Long’s Constitutional Proposal Too Far Right
At first blush, about all I can see about Long’s little valentine is that it’s not quite as bad an idea - but it’s close - as the one some deep thinkers came up with to have states, including Indiana, secede from the union to protest President Obama’s re-election. We’ve been down that road before. It leads to a place called Antietam and what is still the bloodiest civil war in human history, a time when brothers, cousins and fellow countrymen killed each other by the hundreds of thousands.
Let’s not do that again.
If Long’s notion is not quite that extreme, it still, to use a phrase my grandfather used to love, “comes from a place where the trains don’t run.”
Several things could be noted about Long’s idea.
The most obvious is that even the moderate wing of the Republican Party now occupies territory to the right not just of Ronald Reagan, but also Jesse Helms and Strom Thurmond.
The second is that Long’s proposal is a tacit admission on the part of Republicans that they’re not going to win the debate on health care at the ballot box or in the courts.
The GOP has lost the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections. Republicans like to point the fact that they control the U.S. House of Representatives, but they actually lost the popular vote - 49 percent to 48 percent - in congressional races in the 2012 election. Gerrymandering allowed them to retain control of the chamber.
Conservatives pinned their hopes on the Supreme Court overturning health care reform, but that didn’t pan out. Perhaps because he didn’t want history to see him as John Marshall in reverse, Chief Justice John Roberts - a conservative appointed by George W. Bush - upheld the bulk of the health care changes.
But let’s set that aside for now, even though it is worth remembering should Long or other lawmakers who vote for this proposal pontificate about honoring either the will of the people or the rule of law.
Instead, let’s focus on the meat of Long’s concern, his displeasure with the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution. It can be found in Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3 and it says that Congress shall have the power: