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Friday, 29 June 2012


Mannie Sherberg
As a psychiatrist, Krauthammer knows (as do you, Yael) that we can never fathom anyone's motivations with any certainty. We can hazard guesses -- even informed guesses -- but, in the end, why people do the things they do always remains a mystery. So -- since I know no more than anyone else about what was in John Roberts's mind when he decided to uphold Obamacare -- I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he had the country's best interests at heart. That being said, two facts, both dire, remain: (1) Roberts singlehandedly saddled our nation with a burden of taxation so heavy that it is sure to make a staggering economy much wobblier than it already is, and (2) there is simply no certainty that "we the people" will vote to change things in November. That may happen, and I pray that it does. But a large part of our electorate is woefully misinformed, a large part of our electorate is dependent on government handouts for its very existence and has no desire to change things, and a large part of our electorate will be swayed by Obama's glowing descriptions -- which we will hear endlessly repeated between now and November -- of the cornucopia of goodies that Obamacare is bestowing upon them. Of course much can happen between now and November; the comatose Tea Party may come back to life bigger and stronger than ever, and sweep away everything in its path. But unless the Republicans pull off a trifecta -- as difficult in politics as it is in horse-racing -- and win the White House and both houses of Congress, the American people will carry an albatross of taxes around their necks that they will perhaps never be able to remove. This noble giant of a country will be permanently reduced to the status of a sickly and enervated invalid. If that happens, we will all know whom to thank: none other than the current Chief Justice of the United States.
The dire circumstances you describe are indeed true and in the offing, should our cause be overwhelmed by the opposition in November. But let us not despair. To lift your spirits, I'll quote you some classic Jabotinsky: "...to the black clouds, my heart says: 'I don't believe in you. You will be dissipated. You will prove illusions, if we are strong enough to withstand this terrible storm.'" Let it be so, that we are "strong enough" once again.... in America, some three quarters of a century later.
Mannie Sherberg
Yael -- I am not despairing; in fact, for many years I have had Eli Weisel's dictum rattling around inside my brain: "A Jew never despairs." But I do think -- despite Krauthammer and a number of other conservatives I've read this morning -- that, in the final anaylsis, it's awfully difficult to shine a bright light on what happened yesterday. I'm having particular difficulty agreeing with you that Roberts served the interest of the Court yesterday. I see it differently; I believe Roberts -- wittingly or unwittingly -- undermined the Court. He didn't merely write an opinion -- he rewrote an existing law, something he is not Constitutionally empowered to do. I think that's the key point Justice Kennedy made in his dissent: only Congress has the right to label legislation as a tax -- and in this instance Congress chose not to do so. It seems to me that what Roberts did yesterday blurs the separation of powers -- and aggrandizes the Court at the expense of the Congress. Not a good thing for our country's future. The simple truth, it seems to me, is that -- in this past week -- the American people (in both the Obamacare and the Arizona decisions) have lost a huge chunk of their freedom, and the work we have ahead of us may make Hercules's cleaning of the Augean stables look like child's play. But none of this means that I'm despairing. If anything, I am more determined than ever -- as I know you also are -- to do whatever is in my power to "withstand this terrible storm." Khazak, khazak, v'nitkhazak!
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