Jonah Goldberg

Nearly the whole story of American liberalism is a story of dedicated ideologues seeking to overturn what they consider to be bad laws and replace them with good ones. Sometimes those efforts were laudable, as when they fought to overturn the doctrine of "separate but equal" (despite fierce opposition from Democrats). And sometimes they were lamentable, as when they routinely labor to overturn or deny school choice laws, consigning underprivileged children to horrible schools just to placate teachers unions. But when conservatives try to do the exact same thing, they can't simply be wrong, according to liberals. They must be demented extremists, anarchists and -- another favorite epithet these days -- nihilists.

The hypocrisy goes deeper though. Yes, Obamacare is the law of the land. But it is President Obama -- who is legally and constitutionally required to faithfully execute the law -- and not Republicans who has openly defied it. He has unilaterally and often with no statutory authority opted to waive and delay the parts of the Affordable Care Act that are politically inconvenient to him (or that his administration has been too incompetent to implement).

Obama has declared that in states setting up their own exchanges, no one will have to prove their income in order to sign up for subsidies. He is so desperate to get the subsidies rolling -- and hence, he hopes, buy support for the unpopular law -- he's willing to let people skip the part in the law where it says they have to prove they qualify for the goodies. He delayed the requirement for large businesses to comply with the law, because the initial turmoil of having millions kicked off their insurance plans was more than he could bear politically.

While this is closer to anarchy than anything the tea partiers have pushed for, anarchy still isn't the right word for it. Because President Obama still believes people should obey the law of the land -- when it pleases him, that is.


Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
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