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The year was 1990.
Then Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr. of Delaware and Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina introduced S. 3266, the Crime Control Act of 1990. The law, introduced on October 27, 1990, sailed through Congress in one day. It passed the Senate by unanimous consent before 5 o’clock that evening. At 11:56 p.m. the House of Representatives approved it by 313-1. It was a bipartisan compromise and sailed through both house of Congress with Republicans and Democrats alike approving it. For perspective on this bipartisan act of supposed good governance, it took longer to for the legislation to be put in final form and presented to the President than it did to pass the Congress. Having been introduced and passed on October 27, 1990, it was not even presented to the President until November 19, 1990, and was not signed until ten days later.
Three years later, many of the same Republicans who supported the Crime Control Act of 1990 would rally behind the individual mandate as their counter-proposal to Hillary Clinton’s healthcare plan.
In 1995, five members of the United States Supreme Court declared one section of the bipartisan Crime Control Act of 1990, called the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990, an unconstitutional reach for the federal government even via the commerce clause. The case, United States v. Alfonso Lopez, Jr., 514 U.S. 549 (1995) was the first time in a half century the Supreme Court restricted Congress’s powers under the commerce clause of the Constitution.
Lopez hindered Congress’s power to restrict people’s ability to carry guns near schools — not exactly something a lot of Americans were against. There was no hue and cry from the left about how the Supreme Court was going to be unpopular. But more importantly, back in 1995, it did not matter that the Republicans, like the Democrats, thought Congress had the power to regulate guns carried near schools.
The benefit of being a leftist is that history does not matter. Twenty years after the law passed with no thought as to its constitutionality, the left is setting up the media narrative anticipating Obamacare being overturned all because the left never bothered, at the time, to take seriously the idea that the individual mandate might be unconstitutional.
Compare and contrast these maps. First, the “undervote” by county in the recent Pennsylvania Democratic Presidential primary. The numbers in each county represent the proportion of voters in a Democratic primary who selected “no candidate” rather than vote for the incumbent, Barack Obama.
Now, the distribution map of the Marcellus Shale.
Background: Mitt Romney made a campaign speech today that used the WaWa convenience store franchise’s touch screen sandwich menu feature to make the point of how more cool and efficient the private sector is, when compared to the government. MSNBC doctored the clip to make it look like Romney was merely astounded that we have touch screen sandwich menus now*. Lots of people called MSNBC out on it. Hijinks are now going to ensue.