Our good friend Orrin Hatch—who, unfortunately, appears to be on his way to reelection—has once again shown how idiotic, hypocritical, and entrenched in his own self importance he really is.
Last week, Hatch published an op-ed about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare). Among other drivel, he wrote:
Under Obama’s law, all individuals are mandated to purchase health insurance. This week, the Supreme Court is closely examining whether this requirement is allowed under the U.S. Constitution. But to me, this decision is crystal clear.
In the fall of 2009, as the health care law was being pushed through Congress, I stood up and said that it would be unconstitutional for Congress to require that Americans purchase health insurance or face a financial penalty. I was the first member of the Senate to say Obamacare is unconstitutional.
While he may have been the first member of the Senate to say Obamacare is unconstitutional*, he was also one of the first Senators to push the idea of an individual mandate—nearly 20 years ago.
Back in 1993—when Orrin was a spry, 59-year-old, three-term Senator—Hatch actually co-sponsored a health care bill that required individuals to buy health insurance, just like Obamacare. This bill was in response to President Clinton’s health care bill which would have required employers to provide health insurance.
Of course, in 1993, the Republicans couldn’t support a Democrat’s idea, so they had to come up with their own; instead of saying mandating employers to provide health insurance was unconstitutional and infringes on an employer’s freedoms, they went with the individual mandate approach. But now, 20 years later, even though it was their idea in the first place, the Republicans can’t support this Democrat either—all under the guise of Constitutionality.
I understand that people change their minds and that—if we can even classify politicians as people—politicians change their minds, too. You can still be a principled individual who changes their mind when new information emerges; there’s nothing wrong with that. What’s wrong is when politicians change their principles.
What we have is not a case of Hatch changing his mind, but his principles. The individual mandate hasn’t magically become less Constitutional since he proposed it in 1993. He obviously didn’t care about the Constitution in 1993, but has now become a principled Constitutionalist—not because it’s a surer stance, but because it’s politically advantageous.
Then again, I guess Hatch really hasn’t changed his principles. He still cares more about the us-vs.-them mentality of D.C. politics and more about defeating a
black Democrat President than he does about the Constitution.
Good thing we’re going to have him for another six years. It’s always nice to have a principled
white Republican man in office.
*I actually agree with Hatch in this regard. There’s nothing in the Constitution that mentions heath care, health insurance, or anything of the kind. These sorts of laws are usually justified by the Commerce Clause—which is an equally ridiculous argument. The Constitution grants Congress power to “regulate Commerce … among the several States” but this phrase has been construed to mean the federal government can control anything involving money—from marijuana prohibition to, at least potentially, health insurance mandates.