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Off the Editor’s Spike

Dw.cdrYou are what you eat. Or, as Debbie Sweatman and other champions of the upcoming family Literacy Night at Searcy R-5 Elementary would say, you are what you read.

Cold winter nights make nibbling on junk food all too comforting — novels, several delicious mysteries, a reread of nearly all of Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic Sherlock Holmes tales, and a variety of books about my favorite subject, the Civil War.

Occasionally, I try to eat something more substantial than Facebook calories. This past week I stumbled into a piece written by a Harvard intellect, a heaping helping of some vitamins and minerals that I hope you will consider.

Charles R. Kesler delivered a speech in October 2013 at Hillsdale College entitled “The Tea Party, Conservatism, and the Constitution.” Parts of his speech are reprinted here with permission from Imprimis, a publication of the college which arrives at my home (and perhaps yours) unsolicited and free.

I’m not political. But I wanted to know more about the Tea Party. Someday, Lord willing, I hope to have some meaningful, personal insight to share with a grandchild about these historic times we’re living in. So much is so confusing. But I found myself nodding in agreement with most of what Kesler says. And, surprisingly, he spoke on Obamacare to make his points, some of which follow:

“In a way, you can see how dangerous Obamacare is by noticing how it has brought out the worst in liberals – which is evident in how they have responded to the Tea Party. Liberal impatience with partisanship – that is, people who oppose their plans – arises from the fact that in contemporary liberalism there is no publicly acknowledged right of revolution…”

“We should note the paradoxical character of the Tea Party: It is a populist movement to defend the Constitution, but the Constitution is meant, among other things, to limit populism in politics… as The Federalist puts it, that the reason, not the passion, of the public would control and regulate the government.”

“…the Tea Party has been right about the threat posed to the fabric of constitutional government by Obamacare and by other brazen assaults on the Constitution, such as President Obama’s asserted prerogatives to choose which laws to enforce and to make recess appointments when there was no recess.”

“…the problem with Obamacare is not merely that it will ruin health care, but that it undermines the whole notion of rights – natural rights – that come not from government but from our own nature and from God. Yes, it is unfair, unworkable, and unaffordable. But to leave the argument at that leaves the Constitution out of the picture.”

Let’s dwell on this last, most noteworthy point. The specifics involved are startling. The easiest target to lampoon Obamacare is the Independent Payments Advisory Board (IPAB). Kesler states this board is unconstitutional on its face. According to Kesler:

“The IPAB consists of 15 members who are not elected by the people but appointed by the president. Their job is to make recommendations to limit Medicare’s budget by reducing reimbursements to doctors. Unless both houses of Congress overrule IPAB by passing their own equal or greater cuts to Medicare, IPAB’s proposals automatically become law.

“What’s worse, Obamacare conspires to make IPAB permanent by mandating that no resolution to repeal it can be introduced before Jan. 1, 2017, or after Feb. 1, 2017. In other words, the Constitution would be operational for one month only – and even then the repeal must pass by Aug. 15, 2017, in order to be valid, and it could not take effect until 2020!”

To think that Congress can’t repeal Obamacare except for one month, and that even then repeal wouldn’t take effect for three years afterwards, is astounding. Why haven’t the people we’ve elected been telling us about this?

I’m left wondering what my grandchildren will think. We are, after all, deferring the consequences of today to them, you know.

My fear is that our grandchildren will think back on today as a time when we’re better connected than ever before and yet misdirected or, worse, more misinformed than ever. While major decisions of historic nature unfold, we’re busy nibbling away at junk food.

By the way, what’s on Netflix tonight?

In another article written by Kesler (search “Kesler” on www.hillsdale.edu), [1] he describes the Tea Party movement as follows:

The Tea Party movement represents an important development in American politics. Two generations from now, history’s verdict may say that the Tea Party was just a flash in the pan, but it may also turn out that the Tea Party was the beginning of the first successful effort to replace one of the two major parties since the Republican Party replaced the Whigs in the 1850s. In the meantime, the Tea Party is doing a significant favor for those of us who teach political theory or

constitutional law. The Tea Party is bringing contemporary political debates back to fundamentals.