I watched the Huckabee Show on Fox News this Sunday, and while Scott Pruitt, and Ken Cuccunelli(Attorneys General for Oklahoma and Virginia respectively,) both acquitted themselves reasonably well, Pam Bondi, the Florida Attorney General, and Huckabee himself, looked foolish. In truth, however, Cuccinelli said some troubling things, both in this appearance and earlier on Fox and Friends. I can even permit that Huckabee was playing dumb for the sake of dragging out answers to questions to which he really knew the answers, but if I was a Floridian, I would know that my state had been cursed with the dumbest Attorney General to appear regularly on TV. After discussing with the panel the absurd logic implicit in Roberts’ decision, and after positing the notion that Roberts had bent to pressure in switching his vote, Bondi went on to state that she believed Justice Roberts was of the highest integrity. What?
I don’t understand how one can be both the sort of noodle who wilts under pressure and simultaneously maintain one’s alleged integrity. The two notions simply don’t fit in the same conceptual soup. If one is true, the other is almost certainly false. She explained that Roberts was seeking to maintain the integrity of the court, but she didn’t explain how voting in what he knew to be exactly the wrong way accomplishes that end. I believe Pam Bondi is confused about the meaning of the word “integrity.” Being on Mitt Romney’s Health-care task force, this doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in that candidate’s promises.
(Fox News hasn’t made this segment of the Huckabee show available on-line – if they do, I will post it here.)
Pam Bondi is, after all, the same AG who bent to political pressure along with her governor, appointing a special prosecutor for the Trayvon Martin case, going after George Zimmerman for murder when all the evidence in-hand really suggests a murder charge is not warranted. In truth, Bondi’s appearance on Huckabee was riddled with similar incongruities in her apparent thinking, and one wonders if she’s qualified to be Attorney General in a State the size of Florida simply on the question of her mental capacity. Being charitable, she spoke like an empty-suited politician, full of hot air, most of it without any discernible meaning, and all of it intended to serve some aim other than to discuss the outcome of this case. Does she have other cases pending she expects to be elevated to the Supreme Court, hoping to win “nice points” with the wayward Chief Justice? Your guess is as good as mine, but after listening to her spewing gobbledygook, I really wanted to turn the channel, though I wound up suffering through the segment until the bitter end.
Another disappointment in the discussion, that I think would apply across the board to all the participants is how they all claimed this had not been foreseen, and that nobody had briefed on the issue of taxes, instead focusing on the commerce clause arguments. This is simply not true, because Landmark Legal Foundation, spearheaded by the brilliant Mark Levin, spent many pages in the Landmark amicus briefs (Here and here) discussing this very matter, taking great care to show how the penalty could not fit into the definition of any of the constitutionally allowable forms of taxation Congress has the power to impose. I like Ken Cuccinelli, and I think he’s a good Attorney General, but I wonder if in this case, he wasn’t a bit asleep at the switch. The same is true of Scott Pruitt. Wake up, fellas!
As for Huckabee, for a guy who has been “working tirelessly” to kill Obama-care, I would have expected he would know the issues a good deal more thoroughly than he did. After all, he did serve as governor of Arkansas, so one would tend to expect he’d have a little more sophisticated understanding of the legal matters, but I suppose it is possible that he was playing dumb to draw out answers, but honestly, that’s not the impression I got from his statements. It made the segment all the more baffling, and doubly disappointing. I kept waiting for him to break out the guitar and sing the Obama-care Blues.
I suspect our troubles with this law are worse than we may have imagined. The more I watch, the more I notice the tendency of some to shrug their shoulders and to tell us to “get used to it.” I have noticed that there is also a tendency to to paint this as though there is some positive, and I was surprised at Ken Cuccinelli’s attempt to tell us about “silver linings” to this decision. Watch this schlock from Fox and Friends:
What? There is no limit in this decision. The commerce clause was not restrained. There is no majority decision in restraining the commerce clause. It’s astonishing to see this, and while I know Mark Levin holds Cuccinelli in high regard in most instances, Levin has completely debunked these alleged “silver linings,” as has been discussed here already. Here is the first few minutes of Levin’s show of Friday, 29 June, 2012, to explain why Cuccinelli is absolutely wrong about his “silver linings” thesis:
The evidence of what Levin is saying is plainly evident in these two amicus briefs filed with the court going all the way back to 2011, both in the Florida suit, and the Virginia suit. No two states’ Attorney Generals should have been more prepared for the tax argument than AG Bondi and Cuccinelli, but they’re pretending that this material hadn’t been covered, and was completely unforeseen. Why? What’s the coverup? This is an embarrassment. Surely, somebody bothered to point this out to these Attorneys General before they embarrassed themselves all over Fox News on Sunday.
Ladies and gentlemen, I don’t pretend to have any special insight into this case, but I can read, and I can listen. What I’m reading and hearing these days from our ostensible leaders is that we ought to just suck it up, “accentuate the positives”(while pretending there are some,) and prepare to live with it. “But be sure to vote for us in November if you’re really, really mad!” There’s no excuse for these Attorneys General not knowing the briefs in this case, inside and out, and the fact that they don’t means they’re spending too much time in front of a camera and too little time practicing law. I realize they have clerks and associates, and junior attorneys to handle some of this, but let’s not ignore that while Mark Levin has been providing them the answers right along, they’ve been oblivious to the details. Mark Levin is a hero in this, and his Landmark Legal Foundation is doing great work, despite the fact that neither the court nor the states’ AGs seem to be paying enough attention, and if you want to know the difference between the leaders we have, and the leaders we ought to have, you need look no further. Dr. Levin would decline such a role, but that merely means we need to listen to his counsel all the more closely. I suspect he would be much more generous to these Attorneys General than I have been in this posting, but only because he is much more gracious than I.
I have maintained that in all such cases, we can discern who is with us, and who is against us, or at least those who may be ambivalent to the outcome. It’s becoming clearer in the wake of this ruling, and I think we conservatives should begin to recognize that when it comes to guarding our constitution against the statist hordes, we are all alone. It’s we conservatives against them all.