Sick, Sick, Sick: Rightbloggers Run a Fever after Obamacare Decision
Roberts came in for a lot of abuse as the unexpected swing vote in the case. Even lofty outlets such as Politico took notice of internet commenters' daffy opinions about Roberts. But why trawl comment boxes for lunacy when you can find similarly lunatic statements above the fold?
Radio host Michael Savage suggested that Justice Roberts' decision was influenced by his epilepsy medication. Reliapundit and Harry Brooks suggested Roberts voted wrong because Obama threatened to kill his children. (White House Dossier's Keith Koffler tried to play it cagey -- "There is no way to prove that Chief Justice John Roberts was intimidated," he said, tapping the side of his nose. "Even Roberts may not fully understand why he made the decision he did").
At Commentary, Jonathan S. Tobin thought the lifetime appointee Roberts was trying to make liberals like him, for some reason, and warned Roberts that if he "thinks the left will embrace him the way they did other Republicans who joined the liberals, this will have to be only the first of a series of betrayals of conservative positions on his part." It never ends, John Roberts! Remember that!
Also: "Roberts is wrong to think this decision will protect the Court from the kind of criticism it got after Citizens United..." Here Tobin rather buried the lede, not sharing with us the interview in which Roberts revealed his motives to the columnist.
He wasn't the only one. Reading Roberts' mind became a popular gambit with rightbloggers.
"Roberts went out in search of some way, any way, to find the mandate constitutional," table-tapped Rich Lowry at the New York Post. (Lowry's column also contained this grand cataclysm of metaphors: "The umpire called a balk, but gave the pitcher a do-over. The ref called a foul, but didn't interrupt the play... On ObamaCare, the umpire struck out." Then he called himself for goaltending over the blue line and got a red card.)
The Wall Street Journal editors were more cautious in their clairvoyance. "The political class and legal left conducted an extraordinary campaign to define [a negative] decision as partisan and illegitimate," they explained. "If the Chief Justice capitulated to this pressure, it shows the Court can be intimidated and swayed from its constitutional duties." Also, if skunks had a college, they'd call it P.U.
Elsewhere at the Journal, Bush era torture enthusiast John Yoo said Roberts "may have sacrificed the Constitution's last remaining limits on federal power for very little -- a little peace and quiet from attacks during a presidential election year," noise-canceling headphones apparently being sold out in the District of Columbia.
At National Review, Jonah Goldberg's innovation was to affect to read the minds of others who had read the mind of Roberts. As befit his legendary work ethic, he didn't even bother to name them.
His lips say "Freedom is Slavery," but his eyes say Marbury v. Madison
"There are substantive arguments in favor of Roberts's reasoning," Goldberg wrote. "But as far as I can tell, no one is confident, never mind certain, that Roberts actually believes his own position." Later he added, "I don't know what's in Roberts's heart, but no court watcher I've heard from puts much weight on the idea that Roberts did anything other than reason backward from the result he wanted in order to buy respect from the court's critics at the expense of his own beliefs." Goldberg then surveyed his spectral sources and declared: "At least that's one thing both fans and critics of this ruling can largely agree on."
Goldberg found a silver lining, though: "President Obama -- self-praised constitutional scholar -- mocked those who called the fees and penalties under Obamacare a tax. Now he celebrates a decision that mocks him back." That'll show him!
"Why Did John Roberts Play Brutus In The Shakespearean Tragedy Of ObamaCare?" asked Start Thinking Right, and answered, "Chief Justice John Roberts, to his great personal disgrace, put the 'reputation' of the Supreme Court ahead of the law, the Constitution, and the nation... Call it the Stockholm Syndrome, which amounts to the desire for a captive to please the terrorists in order to stay alive." (This 2,446-word item ends, "the beast will come. When he does America will vote for him. And then worship him. And then take his mark. And then burn in hell forever and ever.")
Over time a more optimistic interpretation of John Roberts' Secret Message was promulgated.
CNN commentator Erick Erickson declared that "John Roberts, the man who gave us the Citizens United case has now, with a laughably inane ruling, told us we have to fight politically." John Podhoretz at the New York Post chin-stroked, "Roberts' grotesque offense against elementary logic is so bald-faced, I'm almost tempted to believe he left it there on purpose, either out of perversity or as a not-so-hidden message that he had ulterior motives for upholding the constitutionality of ObamaCare."
This caught on, and soon all the cool kids had decided that Roberts' ruling was actually a crafty narrowing of the Commerce Clause, a modern-day version of John Marshall's seminal ruling in Marbury v. Madison, etc. "In boxing terminology," said Kevin McCullough at TownHall, "no one has pulled a 'rope-a-dope' this effective since Muhammad Ali himself... Obamacare has been outed -- by the authoritative voice of the nation's highest court -- as a fraud." The tens of millions of Americans who go in for close readings of Supreme Court decisions are bound to notice!
"Here's a thought," said Instapundit Glenn Harlan Reynolds: "Perhaps [Roberts] expects the Court to overturn Section Five of the Voting Rights Act next year, and thought it inexpedient to have that follow a striking-down of ObamaCare." Now, there's a consolation prize: Repealing part of a law protecting black people's right to vote. Maybe they'll forgive Roberts when he repeals the whole thing.
Eventually rightbloggers recovered themselves sufficiently to spread the good news about this defeat -- that is, though it had doomed America to slavery, socialism, and eternal darkness, yet it might also lead to the election of that great opponent of health care reform, Mitt Romney.