Democrats say, a step in the direction of Single Payer (the system enjoyed by people in the rest of the industrialized world (and some third world nations too) but not us. Our Supremos have kept our system in teh hands of the corporations. The costs will go up and the health service will decline. Face it George, and the rest of you loyal Democrats---we been screwed and the insurance companies and big pharma have done the job with the help of our rotten government. Vote the bastards out! We need people in office who will heed the voice of the people instead of sucking up to the top 1%.
+41 # Robert B 2012-07-03 18:08
I'm very suspicious of people like you who think up reasons to beat up on Democrats right before an election. I wonder if you "want real democracy," as your moniker states, or if you are actually a GOP apparatchik trying to cut into Democratic support. Republicans have made it abundantly clear since at least Watergate that they are perfectly happy to lie for political advantage. I have no doubt that Karl Rove has thought of getting people like you to post comments exactly like this on Democratic sites. It takes a lot more than some anonymous posting from an unknown person for me to take you seriously.
+24 # Richard Raznikov 2012-07-03 21:32
Robert B. I agree with wantrealdemocra cy. Am I also a GOP troll planted by Karl Rove?

I've been a Democratic Party office holder, a campaign worker, and a Democratic voter since 1968. But my party has been sold to the highest bidder and is as corrupt as the GOP. You do no service to the party by pretending it's better than it is.

The health care bill was a fake. All it really did was create a guaranteed income for insurance companies. Obama and the Democrats could EASILY have had universal care but pretended to need more than 60 votes (they didn't) and that the Republicans were obstructionists (sure, they were and are, but that's not the real problem).

Lakoff is right about Roberts. The Court dicta is dangerous if you actually understand it; ask a lawyer what it means for future decisions.

Yes, the Republicans will lie for advantage; so will the Democrats. Pretending Obama and the crew are so much better than Romney is a betrayal of the facts and of the party itself.

Obama has lost my vote and that of millions of others because he's in bed with the bankers and other corporate thugs. Because he murders innocent people with death lists. Because he turned food safety over to Monsanto. His policies are not one bit better than Nixon's. Wake up, please.
+19 # Granny Weatherwax 2012-07-04 04:07
Quoting Richard Raznikov:
The health care bill was a fake. All it really did was create a guaranteed income for insurance companies.

Actually the law madates that at least 85% of the insurance income be spent on healthcare.
This is significant, although it does not address the soaring cost of said healthcare.

Quoting Richard Raznikov:
Obama and the Democrats could EASILY have had universal care but pretended to need more than 60 votes (they didn't) and that the Republicans were obstructionists (sure, they were and are, but that's not the real problem).

"EASILY" is a little strong - on the other hand I am right there with you about single payer health care: this is demonstrably the only viable solution.

Quoting Richard Raznikov:
Obama has lost my vote and that of millions of others because he's in bed with the bankers and other corporate thugs. Because he murders innocent people with death lists. Because he turned food safety over to Monsanto.

The electoral system is set up so that to get a shot at your policies you need to be elected and that implies being bought and paid for.
Obama could not change anything in that regard before he got elected, and then, of course he had been paid for.
The only way to get out of that spiral is to rescing legal bribery: get monye out of politics, i.e. repeal Citizens United.
0 # Mooseman27 2012-07-05 14:33
>Actually the law madates that at least 85% of the insurance income be spent on healthcare.
This is significant, although it does not address the soaring cost of said healthcare.m their various investments. This 85% premium mandate was placed into this fraudulent bill BY the major medical insurers in order to discourage competition from smaller companies who get most of THEIR income from the premiums. This will limit competition and innovation and will help ensure that medical costs continue to escalate.
+12 # marstob 2012-07-04 07:00
Your comments were significant in pointing out just what really is and I view this administration as far worse the NIxon's - who did a great deal of good actually - for the common people. I have come to view the antics of government as one big soap opera, where deceit is the name of the game. Canada has its universal health care system - it works better in some provinces then others and to a degree there is rationing.On the other hand it doesn't control our lives. In BC - you pay monthly a health care fee - and for that a gold card giving you medical privileges. Without it - big problems. In Alberta, there is no longer s user fee - you need only to be registered as an Alberta resident to avail yourself of its health care. USA could have looked to the north for direction - but this act only controls. People still don't get it.
+5 # Observer 47 2012-07-04 11:45
Thank you for saying this, Richard. Robert B. is astute enough to see the effects of, and the real motive behind, Roberts' decision. Roberts has indeed left healthcare in the hands of the corporations.

And you are right that the Dems are as bad as the Rethugs. Unfortunately, many Dem supporters are blind enough to reject the fact that their party is bought and paid for, but it is. Wake up, people! Unequivocally backing Dems is as bad as voting a straight Rethug ticket. The only hope for the country lies in discerning and then backing to the hilt third-party candidates.
+14 # RLF 2012-07-04 06:13
I've been beating up on Dems since Bill Clinton and look how much good it has done. We now have free market, anti Glass-Steagal, anti-tax-the-ri ch Dems, and they keep moving further right with people like you saying...'We can't hold them accountable...l ook at the alternative!' Well Mr excitement...I' ve had it and think it is time it got worse and worse till dems start acting like dems again. Pro-Union Pro-Arts Anti-Poverty Anti=ignorance Pro-REAL Freedom...not the free to do as I say version they are pedaling now.
+17 # Jerry 2012-07-03 19:04
Get a grip on reality. George is a progressive. He, as anyone claiming to be a democrat, has nurturing framing in his mind. Conservatives have only strict authoritarian framing. Many democrats, independents and swing voters have both moral frames in their minds. Thus, they can be reached by us that learn to frame our discussions to appeal to the nurturing framing. Conservatives cannot be reached. Thus, the democrats, independents, and swing voters can be far better than conservatives. You just have to learn to address their moral values.

You also need to get it through your thick skull that the PPACA limits corporate profits and overhead to 15% for larger insurers, 20% for the rest. They will also have to compete in exchanges with clear standardized policies if regulation is not thwarted. This means they will use the increased buying power of their enlarged customer base to hold down costs in order to compete. Some people believe the insurance companies won’t be able to live within this framework, and will get out of the health care insurance business, leaving it to Medicare for All. It may well lead to such.
+11 # Richard Raznikov 2012-07-03 21:36
My thick skull is fine, thanks. Evidently, you don't understand how insurance works, nor how the books are cooked, nor how insurers will deny benefits and find ways to manipulate the system. The President left control of the system in the hands of corporations and we will get exactly what we get in every other similar situation. There are many ways to define 'profit', as you are about to find out.
+4 # Jerry 2012-07-04 00:16
There is only one way to define profit - income minus expenses. Sebelius is writing the rules on what constitutes health care delivery. It was reported in Nov. that she was taking it seriously; the example given was she refused to include commissions as part of health care delivery. The rules will have to perused to see if she remained stalwart and wasn’t undermined. With a profit cap, what is the motivation for denial of claims? Sure, that could be part of holding down expenses to compete, but they also have to compete with quality of service.

Yes, there are lots of ways to manipulate the system. Medicare has had that problem, too. The loopholes can be closed, and the rules enforced. Citizens will have to be vigilant in any case. I would rather had Medicare for All, but the progressives didn't have 60 votes. They were shot down by the blue dogs and republicans, one of which is Obama. Like FDR, he has to be pushed to be more progressive.
+5 # Richard Raznikov 2012-07-04 10:12
The corporations have an easy process in corrupting the rule-making. Sebelius is writing the rules but the rules will then be changed because the insurance industry's lobbyists will rewrite them and the corrupted Senators (of both parties) will let it happen or even expedite it. Medicare did not have the same problem because Medicare didn't have outside capital turning a profit and feeding stockholders.

The 60-vote requirement is a convenient lie. It is required not by law but by the 'rules of the Senate' agreed upon by both parties to enable them to obstruct legislation while making it seem as though they are working 'for the people.' The Democratic majority could have by simple majority restored the old rules, waited out any filibuster, and passed universal care by majority vote. But they didn't. As yourself why not.

We're being hosed, people. FDR was a leader. That he 'had to be pushed' is yet another fiction sponsored by the propagandists for the current regime. Bush was terrible. I worked for Obama, just as you did. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.
-2 # Jerry 2012-07-04 12:46
The democrats, Merkley if I remember right, proposed eliminating the filibuster. Someone put a hold on it. Apparently, that is another rule that needs to be eliminated, but I haven't heard of anyone trying to do so. Maybe someone could put a hold on a proposal to get rid of it. I read a lot of bitching about Obama, but how many of you are working for an alternative.

Just because one is a leader, doesn't mean people don't influence which way they lead. He saved capitalism with the new deal which he proposed with the requirement that the labor unions split away from the social movements towards socialism and communism, weakening them, and now they are all about dead. And hard nosed capitalism is at its zenith. Ever wonder why he backed off the stimulus too early, causing a second drop during the great depression?

Your implying that I'm an apologist for Obama, you’re nuts. If Rocky Anderson, or another progressive, is viable on election day, I'll vote for him.
+2 # RLF 2012-07-04 06:20
If there is any hope in this plan it is the coops...but half the states are making them illegal.
+9 # RLF 2012-07-04 06:19
You are naive if you think that the15-29% means anything. Creative book keeping learned centuries ago how to make profit look like loss...that's why GE doesn't pay taxes. This is a way to guarantee insurance companies lots of healthy young people to bolster profits. Poor guys don't make enough. Did it limit executive pay in insurance companies? No! If these guys are over, they can just give themselves a bonus...sound familiar.
+1 # Jerry 2012-07-04 17:30
80%-85%, depending on insurance company size, has to be spent on health care delivery, and Sibelius is defining the rules on what that means. If she does a good job, and she is not undercut by Obama or congress, we don't have to worry about accountants. The only article I've read about her decisions said she is doing a good job.
+47 # mdhome 2012-07-03 20:54
The purpose of a corporation is to TURN A PROFIT for the investors. Any health care is just an unimportant side issue.

AND this is exactly why we need single payer/medicare for all.
+6 # John Locke 2012-07-04 05:32
wantrealdemocra cy: Good points and well thought out, The author of the article also see's it...the only ones who don't see it are the die hard head in the sand unrealists...
+5 # Sea Star RN 2012-07-04 09:30
I agree, wantrealdemocracy.

There's an epidemic of these DEM/Obama spokepersons, standing in line for the microphone to send their aupport to others still believing the "hope and change" rhetoric.

And I suspect that most of them have good, affordable health care!!

Plainly speaking, Roberts is a corporatist and his vote(s) saved the hide of the Health industry and all its investors.
+17 # davidr 2012-07-03 16:56
Yes, the TRAKS majority, including Roberts, is and remains anxious to constrain Congress's authority to regulate commerce. I have a hard time seeing why that must be understood through metaphor.

Roberts might have opined for the majority had it been content to vacate the mandate only. He plainly declared against the precedential view of the commerce clause, as Lakoff & Wehling note. But while Roberts was willing to go after the commerce clause, he wasn't ready to declare Congress itself unconstitutiona l, which would have been the effect of overturning ACA in toto. To that extent, good for Roberts.

For the rest of it, not so much. TRAKS, including Roberts, believes fanatically (and without a firm basis in reason or intellectual history) that liberty is defined as (a) the constraint of government in favor of (b) private profit. They have the idea that the general welfare derives exclusively from unregulated commerce and are hostile to federal power exercised in constraint thereof.

For that reason, I'm sure that Roberts would love to see Congress repeal ACA, and nothing he's said in his opinion will inhibit them in that pursuit. But give him credit where due. At the end of the day, he wasn't prepared to reduce the Court's stature below a certain already low point in order to achieve his preferred policy outcome.
+3 # Ralph Averill 2012-07-04 04:40
What is TRAKS?
+3 # davidr 2012-07-04 11:24
Thomas,Roberts, Alito …

Previously known as RATS + "swing vote" Kennedy

Alternatively KARTS, STARK, etc.
+39 # susienoodle 2012-07-03 16:59
bottom line, we need President Obama to win by a landslide, bringing House back to the Dems and holding as many seats as possible in the Senate. If nothing else, this might show a few "low information voters" how important it is to elect the person who will nominate left leaning justices, or at least non right wing zealots. We need to replace Clarence Thomas who is an embarrassment, esp as compared to Thurgood Marshall, then Alito and Scalia. For now, Roberts has earned the right to stay.
-7 # Jerry 2012-07-03 19:19
I cannot support Obama due to his human and civil rights abuses, attack on privacy, and the overturning of our laws via treaties exempting multinationals from them. But we do need as many votes cast as possible for true progressives. A progressive Senate can handle the appointment issues. Any viable progressive will get my vote. If a race doesn’t have a viable one in it, I’ll hold my nose and vote for blue dogs, believing that they have both nurturing and authoritarian frames in their minds, and can be reached.
+3 # Granny Weatherwax 2012-07-04 04:13
If I get you right what you are saying is in essence
"There is no good progressive so far so you progressives should do as I (claim to) do and do not vote."

Just like a double negative makes positive, I'll have to pull off a double positive on you:

"Yeah, right."
+1 # Jerry 2012-07-04 17:41
There are good progressives. The Justice and Green parties have such running for President. I just don't know if they will be viable yet. If you people that feel trapped would just tell the major parties to shove it, the alternatives would become viable. Come to your senses! You can fall back to being trapped if the polls don't show one to be viable before the election. Just choose who you want in opinion polls and back them in your efforts till then and see what happens.
+4 # James38 2012-07-05 19:32
Jerry, VIABLE means having a realistic chance of winning. Voting now for any of the Justice or Green Presidential candidates (however nice they may be) is a repeat of the Nader Syndrome, a meaningless protest that only guarantees increased likelihood of electing Romney, who would be an unmitigated disaster with very possible Supreme Court appointments to put the poison frosting on the cake.

Nader, through his prissy puritanical dogmatic egotistical insistence on running to the bitter end, gave us Dubya, who was an unmitigated disaster with Supreme Teabagger Justices to add to his everlasting shame.

The place to start the growth of the Justice, Green, Reform Democrat or whatever third party is at the local and Congressional level. Winning some seats there would give an actual practical beginning, and a loss would not endanger the nation.

No matter what awful flaws you may see or imagine in Obama, he is the ONLY VIABLE Presidential Candidate a progressive should support, since the only other VIABLE candidate is Romney, and if you want another Dubya type disaster, vote for your nifty Green or Justice candidate, since a vote for them is a vote for Romney - since they are NOT VIABLE!.

+3 # James38 2012-07-05 19:36
My opinion is that if any of the Justice or Green candidates has any real concern for the Nation, they should announce well before the election that they want all their supporters to vote for Obama, and then unite to keep pressuring Congress and Obama to get more nearly on the Progressive track.

Continuing to divert votes from Obama is only giving those votes to Romney. That, to me, indicates a level of obtuse egotism I find incomprehensible.

This is because even if one of them would actually make a great (or even pretty good) President, they are not even remotely VIABLE!

"Come to your senses" indeed!
+10 # Ralph Averill 2012-07-04 04:54
"A progressive Senate can handle the appointment issues."
You're never going to get a Senate progressive enough to dictate court nominations.
Why is it OK to vote for blue dog Democrats but not for Obama? Do you really think a second term for Obama would be worse than a first term for Romney?
I agree that it is important to restore the Democratic majority in the House, and strengthen the majority in the Senate.
It's all about Congress in 2012!
-4 # Observer 47 2012-07-04 11:54
Good for you, Jerry! I held my nose and voted for Obama, suspecting all along that there was something fishy with him. And unfortunately, there was: he's in bed with the bankers and corporations as much as Dubya was. For all the reasons you cite, and many more, such as his abysmal environmental stand, Obama is a total disappointment. Those who keep blindly supporting him just don't care to know what's really happening.
+2 # James38 2012-07-05 20:50
Observer, see my post above. Supporting Obama is not blind, it is the well thought-out and carefully considered and chosen action of a responsible citizen.
+8 # Richard Raznikov 2012-07-03 21:39
'We need to replace Clarence Thomas... then Alito and Scalia...' Are you aware of how this works, Susie?
+7 # Texas Aggie 2012-07-04 07:54
Yes, by attrition or by impeachment. When they leave for whatever reason, appointing someone similar to them in their place is NOT replacement. The person appointed to replace them must be their opposite.
+1 # Richard Raznikov 2012-07-04 10:18
By attrition you mean by death. Roberts, Thomas, Scalia, all very young and likely to live for decades. As for impeachment, when's the last time any justice was impeached. Try never. And if any Justice ever deserved it by being completely vacant and actually stupid, it's Thomas.

Wishful thinking is not going to get the job done. This country's in real trouble and pretending Obama's a lot better than the fool running against him –– regardless of how you vote –– is no help. Go ahead and vote for Obama if you can keep the nausea down, but at least stop pretending he's what he's not.
-4 # RLF 2012-07-04 06:23
Obama will give us another Kagan who jumps out of every case that matters...just like cojones!
+4 # mjc 2012-07-04 14:47
Kagan understands that you don't sit in judgement on a piece of legislation you had a hand in or wide-based opinion of. She is a Clarence Thomas whose wife is up to her eyeballs in anti-government ealthcare organizations, as Thomas is to a certain extent as well. Recusing oneself is not for the faint at heart or the naked partisans.
+6 # mjc 2012-07-04 19:05
Second sentence should read...She is NOT a Clarence Thoams whose wife is up to her eyeballs in anti-government healthcare organizations.. ..
+1 # Anarchist 23 2012-07-05 12:58
Quoting RLF:
Obama will give us another Kagan who jumps out of every case that matters...just like cojones!

Tghis quote should be read carefully. the media(even the informal media) practices a constant sexism that although never subtle, is never seen. "No cojones" aka 'No balls" as if the masculine aggression implied in this is the best solution for everything. Maybe the lacking nurturing element should be cited. As a comparison-most of our leaders have no tits. Because most of them destroy, not nurture, the world, the country, the people etc. Think about it.
+64 # Robert B 2012-07-03 17:15
There's nothing wrong with true conservatism, but there is something wrong with FASCISM. That's the difference that Republicans have been trying to blur for the past 30 years. People really ought to be aware of that difference.
+23 # Jerry 2012-07-03 19:12
A true conservative is authoritarian. I see that as something wrong with conservatism.
+6 # Texas Aggie 2012-07-04 07:57
Actually, no. A true conservative lets other people do whatever they want as long as everyone else gets to do whatever they want and their actions don't interfere with the well-being of others. These true conservatives are few and far between and becoming fewer and farther. The authoritarians are fascists.
+1 # Jerry 2012-07-04 17:43
Check out Lakoff's little Blue Book." Maybe we're talking about different critters.
+2 # James38 2012-07-04 23:51
Totally correct, Texas. Jerry, you seriously would enjoy reading "Conservatives Without Conscience" by John Dean. The former chief counsel for Tricky Dick has gone through quite a sea-change of consciousness, and would clarify things for you quite a lot. Your definition of "true conservative" is just exactly backwards.
+38 # Regina 2012-07-03 17:52
This Roberts affair, as the authors imply, proves that the only thing worse than a stupid ideologue is a brilliant one.
+41 # JLTalley 2012-07-03 18:01
We forget that Obama called it a Health Care INSURANCE reform. He knew that it was not reforming health care; that task remains ahead. Unfortunately this effort delivered another 30 million customers to the corporate interests; I fear most of that money will go into fighting meaning health CARE reform. Until we get the profit motive out of health care, we're going to lag far behind the rest of the world in everything except the price of health.
-4 # RLF 2012-07-04 06:24
If you can't afford it even with the subsidies you have to pay a penalty...subsi dizing health care for the people better off than you...that's really progressive.
+15 # Jerry 2012-07-03 18:37
Roberts only declared the shared responsibility payment a tax, which it is because it goes into the general fund. Fees are charged by government for facilities and services that serve the individual paying the fee only. It is usually calculated to pay for all or part of the service. Thus, it is easy to distinguish the difference. Roberts did not declare the health insurance premiums to be taxes,

As Lakoff points out in "The Little Blue Book," the law was framed as if Health insurance is a product, and it is, as opposed to health care. The PPACA had no mandate in it, since mandates have no “or” clause, which is implied when it included the shared responsibility payment if one didn’t buy insurance. Instead of a mandate, it had an option. Characterizing the clauses as a mandate allowed conservatives messaging which they used effectively in opposing the law, and the proponents didn’t reframe it.

Roberts by reining in the commerce clause created a lot of room for mischief, as Lakoff points out. It also showed Roberts to still be a right wing ideology because it diminishes Federal power and authority, hands plutocrats a revenue stream, and does nothing to show a balanced court, since he failed to honor stare decisis. It further illustrating the lie of his confirmation hearing statements that he would honor stare decisis. His decision dishonors him and shows him, and therefore, the majority of SCOTUS to be right wing politicians.
+12 # Jerry 2012-07-03 19:50
Health care as a human right was never in the PPACA cards, and was not addressed in the PPACA issue. That metaphor can still be promoted at every opportunity – Medicare for All.
+1 # James38 2012-07-05 00:27
For Jerry and everyone, here is an interesting article on the Swiss Health Care System.

Swiss Model for Health Care Is Gaining Admirers - Published: September 30, 2009

It is an intermediate step between totally run government systems (lowest costs, but with some restrictions and delays) and the US mixed system (which produces the highest costs for health care in the world.)
+11 # wipster 2012-07-03 18:55
While Roberts may have allowed a lot of the act to continue, what he really did was to accentuate the word tax. You will know that every comment by republicans and every advertisement for romney since the ruling by SCOTUS has referred to the affordable care act as a tax, and has inferred that this tax will be paid by everyone, not just those not currently having health insurance.
+1 # Shorey13 2012-07-03 19:27
Like many Democrats and even many "Progressives," Robert B suffers from the Nader Syndrome. Even though Obama is a traitor to Progressives and their values, we have to vote for him to keep the Republicans out. And, the Republicans are not true "Fascists," they just worship at the altar of the laissez faire religion: there should be zero political interference with any and all economic activity. All hail the unregulated marketplace! Maybe we just have to let them run the table and demonstrate, once and for all the inherent evil in that Social Darwinist "religion." BTW, our present Constitution is a loser. It has to be completely rewritten, and only a real crisis will make that possible.
0 # Observer 47 2012-07-04 12:03
So....we vote for a traitor to Progressive values, and those values get stomped on again. Where does it end? If we keep voting for Dem candidates who screw Joe Average citizen, because they're "not as bad as Republicans," when does it get any better? How has that strategy been working for Progressives? The only way to get out of the mess were in is to refuse to vote for candidates who support the banks and corporations, no matter which party they belong to. The lesser of two evils is still evil, and it's time the die-hard Dem supporters wised up and acted accordingly.
+3 # Observer 47 2012-07-04 12:06
P.S. The Republicans ARE fascists, in terms of their unlimited support for corporations and endless work for de-regulation. Look up the definition of the term.
+3 # James38 2012-07-05 00:53
Doctrinaire "don't vote for Obama" (for whatever reason) is a vote for Romney. If you don't think Romney is a far worse choice for the US, you are seriously out of touch with reality.

Quoting Suzienoodle, "bottom line, we need President Obama to win by a landslide, bringing House back to the Dems and holding as many seats as possible in the Senate. If nothing else, this might show a few "low information voters" how important it is to elect the person who will nominate left leaning justices, or at least non right wing zealots."

Replacing our current crop of less than ideal Democrats and Far Worse Republican hyper-authorita rian Fascist Corporate-Stati st inhumane monsters requires starting at the local level, electing true progressives to County, city, State, and Congressional positions. At that level, meaningful results can be achieved.

Support Elizabeth Warren, and look for such persons to run for other positions.

In this way a third party (or coalition of them with reformed Democrats - back to the progressive roots) can grow to the point that a viable Presidential ticket could be promoted. Running for President now, as did Nader, on a futile third party ticket, just exercises egos and ensures that your vote is actually for Romney. That is making your point by dramatically shooting yourself in the foot. It accomplishes nothing but stroking the oversize ego and leaving you with a mangled foot (country).
+17 # HerbR 2012-07-03 19:48
I'm with you, Mr. Lakoff ! I wonder how long it will take people to realize the ride they've been taken on, and the ominous doctrines they'll be asked to defend in the not so distant future.
Some "victories" will surely turn out to have been won at a very steep, perhaps even intolerable, price. I write as an ex-teacher of Political Science, including the politics of what is now called THE NINE ! I'll be hoping and wishing for the current balance in that institution to be altered somehow, before a new set of "basic principles" is devised, to our dismay. Keep writing - and making sense.
Best wishes
+16 # uglysexy 2012-07-03 20:16
Roberts cannot be trusted. That's why we need successive dem presidents to change the balance of the court...
Other reasons are the Scourge of Scalia the Ptomaine of Thomas the Killjoy that is Kennedy and the Arrogance that is Alito
+8 # ezwriter61 2012-07-03 21:03
WANTREALDEMOCRA CY is exactly right when he says we've delivered 30 million new customers into the hands of insurance companies.
And he's right in saying that the health care they provide is almost entirely up to them...and corporations are run for profit, not for the benefit of patients.
Those of us in HMOs should be able to see that behind those people in white smocks lies not the Hypocratic Oath so much as a greedy insurance company interested in denying as many claims as possible.
Yes, they employ doctors, but they have very tight leashes on those doctors.
Having joined an HMO June 1, I can already see that my plan tightly controls how much care it provides, and that doctors are trained to switch patients to OTC drugs as much as that the expense goes back to the patient.
+3 # charsjcca 2012-07-03 21:05
Our United States Supreme Court has a history that needs to be understood. How did Plessy v. Ferguson pass muster? I wish I knew. Please remember that the Court is a caucus. The door closes and only the nine members know exactly what happened. My take is that it was 9-0, following the leader. Each Justice is free to speak on the record as they choose. Think 9-0.
+16 # ezwriter61 2012-07-03 21:09
As a progressive, I feel betrayed by Obama (I call him Obush, because he has continued so much of the Bush doctrine), but I'd like to spell out one thing:
Fascism is government in the hands of the corporations. Our fathers and their fathers fought against fascism and now that's what we have. The corporations are already running the country because they have bought our senators and congressmen. Our leaders don't have to seek our votes one-by-one now...they now have the huge amounts of money to distort the issues and spend their way into power, and once there, to stay in.
+6 # Granny Weatherwax 2012-07-04 04:24
I also feel betrayed but unfortunately short of public founding for the elections we will only be given poor choices for the highest office.
Among those I would still pick Obama over Romney every time.

Repeal Citizens United
+1 # James38 2012-07-05 19:52
Granny W, you are right on! We need to constantly try to get the puritans to be practical. Keep at it.

I am reminded of a bit of wise doggerel my mother taught me while teaching me to drive (many years ago). "He was right all right as he sped along, but he is just as dead as if he was wrong."

Romney is Wrongmney - or Wrongmoney. Wrong in all ways.
+4 # adolbe 2012-07-04 09:29
I think the argument for expanded health care coverage for all Americans should be explained, and in legal terms (I am not a lawyer) as not a product but as a shared risk and a sort of national defence. Think what would happen if there is a new outbreal of anti-resistant Tuberculosis (happening in some parts of world) or the Asian tranported SARS epidemic. If all residents did not have access to preventive care we are all at risk--including Justice Scalia
+10 # mdhome 2012-07-04 09:37
I suppose this ruling will stop the decline in opinion of the court, but I do not see anything to raise my opinion of the worst court ever.
+1 # BostonPundit 2012-07-04 10:08
There is no metaphor into law here. Roberts never says health care is a "product" and that the Commerce Clause only governs the sale of products.

He recognizes that health care is indeed part of interstate commerce - as are many services, not just "products." His opinion merely says the the commerce power is one allowing Congress to "regulate" commerce, not to create it.

He could easily have ended the discussion there and found the act unconstitutiona l. He did not.

What he actually said is very different from what Lakoff writes.

First, Roberts wrote that the "penalty" is not a TAX which prevents a challenge to the AHCA because it is a PENALTY. Congress has in the past treated taxes and penalties differently and we must respect its choice of designation here. Therefore, the petitioners have the right to challenge the law in advance of paying the penalty, a result that would not obtain if it were a tax.

He could have stopped there and declared the law unconstitutiona l. But he did not.

Roberts went on to say that although the penalty is not a tax for purposes of the anti-injunction act (that would have prevented a challenge before payment of the "tax" as noted above) the court has the obligation to try to uphold Congressional laws.

And from that perspective, since the penalty is imposed under the taxing power, it may be called a tax for the presumption of constitutionali ty.
0 # wfalco 2012-07-04 10:15
It seems as if health insurance reform is a clear example of the new American Fascism.
Even "reform" which ,I believe, is beneficial for the common good- is completely watered down to adhere to corporate interests and the "free enterprise" system.
It is apparent that any progressive policy reform, in this day and age, must have some subtle approval from the almighty corporations and their "economic hitmen"-A.K.A. Lobbyists. What is so brilliant about corporate influence is how they play both sides continuously. Their millions will coerce any "reform" to maintain profitability. They then will publicly oppose (via PACS)the exact public policy they helped create. So many on these sites believe voting for unelectable progressives is the answer. This only hands over complete control to the corporate fascists (GOP.)
The only answer, at this time, is to hold your breath and vote Democrat across the board. If we can vote in super majorites(which is the first step in radical action)then we can "make them do it"-just like back in the days of FDR.
-1 # Observer 47 2012-07-04 12:14
Again, wfalco, your assertion is true only if by some yet-undiscovere d means we can get Dems to oppose the corporations. And as you say, lobbyists play both sides, meaning they PAY both sides of the aisle. Voting in super majorities of corrupt office holders (both Rethugs AND Dems)only gets you more corruption.
+2 # James38 2012-07-05 01:03
So, Obsererver, who are you voting for? Some third party Naderite who automatically turns your vote into one for Romney?

Vote Democratic, reelect Obama, and work for true reform candidates on the local and Congressional level.

We just don't need more of the excessive distortions of the current Republican hyper-corporate hyper-conservat ive nonsense, and we certainly don't need more of their Supremo ideologues.
-3 # Richard Raznikov 2012-07-05 11:20
Please note: the 'super majority' requirement is a ruse. No one needs a 60-vote majority to stop a filibuster; all that is required is a 51-vote change in the rules of the Senate, something the Democrats could easily have achieved had they wanted to. But that would have left them no excuse for failure to enact universal care –– and their corporate friends would have been extremely unhappy. Instead, both parties retain the popular 'super majority' excuse so that they can say they couldn't bring about the reforms popularly demanded of them because they just didn't have enough votes.
This fakery promotes the current system of zero reforms while giving the parties an argument with which to 'rally the troops'. It's a game and those who talk about electing more Democrats fall for it. They are LYING to us, people. Educate yourselves about how the system works (or doesn't work) and then real change will be possible.
In the meantime, my vote is too valuable to waste it on liars and worse. I will give it only to those candidates who respect me, the country, and the Bill of Rights. You can guess who won't get it in November.
+2 # James38 2012-07-05 20:04
Put it this way - we can easily guess who really gets your vote - Romney.

You are so determined to maintain your virginity that you will give yourself to the puritanical birth of some more Supreme Court Corporate Flack Teabagger Justices, plus whatever other horrors Romney would perpetrate on the Nation.

Your "purity" is more destructive than a truckload of Nitroglycerin.
+2 # Caballero69 2012-07-04 13:58
It is true that reactionary Repugnicans have duped many Americans into abhorrence of taxes. It is also true that the first power bestowed by the Constitution reads as follows: "The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States."

Are we American citizens or some sniveling cowards without principle or country? The Constitution created a Republic to govern and Grover the Grouch must not be allowed to resuscitate either the confederation or the Confederacy by emasculating the Republic and cancelling its necessary and proper powers.
+6 # debbynicely 2012-07-04 15:52
There is a lot of wasted breath in the above comments. Obamacare is by no means just insurance. It includes an end to the pre-existing condition limitation - already true for children and to apply shortly for all adults; it includes children up to age 26 being included in their parents' health care. When fully launched, it will cost everyone considerably less than they currently pay - and for some there will be no cost.30 million currently not covered will be covered. Healthcare insurers do not like it because they see themselves being eliminated in future. What's not to like? Who would be so callous as to want to eliminate this program?
+1 # pushy2 2012-07-04 17:15
Democrats and progressives should recognize the correctness of Lakeoff's comment. The conservatives have over the past 50 years had a programatic approach to taking over this country and Roberts opinion here is further to that end. By making this a tax issue and in effect striking down indirectly the 'Commerce' clause approach he has set the foundation to annul a number of decions predicated upon that clause. In the end principals of law which are the foundation of our modern society are place at risk for also being annulled. The lesson here is that we should learn from the programatic approach and play the long game starting with the reelection of Obama and insisting on at every level we seek candidates who are programatic in their approach to progressive causes.
+6 # Aunt Tom 2012-07-04 21:52
Roberts is playing with words. This is a form of lying. At any rate, it reminds me of those medieval or renaissance arguments about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. It's all hogwash. And the effect is to pour even more money into the insurance companies' pockets and leave those needing health care at the mercy of an over-priced, bad system.

THE NEW STREAMLINED RSN LOGIN PROCESS: Register once, then login and you are ready to comment. All you need is a Username and a Password of your choosing and you are free to comment whenever you like! Welcome to the Reader Supported News community.