SCOTUS, Mandates, and The Democrat Media Complex
There are two stories dominating the news cycles over the last few days: the Trayvon Martin / George Zimmerman case and the Supreme Court hearing oral arguments regarding ObamaCare's constitutionality. For pure media bias and how they create and push narratives on the American public, the Trayvon Martin coverage is textbook. But if you really want to see every aspect of the Democrat Media Complex, the story to watch is how the Supreme Court hearings are being covered.
It has all the elements of how the left uses the media and academia to push a viewpoint that favors Democrats. You have the biased media coverage. You have the "intellectual" elite and academia providing "expert" analysis. You have Democrats using those narratives to push their political agenda. RedState's Erick Erickson does a masterful job of laying out the politics in his piece "Sinners in the Hands of Anthony Kennedy." Read the whole thing. We'll touch on Erick's point about the intellectual narrative which is the foundation of the media coverage (and bias).
Justice Kennedy, raising the same point raised by so many on the right going back to the 1990′s when Republicans originally suggested the individual mandate as an alternative to Hillarycare (yes, many conservatives and libertarians opposed it then too), stunned the legal community yesterday because he deviated from a liberal echo chamber.
Consequently, his deviation can only be explained away by partisan politics, not legal jurisprudence. That so many liberal legal scholars disagree with Kennedy is proof he is a partisan. Already the White House and Democratic operatives are screeching that this is just like Bush vs. Gore all over again. They do not presume that the liberal justices are partisan — only the conservatives. On this argument of partisanship, as Steve Hayes notes, it is striking that the presumption in the Obamacare arguments is that one or more conservative justices will bolt left. In other words, the liberal justices are locked in and the conservatives are persuadable. How exactly does that make the conservative justices partisan and the liberal justices pure?
This is the basis upon which the mainstream press is covering the oral arguments. This is the foundation upon which the leftist blogs and opinion writers are building their narrative. The narrative being: Kennedy and the conservative justices are operating from a political standpoint while the four liberal justices are simply following the left's idea of solid jurisprudence. It is unfathomable to them that it might be the other way around. And, as Erickson notes, they're oblivious to the fact that at least a couple of the justices who aren't hard left ideologues seem to be wrestling with their decision, which is what one would hope all of them are doing.
From this foundation you get the breathless stories in which supposed journalists worry about what happens if the mandate is struck down. None of them worry that a Democrat controlled Congress rammed a massive, potentially unconstitutional bill through on a strictly party vote and what that means. Providing the public with that part of the story doesn't help the narrative. In their view, the great unwashed masses aren't to worry their silly little heads over such trivialities. Democrats couldn't have possibly done something wrong. It was someone else's fault they never bothered to think about the constitutional ramifications of the law they were writing, or worse, they did and didn't care. No, plebes, Democrats acted nobly. It's the evil conservatives on the Supreme Court who are the problem. And just to make sure you don't think otherwise, we enlightened journalists are not going to bring up the alternative: Democrats might have overreached.
Of course it's constitutional, they'll say. Heck, Republicans brought up the idea! A funny defense considering they are literally saying that it's constitutional because Republicans came up with it twenty years ago. Since when do they take Republicans' word on anything? It's clear they are struggling to salvage the facade. Leftist hacks like Markos Moulitsas and Greg Sargent floated the defense when it became clear that the mandate was in trouble and then, magically, the White House itself used the silly smoke screen. None of this addresses the matter the Supreme Court is trying to determine - whether the mandate is constitutional. The left's hacks, in uncanny sync with the White House, are throwing up noise to distract from the central question. Is someone from the lefty press giving them messaging tips? It wouldn't be the first time.
The Democrat Media Complex is in damage control mode. Now they're spinning the potential loss. Already their political strategists are being trotted out to explain how the mandate's defeat is actually a good thing. James Carville went on TV to say that the defeat of the mandate would be the best thing that happens to the Democrat party. As TownHall's Guy Benson explains, the logic is frankly insane:
In what possible universe does this make any sense? Carville says he believes the American people will magically go wild for the party that just epically bollixed up the entire system while in full and unimpeded control of the levers of federal power. Yeah, good luck with that.
The problem, of course, is that the mainstream media won't say any of what Benson said. They'll just go with the new "conventional wisdom" and push the narrative Carville laid out. The media will proclaim "At least Democrats tried!" and once again ignore that their attempt was unconstitutional. Oh sure, they'll say it was ruled unconstitutional, but only because the evil Republicans on the Supreme Court played politics and weren't ruling based on their interpretation of the constitution--which coincidentally lines up with the intent of the people who wrote it.
It's a vicious circle. With each pass, the narrative is bolstered by "experts" insisting, even after the mandate is struck down, that the mandate was constitutional. They'll play victim. The Democrats were wronged, never wrong. They had come up with the only solution to the problem and were foiled again by those meddling conservatives. Keep an eye out in the coming months as we wait for the Court's decision. We'll be treated to a stream of analysts and pundits laying out the case that "Democrats tried" and they will replay the propaganda campaign leading up the the passage of the law. The cherry-picked sob stories. The fearmongering over people who will lose coverage because the mandate was taken away. They will claim that the Supreme Court has lost respect over the years. It'll reach a fever pitch in June when the ruling is expected to be announced. All the while, the real issue in this entire saga--the fact that our constitution prohibits the federal government from doing certain things, regardless of how much we might like those things--will be left on the cutting room floor.
The only variable in this exercise will be how the Supreme Court rules on the case. The Democrat Media Complex will operate under the assumption that the mandate is dead, but now you know what they're going to do and anticipate the narrative and preempt it.