Patterico's Pontifications


Michael Hiltzik: Even This Diehard ObamaCare Opponent Is Not Sure Obama Is Acting Illegally in Unilaterally Delaying Provisions of the Law!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:51 am

Famed legal expert Disgraced ObamaCare shill Michael Hiltzik turns to the pages of a renowned law review medical journal for supposedly competing views on the legality of Obama’s unilateral changes in ObamaCare. Hiltzik is not a legal expert, but he considers himself an expert on any argument that can be made in favor of ObamaCare, and I guess the L.A. Times editors consider that a “business” topic. In other words, they have realized that actual businessmen don’t really read their rag, and so any liberal claptrap that has economic implications can now be considered fair game for the sock-puppeting business columnist.

Hiltzik opens the analysis by saying:

So let’s strip away the partisan rhetoric and see what the rules say.

Indeed. When I want to “strip away the partisan rhetoric” I head for the nearest copy of the Los Angeles Times and turn straight to the Michael Hiltzik column.

My eyes are rolling back in my head so hard they just called me an ambulance.

Hiltzik’s analysis is based on a look at two supposedly competing viewpoints in that publication that has earned a stellar reputation for its analysis of constitutional law and separation of powers issues: the New England Journal of Medicine. Arguing that Obama can do whatever the hell he wants: Timothy S. Jost of Washington and Lee University Law School and Simon Lazurus of the Constitutional Accountability Center in Washington. Their hackwork arguments are predictable.

I want to concentrate on the guy who is supposedly on “the other side” — the guy who, according to Hiltzik, can be counted on to present the most spirited case possible that Obama is acting contrary to the law. That is a guy named Nicholas Bagley from the Michigan Law School.

Per Hiltzik, Bagley has some rather tepid conclusions to the effect that maybe not all of what Obama is doing is quite kosher:

Bagley concludes that some of the Affordable Care Act delays may in fact step over the line, or at least create a “troubling precedent.” Bagley’s not more dogmatic because, as he wrote, “no crisp line separates routine nonenforcement from blatant disregard.”

It’s not unusual, or illegal, for the government to suspend or moderate enforcement of some laws in order to husband its resources for more important duties, Bagley observed. The delay of the employer mandates, moreover, correspond to established practice by the IRS, dating back decades, of granting “transition relief” to taxpayers subject to changes in tax laws, as these are. Congress hasn’t objected in the past. That said, Bagley pointed out that such relief is usually granted for just a few months at a time, and not for major provisions.

Bagley was less tolerant of the delays allowing old, canceled policies to remain temporarily in force. That was a political maneuver, he observed, aimed at validating the president’s promise that “if you like your old plan, you can keep it.” That “probably exceeds” the limits of presidential authority, he said.

You let ’em have it, Nicholas Bagley!

This fierce opponent of ObamaCare, according to Hiltzik, blames Congress for not helping the law work:

Bagley cited the “toxic and highly polarized political environment,” observing that “Congress’s unwillingness to work constructively with the White House to tweak the ACA has increased the pressure on the administration to move assertively.”

If you’re starting to get the idea that Bagley is not going to be the guy offering the most forceful case against Obama or ObamaCare, you’re right. I looked into Bagley a little further, after being made suspicious by his attack on Republicans in Congress, and found that he is the co-author of an article titled “Why It’s Called the Affordable Care Act.” (.pdf) Here is a choice quote from that article:

By improving quality, controlling costs, and extending coverage to the uninsured, the ACA means to address many of those problems. And it’s about time.

Take that, Obama!

If Hiltzik were intellectually honest, and wanted to present and confront actual arguments against the constitutionality of Obama’s actions, written by people who have not written law review articles praising ObamaCare, he could look to the Volokh Conspiracy (“The ‘fix’ amounts to new legislation – but enacted without Congress. The President has no constitutional authority to rewrite statutes”) or Nicholas Rosenkranz (Obama’s actions are “a unilateral executive suspension of the law” that “flouted the Constitution”) or Michael McConnell (“While the president does have substantial discretion about how to enforce a law, he has no discretion about whether to do so.”).

Instead, Hiltzik takes a figure that is not actually making a conservative argument, pretends that this figure is making a conservative argument, and then says: “Look! Even this conservative says the Republicans are irresponsible!” It reminds me of when Hiltzik sock-puppeted at this blog, attacking my commenter Specter. Hiltzik trumpeted the success of his own sock puppet in attacking Specter, saying:

For anyone interested, Specter is getting his head handed to him over at the Patterico blog for trying to sleaze out from under his flat misstatements of fact. And that’s a conservative blog. Follow the link above, and enjoy the carnage.

Hiltzik was trying to argue: “Look! Even a commenter at a conservative blog thinks Specter is wrong!” when Hiltzik himself was the commenter at the conservative blog.

This is the kind of dishonesty we have come to expect from Michael Hiltzik. And it’s the same move he makes when he sets up Nicholas Bagley as some sort of ObamaCare opponent.

P.S. I can’t let this go without comment:

Interestingly, Bagley and Jost/Lazarus agree on two major points. One is that even if Obama has stepped over the line of legality, there’s nothing anyone can do about it: No one has standing to sue Obama in court to force the mandates to be observed.

If that is truly Bagley’s analysis, it is sophomoric. It is emphatically not the case that, if no party has standing to contest presidential overreaching, “there’s nothing anyone can do about it.” Legal Expert Michael Hiltzik and ObamaCare Opponent Nicholas Bagley might want to take a look at a document called the Constitution, which entitles the legislative branch to address executive overreach in numerous ways that have nothing to do with the courts. Those methods include the Dreaded Ted Cruz Move of exercising control over the purse strings of the federal government.

They also include impeachment.

Next time, find someone who actually opposes Obama and his totalitarian law, Hiltzik, and they’ll school you on these matters. Maybe you’ll actually learn something.

Ah, who am I kidding?

24 Responses to “Michael Hiltzik: Even This Diehard ObamaCare Opponent Is Not Sure Obama Is Acting Illegally in Unilaterally Delaying Provisions of the Law!”

  1. Ah Patterico; the chance of Michael Sock Puppet Hiltzik becoming “intellectually honest” are about the same as a horned toad becoming a brain surgeon at the UCLA Med School.

    Skeptical Voter (12e67d)

  2. NEJM is one of the most prestigious and high-bar of the medical journals, but years ago they started printing PC stuff about gay rights and such with the power of their editorial board behind it and limiting discussion. Clear evidence that scientists and academic physicians are not above the fray of common arguments and prone to Murray Gell-Mann amnesia.
    I think most academic physicians think that all people should get medical care, Obama says that is what he wants to do, that should be all good, now back with going over medical papers with a very fine toothed comb.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  3. I had an email exchange with him about the fact only 1-2 uninsured actually bought Obamacare and how it costs $200 billion.

    He got into argument with me about a Daily Mail article disputing whether the number was 1/2/3 or 4. He referenced the mis-understsood Rand piece his paper ran with “unpublished.”

    I tried pointing out that for $200 billion per year you can cover 40MM American with a standard Silver plan for $5,000 per. That maybe he look into this scandal instead of insulting people in his articles.

    He stopped replying but not before insulting me and insulting his colleagues at the Daily Mail.

    Rodney King's Spirit (ca9e04)

  4. It’s Friday and nobody told me we’d be celebrating Hiltzik Beclowning Day.

    Colonel Haiku (0d1049)

  5. How low so-called “journalism” has sunk…

    Colonel Haiku (0d1049)

  6. My eyes are rolling back in my head so hard they just called me an ambulance.

    you better hope that’s covered under your plan…

    redc1c4 (abd49e)

  7. Indeed. When I want to “strip away the partisan rhetoric” I head for the nearest copy of the Los Angeles Times and turn straight to the Michael Hiltzik column.

    My eyes are rolling back in my head so hard they just called me an ambulance.

    I posted something similar in the comments section of the column. It’s “awaiting moderation” which I think is something new at the times, so it will be interesting to see if they post my comment. Hiltzik is such a hack that even Walter Duranty is reading his column and saying, “Dude, you ought to dial back the boot-licking just a little bit.”

    JVW (9946b6)

  8. “This is the kind of dishonesty we have come to expect from Michael Hiltzik.”

    Why do people sell their integrity so cheaply. There is nothing that Obamacare does that is worth that.

    SarahW (267b14)

  9. 7.

    My eyes are rolling back in my head so hard they just called me an ambulance.

    you better hope that’s covered under your plan…

    Comment by redc1c4 (abd49e) — 4/4/2014 @ 8:55 am

    Wait until Pat sees what that ambulance is going to cost what with the wonders of Obamacare and the trillion dollar deductible.

    Steve57 (181b49)

  10. 5. It’s Friday and nobody told me we’d be celebrating Hiltzik Beclowning Day.

    Comment by Colonel Haiku (0d1049) — 4/4/2014 @ 8:53 am

    They started celebrating Hiltzik Beclowing Day yesterday at Powerline.

    But Mrs. Blackwood is in truth a walking illustration of the lies of Obamacare and of the destruction it has wrought. This past February her son Stephen Blackwood recounted in a devastating Wall Street Journal column:…

    …Go to Mr. Blackwood’s column for the rest of the unhappy story.

    At the Los Angeles Times, Michael Hiltzik found villains lurking everywhere in the story, everywhere but in Obamacare itself. I took a look at Hiltzik’s commentary in “Hiltzik’s greatest hitz” (don’t spellcheck me, bro). I found Hiltzik to be one very twisted guy. Last month Mr. Blackwood wrote:…

    Of course, they seem to celebrate Hiltzik Beclowning Day around this time every month.

    There are links to more Hiltzik Beclowning material at the site.

    I think Hiltzik Beclowning Day has morphed into a long weekend.

    In any case, I’m not taking down the tree and the lights until Monday.

    Steve57 (181b49)

  11. LOOK HERE !!!!1!!!1!!

    Here is a comment at that says that Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik has been suspended by the LA Times on two occasions that we know of.
    The first one was when he was the Times’ bureau chief in Moscow and was found guilty of hacking into his colleagues’ private email accounts.
    The second time he was suspendded when he was found guilty of sock-puppetry !

    Michael Hiltzik GUILTY !!!!1!!1!!1!

    Elephant Stone (6a6f37)

  12. Hugh Hewitt had Hiltzik on his show back in November to discuss Obamacare.

    Much comedy ensued.

    Steve57 (181b49)

  13. Hitzlik’ serial asshattery should cause him physical pain.

    JD (03f68b)

  14. Why do people sell their integrity so cheaply. There is nothing that Obamacare does that is worth that.

    I’ll take a stab at that Sarah. I think it is because Obamacare in particular — national health care in general — is the apotheosis of the liberal belief that everything can be delivered more fairly and efficiently if it is delivered by the government, and that government regulation is almost always in and of itself a desirable thing. For liberals to abandon Obamacare now would be a huge blow to the idea that all of us should just sit back and contract our lives out to the experts who allegedly know better than we do what is best for us. This isn’t just about Obamacare, or government-run health care, it’s about the whole liberal agenda being stopped in its tracks.

    JVW (9946b6)

  15. What’s sad is that Hiltzik says all these things when he is sober.
    Or something.

    Elephant Stone (6a6f37)

  16. The awesome Bill Whittle was guessing that 20-50 million Americans will lose coverage after the perfectly timed employer mandate kicks in after the elections. Employers should never have been responsible for all or part of anyones health care responsibility anyway. They’re about fed up. Should be some lovely riots in the streets post election day….thanks to Nancy & Co. for “draining the swamp”>

    dc (685527)

  17. I found Hiltzik to be one very twisted guy.

    I wonder what he’s like in his personal life? I don’t ask that question to be snarky, but because I’m truly curious why such people are the way they are. They’re reminiscent of mysterious objects observed under the microscope or strange wildlife watched grazing out in the African savanna., November 2008: Just when liberals thought it was safe to start identifying themselves as such, an acclaimed, veteran psychiatrist is making the case that the ideology motivating them is actually a mental disorder.

    “Based on strikingly irrational beliefs and emotions, modern liberals relentlessly undermine the most important principles on which our freedoms were founded,” says Dr. Lyle Rossiter, author of the new book, “The Liberal Mind: The Psychological Causes of Political Madness.” “Like spoiled, angry children, they rebel against the normal responsibilities of adulthood and demand that a parental government meet their needs from cradle to grave.”

    While political activists on the other side of the spectrum have made similar observations, Rossiter boasts professional credentials and a life virtually free of activism and links to “the vast right-wing conspiracy.” For more than 35 years he has diagnosed and treated more than 1,500 patients as a board-certified clinical psychiatrist and examined more than 2,700 civil and criminal cases as a board-certified forensic psychiatrist. He received his medical and psychiatric training at the University of Chicago.

    “A social scientist who understands human nature will not dismiss the vital roles of free choice, voluntary cooperation and moral integrity – as liberals do,” he says. “A political leader who understands human nature will not ignore individual differences in talent, drive, personal appeal and work ethic, and then try to impose economic and social equality on the population – as liberals do. And a legislator who understands human nature will not create an environment of rules which over-regulates and over-taxes the nation’s citizens, corrupts their character and reduces them to wards of the state – as liberals do.”

    Dr. Rossiter says the liberal agenda preys on weakness and feelings of inferiority in the population by:

    creating and reinforcing perceptions of victimization;

    satisfying infantile claims to entitlement, indulgence and compensation;

    augmenting primitive feelings of envy;

    rejecting the sovereignty of the individual, subordinating him to the will of the government.

    Mark (0b101b)

  18. If Hiltzik were intellectually honest

    And if a frog had wings he wouldn’t bump his ass on the ground.

    But Hiltzik is hardly alone, and the mendacity of the left is hardly confined to Obamacare. All leftists just lie reflexively now. It cannot hurt their cause at all.

    That’s because only two types of people will support them now: the ideological leftists themselves, for whom lies are just another tactic, and a favorite one at that, and the parasitic masses of their constituents, who are too stupid to know they are being lied to and too stupid to care as long as their federal gravy keeps flowing.

    Estragon (ada867)

  19. Estragon’s correctly identified the left’s core constituency, but an important attendant group which invariably sides with the left is the stupid (white) vote. They’re motivated neither by ideology nor by greed, they really just don’t care one way or the other but believe it’s their civic duty to participate. They’re the targets of Get Out the Vote Campaigns.

    They don’t care enough to inform themselves or to identify their own interests on complex issues so they take the road of least resistance and dutifully vote in accord with establishment media’s preferences. Often referred to as sheeple, they’re actually the the human ballast keeping the left’s ship of state upright.

    ropelight (c8bd43)

  20. True, but there is selection bias, in the stories that would raise concern;

    narciso (3fec35)

  21. This is kind of an interesting little Obamacare sidenote just coming to light:

    According to a report via BuzzFeed’s Evan McMorris-Santoro, President Barack Obama requested the opportunity to address the nation in prime time on the major broadcast networks on Tuesday night to announce that the Affordable Care Act had reached 7 million enrollees. Those networks did not, however, accommodate the White House’s request. “Three sources familiar with the request confirmed the White House asked for the prime time slot in their effort both to emphasize a bright moment following the challenging roll out and, more important, to try to reintroduce the country to a law that remains unpopular,”

    elissa (b364f8)

  22. Right now, on the John Batchelor show, Michael Hiltzik is eing interviewed. He wrote abook called “New Deal”

    Checking on you can see that the book is being remaindered (selling for $1.57 in one case) and it is from 2011, so it much be an old interview.

    Sammy Finkelman (ebf45c)


    Still, Ms. Ruemmler has played a role in many highly charged issues, including helping develop options to carry out Mr. Obama’s decision to take unilateral executive actions to bypass congressional inaction.

    And the article lists a lot of other things she was probably responsible for.

    Sammy Finkelman (ebf45c)

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