Lost amid the seriousness of last week’s Supreme Court decision upholding Obama-care was yet another bizarre statement by Nancy Pelosi, the Roman Catholic former Speaker of the House who spearheaded the healthcare legislation that has become the law of the land. Pelosi cited an unusual source helping to guide the high court’s action: the spirit of the late Ted Kennedy.
“I knew that when he left us he would go to heaven and help pass the bill,” Pelosi said of the late Democratic senator, a fellow Roman Catholic. “Now I know he was busily at work until this decision came down, inspiring one way or another. And now he can rest in peace.” Said Pelosi: “It’s pretty exciting.”
Apparently, judging from this statement, Pelosi believes that Ted Kennedy inspired the hand of God to uphold Obama-care—which, of course, happens to be an unprecedented expansion of abortion.
Pelosi’s comment is appropriate in one unusual respect: Since the late Senator Kennedy’s death in 2009, she has supplanted Kennedy as chief spokesperson for the most consistently outrageous statements made on politics and policy by a Catholic lawmaker. And nowhere has that role been on greater display than the matter of Obama-care. Consider:
Remarking on the original Obama-care bill, Pelosi infamously said that first “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”
That was bad enough. But also outrageous was another Pelosi observation. In October 2009, the congresswoman was asked by a reporter if the healthcare legislation was constitutional. Here’s a transcript of the exchange:
Reporter: “Madam Speaker, where specifically does the Constitution grant Congress the authority to enact an individual health insurance mandate?”
Pelosi: “Are you serious? Are you serious?”
Reporter: “Yes, yes I am.”
Pelosi’s incredulity at that perfectly reasonable question was extremely telling. She scorned the very thought, as if the reporter had flown in on a flying saucer from Neptune. Constitutional? Who’s even thinking such nonsense? Was the reporter crazy, or just a right-wing kook?
And yet, as Congresswoman Pelosi soon learned, that reporter had hit the crux of the issue. So had state attorneys general nationwide, who quickly filed lawsuits precisely on whether Obama-care was constitutional. Indeed, the issue went all the way to the Supreme Court, based precisely on the reporter’s question: where specifically does the Constitution grant Congress the authority to enact an individual health insurance mandate?
With that wake-up call, did Congresswoman Pelosi apologize to the reporter or to her fellow Democrats for being dismissive or ignorant of that obvious question? Of course, not.
No, after all of that, Pelosi provided another bewildering remark. This time, with the court having deliberated on Obama-care’s constitutionality, Pelosi not only suddenly showed interest in whether Obama-care is constitutional, but boldly asserted her alleged expertise on the matter. “I know the Constitution,” said a confident Pelosi. “The bill is ironclad. Nobody was frivolous with the Constitution … in writing the bill.”
Is your head spinning yet?
Well, if it is, hold on to your seat. We’re not finished, so long as the congresswoman is talking.
Immediately upon hearing the court’s decision last week, Congresswoman Pelosi weighed in again. With the court majority upholding the alleged “constitutionality” of Obama-care, Pelosi delivered yet another jaw-dropper, fittingly in the same surreal press conference where she tearfully invoked the intercession of Ted Kennedy. In praising the Supreme Court’s decision, Pelosi averred: “We thought—we knew we were on solid ground in terms of interstate commerce, solid ground in terms of the Constitution. It was just a question of what the vote would be. And with that confidence we happily embraced the decision that came down.”
This, of course, is an amazing statement. As everyone knows, Chief Justice Roberts explicitly rejected Obama-care on the question of interstate commerce. Instead, he and the majority upheld Obama-care as a “tax.”
In other words, Nancy Pelosi interpreted the final decision exactly wrong.
Sadly, these truly unbelievable contradictions and outrageous statements are a constant occurrence from Congresswoman Pelosi, who nonetheless is easily reelected every two years by her constituents. Expect a litany of many more contradictions and outrages in the days ahead.
I suppose we can expect Nancy Pelosi to pray for Ted Kennedy’s intercession on the HHS mandate? Any day now, I’m sure.
Dr. Paul Kengor is professor of political science at Grove City College and author of the new book, The Communist: Frank Marshall Davis, The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mentor. His other books include The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism and The Judge: William P. Clark, Ronald Reagan’s Top Hand.