Now playing in Oakland: Education cuts blues.
Did General Dietrich von Choltitz just disobey a direct order to invalidate Obamacare?
The Breitbart website, on Thursday, was raising the
possibility that Chief Justice John Roberts was coerced by liberals into
changing his vote from striking Obamacare down to letting it stand. If Chief Justice Roberts was being coerced by
President Obama or any of his authorized agents, the Supreme Court Justice
missed a big chance to score the political equivalent of baseball's unassisted
triple play. Justice Roberts could have
voted with the conservatives, accused Obama of political blackmail (and opened
up an avenue to impeachment?), and become the man who insured that Obama would
be defeated in November. Instead he made
a "Profiles in Courage" move that unfortunately pissed off (AKA "greatly
perturbed") 99% of the conservatives in the United States and put the Republican
Party in quite a bind.
Breitbart apparently isn't bright enough to realize that perhaps the flip side of the coercion question might be in play. Suppose some highly place Republican strategist told Justice Roberts which way they wanted him to vote and additionally suppose that Justice Roberts reacted in a way described on the opening page of Albert Camus' "The Rebel:" "A slave who has taken orders all his life suddenly decides that he cannot obey some new command."
If Roberts made up his own mind then all the incredulity on
Thursday would be genuine, but if he were being coerced by any of the Obama
team Justice Roberts messed up in Hall of Fame fashion. If (subjunctive mood) Breitbart is spot-on
with his wild assertion, then Justice Roberts could have revealed the blackmail
effort and achieved a much greater and very different level of conservative
indignation. As it is, rather than
increase the conservatives hatred for Obama, this hypothetical unreported
extortion ploy only produced a photo finish between Obama and Justice Roberts
regarding today's level of conservative revulsion for both of them.
This week's current events sensation may eventually be seen as a tipping point for the entire conservative political agenda. The conservatives can not replay the Howard Dean "complete mental breakdown" response because that would call all of the recent SCOTUS decisions into question and possibly precipitate a need to review all of them. If, on the other hand, all possible rational explanations of the baffling decision invoke a conspiracy theory scenario, that too is unacceptable. If one conspiracy theory is confirmed that would then open the flood gate of legitimacy for all conspiracy theories and that also is unacceptable.
The only response is to completely ignore the story and that
will open the possibility that some obscure bit of punditry could "go viral"
and expose the "emperor's new clothes" aspect of the "pretend this isn't
happening" attitude. Again, uncaccpetable.
The fact that Justice Roberts did not report any coercion brings to mind the Sherlock Holmes case in which a dog didn't bark. A guard dog doesn't bark at friends.
Thursday also produced news reports that indicated that both
CNN and Fox News had a "Dewey Defeats Truman" moment which indicates that they
both seemed more motivated by the "nyuck nyuck" philosophy than by a sincere
attempt to practice journalism.
Obviously the management at both organizations was proceeding from the Brennt Obamacare? ("Is Obamacare burning?") attitude rather than wondering "What was the decision?"
If you want some analysis of Thursday's decision that is
more scholarly and lawyerly you might try reading UCLA law professor Gene
Volokh's site called the Volokh Conspiracy.
There was some fast and furious rewriting efforts at the WLJ home office following Justice Roberts delivery of the judicial equivalent of a brush-back pitch in baseball, but since the staff had not placed any bets on the decision, the prevailing attitude was: Me vole madre, cabronez.
Once upon a time, a member of management told the World's Laziest Journalist that it was fun to be our boss because we were very unpredictable. The boss said he could usually accurately predict how the other workers would react under a set of certain circumstances, but that we were an unpredictable challenge.
When the Internets were getting started, everyone extolled the possibility that it might spawn new unique voices. Then the corporations brought in the carefully controlled publicity machine and imposed the old "star" concept and shut out the possibility that something unexpected might actually happen. Unfortunately the suits failed to see that another age old law of entertainment was also operable: repetition becomes predictable and that is bo-o-o-ring.