Ed Schultz Unfamiliar With Widely-Read Document Known as the Bill of Rights

Even though Ed Schultz has been told by MSNBC to refrain from further "Psycho Talk" segments, no such restraint is evident on his radio show, one of the top rated for liberals in the country.

On Wednesday, for example, Schultz criticized former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney for signing a bill into law in 2006 that includes an individual mandate for Bay State residents to buy health insurance, a provision also included in last year's health bill passed by Congress and signed by President Obama.

Schultz played two clips of Romney, from 2009 and earlier this week on "Good Morning America," talking about the individual mandate, followed by Schultz's criticism (audio) --

SCHULTZ: Have you noticed the flip-flops that's been taking place in the conservative movement about health care reform, how the mandate was about the best thing since sliced bread when they came up with it back in the early '90s. We ran a montage of the sound bites and the lists of those on the conservative agenda who were in favor of the mandate and now all of a sudden, since it's been passed under a Democratic House and Senate and presidency, all of a sudden they're against it and it's a government takeover of health care and a job-crushing Washington takeover. That's their latest. But you don't have to look very far, you've got Mitt Romney here, number 7 there fellas (referring to audio clip), in 2009, Romney saying that what he had done in Massachusetts really should have been a model for the entire country.

ROMNEY (source not cited): Massachusetts is a model for getting everybody insured in a way that doesn't break the bank and that doesn't put the government into the driver's seat and allows people to own their own insurance policies and not to have to worry about losing coverage. That's what Massachusetts did.

SCHULTZ: That was the Mittster in 2009. This is the Mittster just yesterday.

ROMNEY (on "GMA" with George Stephanopoulos): We are a federalist system. We don't need the federal government imposing a one-size-fits-all plan on the entire nation.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But what he (US District Judge Roger Vinson of Northern District of Florida, who ruled the individual mandate in Obamacare unconstitutional) was talking about specifically was this requirement that people buy health insurance and you had exactly that same requirement in Massachusetts. Why is it right for a state to impose that kind of a mandate and not the federal government?

ROMNEY: Well, states have rights that the federal government doesn't have. Under the 10th Amendment to the Constitution, the powers of the federal government  are specifically limited.

SCHULTZ (after making buzzer sound):  Failure! The federal government can do damn near whatever it wants to do, Mittster. And if it says that you have to have car insurance, you're going to have it, whether it's a state level or a federal lever (sic). Federal law will always supersede state law. Just take it right to the Supreme Court.

Ed, after you're done dusting off that long-neglected copy of the Bill of Rights, you might want to read another document on what can happen when a government tries to do "damn near whatever it wants to do" -- the Declaration of Independence.

As timing would have it, Schultz voiced this sentiment the same week I read an appreciation of Ronald Reagan timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of his birth on Feb. 6. In a National Review article titled "Reagan Reclaimed: Against the Liberal Revised Standard Version of our 40th president," Steven F. Hayward wrote --

To be sure, Reagan's political practices were idiosyncratic, and his conservatism was not fully recognized by many on the right who wish to emulate him today. This conservatism was not the "stand athwart history" kind, as is evident in Reagan's love for a quotation that drives many conservative intellectuals slightly batty. As George Will put it, "[Reagan] is painfully fond of the least conservative sentiment conceivable, a statement from an anti-conservative, Thomas Paine: 'We have it in our power to begin the world over again.' Any time, any place, that is nonsense."

Reagan's invocation of Paine, as well as his quotation of John Winthrop's "City on a Hill" sermon, expresses the core of his optimism and belief in the dynamism of American society, a dynamism that can have unconservative effects. But he explained his use of Paine in conservative terms way back in his 1965 autobiography, "Where's the Rest of Me?" "The classic liberal," Reagan wrote, "used to be the man who believed the individual was, and should be forever, the master of his destiny. That is now the conservative position. The liberal used to believe in freedom under law. He now takes the ancient feudal position that power is everything. He believes in a stronger and stronger central government, in the philosophy that control is better than freedom. (emphasis added) The conservative now quotes Thomas Paine, a longtime refuge of the liberals: "Government is a necessary evil; let us have as little of it as possible."

It's all about power, Schultz frequently complains of conservatives. Coming from a man whose capacity for introspection is no greater than his grasp of the nation's founding documents, his criticism is more accurately all about Schultz.


Jack Coleman
Jack Coleman
Ex-liberal from People's Republic of Massachusetts