February 12, 2010 [LINK / comment]
Health care nullification
Even if the Democrats in Congress somehow manage to pass a health care bill imposing insurance requirements on all Americans, despite their recent loss of a filibuster-proof Senate supermajority, it may not be the end of the (free) world. In Virginia, the General Assembly is working on legislation that would nullify the mandatory elements of any Federal health care law. Del. Bob Marshall is the lead sponsor of the Health Care Freedom Act, which would uphold an individual's right not to participate in a health-care plan, and would prohibit any penalty, tax or fine on anyone who opts out. See Washington Post. Good!
For some people, this raises a troubling can of worms that could lead to a full-blown constitutional crisis. Actually, however, there is a strong precedent for this kind of legislative initiative: the Virginia Resolution of 1798. Read what James Madison, the "Father of the Constitution," wrote about the principle of interposition in an article by Michael Boldin at the Tenth Amendment Center. Hat tip to Ryan Setliff, on Facebook. Who knows, maybe states' rights are coming back into style for the first time since the 1860s.
R.I.P. John Murtha
Rep. John Murtha (D-PA), age 77, passed away this week after undergoing gallbladder surgery. He was one of the first Vietnam War veterans in Congress, and in late 2006 played a key role in helping Nancy Pelosi become Speaker of the House, becoming her right-hand man. The Washington Post referred to him "master of pork-barrel politics," for all the Federal funds he brought home for highway construction and other projects. In the late 1970s, he was "an unindicted co-conspirator in the Abscam scandal." Until the very end, he was defiantly unapologetic; in 2009 he said, "If I'm corrupt, it's because I take care of my district." For information on the future I-67 "Murtha Highway," see pahighways.com. When I lived in the Washington area in the 1980s I knew someone who had worked in Murtha's office for a while.
R.I.P. Charlie Wilson
Coincidentally, former Rep. Charlie Wilson (D-TX), the protagonist of the movie "Charlie Wilson's War," died of a heart attack on Wednesday at the age of 76. In the 1980s he made secret deals to get money to provide anti-aircraft missiles and other weapons to the Afghan mujahedeen, help to defeat the Soviet Union. He an amazing character "known in Washington as 'Good Time Charlie' for his reputation as a hard-drinking womanizer." See the Washington Post.
They just don't make congressman like Murtha and Wilson any more...
G.W. Bush: miss me yet?
The "grassroots" may miss him, but me, not so much.