June 25, 2012

James Fallows regrets "5 Signs the United States is Undergoing a Coup" as the title of his attack on the Supreme Court.

It's now "5 Signs of a Radical Change in U.S. Politics."
Using "coup" in the headline implies things I don't mean. Through the past decade, there has been a radical shift in the "by any means necessary" rules of political combat, as I describe. Previous conservative administrations have nominated previous conservative Justices — but not radical partisans, happy to overthrow precedent to get to the party-politics result they want. 
Fallows' piece is embarrassingly hysterical, with or without the new title.

162 comments:

campy said...

Fallows' piece is embarrassingly hysterical,

So he writes like one of the trolls here?

Seven Machos said...

We should have 19 judges that are more in tune with the desires of the electorate to undo the radical changes foisted upon the country by elected conservatives.

Scott M said...

We have forty years of precedent in our schools. Are they better or worse than they were forty years ago?

Precedent doesn't always mean best. It just means cheaper because all those books don't need to be reprinted.

paul a'barge said...

Given that Fallows is a wandering nimrod, it still stands that America may very well be on the cusp of radical change (unlike "Hope and Change", Obama-style).

The phenomenon is called the "Tea Party", and if the USA trends towards Tea Party values (aka, traditional American values), with real implementation of those values, the change would indeed be radical.

And radically awesome.

ricpic said...

Wasn't Fallows one of those Obama is God "journalists" immediately after the One's immaculation?

rcocean said...
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rcocean said...

Hysterical liberalism is what makes the Atlantic Magazine popular. Good grief, look at their columnists. Except for Bob Wright its a bunch of left-wing mediocrities who differ only in the color of their skin or sexual orientation.

If they had an intelligent, moderate Republican columnist they'd lose half their readership.

Seven Machos said...

Ric -- I don't think so. Fallows has produced some tremendous journalism, with tremendous depth. That's what makes this recent goofiness so embarrassing for him. It's sad to see a good, wise person go shrill.

Karnival said...

I have a feeling there will be a lot of hysteria over the coming weeks and months. Oh...and hand-wringing. Don't forget the hand-wringing. It's starting already.

Geez...how long until football season.....?

damikesc said...

Remember when the Atlantic had a rep for thought out and intelligent discourse?

It's been so long, I have a hard time remembering it also.

Fallows has produced some tremendous journalism, with tremendous depth. That's what makes this recent goofiness so embarrassing for him. It's sad to see a good, wise person go shrill.

He's embraced the shrill hard. Progressives have a hard time handling the concept of not just "not spending as fast as we plan to" but "actually spending less than we are now". It freaks them out, man.

Kirby Olson said...

The left believes that Obamacare arose out of Romneycare. Romney denies this, because he claimed that what one state could do, the nation as a whole could not do. Insurance is thus a states' rights issue for Romney. For Obama, it is an attempt to take over the economy, and through it, to introduce socialism, which will turn into communism. The ideas seem similar but the outcomes and the intentions are unlike.

AprilApple said...

You must pay for my health care. waaaaa! I didn't get my way, you meanies. America is over!

Same tune, different day.

AJ Lynch said...

Seven- that may be true about Fallows but must have been many years ago.

firstHat said...

The left always accuses conservatives of what they are doing or about to do.

Kirby Olson said...

Fallows breezes over the controversy surrounding the Commerce Clause.

The Drill SGT said...

My fav was this one: Underscoring the point, a Bloomberg poll of 21 constitutional scholars found that 19 of them believe the individual mandate is constitutional, but only eight said they expected the Supreme Court to rule that way.

versus this ex-clerks poll:


The survey was administered by Purple Insights, the research division of Purple Strategies. The survey was fielded May 30 through June 4, 2012.
The survey is comprised of 56 participants: 38 former clerks of current Supreme Court justices, and 18 attorneys who have argued before the Court.
All of those in the initial sample were contacted first via e-mail, and were then reached by phone at least once to encourage participation. We provided three follow-up e-mails as additional encouragement to participate. The survey was administered online.
Of the Supreme Court clear, 11 clerked for the “left” block of the Court (Justices Breyer, Ginsburg, Kagan, Sotomayor), 18 clerked for the “Right” block of the Court (Justices Alito, Roberts, Scalia, Thomas), and 9 clerked for Justice Kennedy. Given the tenures of the various members

2. On a scale of zero to 100 what do you believe is the probability that the SCOTUS majority will find the individual mandate unconstitutional? Showing Average
June 2012 (Prior to Decision Announcement)
57
March 2012 (Prior to Oral Arguments)
35

YoungHegelian said...

For 23 years, I had a subscription to the New Republic. The New Republic, not Commentary, not National Review.

For all of those 23 years, there were multiple articles a year on how demographic changes were coming that were going to radically change, if not doom, the social democratic societies. Author upon author stated the economically obvious: the numbers just simply could not be made to add up.

And now, the days of reckoning are upon us. There will be even more hard choices ahead.

Why is the Left surprised, when even their own foretold what was coming?

Seven Machos said...

AJ -- I definitely agree he's been shrill for at least a decade now.

Bryan C said...

The "by any means necessary" tactics are coming from people like Fallows, who construct their entire existence around their relationship with the State. Anything that interferes with his preferred politicians always being in absolute control over everything is a threat to life itself. Losing an election is a heart-rending tragedy. A SCOTUS ruling limiting the power of government is like having your mother stolen.

"So he writes like one of the trolls here?"

Not as well, actually. At least garage appreciates the power of brevity.

Brennan said...

If critics continually misread Bush v Gore, does that make their incorrect conclusions true?

By now, it's outright fraud what James Fallows reads into Bush v Gore,

vbspurs said...

I blame the Warren Court for all of this coup/19 justices hysteria. Progressive ideas aren't settled law.

Cheers,
Victoria

PatCA said...

Listen, if the mandate announcement is good Thursday (striking down the mandate) stay inside your homes!

These people are going to go full on crazy.

cassandra lite said...

Fallows doesn't recognize that the most embarrassing part of his screed wasn't the word "coup"; it was that he cited a NYT editorial as the source of his knowledge about the justices.

Alex said...

Maybe it's just that the 5 conservative justices are pro-Constitution. I mean look they correctly struck down the parts SB 1070 that Arizona had no right to enforce. Yet the left is not talking about that at all. If they don't get 100% of what they want, then it's 0%. There is no in between with these radicals.

tim in vermont said...

Was one of the signs that the president would subvert a SCOTUS ruling the day it was made?

Tim said...

Fallows acts as if the Left hasn't been beavering away in its long march through the institutions to completely remake America in its image.

Strange he would ignore that, isn't it?

DADvocate said...

If a Republican endorses and idea, then it must be constitutional, unless that idea is to nominate someone to the Supreme Court. Then, that must be a judge who will rollover for any left wing idea.

Plus, the Supreme Court should rule according to law professors polled in an unscientific, unrepresentative poll. (To be sure, we shouldn't have law professors determining how the Supreme Court should be ruling, period. If so, why have a Supreme Court?)

Typical whining. (CAN YOU BELIEVE how Bush stole that election?!)

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

It would be interesting to know how often those justices commonly identified as "conservative" voted with a majority of the "liberal" justices, and vice versa.

Chuck66 said...

I see he is saying that because some moderate-liberal Republicans supported some kind of gov't run health care back in the 90s, therefore all Republicans have to support it now.

I wonder if that works with Democrats and marriage definitions.

Tibore said...

" Previous conservative administrations have nominated previous conservative Justices — but not radical partisans, happy to overthrow precedent to get to the party-politics result they want."

He only mentions "conservative administrations". Blind much?

vbspurs said...

Liberalism is always about the 100%. About 16% of Americans do not have health care (myself, included). That means a whopping 84% of Americans do. As my old maths teacher used to say, '80% of anything is pretty damn good'.

But in the liberal mind, it's a failure, a tragedy, an obscenity if the number isn't "all".

This attitude is predicated on assured results, rather than in doing as I do, a gamble that can pay off, or...not. The not is too scary to contemplate for some, even if it's not their call.

Alex said...

So it was A-OK for Clinton to nominate ultra radical like Ginsberg and Obama to put 2 radicals on the court, but we conservatives can't fight back?

Kulterkampf ubber alles

Alex said...

Liberalism is always about the 100%.

The ideology of Communism. We should all be equal in our abject misery.

henge said...

Fallows' piece is embarrassingly hysterical

I guess that you haven't read his past work.

Thorley Winston said...

Ever since Megan McArdle announced that she’s leaving to write for Newsweek/Daily Beast, I have no reason to read or care what’s written by anyone at the Atlantic.

LarsPorsena said...

henge said...

Fallows' piece is embarrassingly hysterical

I guess that you haven't read his past work.
------------------------------

I have read him in the past (10+ years) and thought of him as a serious man.

He's become a hysteric old woman.

Lauderdale Vet said...

@ricpic "Wasn't Fallows one of those Obama is God 'journalists' immediately after the One's immaculation?"

Premature Immaculation?

Comanche Voter said...

Well let's just say that if I saw an 8 month old baby crying as hysterically as Fallows, I'd suggest that someone should check the kid's diaper. Fallows is, as they say, "carrying a load".

cubanbob said...

How embarrassing for Fallows. He is starting the final phase of his dementia.

The Bush v Gore decision brought on the full blown dementia on the left. Unable to win in an election with properly counted valid votes they had to resort to gaming the system with improper selective recounts and when that failed to win with manufactured ballots purporting to count what the voter who was too stupid or lazy to cast a valid vote meant to vote for. With the left its always the vanguard of the proletariat.

The left senses the pendulum starting to swing against them, they are helpless to stop it and are going mad in the process.

Even today's AZ ruling is no victory for the left. It simply telegraphed to the next congress and administration how to change the federal law so states like AZ can enforce federal law and pass their own related laws to will pass constitutional muster.

Michael K said...

I have suddenly started receiving the Atlantic without ever subscribing. My only contact has been a few comments on Megan McArdle's blog. I wonder if this is a sign of the end. The LA Times did the same thing for a while. I quit my subscription years ago.

I expect to see full blown hysteria (Yes, I know the sex implications of the term) if the Court throws out Obamacare.

Michael said...

All you need to know about Fallows' coup:

Congress using the commerce clause to compel you to do something: not a coup

The Supreme Court preventing that: coup

mdbritt said...

It starts bad and gets worse. It is just embarrassing to see otherwise intelligent people still pushing the "Supreme Court gave Bush the election" meme when it is clearly false.

You cannot change the rules *after* an election. The Democrats, aided by the Fla Supreme Court, tried to do exactly that (and would have lost even if they had succeeded). The Supreme Court stopped them - end of story.

The false narrative with which Fallows begins his screed - and that still animates legions of Dem partisans to this day - should never be allowed to go unchallenged.

edutcher said...

It's only a coup if it's the Conservatives (or Republicans or Conservative Libertarians), otherwise, it's just treating the Constitution as a "living" document.

wyo sis said...

A person who can get hysterical about the Bush/Gore decision and then call Obama care legitimate legislation in the face of the way it was passed has no foundation.

Seven Machos said...

Michael -- That's not the whole story. It should be:

Congress using the Commerce Clause to compel you to do something that the Commerce Clause does not allow Congress to compel you to do: not a coup.

But you have stated the issue: Fallows describes the due course of democratic politics as a coup because he is hysterical about the due course of democratic politics.

edutcher said...

Love the quote, "How would you describe a democracy where power was being shifted that way?"

The way it's supposed to work?

Of course, everything the Lefties enact must be immutable.

Seven Machos said...

As an aside, it was sad, wrong, and stupid for the Supreme Court to take Bush v. Gore and make a decision. The proper course would have been to allow Congress to decide, as that is what the Constitution more or less prescribes.

I say more or less because you have to stretch a little to get to that conclusion. So, even better, the Supreme Court should have laid out its views on exactly how we know that a tied presidential election should proceed to Congress to be untied.

Pogo said...

"Fallows" sounds like an apt description.

cubanbob said...

7 if the court did as you said, it would have disenfranchised the State of Florida in the election. All things considered, the court did the right thing by halting the travesty foisted on the people of Florida by the Gore Campaign.

phx said...
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Seven Machos said...

Bob -- It would have disenfranchised everybody.

It was not the right thing to do because on the day you die the left is still going to be carping about how Bush v. Gore was a coup. The intercession by the court forever stained the result because it made the result appear undemocratic. Appear being the key word here, as Bush won by every recount ever, and he won in 2004.

Seven Machos said...

It's just a drive-by hit I guess.

Pronouns are so ambiguous sometimes. You speak of your post in the thread I presume.

David said...

Hysterical?

I read it and didn't think it was funny at all.

Saint Croix said...

I think Roe v. Wade was a coup. Might be hysterical but that's what I think. The unelected branch defined manslaughter as a right thing to do.

That opinion actually changed our society.

Liberals do this all the time. You could argue Brown was a coup. (People did at the time!) When the Supreme Court outlawed prayer in schools, a lot of people felt that was a violent shake up of our society, too. One man, one vote. The Supreme Court has a history of writing big opinions that shake up our society.

Roe v. Wade is easily the most infamous opinion the Court has ever written. That's the opinion that led to Reagan. That's the opinion that led to a real conservative movement in this country.

Casey is explicit with rhetoric that sounds like the public is angry at our unelected government. The Casey opinion involves the Court ordering the American public to listen and accept Roe v. Wade.

The Supreme Court has never talked that way. Talking directly to the country, demanding that its orders be followed? The Supreme Court actually uses war rhetoric, describing its institution as "under fire."

So to overrule under fire in the absence of the most compelling reason to reexamine a watershed decision would subvert the Court's legitimacy beyond any serious question.

That is the Supreme Court claiming that it is now fighting off a coup!

In his dissent Scalia compares them to a German dictator.

The Imperial Judiciary lives. It is instructive to compare this Nietzschean vision of us unelected, life tenured judges--leading a Volk who will be "tested by following," and whose very "belief in themselves" is mystically bound up in their "understanding" of a Court that "speak[s] before all others for their constitutional ideals"--with the somewhat more modest role envisioned for these lawyers by the Founders.

Coup, coup, coup!

Is Fallows oblivious to this history? How can you speak of coup and ignore abortion?

JAL said...

And this is all before the Obamacare decision has been announced.

Vapors.

Smelling salts.

On second thought, leave them down and out. We need a little peace and sensibility.

EDH said...

Hasn't Fallows gotten a lot of Mulligans over the years.

Carter speech writer, Japanese economic supremacy, SCOTUS coup...

Unknown said...

From Seven Machos: "We should have 19 judges that are more in tune with the desires of the electorate to undo the radical changes foisted upon the country by elected conservatives."

So, we should more unelected (appointed) supreme court judges overriding the legislation of elected politicians? Politicians who get elected usually are in tune with the populace that elects them. California, Illinois, New York, etc. elect liberals, and Oklahoma, Mississippi, Wyoming, etc. elect conservatives -- it all pretty much equals out at the top. That's how our democracy works.

AJ Lynch said...

Extreme liberals are nasty, vengeful, hateful POS. They will proudly admit they hate whole states -those states mainly in the south.

And libruls expect too much from Washington and the president ever since Clinton and that West Wing TV show. That is why they get so emotionally vested in SC nominations and decisions.

Seven Machos said...

Unknown -- I am sad for you. You had to spell out the point of my pithy post to yourself, and you still managed not to get to the whole point of the thing.

Come on, dude. Irony is your friend. Irony is not against you.

Saint Croix said...

As an aside, it was sad, wrong, and stupid for the Supreme Court to take Bush v. Gore and make a decision.

From a constitutional perspective, that opinion is ridiculous. You can't justify from the Constitution. But you can justify it from the Court's authority as the head of the judiciary.

None of the Courts should have heard the case. It's the most obvious political question ever!

What the Court should have done was overrule the lower courts, and issue an opinion that this was a political question and it's not a fit subject for the judiciary.

Blue@9 said...

Know what's the real coup? Republicans and the Supreme Court subverting the will of the 30 billionaires who put Obama in office. Is nothing sacred anymore?

Revenant said...

I wonder if that works with Democrats and marriage definitions.

Personally, whenever someone says "20 years ago Republicans supported insurance mandates", I like to reply "50 years ago Democrats supported Jim Crow".

But that's because I've got a mean streak a mile wide.

Revenant said...

What the Court should have done was overrule the lower courts, and issue an opinion that this was a political question and it's not a fit subject for the judiciary.

It wouldn't have made any difference. Given that Republicans controlled the FL legislature and governorship, plus Congress, any attempt to punt the issue back to one of the other branches of government would have led to exactly the same outcome, and exactly the same whining about how Republicans "stole the election".

Saint Croix said...

What's insane about the Fallows argument is that Bush v. Gore was a diabolical plot by the right-wingers on the Court to get more right-wingers on the Court.

But how did reality play out?

Roberts replaced Rehnquist.

Alito replaced O'Connor.

So a Republican nominee replaces a Republican nominee and a Republican nominee replaces a Republican nominee. What an outrage!

Robert Cook said...

"The left believes that Obamacare arose out of Romneycare. Romney denies this, because he claimed that what one state could do, the nation as a whole could not do. Insurance is thus a states' rights issue for Romney."

This is a facile bit of sophistry---heck, it's total bullshit--on the part of Romney, (assuming you correctly state his current postion on the matter). The right attacks Obamneycare because they declare it to be "socialism," "government takeover of healthcare," and other such lies and/or hysterical ravings.

If it is indeed "socialism," it is so on the state level as well as the federal level. That it is a "state's rights" issue does not remove the taint of pink in the meat of it.

Of course, it is not socialism by any means, but a policy that was originally appraised favorably by conservatives and has acquired a satanic aspect only because a Democratic president sold out to the health insurance and big pharma and implemented this program on a national scale, beating a Republican president (Romney?) to the punch of doing the same.

Scott M said...

But that's because I've got a mean streak a mile wide.

Thirty-five years ago, Democrats would have described it as 1.6 kilometers wide.

Seeing Red said...

-- but a policy that was originally appraised favorably by conservatives --

Not me, I would have hated it back then.


It was stupid then, it's stupid now.

usill said...

You're an embarrassingly stupid ideologue.

Scott M said...

The right attacks Obamneycare because they declare it to be "socialism," "government takeover of healthcare," and other such lies and/or hysterical ravings.

This is a facile bit of sophistry---heck, it's total bullshit--first of all because you seem to have your finger on the pulse of the monolith that is The Right and second because most conservatives' problem with Obamacare is the contortion of the Commerce clause and the lack of limits on Congressional power as a result.

RC - can you please tell me where The Right meets? I can't even find a phone number or a contact email.

Unknown said...

The amazing thing about Mr. Fallows is that he gets paid to write this stuff (which implies that enough people read it to justify paying him). Ever since he predicted the Japanese economic conquest of America in the 1980s, I've stopped reading him. Regarding Bush v. Gore, it's worth remembering the vote was 6-3 on whether the actions of the Florida courts in not following their own laws regarding recounts were a due process violation. The 5-4 split was on the appropriateness of injunctive relief. Even I, as a Bush supporter, felt the legal case for injunctive relief was poor, although the practical case for it was strong. And, the results of the Big Media-funded, after-the-fact recount was conveniently stuffed down the memory hole by the recount's sponsors. I felt at the time, that by forcing the issue, Gore would do lasting damage to the country, regardless of the outcome . . . and I think I was right. Interestingly, Nixon had the same choice in 1960 -- and much better evidence that he was robbed in Illinois -- but chose not to make an issue of it.

Rocketeer said...

RC - can you please tell me where The Right meets? I can't even find a phone number or a contact email.

We meet in Cookie's mind, right next to W's campsite.

Tom from Virginia said...

Projection explains so much.

a psychiatrist who learned from veterans said...

Thanks. Even TNC at the Atlantic qualifies his appreciation, sees the country as being able to right itself.

Jerome said...

From Fallows;"Underscoring the point, a Bloomberg poll of 21 constitutional scholars found that 19 of them believe the individual mandate is constitutional, but only eight said they expected the Supreme Court to rule that way."

Are 11 of these guys unclear on the concept? It has been suggested that the IM is unconstitutional. The SC has agreed that it may well be, and has undertaken to resolve the matter. When it has done so, it will be the duty of these constitutional scholars to ponder the decision(s) and become wiser thereby, since that is what constitutional scholars do. If they are announcing in advance that this is beyond their powers, perhaps they should find another line of work.

RebeccaH said...

I think we need to stop giving hysterics so much space (I mean bloggers and commenters), because it only encourages them.

phx said...
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phx said...
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tim in vermont said...

It is quite natural to hold the opinion that ACA is unconstitutional on the grounds that it exceeds the enumerated powers assigned to the Federal govt in the Constitution *and* to believe that it is a takeover of the health care system.

I would be fascinated to hear how ACA is *not* a takeover of the health care system.

Pogo said...

I have trouble separating James Fallows from James Frey, another hysterical fabulist.

tim in vermont said...

"Was Al Capone a bootlegger or a tax cheat?"

If you believe he is one, you can't believe the other, according to Cookie.

Unknown said...

The guy is an idiot. Any commenter here on the blog could write better and more thoughtfully for Teh Atlantic.

party's representatives in the Senate abuse procedural rules to an extent never previously seen to block legislation -- and appointments, especially to the courts.

What he is essentially describing here is the GoP aquiring OBama Dem like tactics. And he is crying foul like Obama has not done the same.

And the whole article is essentially a straw man argument. He abstracts out a specific unique set of circumstance and tries to back into a more dangerous view of democracy.

It's called horse manure on most farms.

garage mahal said...

Yea, Fallows probably just has his period or something. Give him a few days, he'll be a little less EMOTIONAL!

The "I can't believe he would even suggest something like that!" defense.

Alex said...

garage - nah it's just that he's batshit crazy like you.

garage mahal said...

Nah I think Fallows hit the bullseye. You just won't admit it. because you would still like to believe there is something pure and ethical guiding the Republican party.

Revenant said...

The right attacks Obamneycare because they declare it to be "socialism," "government takeover of healthcare," and other such lies and/or hysterical ravings.

Because The Right is a uniform, borg-like entity that only ever has one reason for being against something. At least, in your mind it is.

In any event, the obvious thing you're missing is that even those people who incorrectly believe ObamaCare is socialist (it is actually corporatist) don't necessarily care if it happens over in a left-wing loonyland like Massachusetts. Similarly, nobody on the right much cares when Democratic legislators inflict their latest retardations on myself and my fellow Californians, because -- in their minds -- we deserve it for not moving someplace saner.

Lem said...

It must feel so macho.. or something.. to attack an institution that wont fight back.

Revenant said...

but a policy that was originally appraised favorably by conservatives

Forcible sterilization of "racial undesirables" was originally appraised favorably by progressives as a means of improving society.

Just an observation.

Roger J. said...

James Fallows is hardly a newbie on the national scene--came into prominence as a "wunderkind" commenter in his mid 20s, in the early 1970s, then did a stint as Jimmah's speech writer--moved into beltway circles where he has been for the last 40 some odd years. Wasnt bad as a wunderkind; pretty pathetic as an old man. An eminence griece he is not.

Seeing Red said...

Yea, Fallows probably just has his period or something. Give him a few days, he'll be a little less EMOTIONAL!




What can you expect from metrosexuals?

section9 said...

Thanks for showing up to give the Party Line, garage!

Anyway, Fallows and other Commentators peddling the "The Republicans are Extremist Nazis who will Open Up Labor Camps for Gay People" line do this during cycles when Republicans start winning out in the country.

You didn't see any of this crap in 2009, when White House mouthpieces like Ambinder wrote that they would pay attention to the GOP when the GOP started making serious policy proposals. Then 2010 happened and the Progressive Thousand Year Reich ended after two years.

This kind of writing only happens when a gestalt among the Progs takes place in which they feel a big reverse coming on. In these kind of environments, a sedate, squishy Bushtard Republican like Mitt Romney suddenly becomes Josef Mengele come back from the dead.

It's bad enough that bullshit articles like this populate the Atlantic. I'm not surprised that McArdle left. After all, they kept Sullivan around for two years when he was deep into his Palin Trig Truth Period, long after they should have sent Andrew to an Institution.

Revenant said...

Nah I think Fallows hit the bullseye.

How surprising.

Michael K said...

The worst problem with Obamacare is that it provides all sorts of incentives for bad behavior and perverse incentives. It encourages increased utilization, like banning restrictions on pre-existing conditions, and then proposes to control utilization by rules developed by committees. Everybody in medicine knows that there are two kinds of guidelines. Those created by clinical research, ideally with randomized trials, are pretty good and subject only to revision as the science changes. Those created by committees, so-called "consensus guidelines," are worthless

Obamacare is filled with consensus guidelines given the force of law. Every physician knows that the motive behind those worthless guidelines is restriction of care.

It is a disaster that, with any luck, we will avoid.

Seerak said...

The ideas seem similar but the outcomes and the intentions are unlike.

"Socialism in one state" versus "socialism nationwide" is just Stalin versus Trotsky. The outcomes are profoundly like, since the underlying principles (as opposed to irrelevant "intentions") are the same.

If Romney and his defenders think this is a serious distinction, the next four years will suck for healthcare no matter what the SCOTUS decides.

I hope the Tea Party appreciates the extent to which the "establishment GOP" is as much their enemy as the Left is, and for very similar reasons.

SamW said...

Like YoungHegelian above I subscribed to the New Republic and the Atlantic for years on end. I am at a loss to explain the leftist hysteria. Fallows used to be a joy to read, interesting and curious about the world. Now: Everything is Spinning Out of Control, as Taranto would put it.
There are astonishing developments in the sciences and all the lefties can see is smog in the rearview mirror.
Is just the fear of growing old?!

Tim said...

Revenant said...

"Nah I think Fallows hit the bullseye.

How surprising."


It's now the 6th Gospel of Garage: The Book of Fallows.

Eric said...

Ric -- I don't think so. Fallows has produced some tremendous journalism, with tremendous depth. That's what makes this recent goofiness so embarrassing for him. It's sad to see a good, wise person go shrill.

Fallows was okay when he was The China Guy and stuck with reporting facts. Once he started to write about domestic issues he just couldn't help becoming one of the "journolists".

bagoh20 said...

If the SC had not weighed in on Bush V Gore, the hysteria on the left would have been much worse, unless of course it led to Gore winning.

The left respects the SC more than any other branch. Only the SC has the gravitas in their eyes to allow most of them to swallow the outcome. It turned out as well as it could have, and the left cried as little as they possibly could, which was still balling like a bad actress.

wef said...

Fallows began life as a power suckup, studied how to go along to get along in the world of our betters, and went on to become one of the political class's charmed progressive apologists. He does not bring anything to the conversation, beyond occasionally rephrasing the NPR libretto.

Eric said...

...which was still balling like a bad actress.

I don't see any reason a person's acting ability says anything about their skill in the bedroom

Peter Ryan said...

Fallows asked, "How would you characterize a legal system that knowledgeable observers assume will not follow the law and instead will advance a particular party-faction agenda?"

I would describe that as the typical approach to the law by any progressive state or federal judge or appeals court. We have all seen many cases of decisions going against law and precedent simply to support an agenda.

The ruling on voter ID in Wisconsin was one such ruling, and the imposition of Roe v Wade "emanating" from "penumbras" is another. The radicals decry the courts trying to remain within the bounds of the constitution, but when they pull something out of thin air, they applaud the courts.

John Lynch said...

Maybe he can go have a beer with Robert Bork.

Eric said...

How would you characterize a legal system that knowledgeable observers assume will not follow the law and instead will advance a particular party-faction agenda?

We were all wondering that in the
California Prop 8 case.

garage mahal said...

Thanks for showing up to give the Party Line, garage!

I noticed the squawking was relegated to "Fallows sucks!", and not much else. But keep pretending assholes like Scalia, Thomas, and Alito are just following some sort of legalistic framework in their rulings. Bitter and twisted are their guiding lights.

Eric said...

But keep pretending assholes like Scalia, Thomas, and Alito are just following some sort of legalistic framework in their rulings.

The legal framework is pretty clear and straightforward. The fact that you don't like it doesn't make it illegitimate.

Though I admit they have made exceptions where the disruption would be large. Raich, properly decided, would have effectively ended federal drug laws. I don't think the public would have accepted that.

garage mahal said...

States rights. For states that agree with us!

Saint Croix said...

Like YoungHegelian above I subscribed to the New Republic and the Atlantic for years on end. I am at a loss to explain the leftist hysteria.

I subscribed to the New Republic for a decade. They had quite a few original thinkers. Mickey Kaus, Michael Kinsley, Michael Kelly, Hanna Rosin, Morton Kondrake, Charles Krauthammer. Fred Barnes worked there for a decade. They had annoying writers too (Sully annoyed me even then). But it was a fun read at the time. Veered from moderate liberal to neo-con and back again, depending on the issue and the writer.

I never read the Atlantic. But the New Republic used to be really good, back in the day.

Saint Croix said...

But keep pretending assholes like Scalia, Thomas, and Alito are just following some sort of legalistic framework in their rulings.

You don't think they have a jurisprudence? Seriously? Have you actually read their work?

damikesc said...

I noticed the squawking was relegated to "Fallows sucks!", and not much else. But keep pretending assholes like Scalia, Thomas, and Alito are just following some sort of legalistic framework in their rulings. Bitter and twisted are their guiding lights.

...as opposed to deep thinkers Ginsberg, Sotomayor, Kagan, and Breyer...

Jay said...

Previous conservative administrations have nominated previous conservative Justices — but not radical partisans, happy to overthrow precedent to get to the party-politics result they want.

That is quite the revealing bit of projection.

Who would take this idiot seriously, anyway?

wyo sis said...

"I don't see any reason a person's acting ability says anything about their skill in the bedroom"

Really? I thought it was a brilliant wordplay.

tim in vermont said...

"States rights. For states that agree with us!" -GM

Do you have any self awareness? Any at all? Can you show me any conservative outlet with any following of consequence that maintains, for example, that Mass had no right to do what they did in HC? We may say they were stupid, but nobody denies they have the right.

On the other hand, your side wants to control abortion in Oklahoma, even if you live in Minneapolis.

John Lynch said...

Notice that liberal commentators are acting like losers again?

The stench of 2004 is back.

Lucius said...

What the HELL happened to James Fallows? Didn't he used to be a reasonable, centrist guy?

Yeah, wrote for Carter. But he ran USNews, when that kinda-sorta counted for something. Wrote some good books on DC politics/media.

I think about Fallows all the time. He has gone apeshit berserk. Cussing out the American people as "idiots" for thinking China's the No. 1 country in the world today. Who could've given them that idea, if not James Fallows, Numero Uno China is BIGBIGBIG cheerleader in the media?

And did I dream this or hasn't he had ads out in "The Atlantic", offering to talk dirty to you on the phone about how to run your business in China for $200 an hour?

What a pathetic jerk.

Marshal said...

"Bryan C said...
The "by any means necessary" tactics are coming from people like Fallows"

Fallows isn't a By Any Means Necessary leftist, he protects them. He should be embarassed ignoring actual leftist groups cleverly named By Any Means Necessary while making them up among the scary shdows, but that would require he have a decent bone in his body.

garage mahal said...

Do you have any self awareness? Any at all? Can you show me any conservative outlet with any following of consequence that maintains, for example, that Mass had no right to do what they did in HC? We may say they were stupid, but nobody denies they have the right.

CLUE: I was referring to the Scalia rulings on AZ and MT from today. States rights for Arizona and not for Montana.

vbspurs said...

Ever since Megan McArdle announced that she’s leaving to write for Newsweek/Daily Beast, I have no reason to read or care what’s written by anyone at the Atlantic.

As one says on Twitter, THIS.

Cheers,
Victoria (patiently waiting for a new blogpost...no hurry)

tim in vermont said...

CLUE: Free speech is clearly spelled out as a right which all states must respect. It is right in the constitution. Unless it is your contention that the Bill of Rights doesn't apply to the states.

Didn't AZ get pre-empted on the bulk of the law?

You have it exactly backwards, I think. In any event, you haven't shown why my comment doesn't stand as written.

section9 said...


You don't think they have a jurisprudence? Seriously? Have you actually read their work?


Dude, garage is the site Party Hack. I don't think that Axelrod would pay him a thin dime.

And you're quizzing him on Originalist Jurisprudence?

That's like quizzing me on Originalist Jurisprudence.

If it increases personal liberty and reins in state power, I'm for it. People like Garage are just in it for the Blue Team. That's their whole Online Existence.

section9 said...

Jay wrote:

That is quite the revealing bit of projection.

Who would take this idiot seriously, anyway?


In Fallows' defense, he has written some really good monographs on China, her economy, and her politics. He was a damn good observer of the Chinese scene when he was reporting for The Atlantic from Beijing.

However, now that he's back, he's joined the Amen Chorus of Democrats bewailing the state of the Republicans because they won't roll over and play dead for the Chosen One. Liberals and their Outriders in the Propaganda Ministry do this when they are not doing well in the country and in the polls.

The summa of liberal writing right now is as follows: the GOP is in the hands of an ignorant band of Religious Fanatics who have bitten the outreached hand of a Moderate Democrat.

It's all a lie, but it serves the political interests of the Left that controls the Democratic Party today, so the Press parrots that General Line.

traditionalguy said...

Delegitimizing the SCOTUS is easy to do for an Emperor whose words are law. He doesn't need the Congress or the Court to rule this Empire.

The ATF and Homeland security has all the power he needs.

There has been a coup announced these past weeks alright. That much this propagandist got right.

garage mahal said...

And you're quizzing him on Originalist Jurisprudence?

Scalia was bellyaching about Arizona's rights and powers, but didn't have a minute for the Montana case. Nobody could have predicted. Sorry Montana, your laws and courts mean nothing to us.

Patrick said...

Scalia was bellyaching about Arizona's rights and powers, but didn't have a minute for the Montana case. Nobody could have predicted. Sorry Montana, your laws and courts mean nothing to us.

Do you really not understand the difference between the two? Do you really not understand the distinction between federal statutory preemption and minimum federal rights? Think about that Garage, do you want SCOTUS to tell states that they can provide less First Amendment protection than is provided under the Federal constitution?

Do you reallywant the government to start restricting speech rights for people when they are associated in various entities, including non-profits?

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Underscoring the point, a Bloomberg poll of 21 constitutional scholars found that 19 of them believe the individual mandate is constitutional, but only eight said they expected the Supreme Court to rule that way.

Here's a hint for Mr. Fallows: When you have to misquote your sources to make your point, your source does not actually support your point.

What the poll response actually said, according to Bloomburg:

The U.S. Supreme Court should uphold a law requiring most Americans to have health insurance if the justices follow legal precedent, according to 19 of 21 constitutional law professors who ventured an opinion on the most-anticipated ruling in years.

Of course, it could be that the current majority believes that the precedent is wrong. And they have not only a right, but an obligation to overturn an incorrect precedent.

It is commonly understood that no legislature can pass a law that constrains the power of future legislatures, because, barring ammendment, the future legislature is of equal power to the prior one.
The same should be understood with regards to Supreme Courts.

Chuck said...

Ann, it is very funny to see James Fallows distancing himself from a headline. Particularly a headline he seems to have had a hand in crafting.

Because the now-infamous Mitt Romney/NYT Op-Ed headline, "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt" was not written or even suggested by Romney. It was fully the work of a NYT Editorial page editor.

I confirmed that fact in email with Arthur Brisbane, the public editor of the Times.

It never stopped Romney's enemies from falsely using the headline as a Romney quote, and even falsely implying that the headline alone meant that Romney favored 'bankruptcy liquidation' when in fact the text of Romney's op-ed argued for a managed bankruptcy reorganization to save the insolvent companies.

tim in vermont said...

Either GM is just mailing it in, these days, or he is in the pay of the Koch Bros to make their opposition look ridiculous.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Patrick said...

Do you[garage mahal] really want the government to start restricting speech rights for people when they are associated in various entities, including non-profits?

If you have to ask, you haven't been paying attention to garage's comments for quite some time.

garage mahal said...

Please with the nauseating and phony B.S. that money equals free speech per the Constitution.

AJ Lynch said...

"People like Garage are just in it for the Blue Team. That's their whole Online Existence."

This.

Patrick said...

Please with the nauseating and phony B.S. that money equals free speech per the Constitution.

You really don't know what the issue in Citizens United was, do you?

Wow. I'd think that someone who uses the phrase "Citizens United" as an argument would have some understanding of what it means.

garage mahal said...

"People like Garage are just in it for the Blue Team. That's their whole Online Existence."

Sorry, but that's pure projection. You all will rally around whatever meme Scalia or right wing think tanks decide on. It's in the infancy stage right now, so most of this thread is "GAWD! I just! I just can't believe you don't understand.....Hysterical!". Not many talking points out yet. But they're sure to come.

And the kicker:

"independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption,"

Hahahaha.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Please with the nauseating and phony B.S. that money equals free speech per the Constitution.

Please with the nauseating and phony B.S. that Citizen's United was about money. Yes, some money was involved, because that's how you get your speech distributed. Do your really believe it would be constitutional for congress to pass a law saying that no news organization could spend money printing or broadcasting their news ( because money does not equal press ), that nobody could spend any money organizing a group event ( because money does not equal assembly ), and no religious group could spend any money on their religion ( because money does not equal religion )?

Patrick said...

If the First Amendment has any force, it prohibits Congress from fining or jailing citizens, or associations of citizens, for simply engaging in political speech."

Yeah, that could be a problem, because those citizens, or associations of citizens could, you know, have...opinions.

Henry said...

Remember the scene in Dog Day Afternoon when Sonny knows his whole scheme has gone horribly wrong. "You got me on kidnapping, armed robbery. You're gonna bury me, man!" He knows he can't get out of the trap he's made for himself. All he has left is theatrics: "ATTICA ATTICA ATTICA..."

That's what I hear when the left starts complaining about Citizens United. They can't talk their way out of the disaster they've made of their moment in power. They aren't making coherent arguments. All they have left is theatrics.

Chip Ahoy said...

I always got the signs of the apocalypse and signs of apoplectics mixed up.

Like the lay vs lie thing.

Smilin' Jack said...

Using "coup" in the headline implies things I don't mean

So, if you're, like, supposed to be a writer, doesn't that mean you should, like, use a different title?

Chip Ahoy said...

See, Smilin' Jack, this is why comments like yours are so valuable to me, you show the actual content of the thing I decided not to read, and so I do miss things on purpose, and your comment reaffirms that was a good decision while recovering the bits that support it for me. I get a feel for the content with the stern critique. That's quite right what you said.

Reading through the comments on a thing like this, comments like yours, is like having the Cliff Notes that outshine the novels they describe like Ford Maddox Ford The Good Soldier.

rosebud said...

The Atlantic has been magazina non grata to me ever since they dropped the Cox/Rathvon cryptic.

rosebud said...

The Atlantic has been magazina non grata to me ever since they dropped the Cox/Rathvon cryptic.

Revenant said...

Please with the nauseating and phony B.S. that money equals free speech per the Constitution.

Of course it doesn't. Everyone knows that printers, television stations, and ISPs will distribute any speech you care to make without charging you a cent. :)

Henry said...

Fallows might wish to consider an alternate history hypothetical. Let's pretend the SCOTUS vote went 5-4 the other way:

1) Al Gore wins in 2000 when the Florida Supreme Court -- in a 4-3 vote over the dissent of its own chief justice and in direct conflict with the findings of fact by a lower court -- allows Democrats to win an election by conducting a recount only in heavily Democratic counties.

2) Then the beneficiary of that decision appoints the next two members of the [U.S. Supreme] court, who present themselves for consideration as restrained, humble figures who care only about law rather than ideology....

You know the rest. The hypothetical is the same. No matter which candidate won in 2000 it would have sown the seeds of controversy. No matter which candidate won in 2000 the judicial appointees of that candidate would have represented a change in the balance of the supreme court.

There is one thing that is very hard to fit into this opposite-world hypothetical. It is very hard to imagine a Republican supermajority in 2009 would have spent its days pursuing a hugely expensive, hugely partisan, and hugely unconstitutional program.

I'm sure that such a Congress would have passed idiotic legislation, partisan legislation, nay, even unconstitutional legislation.

But it's hard to come up with any kind of equivalent to Obamacare on the Republican side.

What is missing from Fallows' musings is the fact of the radical hubris of a Congress that would misuse its power, trash legislative process, grab enormous power for the state, and trigger a constitutional crisis in the service of its own ideology.

Marshal said...

"Do you[garage mahal] really want the government to start restricting speech rights for people when they are associated in various entities, including non-profits?"

It's quite amusing the idiot believes corporate speech is dangerous but using government money to support political activism is core Americana. And I suppose it is for the Tammany Party.

Methadras said...

James Fallow is the result of the typical smug, effete, priggish North Eastern douche bags that thinks he knows better than everyone else. While he's busy essaying his drivel on the beltway cocktail circuit maybe he can get out there in the real world and see what is really going on beyond the ivy league snobbery.

Methadras said...

garage mahal said...

Please with the nauseating and phony B.S. that money equals free speech per the Constitution.


Well, that's simply because your tiny little mind can't wrap it's head around precedent law. I hate precedent law, but I understand it. Even the tiniest modicum of research would yield to your meager and insignificant understanding of Buckley v. Valeo would help you to understand why money does equal free speech.

It's not that hard, you simpleton.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buckley_v._Valeo

The problem is you. You are a true believer of the dumbest things on earth. Keep hugging your little ideas of the distorted reality you and your cadre there in Wisconsin live under. It's really helped you out.

Fen said...

Let's pretend the SCOTUS vote went 5-4 the other way:

Let's not pretend, since the decision was 7-2, not 5-4.

Alan said...

"Meanwhile their party's representatives in the Senate abuse procedural rules to an extent never previously seen to block...appointments, especially to the courts."

You mean the Democrat filibusters against Dubya's lower-court nominations?

The Dems owned the lower-court nomination process. Bush spent like a Democrat, and proposed going soft on immigration policy. Sometimes it's hard to tell that the GOP had the Congressional majority for most of the decade.

Rusty said...

garage mahal said...
Do you have any self awareness? Any at all? Can you show me any conservative outlet with any following of consequence that maintains, for example, that Mass had no right to do what they did in HC? We may say they were stupid, but nobody denies they have the right.

CLUE: I was referring to the Scalia rulings on AZ and MT from today. States rights for Arizona and not for Montana.


Two completely different constitutional cases.
See if you can figure out which one the constitution trumps.

Matthew Sablan said...

"Scalia was bellyaching about Arizona's rights and powers, but didn't have a minute for the Montana case. Nobody could have predicted. Sorry Montana, your laws and courts mean nothing to us."

-- Did you read why? Montana was decided simply because Citizens United was so recently decided that there was no point in rearguing the bulk of the case. It was simple: CU, being higher law than Montana's, over ruled it. Free speech guaranteed by the First Amendment trumped the desire of the state's incumbents to silence dissent. That's kind of how it is supposed to work.

Matthew Sablan said...

"Independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption."

-- That is a true statement, unless we assume that Obama is the most corrupt administration since Nixon since he chose to forgo public financing and rake in the bucks from large donors. So, if you're willing to concede that, then maybe we can have a talk. You don't know how much fun I have throwing that fact in people's faces about CU and when they quote that line from the Montana decision (four or five times already in the past few days!) It, it warms my bones.

damikesc said...

So, 19 out of 21 Constitutional scholars think it's Constitutional?

Should we go into how many law schools felt the Solomon Amendment was unconstitutional? Didn't the AALS basically pass laws to try and bar the military from campus recruiting?

Their predictive ability seems low.

Scalia was bellyaching about Arizona's rights and powers, but didn't have a minute for the Montana case. Nobody could have predicted. Sorry Montana, your laws and courts mean nothing to us.

Is garage coming out against Brown vs Board of Education, which did the same thing? Heck, is he now opposing basically every major civil rights case over the last 60 years decided AGAINST discrimination?

I mean, if you'e arguing it is wrong for the SCOTUS to ignore the will of a state on an issue involving the US Constitution, no other possible response seems plausible.

Rusty said...

damnit Mathew!
If you spell it out for him he'll never figure it out on his own!
Oh, wait. It's Garage. Nevermind.

tim in vermont said...

Allowing massive in-kind contributions from the same public employee unions that stood to benefit financially from the outcome of elections, of course it is well understood, *never* gives rise to the appearance of corruption!

What must it be like to live in a partisan bubble where you cannot even see the other side's point of view before rejecting it?

Toby said...

Fallows is the textbook example of the dangers of buying your own bullshit.

Robert Cook said...

"But it's hard to come up with any kind of equivalent to Obamacare on the Republican side."

Ummm...check Romneycare in Massachusetts, on which Obamacare is strongly modeled. At one time, such a plan was seen by conservatives as a "good" way to "reform" healthcare:

http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/conservatives-and-the-individual-mandate/

Matthew Sablan said...

"Ummm...check Romneycare in Massachusetts, on which Obamacare is strongly modeled. At one time, such a plan was seen by conservatives as a "good" way to "reform" healthcare:"

Federal level. State level. Federal level. State level. Repeat till you understand the difference. Maybe throw in some bromide about states being the laboratories of democracy or some such flim flam. Also, just because some ideas from A appear in B, while B is noticeably different from A, does not mean that if you agreed with A that you should agree with B. In fact, B may be so noxious, that even with all the best parts of A, it is still bad.

Henry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Henry said...

@Fen. Yes I know. 7-2 ruled that Florida's ruling violated the Equal Protection Clause. 5-4 ruled on the specific remedy that effectively halted the recount. If Breyer and Souter had found another vote to return the case to the Florida Court, Gore could have kept petitioning for recounts. So it is the 5-4 ruling that ensured that Bush would become the next President, which is quite specifically what my hypothetical uses a pivot point.

Henry said...

@Robert Cook -- You've sideslipped into a different argument than the one that I was making with my hypothetical.

I ask for a hypothetical equivalent to Obamacare in terms of its enormous complexity, economic impact, and constitutional doubt.

The hypothetical calls for an equivalent in scope, not some precedent in the same vertical.

Tim said...

"Ummm...check Romneycare in Massachusetts, on which Obamacare is strongly modeled. At one time, such a plan was seen by conservatives as a "good" way to "reform" healthcare:"

Hmmm, nice try, but not exactly.

Knowledgeable people understand the critical differences between the two; there's no evidence you do. For you, it's just a handy talking point.

Up your game Cook - you can't play the "smarter than the rest of you " card so well when you know so little.

Fen said...

If Breyer and Souter had found another vote to return the case to the Florida Court, Gore could have kept petitioning for recounts. So it is the 5-4 ruling that ensured that Bush would become the next President, which is quite specifically what my hypothetical uses a pivot point.

No. You skipped a step a there. Do I really have to point it out to you?

1) SCOTUS orders another recount

2) ???

3) Gore wins election


/begin jeapordy theme

damikesc said...

1) SCOTUS orders another recount

2) ???

3) Gore wins election


/begin jeapordy theme


Fen, do we need to discuss the Democrats' impressive ability to find "lost" or "missing" ballots during recounts?

I wouldn't trust them.

Henry said...

Fen, I'm presenting a hypothetical. I'm not writing about what "would" have happened or what "should" have happened, or the odds of a particular thing happening. (For all we know, in an alternate history, the Florida Court might have abruptly decided to count overvotes, the one scenario where Gore had a chance.)

I'm saying "if" something happened "then ..." Very specifically I'm saying "if" the type of thing happened that Fallows thinks should have happened, "then..."

The whole point is the "then ...", not the "if". And the whole point of the "then..." is to show how foolish Fallows' argument is based on his own premises.

I'm going to have start footnoting my comments.

Revenant said...

Ummm...check Romneycare in Massachusetts, on which Obamacare is strongly modeled.

It wasn't a federal plan.

At one time, such a plan was seen by conservatives as a "good" way to "reform" healthcare:

"At one time" people believed all sorts of idiotic things.