Listen / Watch
All eyes are on the Supreme Court right now as they take up the momentous 26-state challenge to Barack Obama and the Democrats’ unconstitutional governmental mandate on our healthcare freedom. But, as Rich Lowry points out so eloquently in a recent column, it’s not really ObamaCare that is on trial. It’s James Madison. Or at least, it’s the Madisonian model of government that he bequeathed us.
If you want proof of that, think about the conversation we’re having over ObamaCare. Think of what is the first question for so many of our lawmakers who enacted it. They wondered things like, “Will it work, will it lower costs, will it be enforceable?” Very few of them – and of those who voted in favor (all Democrats mind you), virtually none of them – actually paused to consider whether it was constitutional.
Remember Nancy Pelosi’s incredulous response to CNSNews when they asked her where Congress got the constitutional authority to enact such a mandate on every American. She asked, “Are you serious, are you serious?” That’s astounding when you think about the fact that she was the sitting Speaker of the House at that point in time. That’s what I mean when I say that Madison is on trial. It’s Madison vs. Pelosi, friends...whose side do you stand on? Lowry writes,
In the mind of contemporary progressivism, these words of Madison from the Federalist Papers simply don’t compute: “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.” They are an antiquated 18th-century sentiment unsuited to our more complex and more sophisticated time, to be ignored when not actively scorned.
Indeed Madison worried and fretted not over the efficiency of government to be able to manage projects like a nationalized healthcare bureaucracy, but rather that our government might ever think itself vested with power to attempt to take on such a project in the first place.
The Madisonian model of government was an incredibly complex intermingling of various levels of government, and various branches within. This complex federalism would serve as the ultimate check on the power of governing forces and “oblige” the government (in Madison’s famous words) “to control itself.” How far we’ve drifted.
Lowry’s conclusion is a powerful one:
In his book on Madison’s political thought, American Compact, Gary Rosen notes that “as Madison feared, utility rather than constitutionality has become the ultimate test for public policy.” The debate over Obamacare at the time of its passage focused on its cost, its workability, and its aggrandizing tendency more than its constitutionality. For Madison, Rosen continues, constitutional limits “were the deepest source of republican dignity, the bulwarks that he expected citizens to defend in order to remind themselves of their sovereignty.” Would that they were once again.
To say that the Pelosi-led philosophy in Congress is far removed from the Madisonian concept is so obviously true its comedic. Well, except for the fact that it threatens the future of our Republic, and that’s no laughing matter. Keep that in mind as the circus at the Supreme Court unfolds.