Ken Cuccinelli at RedState: ‘You want to elect people you don’t have to lobby’
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who will next make a run at the governor’s mansion, was the first to get a suit against ObamaCare into court. In the aftermath of the Supreme Court decision upholding ObamaCare, he offered the RedState Gathering in Jacksonville, Florida a three-point to-do list for moving ahead with repeal.
First, Cuccinelli pointed to the Supreme Court’s decision, which made it clear that the individual mandate is a tax. “If it’s a tax, then it’s a revenue bill,” he explained. “It can’t be filibustered in the Senate. Repeal no longer takes 60 senators. It only needs 50… We can repeal ObamaCare on November 6. Three senators and a new President gets us there.”
Granted, those new senators will have to be ready to vote for repeal – ideally without having to be dragged kicking and screaming to the vote. “You want to elect people you don’t have to lobby,” Cuccinelli advised, effusively praising Texas Senate candidate, and earlier RedState speaker, Ted Cruz as such a candidate.
Cuccinelli parenthetically noted that a review of the oral arguments before the Court reveal the opportunism of the justices who voted to uphold the law. On the first two days of argument, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg adamantly insisted that the individual mandate was not a tax, but later she “threw it overboard to get the outcome she wanted,” as Cuccinelli described it. She wanted to uphold the law under the Commerce Clause, which would almost infinitely expand the powers claimed by the government under the regulation of interstate commerce, but she was willing to settle for invoking the tax authority, if that was the only avenue available to avoid striking ObamaCare down. In other words, “she didn’t change her mind. She abandoned her position.”
This might lead us to expect some more highly convenient abandonment of positions if a repeal bill is passed with fifty votes, and of course there’s always the chance Republicans won’t win those extra Senate seats in 2012. The other two items on Cuccinelli’s to-do list therefore involved resisting the formation of the ObamaCare public exchanges and its Medicaid expansion at the state level. He sees already overstressed state budgets cracking under the load ObamaCare will drop on them, a threat that should be sufficiently menacing to draw some Democrat support to resist in certain state legislatures.
Cuccinelli warned that while the federal government would initially provide some assistance to states for shouldering the load from ObamaCare, it’s already scheduled to diminish, and will very likely diminish faster than expected, because it’s a financial commitment Washington will have a great deal of trouble keeping. Knocking a few zeroes off the budget figures to make them comprehensible, he asked the audience to imagine the federal government as a guy who “makes $22,000 per year, spends $38,000 a year, and has $168,000 in credit card bills. Do you believe that guy is going to pay you anything in four years? No! The only way he could do it is… oh, yeah, print money.”
“All things have limits,” Cuccinelli observed, drawing upon his engineering background for some simple truths. “Math doesn’t lie.” Given the federal government’s track record of failing to live up to financial commitments it makes to the states, governors and state legislatures are likely to find themselves holding a lot of worthless I.O.U.s for ObamaCare funding when math finally catches up with Uncle Sam. Cuccinelli described this as a “roach motel” for the states: “once you get in, you can’t get out.”
He described ObamaCare as a Pandora’s box, still waiting to unleash more restrictions on liberty from its unfathomable depths. “There are still 150 to 200 rule-makings yet to be done by Her Majesty, Secretary Sebelius, and others,” Cuccinelli warned, referring to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. The mandate infringing on religious liberty to force the provision of insurance coverage for contraceptives and abortifacients was merely one of them. “If they can take away that much liberty with one rule-making,” he marveled, “imagine what they could do with another hundred and fifty?”
A well-run state government, in Cuccinelli’s view, avoids “exposing our citizens directly to the federal government. Part of the rationale for the relationship between states and the federal government was that states would serve, in effect, as a buffer. But if all we have the authority to do is act as an administrative officer, and we have no flexibility in how to implement this, why put ourselves between the federal government and the citizenry? That just confuses the citizens about who is responsible for this disaster that is being foisted upon them.”