If the generation of “limited government” lawmakers freshly chosen to man the trenches in Washington wishes to be taken seriously, the butcher’s bill must include some of the social conservatives’ sacred cows.
Starting with the War on Drugs.
Many conservatives have long argued that the federal government is broadly empowered to prosecute the drug war under Congress’s authority over interstate commerce. In the name of the drug war, they have been willing to allow federal law-enforcement officers to prosecute seriously ill patients who use medical marijuana in compliance with their states’ laws.
Many of those same conservatives are now finding that the terrible, swift sword of expansive federal power that they endorsed in the name of drug prohibition has now been turned on them in the form of Obamacare’s individual mandate.
Of course, I’m not discussing the wisdom of either. The issue is whether either is constitutional. Go ahead and search Article I, section 8 for the part that allows Congress to regulate drug use, or health insurance. Actually, let me save you the effort: You won’t find either. Both laws, rather than finding explicit, or even obvious implicit, sources in the text of the Constitution, are results of very, very broad readings of Congress’s power to regulate interstate commerce. As the article explains, the Government is currently using drug war cases expanding the commerce clause as justification for Obamacare.
In other words, this is yet another opportunity for the newly vocal limited government crowd to demonstrate some bona fides. If the real concern is an overreaching Congress, then Obamacare and the Drug War must die. If one escapes? Something other than passions for limited government is the real concern.