It seems that several Wisconsin state legislators are threatening to support a bill that would arrest any federal official who attempts to implement Obamacare in the state of Wisconsin. Unsurprisingly, these nine legislators are what one might call “tea party” members, and they expressed their desire to support such a bill to a Tea Party-aligned group. All states have until this Friday to alert the federal government whether or not the state will implement its own healthcare exchange, or if the federal government must implement such a program for the state. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has yet to make a decision.
The Wisconsin state legislators are attempting to hedge Walker’s refusal to implement Obamacare in the state with the threat of violence against federal officials who attempt to do so. Because if Walker does not implement the exchange, then the federal government will implement the exchange for Wisconsin, or any state that fails to create an exchange. Those legislators already think that Obamacare is “government run amok;” if the federal government implements a big government program in Wisconsin, well, you might as well consider this The United Soviet States of America.
What’s more interesting is the lack of knowledge displayed by these nine legislators, as well as their total refusal to acknowledge the legitimacy of the Obama presidency. One Wisconsin lawmaker, Chris Kapenga, said he believes Obamacare is unconstitutional, and was quoted as saying that “Just because Obama’s reelected does not mean he’s above the constitution.” Indeed, Mr. Kapenga’s statement is valid: Obama’s reelection does not make Obamacare constiutional. Nor can the election of any politician in any office make a law constitutional. Rather, what makes Obamacare constitutional is the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling in favor of the law. In one sentence, Kapenga took a back-handed swipe at the president, while also managing to use a straw man argument against the constitutionality of Obamacare. In other words, he displayed a total lack of awareness of the interactions between political institutions in this country.
The Wisconsin state legislators are attempting to recreate the Little Rock 9 episode from the late 1950s. The scenario they’re trying to create has been played out, and (constitutionally approved!) the authority of the federal government trumps any rogue power from state governments. I’m not anticipating such a law passing, but it expresses the hatred many politicians still feel towards Obama. (Oh wait…that Little Rock 9 analogy is actually very interesting.)