A little part of it in everyone.
Even if Mitt Romney never becomes president, the harm he has already done to America’s cherished institutions and our legal and constitutional framework is incalculable. That he is as is close as he is to becoming the Republican Party’s 2012 presidential nominee, and that he might be granted a four-year pass to “do the least amount of damage,” shows us how close we are as a nation to, as Rick Santorum publicly fears, leaving “a very cold dangerous, frightening America to our children.”
In three critical areas — health care, same-sex “marriage,” and the overall rule of law — Romney has inflicted severe national harm which will be difficult and perhaps impossible to reverse.
“Commonwealth Care,” which became law in Massachusetts in 2006 while Romney “collaborator and friend” Ted Kennedy admiringly looked on, legitimized the idea that when public priorities supposedly justify it, a state could and should in effect take over an entire industry, mandate that its citizens purchase its services, and force them to pay fines if they refuse. People on the left and the right both agree that Commonwealth Care, which came to be known as RomneyCare, was the prototype for the Affordable Care Act, which became known as ObamaCare.
RomneyCare emboldened the statists who ultimately passed ObamaCare’s 2,000-page monstrosity and are working feverishly to implement it to argue that the federal government can, as Massachusetts did, compel citizens to buy a product or service if it is somehow perceived to “promote the general welfare” (the “constitutional” fig leaf employed). If not repealed by Congress or nullified by the Supreme Court, it will establish the idea that the government can force citizens to spend what used to be their money to buy virtually anything as long as its compulsion can be spun as serving “the public interest,” even over formerly paramount religious objections.
In theory, all of this can be overturned. What will be much more difficult is restoring the notion of presumptive personal control over one’s life. RomneyCare gave sanction to the notion that the state can, again in Santorum’s words, “make every man, woman and child in America now dependent upon the federal government for your life and your health.” That includes pre-born children, who under RomneyCare can be aborted, i.e., murdered, with no copay. Now, if you believe the left and its media acolytes, it’s only extremists who believe that any of this is even a problem. Thanks, Mitt.
The harm Mitt Romney did in the wake of the Goodridge same-sex “marriage” decision may never be undone. Even those who believe that homosexual marriage should somehow become law (which I don’t, on both religious and historical grounds), if they believe in the rule of law (as many don’t; “the end justifies the means” is their “rule”), must admit that Romney unilaterally imposed it, and in doing so, acted lawlessly and became their cause’s chief national enabler.
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court should have been impeached for even taking the Goodridge case; the Massachusetts Constitution specifically keeps matters relating to marriage away from the state’s courts. The decision itself had and still has no force of law; the Court admitted as much, only telling the state’s legislature that it had 180 days to “take such action as it may deem appropriate in light of this opinion.” The legislature never passed an enabling law to legalize same-sex “marriage,” and hasn’t to this day.
Yet when the 180-day mark arrived, Mitt Romney forced town clerks in the Bay State to start granting “marriage licenses” to same-sex couples. He had no constitutional authority to do this. In the process, he violated the oath he swore in January 2003 to uphold the state’s constitution as its governor. Worse still, it turns out that Romney acted as he did because he promised that he would.
Though there are several proactive steps he could and should have taken to completely nullify the public-opinion impact of Goodridge, Romney could have stopped it from taking legal effect simply by doing his constitutional duty, which was to do nothing. The legislature had clearly demonstrated that it didn’t have the nerve to pass what the Court had suggested (the Court had no power to do anything except to suggest) and thereby face voters’ wrath. It would have ended right there, because, as noted here, “By the very terms of the (Court’s) order, the Massachusetts legislature had discretion to do nothing.”
Had Mitt Romney merely done nothing, defenders of traditional marriage would still be on offense, relying on electoral results in over 30 states where attempts to redefine marriage have failed. Proponents of same-sex “marriage” would have had to go about the task of convincing the American people that their arguments should hold sway. Mitt Romney’s reaction to Goodridge enabled that illegitimate decision to be seen as a precedent, short-circuited the democratic process, and motivated courts in other jurisdictions to inject themselves by fiat. In California, to name just one example, first the state and now the federal courts are feverishly working to justify overturning the twice-expressed will of a majority of the state’s voters to keep marriage as is. The Golden State’s Republican governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, no doubt influenced by what Romney did and didn’t do, set the stage for the current unnecessary battle by failing to fight a 2008 court ruling. Just like Romney, he ordered the issuance of ”Partner A – Partner B” certificates, and folded.
Because of Mitt Romney, traditional marriage advocates are playing defense, and the fight is showing signs of becoming futile. Six states are now granting same-sex “marriage” licenses. Nationally, President Obama, while claiming to oppose same-sex “marriage,” has a Justice Department which will not defend the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act because it believes it’s unconstitutional. A “national campaign of harassment and intimidation against supporters of traditional marriage” designed to marginalize and silence its supporters in the workplace, in businesses, and in the public square is in full gear.
Same-sex “marriage” is very close to becoming the de facto law of the land without the expressed consent of the governed and a subject outside the realm of public discussion because of how Mitt Romney reacted to Goodridge. Thanks, Mitt.
The Rule of Law
Romney’s deliberate disregard for his state’s constitution, its clearly enumerated separation of powers, and the rule of law during the same-sex “marriage” saga has not gone unnoticed. The Obama administration’s willingness to so nonchalantly flout the nation’s Constitution, its separation of powers, and the rule of law with palpable disdain is in no small part influenced by the lack of negative repercussions Romney experienced after his Goodridge betrayal. Incredibly, many alleged leading lights of social conservatism now see Romney as a friend of traditional marriage.
In case Team Obama and his merry band of statists and plunderers didn’t get the message that authoritarianism is okay and will get a pass from people who should vehemently oppose it, Romney reinforced his approval of unilateral unconstitutional action in early 2009. When Obama perpetrated a boardroom coup at General Motors, fired Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner, and set the stage for the government’s takeover of the company, Romney congratulated the President for “expressing some backbone.”
Now that it’s escaped, it will be extremely difficult to get the authoritarian genie back into the bottle. Thanks, Mitt.
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While it’s certain that things will only get worse in the three areas discussed — health care, same-sex “marriage,” and the overall rule of law — if Barack Obama wins reelection, there is no reasonable basis to expect any kind of improvement to occur if Mitt Romney by some hard-to-imagine circumstance wins the presidency.
Unless Mitt Romney’s march to the GOP nomination is stopped, to paraphrase Neil Young:
We’ve seen Mitt Romney and the damage done.
A little part of it in every one.
Our country’s looking like a settin’ sun …