Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s haughty dismissal in 2009 of the question of the constitutionality of Obamacare is getting widely recycled, and this week she was reduced to incoherence, as this RealClearPolitics video shows. Excerpt:
“I’m a supporter of judicial review, I honor the Constitution in that regard,” Pelosi said to reporters. “That’s why we wrote our bill in a way that was Constitutional. I still feel pretty confident about it. And if and when — this game is not over. In March Madness, what happens when your team doesn’t win one — well wait a minute, let’s have the game.”
What?? Do Democrats really want to be led in the House by an obvious blithering idiot?
Whatever. This seems like a good opportunity, though, for me to repost an installment from my “Progressive Versus Progressive” series from a year ago, as Pelosi reminds us of how today’s “Progressives” are not merely incoherent, but intellectually lazy, too:
A lot of the people who today call themselves “Progressives” express disdain for considering constitutional limits on government power, and in so doing offer up another example of how they do not live up to the example of their forebears from the Progressive Era. Although the Progressives of old did a lot of violence to the Constitution and set the stage for our era of the “living Constitution” (which means that the philosophy that gave birth to it is dead), most of those old Progressives at least understood that they needed to argue the matter, and some of them even respected that some constitutional limits still existed.
I am struck by the fact that Senator Albert Beveridge (a Republican from Indiana), one of the leading Progressives and a wingman for TR, spent three days on the Senate floor in 1907 arguing extensively about the constitutionality of proposed child labor laws. He saw that a serious constitutional argument was necessary, and he made a strong case. This contrasts rather sharply with the answer given by the last Speaker of the House when asked by an impertinent reporter about the constitutional justification for Obamacare. Whereas Beveridge held forth for three days, Speaker Nancy Pelosi held forth for all of three words: “Are you serious?”
“From three days to three words” might well be taken as the constitutional regress of what is called “progressivism” today.