The Corner

Bill Buckner’s Legs

Re: yesterday’s Supreme calamity, put me down in the Victor, Andy, and Jonah camp. There’s no way to rouge this porker of a decision from the chief justice as anything other than a stinging defeat for the forces of personal liberty. When you have to tell your troops that they “really” won, even as they flee the battlefield, you’re out of your mind.

As Professor Hanson notes, “rationalizing defeats is no way to learn from them.” Besides, counter-factual rationalization is the Left’s game; post-modern to a fault, they exist in an imaginary universe of dark shadows and dog whistles. So what if Roberts drop-kicked the Commerce Clause? The same end was accomplished by grabbing the taxing power instead, then helpfully rewriting the law and the administration’s own testimony to “correct” what Congress meant to say. 

True, Romney had a big fund-raising day yesterday, but so what? I don’t buy the notion that Obamacare will now be the issue heading into the election; for the vast majority of Americans, that got settled yesterday, and it will be child’s play for the Left to paint conservatives as whiny sore losers and crude revanchists. Romney will again be forced to explain exactly why Romneycare was right for Massachusetts but Obamacare is wrong for America — and appeals to the Tenth Amendment just aren’t going to cut it.

We’ll probably never know why Roberts — with the country begging for clarity and resolution — walked right up to the line and then backed away. For conservatives, yesterday’s defeat is like the Red Sox in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series: one strike away . . . and then the ball rolls through Buckner’s legs.

Michael Walsh — Mr. Walsh is the author of the novels Hostile Intent and Early Warning and, writing as frequent NRO contributor David Kahane, Rules for Radical Conservatives.


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