Now that the weeping and gnashing of teeth has begun to subside in the wake of the stunning betrayal by Chief Justice John Roberts, conservatives are beginning to realize that the Supreme Court’s ruling has given us a rare gift of political clarity. ObamaCare just became the burning issue in the 2012 campaign, and Obama can no longer hide from the heat. Mainstream America now sees that all of the constitutional safeguards for personal liberty have failed except one: The people are the final guardians of the Constitution, and now nothing stands between us and this massive expansion of governmental power but us.
The Supreme Court ruling has just breathed new life into the tea party and given it a burning platform.
The liberal minority has long wielded power in America that is far out of proportion to their numbers because the left understands the prime rule of politics, that a determined minority willing to push their agenda long enough can eventually wear down a busy majority that just wants to live in peace. Through thousands of small concessions, each too small to stir up much resistance, the left succeeded in carrying out their agenda right under the nose of the sleeping giant of mainstream America.
But with their victory in 2008, the left’s strategy of gradualism gave way to a bold and radical assault on the remaining vestiges of liberty. Obamacare was the first wave of that assault and, like the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, the result was to awaken a sleeping giant. For the first time in their lives, mainstream Americans got off the lawnmower and into politics, and it was not just the content of Obamacare but also the sheer arrogance of the political tactics behind it that put them there. In deferring to the legislative process, the court has just reminded the country of the legislative process that gave us Obamacare.
Remember how Obama, Reid, and Pelosi ignored overwhelming opposition and rammed through a bill that nobody had read, a bill that seized one-seventh of the nation’s economy? Remember Nancy Pelosi telling us that Congress would have to pass the bill so that we could find out what was in it? Remember how the people who gave us Obamacare exempted themselves and their families from it?
Mainstream America was stunned by those actions into the realization that something fundamental was at stake, that we were being forced to decide whether our children would grow up as citizens of a republic or as subjects of a government. Indignation at the arrogance of the leftist elite and at the corruption of our system of government gave rise to the tea party and the Republican landslide in 2010. Since that shellacking at the hands of the tea party, Obama and the left have been quiet about Obamacare. Had the Supreme Court overturned the centerpiece of the Obama agenda, the left could have rallied their base by stoking anger at “unelected judges.” Now they can’t hide.
Between now and Election Day, the Obama campaign and the liberal media will paint a picture of an economy that has turned the corner and is bringing jobs back. Osama bin Laden will die a thousand deaths in Obama’s ads. We will be encouraged to be patient and not to change course. And we can count on an October surprise from the Obama camp, some kind of gift from the treasury to a voting bloc that could put Obama over the top. But now nothing can take the focus off Obamacare and its implications for the future of the country.
The left has been hoping that the tea party would go away, that the mainstream giant would go back to sleep after 2010 so that government growth could proceed without interruption. The left has hoped that libertarian and social conservatives would splinter, that the heated Republican primaries have taken their toll on conservative morale. But the profound implications of Obamacare will heal the divisions on the right. For those who want Obamacare repealed, all those who are not against us are for us.
Valerie Jarrett’s statement that Obama would be ready to “rule” on day one still rings in our ears. The once sleeping giant of mainstream American is now fully awake, and the court’s decision has filled that giant with a terrible resolve. With Obamacare now a certainty unless it is repealed, the upcoming election will be the last meaningful chance for that giant to find its voice, to remind those in power that liberty is our birthright, that the only legitimate power of government comes from the consent of the governed.
And, though we consent to be represented by government, as long as there is breath in our bodies, we will never be ruled by government.
Timothy C. Daughtry, Ph.D, is co-author of Waking The Sleeping Giant: How Mainstream Americans Can Beat Liberals At Their Own Game.