In the time it took for Vice President Joe Biden to do his very public impression of Rahm Emanuel, Bill McCollum couldn't get to the courthouse fast enough as a champion of the insurance industry, oops, sorry, make that the common man.
Florida's attorney general has become the macho man among his brethren from 12 other states in leading the opposition to President Barack Obama's health care reforms, claiming it is unconstitutional for the federal government to tell people to do stuff.
Within minutes of the president signing the health care legislation into law, and while Obama was washing Biden's mouth out with soap for turning the bill signing into a George Carlin moment, McCollum filed suit in federal court.
In essence, McCollum and his fellow attorneys general are riled up over provisions requiring that everyone purchase health care insurance or face fines. Oh, the Bolshevism of it all. He must have missed that Rep. Allen Boyd, the Blue Dog Panhandle Democrat who has never been confused with Karl Marx, voted in favor of the bill.
McCollum, R-Gubernatorial Election? What Gubernatorial Election? I Didn't Know About That!, insisted the mandatory insurance clause in the health bill was nothing more than a "tax penalty on just living," which makes it unconstitutional.
Of course, the federal government imposes its will on all manner of lifestyles, from the income tax code, to regulating alcohol, tobacco and firearms, to interstate commerce, to the power to draft you into the military, to imposing its will on what and how children will be taught in school, to insisting you have a passport if you wish to travel abroad, to fuel standards, to … need we go on?
Try buying a car or a house, especially a federally financed home, without government mandated insurance. Go ahead, assert your independence. Fire up the fife and drum. Have a nice time.
And by the way, if you are one of those crazy nut militia types, try not paying your federal taxes because the oppressive government is trying to interfere with your life. What fun.
A cynic might suggest McCollum's sudden interest in protecting the private lives of the great unwashed is a day late and thousands of dollars of campaign contributions short. After all, this was the same guy who as a member of Congress championed the financial services industry's efforts to make it more difficult to file for bankruptcy for people burdened by debt from draconian credit card interest rates that make a Mafia vig seem downright charitable.
Or it might be hinted that McCollum's born-again populism is little more than an effort to suck up to the chattering Tea Party movement. This is campaign season, after all, and a little fawning at the feet of a tea bag with a pitchfork always makes for a nice photo op — or a check.
McCollum has argued he would prefer addressing the cost of health care through malpractice reforms, even though the Congressional Budget Office has estimated malpractice expenditures account for only 2 percent of health care spending. Sheesh, this is like suggesting the nation's unemployment woes could be solved if we could only hire just one more Walmart greeter.
McCollum was joined in his health care reform hysteria by his Sancho Panza of the Florida Legislature, Rep. Scott Plakon, R-Federalist Vapors, who cooked up the Florida Health Care Freedom Act in the time it took for Michelle Obama to encase Joe Biden's mouth in duct tape.
Indicating the national health care reforms would be implemented over the dead bodies of all those shiftless ne'er-do-wells who contracted uninsured cancer as part of a socialist plot to get out of work, Plakon called the Obama plan "anti-freedom, anti-liberty and very likely unconstitutional."
Anti-freedom? Anti-liberty? Oh, really? How much freedom and liberty are millions of uninsured and/or underinsured families enjoying while facing bankruptcy under the crushing debt of medical costs?
Is the health care plan perfect? Nope. But a public policy that seeks to insure all Americans, reduce insurance premium increases and prevent individuals with pre-existing conditions from being regarded as lepers hardly stirs images of black helicopters/jack-booted storm troopers.
Of course, there is one group of people for whom the health care plan will realize plenty of freedom and liberty. As fate would have it, try as he might, McCollum couldn't find a Florida law firm to receive public monies to fight the Obama plan. Fortunately, McCollum was able to retain a Washington law firm, Baker & Hostetler, where ironically the attorney general himself whiled away his post-congressional days billing hours.
Where's the loquacious Joe Biden for a comment on that when you really need him?