Penalties Aren’t Taxes

U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson

Today in Virginia, U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson struck down the compulsory insurance provision of the PPACA as unconstitutional. In particular, he noted that the “tax” for noncompliance was explicitly a penalty, according to the law as written, and thus is not actually a tax. Instead, he concluded that it’s punitive, and thus compels a citizen to engage in private commerce.

The case will most likely go to the Supreme Court, where I’d expect the same result.

Based on this decision, it seems to me that simply raising the base income tax, while offering a deduction or credit for having health insurance that meets a minimum bar, would pass muster. In other words, sticks bad, carrots good. But that, of course, would require new legislation, which seems unlikely to pass under any circumstances in the next two years.

Correction: In a previous version of this article, the accompanying photo of Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli was captioned as being a photo of Judge Henry E. Hudson. The photo has been corrected.


About Michael Weiss

Michael is now located at http://www.logarchism.com, along with Monotreme, filistro, and dcpetterson. Please make note of the new location.
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63 Responses to Penalties Aren’t Taxes

  1. Monotreme says:

    Well, I’m disappointed.

  2. Mr. Universe says:

    Not totally unexpected. This is why it was wrong to drop the public option. Hopefully somebody will figure out how to put that back in.

  3. dcpetterson says:

    Fortunately, this provision of the PPACA does not kick in until 2014. There is time after the 2012 election to fix it. Perhaps institute a single-payer plan?

    There were people hinting during the debate that this provision might be struck down, thus nearly requiring a fix in the form of a single-payer plan or some other default public option.

  4. mclever says:

    Nail=>Head, Michael. As usual.

  5. mclever says:

    DC & Mr. U, I hope you’re right about revisiting the Public/Single Payer option.

    Perhaps, under the guise of expanding of Medicare/Medicaid??

  6. Number Seven says:

    But the Supremes won’t overturn it because of the money this feeds the insurance parasites. If we ever get a public option, that I could see getting thrown out by the ass hats in SCROTUS (Supreme Court of the Republicans Of the United States).

  7. Number Seven says:

    I will add that I think this is a strange ruling. Could this also be applied to the home mortgage deduction. That is to say: are we renters being taxed because we can’t afford a home?

  8. mostlyilurk says:

    I thought that I read in an article this a.m. that two other courts had already upheld the mandate. Does anyone know whether or not that’s true. If so, it would be interesting to read the opinions to see how and why the courts reached different conclusions.

  9. fopplssiegeparty says:

    Thanks #7@11:54! The great laugh is worth having to clean my screen off.

  10. Bart DePalma says:

    The opinion is not surprising.

    Congress attempted to enact Obamacare under its power to regulate interstate commerce. The problem here is that the individual mandate compels a citizen who is not presently purchasing insurance and and is thus declining to engage in commerce to purchase a government approved insurance plan. It is hard to sell a refusal to engage in commerce as commerce which can be regulated by compelling someone to engage in commerce.

    During the debate over Obamacare, Congress and the White House continuously stated that the individual mandate was not a tax. Furthermore, the fine for failing to purchase Obamacare is facially a penalty for not performing an act. The Court has long held that penalties are not taxes.

    Congress was thus exceeding its powers by imposing an individual mandate. State can do this because their legislatures are not limited to enumerated powers as is Congress.

    BTW, an individual mandate for a government owned insurer (public option) is unlikely to fare any better because it has the same constitutional problems.

    The interesting issue was whether finding one part of Obamacare unconstitutional would invalidate the entire monster. Generally, Congress avoids this by inserting a severance provision which states that, if one part of the law is found illegal, the others will continue as before. The secret drafters of Obamacare neglected to insert such a provision.

    Perversely, it was the Dem Supreme Soviet style secrecy which saved the remainder of Obamacare. The court allowed the rest of the law to continue because there was no congressional record to determine Congress’ intent concerning severance, so the court erred toward constitutionality. This opinion offers Congress a moral hazard if there ever was one.

  11. Bart DePalma says:

    mostlyilurk says: I thought that I read in an article this a.m. that two other courts had already upheld the mandate. Does anyone know whether or not that’s true. If so, it would be interesting to read the opinions to see how and why the courts reached different conclusions.

    Two other districts essentially rubber stamped the Justice argument.

    The big decision is pending in a Florida district, which has 20 of the state AG cases consolidated and has express serious doubts during arguments that failure to engage in commerce is in fact commerce. Hopefully, the court will also find that Obamacare is non-severable and the entire monster is unconstitutional.

  12. Bart DePalma says:

    Another poll shows that doctors loathe Obamacare and will start cutting back their practices rather than sucking up losses.

    http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/obamacare_flight_of_the_mds_2zWYU1R9DYG4K6dJ8oj8gP

  13. mostlyilurk says:

    I’m wondering if I just missed all of the news coverage of the earlier decisions upholding the mandate – when were they issued?

  14. Bart DePalma says:

    mostlyilurk:

    I’m sorry, there was one previous decision out of Michigan, not two.

    http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/10/08/obamacare-passes-its-first-test/

  15. dcpetterson says:

    Bart, Federal judges in Virginia and Michigan have ruled in favor of the Obama administration in cases brought by independent parties. This was the third case to be decided by a Federal judge, and the first one that went against the Obama Administration.

    Interestingly, the judge in this case had been appointed by Bush 2, whereas the judges in the other two cases were appointed by Clinton. What’s happening is purely political, and has nothing to do with the Constitution. So it’s anybody’s guess how the Supreme Court is going to rule when it gets there.

    But even the judge in this case declined to strike down any more of the law, or even to slow its implementation. By the time the mandate is scheduled to go into effect, the question will be resolved one way or another — either it will have been found to be Constitutional, or Congress will have had a chance to simply institute a simple tax with a credit, or perhaps Medicare will be made available for all citizens.

  16. dcpetterson says:

    @mostlyilurk:

    I’m wondering if I just missed all of the news coverage of the earlier decisions upholding the mandate – when were they issued?

    Yes, the right-wing media didn’t want you to hear about those other cases.

  17. Mainer says:

    Or maybe DC the Republicans will manage to dump the wholething and then be able convince the American electorate that by doing so they have fixed all that is wrong with the health care system in this country. That should work until the system breaks all of us.

    Oh and in addition to being a Bush 2 appointee the following “News outlets have noted that Hudson, as an owner of Campaign Solutions, Inc. (a Republican consulting firm that worked the 2010 election cycle for John Boehner, Michele Bachmann, John McCain, and other GOP candidates who’ve placed the purported unconstitutionality of health care reform at the center of their political platforms) had a conflict of interest inasmuch as he has received between $32,000 and $117,000 from Campaign Solutions as a result of its work on this issue. Campaign Solutions, Inc. responded to these allegations by releasing a statement: “Judge Hudson has owned stock in Campaign Solutions going back 13 years to the founding of the company or well before he became a federal judge. Since joining the federal bench, he has fully disclosed his stock ownership in the company. He is a passive investor only, has no knowledge of the day to day operations of the firm, and has never discussed any aspect of the business with any official of the company”

    Oh I feel better. Pay no attention to the man behind the screen, nothing to see here. Sure glad he is passive.

  18. Mr. Universe says:

    So it’s anybody’s guess how the Supreme Court is going to rule when it gets there.

    Roberts, Scalia, and Alito? No guesswork necessary there. Let’s hope nominating Kagan and Sotomeyor pays off.

  19. Jean says:

    These kinds of challenges often happen after major legislation is enacted. In fact, legal challenges to the Social Security Act, the Civil Rights Act, and the Voting Rights Act were all filed – and all failed.

    Now, lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act are losing in federal court.

    The list of cases challenging the Affordable Care Act that have been dismissed by the courts includes:

    Sollars v. Reid -dismissed 4/2/10
    Taitz v. Obama – dismissed 4/14/10
    Archer v. U.S. Senate – dismissed 4/12/10
    Heghmann v. Sebelius – dismissed 5/14/10
    Mackenzie v. Shaheen – dismissed 5/26/10
    Fountain Hills Tea Party Patriots v. Sebelius – dismissed 6/2/10
    Coalition for Parity Inc. v. Sebelius – dismissed on 6/21/10
    U.S. Citizens Association v. OMB – dismissed 8/2/10
    Baldwin v. Sebelius – dismissed 8/27/10
    Burlsworth v. Holder – dismissed 9/8/10
    Schreeve v. Obama – dismissed 11/4/10

    http://m.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/12/08/health-reform-wins-another-round-court

  20. Bart DePalma says:

    DC:

    Thanks for the second case. I have only really been following the FL case because of it’s size.

    Jean:

    I suspect most of those dismissals were on standing grounds.

  21. Bart DePalma says:

    These cases are far more important than the fate of Obamacare. If the Courts actually hold that failure to engage in the commerce the government demands is actually economic activity subject to regulation under the Commerce Clause, then the progressive project of eliminating constitutionally limited government will have been achieved. Congress can claim that any direction of personal conduct is authorized under the Commerce Clause.

  22. Jean says:

    Bart,

    That may be. Why don’t you do the research and let us know the basis for the dismissal. You’re the lawyer.

    Opponents have filed at least 20 separate suits against the legislation. Federal judges have dismissed 14 of these challenges, and at least two separate judges questioned the merit of the plaintiffs’ claim that compelling individuals to purchase insurance fell outside the purview of the Commerce Clause. As Judge George Caram Steeh of the Eastern District of Michigan put it in October, forgoing insurance and putting off needed care only increases the costs of coverage and raises everyone’s premiums:

    There is a rational basis to conclude that, in the aggregate, decisions to forego insurance coverage in preference to attempting to pay for health care out of pocket drive up the cost of insurance. The costs of caring for the uninsured who prove unable to pay are shifted to health care providers, to the insured population in the form of higher premiums, to governments, and to taxpayers. The decision whether to purchase insurance or to attempt to pay for health care out of pocket, is plainly economic. These decisions, viewed in the aggregate, have clear and direct impacts on health care providers, taxpayers, and the insured population who ultimately pay for the care provided to those who go without insurance. These are the economic effects addressed by Congress in enacting the Act and the minimum coverage provision.

  23. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Bart said: “Congress can claim that any direction of personal conduct is authorized under the Commerce Clause.”

    Not unless two things are going on concurrently:

    1) It involves some form of commerce.

    2) It is demonstrated that the form of commerce, or lack, materially effects the majority of other Americans. (Ie. In the case of health insurance: Using emergency room services as one’s primary care facilitator and not paying for such materially effects the majority of the rest of us in the form of higher hospital costs and higher taxes. When one is required to purchase insurance to pay for those previously “free” services, there is a measurable savings in both healthcare costs and taxes needed to pay otherwise.)

  24. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Jean said: “Bart,
    That may be. Why don’t you do the research and let us know the basis for the dismissal. You’re the lawyer.

    Given the available evidence for Bart’s research abilities, I have doubts that Bart could shepardize cases if you gave him a crookstaff and a sheepdog.

  25. dcpetterson says:

    This particular activist judge campaigned or raised funds for a variety of Republican candidates last year who opposed the PPACA. He should have recused himself. He’s a corrupt partisan and he decided the case on that basis.

  26. dcpetterson says:

    Shortchain, thank you for posting that link! The money quote is the opening passage:

    Today’s federal ruling striking down the Obama health care law is powerful proof that the law is, in fact, constitutional.

    This apparent paradox emerges from the bizarre new legal theories that Judge Henry Hudson had to invent in order to invalidate the law – theories that, if taken seriously, would randomly destroy large parts of federal law.

    Of course arrogant Teaperism doesn’t care about being a nation of laws. The Republican attempt to disassemble and distort and generally destroy the Constitution is in full swing, and has been since the time of Reagan.They want simply to rule by fiat. So the idea of inventing legal excuses to “justify” their fantasies (see: Yoo et al) is nothing new.

  27. dcpetterson says:

    By the way .. Republicans didn’t even explain why they opposed the 9/11 Responders bill.

    They have no morals. They may not use 9/11 as an excuse anymore for anything.

    Morally bankrupt. The lot of them.

  28. dcpetterson says:

    WaPo has a relevant article for our resident teapers —

    Health-reform advocates have little to fear from judge’s ruling

    It’s a partisan stunt. The law is Constitutional. The Right is delusional. Health Care Reform is here to stay.

  29. robert verdi says:

    dc peterson,
    what part of nothing gets passed till the tax issue is settled did Schumer and Gillebrand not understand? By the way don’t be surprised if this week or next week the bill passes so that the negative policy impact of the first no vote ends up being minimal.

  30. robert verdi says:

    As for this ruling, I don’t know what the Supreme Court will do. I do know top Dems should have taken the constitutional arguments against their proposals more seriously rather relying on the argument that “interstate commerce” and “general welfare” give them unfettered authority to do anything.

  31. shortchain says:

    robert,

    You do mean “top Republicans” — the mandate was a Republican plan back when it was originally proposed, and remained a Republican plan until after the Democrats adopted it — paradoxically, in order to attract Republican support.

  32. dcpetterson says:

    @orbert verdi

    what part of nothing gets passed till the tax issue is settled did Schumer and Gillebrand not understand?

    The part where the Republicans put the whims of their rich overlords ahead of the needs of the nation. Ahead of the needs of the 9/11 First Responders. Ahead of the needs of the unemployed. Ahead of our national security.

    There were vital bills ready to be voted on. Republicans held up the business of the nation in order to insure that the wealthiest 2% get a 4% tax cut.

    Despicable. Deplorable. Without any redeeming conscience or morality. Arrogant and corrupt, and completely out of touch with the American people. 70% of Americans want passage of START. Overwhelming majorities want repeal of DADT. These elitist and authoritarian Republicans want nothing other than tax cuts for the wealthy. Which another 70% of Americans opposed.

  33. Bart DePalma says:

    shortchain says: Even the conservatives are having trouble with this activist judge’s attempt to change decades of settled law.

    :::chuckle:::

    Can any of you actually discuss what Comstock holds by reading the case without taking it from the profs at the Volokh Conspiracy?

  34. dcpetterson says:

    ::: chuckle :::

    Bart, are you able to see anything outside of the echo chamber in your head?

  35. shortchain says:

    Bart,

    Argue the law? I’m not in the mood for sophistry this morning. Maybe if I knew an honest lawyer — but that would be a contradiction in terms, of course.

    Frankly, I lean more in the direction of the Balkinization link. But we must always remember that the law contains — and is designed to contain — many mutually contradictory principles. Which one governs any particular situation and will be proclaimed as the basis for a particular ruling is pretty much a crap-shoot under the Roberts court.

    There’s nothing in it for me except the amusement and a mild tickle for my cynicism
    .

  36. Bart DePalma says:

    dcpetterson says: Health-reform advocates have little to fear from judge’s ruling

    Are you trying to reassure yourself? The WP writer appears to be trying to reassure himself, but only shows his ignorance of the ruling:

    Hudson ruled against the government, but he didn’t stop it. He refused the plaintiff’s request for an injunction against the legislation’s continued implementation. That means the government can carry on setting up the legislation even as the legal process continues to work itself out.

    Numnuts, if the Supremes affirm the Holland decision and find the individual mandate is unconstitutional, then all the government’s preparations to enforce the mandate are similarly unconstitutional.

    And, second, he refused to overrule anything but the individual mandate. The real danger to health-care overhaul is not that the courts will strike down the individual mandate. That would be a problem, but there are a variety of ways to restructure the individual mandate such that it doesn’t penalize anyone for deciding not to do something (which is the core of the conservatives’ legal argument against the provision).

    The press’ ignorance of the law can be astounding sometimes. The VA legal argument was that Congress exceeded its powers under the Commerce and Necessary & Proper Clauses. It was the government who claimed, after the White House and Congress repeatedly denied this, that Congress really enacted the individual mandate pursuant to its taxing powers.

    Allow me to summarize why Obamacare socialists should not be overly upset about this ruling. The heart of Obamacare is empowering HHS to run the health insurance industry and the courts are not addressing this power. The individual mandate was to pay for all the new mandates Obamacare is imposing on health insurance. Without the individual mandate, the government will drive private insurers out of business, paving the way for government owned as well as directed health insurance.

    In reality, there was no effective individual mandate because the penalty fines did not begin to make buying health insurance cost effective for the young and wealthy who make up this pool. Thus, if the court actually enforces the constitution and finds the individual mandate to be unconstitutional, it has very little practical effect on the havoc Obamacare is playing with your health insurance premiums.

  37. fopplssiegeparty says:

    Bart, it’s “numbnuts.”

  38. dcpetterson says:

    ::: chuckle :::

    Bart, it bears repeating — are you able to see anything outside of the echo chamber in your head?

  39. shortchain says:

    Isn’t it one of Bart’s brags that he doesn’t resort to “name-calling”?

    Evidently that is yet another area where his pride turns out to be false.

  40. dcpetterson says:

    Bart, be careful what you wish for. From the WaPo article I linked (emphasis mine):

    The individual mandate was created by conservatives who realized that it was the only way to get universal coverage into the private market. Otherwise, insurers turn away the sick, public anger rises, and, eventually, you get some kind of government-run, single-payer system, much as they did in Europe, and much as we have with Medicare.

    If Republicans succeed in taking it off the table, they may sign the death warrant for private insurers in America: Eventually, rising cost pressures will force more aggressive reforms than even Obama has proposed, and if conservative judges have made the private market unfixable by removing the most effective way to deal with adverse selection problems, the only alternative will be the very constitutional, but decidedly non-conservative, single-payer path.

    So, while you’re joyfully celebrating the partisanship and corruption of a Republican judge in Virgina, be aware that his blind stupidity, if allowed to carry the day, may well give the liberals what we want — true single-payer universal health care.

    You argued,
    The press’ ignorance of the law can be astounding sometimes. The VA legal argument was that Congress exceeded its powers under the Commerce and Necessary & Proper Clauses. It was the government who claimed, after the White House and Congress repeatedly denied this, that Congress really enacted the individual mandate pursuant to its taxing powers.

    That was, of course, already addressed in an article previously-linked by shortchain:

    this reasoning creates two remarkable new doctrines: federal courts have authority to police the public statements of politicians, and Congress must expressly invoke all possible constitutional bases for legislation. Both of these rules are unheard of, because they would pointlessly blow up large parts of the U.S. Code. This is constitutional interpretation undertaken in the spirit of a saboteur in wartime.

    Judge Hudson had to invent a number of absurd and utterly novel arguments, ones that would invalidate much of the Federal code. His ruling won’t stand scrutiny in a higher court. He, like many on the arrogant Right, live in a world of their own imagining, in which their totalitarian desire to rule by fiat knows no Constitutional limitations nor succumbs to any rules of logic or precedence. Nor does it have any contact with the needs or will of We the People.

  41. Bart DePalma says:

    dcpetterson:

    WP: The individual mandate was created by conservatives who realized that it was the only way to get universal coverage into the private market.

    Really? What “conservatives” created this socialist direction of your life?

    If Republicans succeed in taking it off the table, they may sign the death warrant for private insurers in America: Eventually, rising cost pressures will force more aggressive reforms than even Obama has proposed…

    Or the havoc Obamacare is imposing on Americans will intensify the calls for full repeal. What the numnuts reporter fails to understand is that the individual mandate was meant to force young folks to pay for Obamacare to keep premiums from going through the roof. As premiums go through the roof, folks are not going to be demanding more of the same.

    Finally, Professor Koppelman is discussing what is normally known as legislative history. Koppelman is pretty far left and views the CC and N&PC as rubber stamps for whatever Congress wants. He is the one proposing a radical new doctrine.

  42. dcpetterson says:

    @Bart

    WP: The individual mandate was created by conservatives who realized that it was the only way to get universal coverage into the private market.

    Really? What “conservatives” created this socialist direction of your life?

    Your question bears no logical relationship to the statement you appear to be questioning.

    What the numnuts reporter fails to understand is that the individual mandate was meant to force young folks to pay for Obamacare to keep premiums from going through the roof.

    What you appear to be unable to comprehend is that this is the whole concept of insurance. Everyone pays in. Those who end up requiring care draw funds out. Those who do not require care subsidize them. That’s the whole point. If you object to that idea, then you dislike the concept of insurance. You’ve every right to dislike it, of course. So do what you can to dismantle the insurance industry, if you like.

    Finally, Professor Koppelman is discussing what is normally known as legislative history.

    No, he is discussing whether campaign statements should be included in the legislative history, which Judge Hudson apparently desired to do. He is also questioning whether all possible Constitutional arguments should be anticipated and included in the legislative history, which Judge Hudson apparently desires. Perhaps you need to read the article.

  43. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Bart (in his infinite ignorance brought about by his ideological blindness) said: “WP: The individual mandate was created by conservatives who realized that it was the only way to get universal coverage into the private market.

    Really? What “conservatives” created this socialist direction of your life?

    Bart, you are truly an ideological ass! FUBAR! Not to mention the fact that it’s better to be a “numbnut” as opposed to a complete numbskull! From Kaiser Health no less:

    n November, 1993, Sen. John Chafee, R-R.I., introduced what was considered to be one of the main Republican health overhaul proposals: “A bill to provide comprehensive reform of the health care system of the United States.”

    Titled the “Health Equity and Access Reform Today Act of 1993,” it had 21 co-sponsors, including two Democrats (Sens. Boren and Kerrey).

    . . .

    Title I: Basic Reforms to Expand Access to Health Insurance Coverage and to Ensure Universal Coverage – Subtitle A: Universal Access – Provides access to health insurance coverage under a qualified health plan for every citizen and lawful permanent resident of the United States.

    . . .

    Subtitle F: Universal Coverage – Requires each citizen or lawful permanent resident to be covered under a qualified health plan or equivalent health care program by January 1, 2005.

    . . .

    COSPONSORS(20), ALPHABETICAL :
    Sen Bennett, Robert F. [UT] – 11/22/1993
    Sen Bond, Christopher S. [MO] – 11/22/1993
    Sen Boren, David L. [OK] – 5/17/1994, Dem.
    Sen Cohen, William S. [ME] – 11/22/1993
    Sen Danforth, John C. [MO] – 11/22/1993
    Sen Dole, Robert J. [KS] – 11/22/1993
    Sen Domenici, Pete V. [NM] – 11/22/1993
    Sen Durenberger, Dave [MN] – 11/22/1993
    Sen Faircloth, Lauch [NC] – 11/22/1993
    Sen Gorton, Slade [WA] – 11/22/1993
    Sen Grassley, Chuck [IA] – 11/22/1993
    Sen Hatch, Orrin G. [UT] – 11/22/1993
    Sen Hatfield, Mark O. [OR] – 11/22/1993
    Sen Kassebaum, Nancy Landon [KS] – 11/22/1993
    Sen Kerrey, J. Robert [NE] – 5/17/1994, Dem.
    Sen Lugar, Richard G. [IN] – 11/22/1993
    Sen Simpson, Alan K. [WY] – 11/22/1993
    Sen Specter, Arlen [PA] – 11/22/1993
    Sen Stevens, Ted [AK] – 11/22/1993
    Sen Warner, John [VA] – 11/22/1993
    That’s NINETEEN REPUBLICANS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    You asked, I answered.

    Now, since I have so utterly dissed your punk-ass, crawl back down in that ideological hole your ignorant, smarmy ass resides in and STFU until you can contribute meaningful, factual dialogue.

    Ignorant, ideological ass.

  44. Bart DePalma says:

    Max:

    Republican does not necessarily equal conservative.

    Next, this is what you get when the GOP is not the Party of No defending the voters and instead tries to compromise with socialists.

    The reason these people were not fired by the voters in 1994 is because their Hillarycare alternative did not pass and their was no Tea Party to hold them accountable.

    The Tea Party fired Bennett for similar RINO behavior last cycle and the survivors from this group seeking re-election in 2012 are similarly in trouble.

  45. drfunguy says:

    Republican does not equal extreme right wing conservative teaper.
    Pretty much all elected officials in the US federal government are conservative.
    See lack of single payer option; continued discrimination for sexual orientation; war on [some] drugs; Iraq invasion; “Patriot Act”; no-bid contracts to Haliburton; Wall Street bailout; support for globalization, big Pharma, big Ag, and so on.

  46. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    I knew you would come back with that lame-ass retort. So I want you to publicly debate the conservative bona fides of the following, several of whom are still in office almost two decades later:
    Sen Bond, Christopher S. [MO]
    Sen Danforth, John C. [MO]
    Sen Dole, Robert J. [KS]
    Sen Domenici, Pete V. [NM]
    Sen Faircloth, Lauch [NC]
    Sen Gorton, Slade [WA]
    Sen Grassley, Chuck [IA]
    Sen Hatch, Orrin G. [UT] .
    Sen Lugar, Richard G. [IN]
    Sen Simpson, Alan K. [WY]
    Sen Stevens, Ted [AK]

    BTW, YOUR twisted definition of “conservative” is <primae facie NOT VALID, as you attempt to make EVERYTHING into your own image. The dictionary definition applies. Furthermore, degree is of no import, again, as YOUR OPINION is valueless.

    con·serv·a·tive   [kuhn-sur-vuh-tiv] –adjective:
    1. disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditional ones, and to limit change.
    2. cautiously moderate or purposefully low: a conservative estimate.
    3. traditional in style or manner; avoiding novelty or showiness: conservative suit.

    You’ve suffered a terrible beat-down, bitch. Your ignorance has been exposed again. Now weepily try to rationalize you way out of it.

  47. Bart DePalma says:

    drfunguy says: Republican does not equal extreme right wing conservative teaper.

    You are right. There are more Tea Party supporters than GOP (or Dem) voters. Your “extreme right wing” is the conservative plurality of the country.

    Pretty much all elected officials in the US federal government are conservative.

    LMAO! When compared with the what? The Spanish socialists?

    Liberal Dems would have run from the Obama platform before 1974.

  48. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    BTW, you just ADMITTED to the tie-in as GOP when you used the term RINO. You know, as in REPUBLICAN In Name Only! “The Tea Party fired Bennett for similar RINO behavior . . .” Proof that YOU use the terms interchangeably.

    Your inconsistency demonstrates your inability to stay with rational thought.

    You my PUNK, bitch! Bring me a cigarette, lit, and don’t get your nasty spit on the filter, either!

  49. Bart DePalma says:

    Max:

    Modern Reagan conservatism is closer to classical liberalism advancing individual liberty.

    Reactionary conservatism more closely applies to the modern left.

    Who is citing 1930s cases to defend government elimination of individual liberty against the will of the voters?

  50. Bart DePalma says:

    Max:

    Try not to spit when you type.

    I never posted that Republicans do not go off the reservation and support t socialist nonsense like the individual mandate. Ratherm I stated that conservatives do not. If you support socialist nonsense like the individual mandate, you are by your own acts not a conservative.

    Why does a proud leftist such as yourself feel the need to hide behind the GOP? Boy, you folks are insecure.

  51. GROG says:

    Max continues to make a complete idiot of himself at the hands of Bart but keeps coming back for more. Gotta respect that.

  52. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    GROG, once again, is incapable of independent thought or recognizing truth as he ideologically fellates Bart.

  53. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Once again, as I predicted he would do, Bart demonstrates his complete and total lack of knowledge of the difference between “rational” and “rationalize”, as he assumes the latter will carry his argument.

  54. Mule Rider says:

    “You my PUNK, bitch! Bring me a cigarette, lit, and don’t get your nasty spit on the filter, either!”

    “…as he ideologically fellates Bart.”

    Is this what passes for “Reasonable Political Discourse” as advertised above?

    The silence towards Max (and similar comments by the Angry Left – count people like Number Seven among their ranks too) and his comments makes all of the condemnations of my abrasive, combative, and vitriolic rhetoric ring pretty hollow.

    No wonder people take the Angry Left less seriously than the Angry Right. With the Angry Right, you get some old man shouting about the government keeping its hands off his Medicare. Almost comic relief. The Angry Left gives us the vulgar imagery of ideological fellatio.

    Hmmm…

  55. shiloh says:

    hmm, MR rationalizing his abrasive, combative, and vitriolic er kindergarten rhetoric …

    The old but, but, but he’s almost as bad as me excuse lol

    Indeed, when a “progressive” childish spoiled brat uses (((26))) “F Bombs” in one post like Mule, then we may discuss his winger troll deflection further, eh.

    Or not.

  56. drfunguy says:

    @Bart: LMAO! When compared with the what? The Spanish socialists?
    I gave a (partial) list of conservative stances shared by our representatives, either you didn’t bother to read it or are ignoring it.
    You have not provided any criteria for what you consider conservative.
    You routinely misapply libertarian (and _so_ many other political, scientific, legal and economic terms) so until I see a definition I have no idea what you mean.
    Let me know when you finish your dictionary of Bartspeak.

  57. filistro says:

    If you ever get lonely for Muley and want to see him come galloping back into the corral, all you have to do is talk a little bit dirty.

    Muley can hear a whisper of scatology or obscenity from miles away 😉

  58. Jean says:

    Mule,

    Awwwww, you know that we still love you , Mule. But you do occasionally go WAY over the top and your “over the top” is in a class of it’s own – although I will say that you took it extremely well when Mr U cleaned up your blue language, turning it into flowers and such. Maybe you could request that the same “cleaning” be done to other’s blue language.

  59. shiloh says:

    Maybe you could request

    hmm, a winger troll making a request at a liberal blog ?!?

    Interesting concept …

    A conservative would have to rely on “our” Christian er progressive empathy! 😀

  60. dcpetterson says:

    Mule

    With the Angry Right, you get some old man shouting about the government keeping its hands off his Medicare. Almost comic relief.

    That is as wonderful a characterization as I can imagine of the nuttier aspects of the Right.

    Of course, they also carry guns to rallies where the President is present. That’s a bit less funny, and more reminiscent of America’s darkest moments. But it was Abe Lincoln (a prominent RINO) who said, “I laugh because I must not cry.”

    And yes, we on the Left can get offensive and nutty too. Jerry Brown, the once and present Governor of California, used to be known as “Governor Moonbeam.” And Abbie Hoffman made a career out of being offensive (though he also was sidesplittingly funny — on purpose even).

    Then there is Ron (not Rand) Paul, and Bernie Sanders. The extremes in the U.S. Congress. Two guys I can respect, even when I disagree with them, or recognize their extremeness. If more people on the far ends of America’s politics were like them, we’d be far better off.

  61. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    MR,

    As Bart pulled his usual tactic of NOT engaging in “reasonable political discourse” by:

    a) namecalling (numnuts(sic))
    b) insulting with ill intent (Obamacare socialists)
    c) lying (feigning ignorance that the 1993 GOP proposed health care bill was a almost EXACT blueprint for the 2009 CONGRESSIONAL bill)
    d) lying again (as the 2009 legislation was 95% Congressional and maybe 5% White House it is problematical to call it Obamacare)

    none of which can be considered “reasonable” or true “discourse” (look up the definition), I feel no compunction to adhere to such and shall return fire with fire.

    At any time that Bart, GROG or any other individual wishes to engage in conservative leaning discourse in a reasonable manner (it IS possible, as I did so for YEARS in the yellow-dog South in the 60’s), then I, personally, will have no need to respond and attack in the same manner as they currently exhibit.

    But thank you for your concern.

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