A Counterintuitive Feast of Omnibus Blogging

I’ve finally finished a huge project that has been weighing me down for the last couple of months (an overdue book manuscript), so I’m going to pick up the pace of my blogging here on Power Line.  Starting now.

In the “things-aren’t-always-what-they-seem” department, the last few days have seen a veritable train wreck of inexplicable events that leave you scratching your head about whether some or all of these could possibly indicate the opposite of what they seem to mean.

First, Obama and Sarkozy somehow supposedly forgot the old adage that any microphone set in front of you is a live microphone, and indiscreetly trash Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.  Sounds perfectly plausible: we know both leaders dislike Israel and its leadership.  You’d hardly think they’d need to make the point to each other.  A deliberately mistake—or disinformation, to cover for the fact that we’re getting ready to collaborate with an Israeli strike against Iran?  Stranger things have happened.

Second, Herman Cain.  The Hermanator.  This is tougher to sort out.  If you’re sitting in Democrat Central Command, the person in the GOP field you’d most like to run against is probably Cain.  (I like the guys tons, but don’t think he’s ready for prime time presidential politics.  I know a lot of Power Line readers think otherwise, and that’s fine.)  So why collaborate in the character assassination campaign against him?  Two theories.  First, as with Clarence Thomas 20 years ago, one of the main imperatives of liberalism is to keep all blacks on the liberal plantation, and the Democratic Party simply cannot tolerate a minority who departs from the liberal line, and cannot take the risk of a conservative black man breaking out of the pack and potentially leading a chunk of the black vote away from its monolithic support of the Democratic Party.

The second theory is more conspiratorially devious: the liberal attack machine has targeted Cain precisely to help Cain win the GOP nomination!  There’s no better way to get conservatives to rally around one of their own than to have an attack spearheaded by Gloria Allred.  Hmmm.  I’ll need to think about that one for a bit.

Third, the Wall Street Journal yesterday took editorial note of the surprising opinion out of the DC Circuit Court of Appeals upholding Obamacare by a 2 – 1 vote.  The Journal was surprised that the opinion came from Judge Larry Silberman, one of the legendary conservative jurists of our time, appointed to the bench back in the 1980s by Ronaldus Magnus.  If anyone on the appellate bench could be relied upon to rack up Obamacare, you’d think it would be Silberman.  Maybe my favorite opinion of his was his ruling striking down the independent counsel law in the appeal of Morrison v. Olson back around 1986 or 87, on strict separation of powers grounds.  (The Supreme Court disagreed, overruling him 7 – 1; Scalia was the lone dissenter.)

But maybe Silberman is up to something here.  He rested his “sparing” opinion on the precedent of the infamous 1941 Wickard v. Filburn case, one of the most preposterous decisions ever rendered by our robed masters.  That’s the one where the Court ruled that Ohio farmer Roscoe Filburn couldn’t grow wheat above his government-mandated quota even if it was for his own use and not for sale in interstate commerce.  It blew out the walls of the commerce clause.  The Court’s reasoning was a fancy footwork version of “What if everybody did this?  Think of the effect this would have on the economy?”

Try this thought experiment: Imagine what liberals would say if Congress decided to regulate abortion on the grounds that while no single abortion has a discernable effect on commerce, an abortion—taken together with hundreds of thousands of other abortions—would have a depressing effect on the commerce of baby formula, bassinets, teddy bears, children’s clothing (not to mention the Social Security and Medicare actuarial balances), so therefore we must invoke the commerce clause to restrict abortion.  I suspect liberals would suddenly find the reasoning of Wickard somewhat less convincing.

So is perhaps the good judge Silberman attempting to force the issue of the Court’s reconsidering Wickard, which it otherwise might try to evade?  Liberal intervenors worked very very hard to keep the Wickard question on the sidelines of the Gonzalez v. Raich case (about medical marijuana) a few years back.  But the Obamacare individual mandate makes it ripe again.

I’m just trying to get everyone’s counter-intuitive thinking machines going in high gear.  I blame Mickey Kaus for this perverse way of seeing the world.

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