By LARRY KILLION
For The Olympia Report
In contrast to other members of the Washington state congressional delegation, U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks – the only one not running for re-election — concedes Obamacare hurt his party, at least in the short run.
“It did hurt us, there’s no doubt about it,” the 18-term Democrat said this week in an interview with The Hill. “The climate out there was really ugly because of it.”
But Dicks argues the party isn’t likely to suffer much more because of the law, particularly now that the Supreme Court has declared the individual mandate constitutional.
“It’s just not an issue. It’s all the economy,” he said. “We paid a big price two years ago. But we’ve already paid it.”
Washington Sen. Patty Murray, meanwhile, saw nothing but positives before or after the Supreme Court decision.
“Last week,” she wrote in her monthly newsletter, the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act. This is a victory for the healthcare security and stability of Washington families. The ruling means that families and small business owners will continue to benefit from better access, more choices, and a health care system that no longer works only for those who can afford it.”
The American Healthcare Education Coalition disagrees, saying, “The SCOTUS decision was no victory for freedom or democracy.”
In an article for the blog Prescription for Disaster, Chris Jaarda said, “The bottom line is that government’s power to coerce each of us has not been curbed at all. The proof — the individual mandate still stands. (Chief Justice John) Roberts’ opinion imposes no outward limit on Congress’ power of coercion or compulsion through taxation (even though the 16th Amendment contains such limits). Congress doesn’t even have to call future taxes, “taxes” when compelling action – the Court will uphold them anyway. Congress can now tax us if we don’t do what they say…. The sum of Roberts’ decision is this: ‘People are free to do what they wan,t but Congress is free to tax the exercise of that free will.’ In effect, Roberts has used the Constitution to create a ‘freedom tax.’ That is not something to celebrate – it is a blow to the liberty of every American.”
Doug Cloud, GOP candidate to replace Dicks in Washington state’s 6th Congressional District, encouraged voters to stay engaged after the ruling.
“Today the Supreme Court decided that Obamacare as a whole is constitutional,” he said in a prepared statement. “This is a dangerous precedent that allows the federal government to compel human behavior without limit. By stating that it is unconstitutional for the government to compel a person to an action but it is constitutional to tax that person if they do not perform that action, the Supreme Court has demonstrated a deep contempt for the concept of individual liberty.
“Today’s ruling continues the unabated assault by the federal government on the individual,” Cloud said, “and the control of the way that they expend their time and energy. While I am disappointed by the Supreme Court’s decision, we must continue to keep moving forward because the fight for individual freedom will never be over.
“Obamacare is an unpopular piece of legislation,” he added, “and it is now up to Congress to repeal it. There is no doubt that healthcare reform is desperately needed in America, but those changes cannot come through heavy taxation and bureaucracy. Consumers are better off when they have more choices and fewer mandates. The Supreme Court had its moment. It is the job of the American public now to elect principled representatives who will dedicate themselves to repealing this bill.”
From the Tea Party Patriots perspective, organization spokeswoman Shelby Blakely said, “The Supreme Court ruled against the American people and failed to perform their most basic function, which is to measure legislation against the yardstick of the Constitution. Members of over 3,000 Tea Party groups across the country will continue working to repeal Obama’s trillion-dollar tax increase and hold responsible members of congress who voted for it.”