As the nation awaits the US Supreme Court’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a “Obamacare,” Speaker of the House John Boehner, (R-Ohio) has issued some advice and counsel to Republicans if the Obamacare law should be struck down. In typical surrender-monkey fashion, Boehner has said that Republican shouldn’t gloat, and shouldn’t “spike the football.” This is typical of Boehner’s temperament: Don’t make waves, don’t stir up trouble, and don’t celebrate victory. During his speech as the health-care bill passed the House, Boehner said, choking back tears, that the law wouldn’t stand. To date, he’s done remarkably little to assist in seeing that promise through. One would think that with so passionate a statement at the time of the law’s passage under the dictatorial control of Nancy Pelosi and the Democrat majority in the House, even the tepid John Boehner would be moved to celebrate a bit if the law is struck down by the court.
Unfortunately, Boehner is made of tears but no anger. Americans are rightly angry over the enactment of Obama-care, but for some reason, the GOP insiders in Washington don’t quite grasp it. This is emblematic of the entire GOP establishment, some number of whom want the law to remain in place so they can benefit from crony-capitalism with the state exchanges created under the law. They simply don’t share our passion for liberty, and when it comes right down to it, they don’t really represent we conservatives. I’ve got some bad news for Speaker Boehner, and it’s not recklessly intended, but instead purposeful: If Obama-care is struck down by the courts, I am going to spike the ball. I’m going to carry on an extended celebration in the endzone, and if the referees say anything about it, they might get the ball spiked in their faces too.
“No one knows what the court will decide,” Boehner said in a memo to fellow Republicans. “But if the court strikes down all or part of the president’s healthcare reform law, there will be no spiking of the ball.”
He underlined the last eight words to emphasize his reference to the NFL football end-zone celebration.
Boehner fears Republican gloating over a court victory could detract from the party’s emphasis on the struggling economy and the need for job growth, two campaign issues that consistently trump healthcare as voter priorities in national opinion polls.
“We will not celebrate,” Boehner said, during a time of unemployment and rising government debt and healthcare costs.
If you’re a conservative, you probably wonder why it is that an allegedly conservative Speaker of the House might take such a stance, and why there’s anything wrong with a little celebratory “ball-spiking” should the law be overturned. The answer is simple: For those who rule over us in Washington, DC, even the leadership of the party that claims to represent us, liberty is not important. What upset John Boehner to the point of tears over the passage of the Affordable Care Act wasn’t the content of the bill, so much as the way in which it was passed. While it’s true that Pelosi, Reid, and Obama used every device of the villain in order to pass the law, and suspended rules, and played fast-and-loose with House and Senate rules in order to shove this law down our throats, that’s still not the most important part of the matter. At the heart of the matter is the question of liberty, and for that, John Boehner had few tears, and those in the GOP establishment didn’t shed any, either. For Boehner, it was about the process, and how he had been closed out of it, and how then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi(D-CA) shoved a bill through that really had no business coming for a vote. You will doubtless recall the whole “deemed passed” business, and the entire fiasco of passing a bill originating in the Senate as though it had been the House bill all along, in order to sidestep the ordinary legislative process. This is what wrinkled Boehner’s shorts.
The fact that the government was taking over one-sixth of the US economy was not the salient issue in his view. The fact that the American people would now see the intentional destruction of private health insurance and markets was not the cause of his tears. The idea that the government could claim to be regulating non-existent commerce, precisely because it did not exist had not been the source of his discomfort. No, none of these bother John Boehner so much as the way in which the bill was passed. Boehner had been concerned about process. With his focus on the employment situation, one would think Boehner could see that Obama-care is itself a job-killer, and for that reason alone, there would be good cause for celebration if the law is overturned by the court, but as usual, Boehner is worried about process and politics.
If you want to know why it is that John Boehner is urging restraint should Obama-care be struck down, it’s simply because he’s trying to look at the political ramifications. In general, it’s true that nobody likes a sore loser, and few more like an obnoxious winner, but in this case, I believe Boehner and the rest of the political calculators are missing the point. Nearly three-fourths of the American people believe this law is unconstitutional. Three-fourths! If this is even close to accurate, then ball-spiking may not present any particular political dangers, but it also may actually assist Republicans in the Fall. After all, conservatives can now point to the fact that we do have a limited government, despite the usurping proclivities of Barack Obama and the Democrats, and they can further point to all the reasons why any Republican president who would presumably appoint conservative Supreme Court justices must be preferable to the current president who will continue the trend of appointing justices obnoxious to the US Constitution.
The simple fact is that when a people overcomes governmental treachery, and what this author views as treasonous legislation, there is every good justification to celebrate, or “spike the ball.” If John Boehner wasn’t such a predictable, unfailing beltway insider, he too would understand that if this law is turned back by the courts, it will be every reason for the celebration of those who have fought tirelessly against this law, from it’s introduction to its passage, and even beforehand. While John Boehner has whined about being “one-half of one-third of the government,” he has failed to make a stand on behaf of liberty. Instead, he’s been a plodding, tepid Speaker of the House, and he’s done nothing to risk his position, and I believe that’s the trouble: Boehner is risk-averse to a pathological extent. He’s been more apt to stick it to his own party than he has been willing to do battle with the Democrats in the House, or face off against Majority leader Harry Reid(D-NV) in the Senate or the resident at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue.
All of this talk assumes that the bill will be struck down in part, or in whole, but we won’t know that until the decision finally comes out, sometime later this month. What we must learn from this is that should a Republican majority re-convene next January, we conservatives must exert maximum pressure on our respective House members to ensure that John Boehner is not retained as the Speaker of the House. We simply cannot tolerate this brand of hand-wringing leadership, devoid of the passion for liberty we conservatives share, and to have a Speaker telling his members that they should not celebrate when victorious is abominable. Of course, maybe that’s the problem Boehner has with all of this: If the Supreme Court strikes down Obama-care, Boehner has a whole new problem: How does he manage to re-write the law, if it’s to be written at all? Billions upon billions of dollars have already been spent in terms of the implementation of the law. That money cannot be un-spent. Many things will be left in limbo as a result, and you can bet that left in place, Boehner will fail to pursue the righting of things, particularly if Obama manages to beat the presumptive Republican nominee this Fall.
We need leadership, and that leadership must press advantages, politically as well as legislatively, but to do so requires a principled view of the issues at hand. Boehner’s unwillingness to do a victory dance in the end-zone signifies that he doesn’t understand what moves the grass roots, and average, ordinary Americans, who will be thrilled to hear of it should the court strike down Obama-care. It will be the first sign in more than four years that government is finally being brought under control, and that is most definitely something to be celebrated, but if John Boehner can’t understand that, and thinks it improper, I suggest he do what he does best.