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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Constitutional Spin Wars

You will be hearing a cacaphony of conservative talk over the holidays and beyond about today’s ruling by District Court Judge Henry Hudson that the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate for health insurance purchasing violates the U.S. Constitution.
Two other district judges, of course (one in Hudson’s own Virginia) have already ruled otherwise, and it’s obvious the issue will ultimately be resolved by the U.S. Supreme Court. But it’s important for progressives to understand that if five votes on the High Court are found for Hudson’s point of view, it will represent a major counter-revolution in Constitutional law, back towards the early 1930s jurisprudence that once threatened to thwart the entire New Deal.
Thus, today’s conservative celebration of the alleged triumph of constitutionalism against the grasping big government expansionism of Obama and Pelosi is a deliberate distortion of the historical record, much like claims that contemporary conservatives are just common-sense centrists fighting the sudden and dangerous socialist radicalism of a Democratic Party gone wild.
Conservatives have every right to articulate their own views on the Constitution and every other topic. But they need to own up to–or be exposed for–the not-so-traditional conservatism they represent: a revolt against the regulated capitalism and mild welfare-state practices of the last 75 years, which few Republicans other than a radical fringe have challenged in the recent past.

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