Archive for February, 2010

Mickey Kaus is on drugs

February 25, 2010

Mickey Kaus is trying to come up with reasons why Democrats should pass “Health Care Reform”, but his thinking is rather delusional:

There’s a much better argument. It’s that passing health care reform offers Dems, in the not-so- long term, a chance to do more than avoid Republican attacks. It offers the chance to disprove them. For months, both GOP and Fox hosts have been talking about socialized medicine and death panels and vicious Medicare cuts and the government coming between you and your doctor, etc. If Democrats pass the bill and none of this happens, Republican opponents will be more than defeated. They’ll be discredited.

Mickey has apparently forgotten that the Democrat plans raise taxes immediately, but start giving their “benefits” only around 2013.  So if the Democrats pass one of those bills, then for the next three years people will be facing higher taxes, and the threat of what will come, but they won’t be getting any of this “reality” that Mickey claims to think will disprove the Republican claims.  If that’s not a setup for an epic fail, I can’t imagine what would be one.

P. S. Mickey tries to save his claims with this:

P.P.S.: OK, you say. If Dems pass reform and the sky doesn’t fall, that might help them in the semi-near term. But how would it help  them this November, when many will be facing what looks like an impressive wave of popular discontent? One answer is to look at the public’s response to the “stimulus” bill. It was unreasonable to expect last year’s package of spending to have an immediate effect on the unemployment rate. But when the unemployment rate didn’t fall, did voters say “Well, let’s give it another year and see”? Or did they start to think the stimulus was a flop? Answer: flop. Similarly, if health reform passes and nothing much changes, they will very quickly start to suspect that the GOP predictions of doom were bogus.

Doesn’t work.

  1. The Democrats sold the stimulus with the promise that it would have immediate positive effects.  Remember this chart:

    The voters judge the “Stimulus” a failure because it did not meet the Democrats promises.
  2. The Republicans aren’t saying all the bad things will happen immediately (other than taxes being raised).  Since the things the Republicans are saying are going to happen will, in fact, happen, this will give the rest of the Republican predictions more credibility, not less.

In short, if the Democrats want to pass this monstrosity, I’m moer than happy to have them so thoroughly shoot themselves in the foot.  Because President Palin will be happy to sign a law undoing all the Democrats changes (which won’t have kicked in before she wins the 2012 election), and the Republican’s filibuster proof majority in teh Senate will pass repeal in about two weeks.

What is the First Amendment For?

February 3, 2010

Stanley Fish, and left wing law professor and NY Times columnist, writes a column today that attempts to give a principled justification for the votes of the four left wing “Justices” in the “Citizens United” free speech case (that’s the one where the government claimed it could block companies from publishing books that advocated for or against a political candidate).  In his article, he claimed that Stevens (the author of the losing side) was engaging in “consequentialist” reasoning

Stevens also values robust intellectual commerce, but he believes that allowing corporate voices to have their full and unregulated say “can distort the ‘free trade in ideas’ crucial to candidate elections.” In his view free trade doesn’t take care of itself, but must be engineered by the kind of restrictions the majority strikes down. The marketplace of ideas can become congealed and frozen; the free flow can be impeded, and when that happens the only way to preserve free speech values is to curtail or restrict some forms of speech, just as you might remove noxious weeds so that your garden can begin to grow again. Prohibitions on speech, Stevens says, can operate “to facilitate First Amendment values,” and he openly scorns the majority’s insistence that enlightened self-government “can arise only in the absence of regulation.”

The idea that you may have to regulate speech in order to preserve its First Amendment value is called consequentialism. For a consequentialist like Stevens, freedom of speech is not a stand-alone value to be cherished for its own sake, but a policy that is adhered to because of the benign consequences it is thought to produce, consequences that are catalogued in the usual answers to the question, what is the First Amendment for?

What Fish ignores, because it would completely destroy his point, is that the same left wingers who are perfectly happy having the government block political speech that they don’t like, are utterly opposed to letting the government ban books, or movies, or nude dancing, that others dislike, but that the lefties are ok with.

The idea that there are strong public policy reasons to keep Boston from banning pornographic books or magazines, but there are also strong public policy reasons to allow Congress to ban political speech by people who’ve joined together into a corporation for teh purpose of getting their political views out, is an idea so wrethedly lame that not even an “intellectual” could be stupid enough to believe it.

Stevens didn’t vote the way he did out of principle.  He voted that way because he has no principles.  Because the only thing that matters to him is getting what he wants, and the Constitution, the law, and reason can all go to hell if they get in the way of that.

ht: Tom Maguire