The Times Scores a Double

Published November 11, 2014

Always good for a laugh, The New York Times op-ed page on Monday, November 10, 2014, hit the Daily Double.

First, in a column entitled “The Obama Opposition,” Charles M. Blow crudely accused President Obama’s detractors of racism.  Despite having declared defiantly to Eric Cantor in 2009 that “I won” and to John McCain in 2010 that “The election is over,” the President shouldn’t be considered arrogant or intransigent, Blow suggests, but simply – what? Dictator by fiat?

For as Blow then recounts, Obama’s 2013 response to Republicans was:  “You don’t like a particular policy or a particular president?  Then argue for your position.  Go out there and win an election.”  Which Republicans, of course, promptly did, in both 2010 and 2014.

Republican’s 2010 gains in the House directly repudiated the Democrats having crammed an unpopular health insurance law down voters’ throats by a single lame-duck vote in the Senate.  And just last week, after Obama had foolishly (but correctly) reminded voters that his policies were on the ballot, pro-Republican voters not only shellacked the President’s party but added a few extra coats of varnish for good measure, taking over state legislatures and governorships in addition to the U. S. Senate and increasing their hold on the House of Representatives.

So where Blow sees racism, a clearer head sees a still-majority white national electorate that put a black man the White House on the promise of hope and change but expected to his promises fulfilled.  Having considered the President’s poorly-executed domestic policies and his lack of leadership abroad, the electorate held the President’s party responsible:  they went out there and won (lots of) elections even as they narrowly let Obama keep the White House.  Race had nothing to do with it.

Paul Krugman, in his “Death by Typo,” was even more outrageous, pre-emptively characterizing a Supreme Court that has not yet even ruled on an Obamacare-related issue as “corrupt.”  Krugman’s reasoning – if his poisonous screed even rises to that level – is that the Supreme Court just might construe a law that Congress passed to mean what it actually says.  Or, as Nancy Pelosi might say, you actually have to read the bill to find out what’s in it.

Readers may recall that Chief Justice Roberts ruled that Congress has no power under the commerce clause to order “we the People” of the United States to buy health insurance, but saved the Act for Obama on the grounds that Congress may tax people who decline to buy insurance.  Taxes and tax subsidies are in fact central to its scheme.

Part of Obamacare’s tax-based scheme was also to encourage states to set up health insurance “exchanges” by giving federal income tax credits to the residents of states that did, and to withhold them from the states that didn’t. That part of the law, at least, could not be clearer.  Yet when 36 states declined to set up exchanges, the President’s (or is it Lois Lerner’s?) IRS decided to subsidize people in all the states anyway.   But the law simply doesn’t read that way, as any Nobel Prize-winning economist ought to know.   So Krugman is reduced to calling “established by the states” – which appears throughout the statute – merely a “typo” and pre-emptively asking stupidly “How corrupt is the Supreme Court, anyway?”

Krugman should actually read the Affordable Care Act, look up the meaning of “state” in the dictionary, and then go read the Constitution until it sinks in:  it’s the duty of Congress to pass the laws, of the President to enforce them faithfully, and of the courts to correct the President when he misreads or misapplies them.  Anything else is unconstitutional.

But this is, after all, the New York Times.  Some folks say it’s not fit to wrap the fish in.

I say that it is.