Friday, February 11, 2011

"Okay, okay, how about we just make it explode if you put another healthcare bill inside it?"

It occurred to me just recently that, in gaming terms, all our recent Fearless Leaders--elephants and asses both--have been rules lawyers. That is, they freely ignore the intent and purpose of the law, and treat it instead as a system to be gamed for the sake of a given agenda. Fellow Jersey blogger Ian Argent points out that the analogy isn't quite strong enough. These jerks are Constitutional munchkins:

[From Wikipedia] Munchkins are infamous for various degrees of cheating, willfully misinterpreting rules that work against them while boisterously proclaiming ones that work in their favor. As a matter of course they selectively obey the letter of rules while perverting the spirit blatantly...[/wikipedia]

We’ve gotten to the point at which lawmakers (on both sides) have gone beyond rules-lawyering the Constitution and well into Munchkin Con-Law (MCL). Gonzalez vs. Raich would be an excellent example of bipartisan Munchkin Con-Law, along with most of the laws and jurisprudence that have been chipping away at the 4th amendment. The PPACA is merely an example of partisan MCL, which in some ways makes it more pernicious. The supporters have started with the premise that PPACA must be passed, and have gone looking for only the "rules" that support their desires. When shown the "rules" that prevent it, they blatantly ignore their opponents.

Our Constitution, in order to preserve our liberty from the tyranny of the majority that inevitably comes out of dictatorial democracies of the kind we're tilting headlong into today, includes several checks and balances on the powers of government, not least of which is the separation of government powers.

It says, in short, "Dear federal government: Here is a very short list of the things you have the authority to do, almost all of which are international or interstate matters. You don't have the authority to do anything else. The citizens of the Republic generally don't need a paternal guiding hand, and where they decide they want one, providing it is the domain of the states. Really. No, really really."

Our President, in now-standard bipartisan tradition, decided what law he wanted and built on a now-standard bipartisan tradition of ignoring the intent of the Constitution to torture out a justification for it.

"Okay, okay, hear me out on this one. The Constitution says we can regulate interstate commerce, right? Well, even if a commercial activity takes place completely inside one state, we should still be able to regulate it if it has a direct and significant impact on an interstate industry or the business caters primarily to interstate travelers, right? And even if there's no actual commerce going on, we should be able to regulate purely private, non-commercial behavior if that behavior provides a product or service that might otherwise have been obtained in interstate commerce. So dude, is it really that big a stretch to say that an inaction, like choosing not to buy an intrastate service, can itself be an act of commerce that could have an affect on the interstate market? So therefore the Constitution gives us the authority to compel individual citizens to buy medical insurance they don't want!"

This argument is so jawdroppingly baldfaced that even Yiddish doesn't have an adequate word for it. But one could still argue it's merely rules lawyering.

Blatantly ignoring an order from the Judicial branch to stop implementing the unconstitutional law within the jurisdictions governed by the decision? That's where this particular act of contempt for the separation of powers undeniably turns the corner into flagrant munchkinism.

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