Miscellaneous musings from the perspective of a lefty (both senses) atheist with a warped sense of humor.

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Location: Madison, WI, United States

I am a geek, but I do have some redeeming social skills. I love other people's dogs, cats, and kids. Snow sucks, but I'm willing to put up with it just to live in Madison.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

What the SG SHOULD Have Said

I'm not a lawyer, but I've had lots of experience at both the high school and college level as a debater and a debate judge, and I was appalled that the Obama Administration's solicitor general let himself get suckered into the broccoli trap. You will recall that this was a hypothetical question posed by one of the justices, along the lines of "You contend that the government can require people to buy health insurance because it's good for them. Do you also believe it can require people to eat broccoli because it's good for them?"

And the idiot actually tried to answer it! Furthermore, he went thru more contortions than an Olympic gymnast trying to point out how, no, he certainly would NOT require broccoli consumption.

I would've marked him way down for falling for an obvious snare like that. Here's what he SHOULD have said:

"First off, I have no idea why you're asking me. It isn't my opinion that matters. I have no power to force anybody to do anything.

"Second, even if I DID have such power, I know virtually nothing about broccoli or its health effects and am certainly in no position to render a spot judgment — little better than a guess — on it today.

"But finally, and most importantly, that's not what we're here to talk about. If Congress thot that eating broccoli was sufficiently important to the nation that everybody should do it, they would have passed a law to that effect. It would have been a POLITICAL judgment, which is what the legislative branch is all about. Instead, we're here talking about health care, which Congress DID make a political judgment about, and which they decided was so important to the general welfare that, all things considered, THIS was the way they had to go about it. If they ever make the same judgment about broccoli, I'll be back here again to answer your question, with much better preparation, but for today it's simply an irrelevancy. That wasn't what Congress agonized over for the better part of 2 years, and I'd rather talk about what they DID do than what they might have done."

I fear that the Obama Administration was ill served by this particular advocate.


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