After three days of oral arguments at the Supreme Court on Obamcare, liberals seem genuinely stunned that Obamacare has a good chance of going down in flames. They never saw it coming.
Consider this exchange between CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin and anchor Wolf Blitzer on the first day of the argument which focused on the individual mandate, provision of Obamacare which forces all Americans to purchase medical insurance or procure it via their employers:
TOOBIN: This was a train wreck for the Obama administration. This law looks like it's gonna be struck down. Justice Kennedy, the swing vote, was enormously skeptical. Every comment Kennedy made -- uh, at least that I heard -- was skeptical of the law. The wild card in this argument was, uh, Chief Justice Roberts. Chief Justice Roberts actually asked a lot of hard questions. Roberts seemed like a much more likely vote to uphold the law than Kennedy was.
BLITZER: This is really huge!
Anyone who had paid attention to conservative arguments about Obamacare leading up to its passage wouldn't have been so surprised. But that's what happens when liberal media elites spend all their time talking to liberal lawyers and liberal legal commentators about pending Supreme Court cases. They can't envision the possibility that, just maybe, the conservatives might have the better legal argument.
Radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh noticed this as well, marveling in a segment on Obamacare that this might actually be the first time many liberal elites have heard a conservative argument about the issue in its full context and force.
That's largely because most of them are so insulated from anything conservative or libertarian, hearing well-articulated conservative arguments being well-received simply does not compute. They're experiencing a culture shock to discover that conservatives aren't just a bunch of knuckle-dragging know-nothings who can't string more than three words together.
The Left so completely dominates America's elite media that, inside the media bubble, liberal journalists are often utterly ignorant of conservative viewpoints. As former CBS correspondent Bernard Goldberg has said repeatedly, most elite media journalists don't really know people who are center-right, and have no interest in seeking out conservatives, so they have a very truncated view of what conservatives think.
This is true in political journalism and, as this week has made clear, in legal journalism as well. Leading liberal journalists who cover the court (Toobin was one such) had made confident predictions of an easy win for the individual mandate were shocked to see the its advocates like Solicitor General Donald Verrilli be so utterly ineffectual arguing on its behalf.
Liberals have become so isolated from other strains of political discourse, they've become intellectually weak. Not only are many of them unable to create cogent, succinct arguments against conservative viewpoints, they cannot even begin to understand them. Instead they result to attacking straw men and engaging in emotional attacks.
Before the arguments began this week, the left was certain of a slam dunk verdict in favor of Obamacare. Linda Greenhouse, who formerly covered the Supreme Court for the New York Times, wrote an embarrassing column explaining why legal journalists didn't spend much time writing about the conservative legal arguments against Obamacare.
"The constitutional challenge to the law’s requirement for people to buy health insurance -- specifically, the argument that the mandate exceeds Congress’s power under the Commerce Clause -- is rhetorically powerful but analytically so weak that it dissolves on close inspection," Greenhouse wrote. "There’s just no there there."
Toobin at least had the good grace to recant, Greenhouse, on the other hand, hasn't written anything since the arguments began. Probably because she's still working on picking her jaw up from the floor.
If, as seems increasingly likely, the Obamacare individual mandate goes down in flames, the happy collateral damage will be the notion often perpetuated by liberals that they are smarter and more connected to the real world while conservatives lead naive, sheltered lives. “Reality has a liberal bias," as left-wing comedian Stephen Colbert routinely states it.
Apparently that is not how the Supreme Court sees it.
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