The week has brought two potentially future-altering stories -- one out of Florida, the other out of the Middle East.
In Pensacola, Federal District Judge Roger Vinson ruled ObamaCare unconstitutional -- all of it. Not just the individual mandate, requiring the purchase of health insurance because it's good for the citizenry and the nation, like broccoli. But the whole thing.
On Jan. 31, Judge Vinson found ObamaCare's justification on the basis of either the "commerce clause" or the "necessary and proper clause" -- or both -- unconvincing. And because in ramming the thing through Congress the Democrats removed "severability" from their measure to socialize the nation's medicine, the individual mandate cannot be "severed" from the rest of the measure -- and so the full measure has to be thrown out.
Judge Vinson's is the second, and broader, judicial deconstruction of Nancy Pelosi's, Harry Reid's and Barack Obama's marquee legislative success. On Dec. 13, Federal District Judge Henry Hudson tossed the individual mandate only. Likely next year, the Supreme Court will render the final verdict on ObamaCare.
Already a new Republican House has voted for ObamaCare's repeal. By the time you read these words, a similar repeal vote in the new less Democratic Senate will have failed, by about 53-47. Democratic senators seeking re-election in 2012 will have to explain their pro-ObamaCare votes to their anti-ObamaCare constituents. What was that about not living in interesting times?
This is a delicious moment. With a distraught White House ululating that they have "over-reached," Judges Hudson and Vinson have found ObamaCare a mechanism for federal power without stint or limit, and ruled it an unconstitutional rationale for compelling a free people into a communal health-care system. Wrote Judge Vinson: The individual mandate "cannot be reconciled with a limited government of enumerated powers." So the entire act "must be declared void."
So much for the best that Obama's best and brightest could do.
In Cairo -- indeed across the Middle East in Algiers, Tunis, Cairo, Sanaa and Amman -- protesters have taken to the streets demanding, seemingly, freedom and democracy. Or have they? Are freedom and democracy that autocrats deny what the demonstrations really are about, or are they democratic facades masking jihadist manipulation? Is islamofascism the end-game -- and jihad?
(Remember the outrage of the American left when Bush 2 had no end game after military victory in Iraq? And remember, further, the sneering disdain with which the left dismissed Bush's "freedom agenda" -- the creation in Iraq, in the heart of the Middle East, of a free and democratic regime that might serve as a model for emulation elsewhere in the region?
(Bush hardly had left the White House when Obama went to Cairo and denied the notion of American exceptionalism -- that America, and the liberty and democracy inhering in it, is any better than any other country, and not necessarily worthy of emulation. Yet it was to this speech -- remember? -- that Obama invited the Muslim Brotherhood, an entity sometimes proscribed but always marginalized by Egypt's Mubarak regime.)
Muslim brothers, include -- let's see: The group's spiritual leader, Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who contends secularism "is atheism and a rejection of Islam"; al-Qaraqdawi argues the Brotherhood will "conquer America." He has issued fatwas demanding the killing of U.S. troops.
Founded in 1928 to re-establish the global caliphate and implement shariah law worldwide, the Brotherhood's early practitioners trained under Hitlerite Nazis. It helped create Hamas and remains a principal funder of it. The Brothers played a key role in the assassination of Anwar Sadat. Yasser Arafat, born Mohammed al-Husseini in Cairo, adopted the name Yasser after the Brotherhood's terror chief. Brotherhood alumni include blind Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, al-Qaida mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and top Qaidists Ayman al-Zawahiri and the great Osama himself. Along with the military, the Muslim Brotherhood is the most extensive and powerful group in Egypt. Is it behind the sudden "freedom" protests in Egypt and other key Middle Eastern regimes? Or will it and its like-minded jihadists simply capture those natural uprisings -- and show the order disciplined groups can fashion out of chaos?
There is this, as well: Israel is the Middle East's only established democracy. It now faces a Lebanon controlled by terrorist Hezbollah and a Gaza controlled by terrorist Hamas. Why is Israel so evidently uneasy about Egypt -- and Jordan? -- rather than welcoming a new Egypt to democracy's ranks? Could Israel have a clearer understanding about the essence of the Brotherhood and Egypt's likely future?
In his State of the Union address, President Obama spoke perhaps a dozen times about the need to "win the future." In Egypt and other Middle Eastern capitals, is the future what the Brotherhood and the islamofascists are winning now?
Ross Mackenzie lives with his wife and Labrador retriever in the woods west of Richmond, Virginia. They have two grown sons, both Naval officers.
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