On Monday June 19, in the case of Matal v. Tam, a unanimous Supreme Court ruled yet again that the First Amendment trumps political correctness.
This time, though, the circumstances were a bit unusual. Simon Tam, an Asian-American musician, founded the first all-Asian-American dance-rock band. The band chose to call itself the “Slants” as a way of thumbing its nose at anti-Asian stereotypes and prejudices—such as slant eyes.
If the human brain’s positive bias toward attractive people didn’t cue me to infer that Thune is a great guy, a real straight shooter, I’d be as outraged by the assault on Americans’ health that Thune and his co-conspirators are currently waging, and by the subversion of American democracy they’re using to ram it through, as I am when its public face is McConnell’s.
Congressional fireworks over health insurance legislation may ultimately seem a minor footnote compared to a subtle, but seismic shift toward something reformers have long yearned for–one-stop shopping.
The idea is to combine insurance, where the economic incentive is to spend as little as possible on care, with medicine, where money’s to be made by providing maximum treatments. One such iteration is a health maintenance organization, like Kaiser Permanente, which Washington has been relentlessly pushing a resisting system toward since the Nixon Administration.
Forget about the impeachment fantasies. But the Congress does have other tools. It can control the White House by limiting its powers, either by overtly taking back responsibilities it has delegated to the executive branch or by making spending decisions that limit options. We already know there will be no wall built on the border with Mexico unless Congress authorizes funding to pay for it. The President doesn’t always get what he wants. Recall the cliché– the President proposes, but the Congress disposes.
By now it’s apparent that the president is untethered to reality. If he were to be impeached, a compassionate chief justice might declare him incompetent to stand trial because he lacks the mental capacity to be responsible for his words or acts. But the Republicans who sniffed his musk last week aren’t blissed by the clueless stupor his narcissism affords him. They’re fearful of their constituents.