Barack Obama was feted by many as a messiah. His supporters compared him to Jesus.
He even equated himself to Superman, saying at a dinner that he had been "born on Krypton and sent here . to save the planet Earth." The remark was presented as a joke, but the effect of Obama's ego is no laughing matter.
Now, just over a year into his term, his legislative agenda lies in ruins. Despite poll after poll showing that Americans' main priority is jobs, the president has focused on taking over the U.S. healthcare system.
Observing the wreckage, noted political pundit Charlie Cook candidly told Politico, "I think choosing to take a Captain Ahab-like approach to healthcare -- I'm going to push for this even in the worst downturn since the Great Depression -- is roughly comparable to Bush's decision to go to war [in Iraq], It basically destroyed the first year of a presidency."
What a fall, from "Super Hero" to obsessed Captain Ahab chasing his great white whale.
To save his whale, Obama and his legislative allies Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are resorting to bare knuckled politics. The aptly named "nuclear option," a classic piece of legislative trickery involving the reconciliation fast-track, which he denounced while campaigning, has become his final option.
Rather than a white whale, we should call ObamaCare his white elephant. Even if it passes, most knowledgeable legal scholars believe it will be ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
Matt Patterson, in an analysis prepared for the National Center for Public Policy Research, says the bill is unconstitutional for multiple reasons: "Both the House and Senate versions of ObamaCare contain penalty taxes on Americans who do not have government-approved health insurance, the so-called 'individual mandate.' Such a tax would function as a direct, or capitation, tax, as opposed to a tax on activity, such as excise or income taxes, and would therefore fall outside Congress' authority to tax income granted by the 16th Amendment to the Constitution."
The Constitution places strict restrictions on Congress' power to lay capitation taxes under Article I, Sec. 9, which reads "No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken."
Exemptions for some people built into the Senate bill's individual mandate tax would make it impossible for ObamaCare to meet this constitutional standard.
Patterson summarizes this way, "Some of the finest legal minds in the country have concluded that the enforcement provisions of ObamaCare's individual mandate would violate the both spirit and the letter of the U.S. Constitution. Apparently, President Obama and members of Congress think they are smarter than these scholars -- and smarter than the authors of the Constitution."
Even if the Democrats don't lose their majorities, and the new Congress doesn't have the votes to repeal ObamaCare, the Supreme Court is likely to do the job. And they should; the bill isn't just unconstitutional, full of new taxes, too big and unmanageable -- it is un-American.