Virtual Voices
President Obama prior to discussing the healthcare law at the White House Thursday.
Associated Press/Photo by Charles Dharapak
President Obama prior to discussing the healthcare law at the White House Thursday.

The Obamacare ‘jam’ rule

Healthcare

“Train wreck.”

That’s how Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., describes the troubled implementation of Obamacare. And he voted for it. In fact, Baucus provided one of the crucial 60 Senate votes for the so-called “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.” It’s small wonder he has judiciously decided not to face the voters of his largely rural state again in 2014.

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With friends like that, it’s not surprising that President Barack Obama announced, sort of, a delay in the implementation of his “signature piece” of legislation, so labeled by the media because it is so closely associated with the president’s first term as to be indispensable to his political legacy.

So, it’s really odd that Obama seems so chary about actually implementing his signature legislation. Unions are bailing out of it, while crony capitalists are eagerly seeking waivers to avoid Obamacare’s strictures. (Might they be called “waiver-ing” supporters of the president?

We are going through one of the strangest episodes in American history. The Constitution clearly makes it the duty of the president, every president, to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” (Article 2, Section 3)

We all know that the president seems to have an aversion to faithfully executing laws he doesn’t like. He refused from Day One to defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). He voided, with his signature, significant portions of our immigration laws. He is not charging the Fort Hood shooter, Nidal Hasan, with killing the unborn child of U.S. Army Pvt. Francheska Velez. The Unborn Victim of Violence Act (UVVA) was made with just such violence—on a federal installation, no less—in mind.

All of that is troubling, to be sure. Reps. John Conyers (D-Mich.) and Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) sat on the House Judiciary Committee in the summer of 1974. (Yes, and they’re still sitting in Congress!) They voted for Article 3 of impeachment, which charged President Richard Nixon with “failure to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” Actually, that was a slam-dunk charge, since we had Nixon’s voice on tape. Nixon was urging his minions to “stonewall” all investigators’’ efforts to get at the truth of crimes at the Watergate. Nixon was furtive, even underhanded, in his attempts to cover up and hide his lawlessness.

Conyers and Rangel have been preternaturally silent as Obama flaunts his own lawlessness. He knows he will never be impeached. Republicans couldn’t bring off the impeachment of Bill Clinton—and he even admitted to lying under oath. That’s when the GOP controlled the House and the Senate.

Obama doesn’t have to run for reelection. And he knows that the media and Hollywood will never complain about his brazen refusal to take care that the laws be faithfully executed if the chattering classes don’t like those laws in the first place.

It is nonetheless a strange interlude when everyone seems to want to avoid Obamacare. Some of the president’s biggest backers are backing away from it.

I cannot honestly say I oppose delaying Obamacare’s employer mandate. But I believe it is the responsibility of Congress to change the laws, not something this president (or any president) should do by fiat. Surely, if corporations can get a year’s reprieve from Obamacare regulations, then the average Joe and Jane deserve a yearlong respite, too. Most of those corporations have accounting departments that can help them cope with the train wreck they so narrowly averted. I thought liberals cared about “the little guys.”

The whole Obamacare fiasco has an Alice in Wonderland quality to it. It was a great achievement in the past. It is something great to be anticipated in the future.But no one seems to want it right now. Instead of “train wreck,” maybe we should call it the Obamacare Jam Rule. In Alice’s amazing world behind the looking glass, it was always “jam yesterday and jam tomorrow, but never jam today.” If we don’t repeal this thing, we will all be in a jam.

Ken Blackwell
Ken Blackwell

Ken, a senior fellow at the Family Research Council, is the co-author of The Blueprint: Obama's Plan to Subvert the Constitution and Build an Imperial Presidency. Follow Ken on Twitter @kenblackwell.

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