Unprincipled Cartoon

Recently my local newspaper, the Asbury Park Press, published a cartoon that showed Governor Chris Christie saying that “Obamacare is unconstitutional.” At the same time a hand, presumably President Obama’s, is shown offering Christie a large bag labeled Federal Healthcare Funds for NJ. The caption reads “Don’t sound bite the hand that feeds.”

The only thing that recommends this cartoon is the clever word play on the old adage, “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.” Beyond that, it reflects a mindset that lies behind much of the trouble with government.

If a governor truly believes that a law is unconstitutional, is it thought a good thing that he/she be swayed from that position by a handout of federal money? First of all, there’s no such thing as federal money. In the final analysis, it’s our money. Should a President who is responsible for a law that’s widely viewed as unconstitutional be enabled to bribe a state official to accept it with the citizens’ own money? Talk about redistribution of funds!

In any other context this would be an indictable offense. I’m from New Jersey. I’ve read “Soprano State.” I’ve read about mass federal stings in the Asbury Park Press itself . I’m familiar with these things.

I don’t know what Christie’s final decision will be regarding acceptance of this funding, but it will be disappointing if he allows money to nudge him away from his original stance. One reason there is a Tea Party is that people want an end to the all-too-common practice of letting money trump principle. It was similar kinds of bribery in the form of the “Cornhusker kickback” and a job promise to Pennsylvania’s Joe Sestak, to name only two of many such instances, that got “Obamacare” passed in the first place.

Of course bribery is even easier if the briber first impoverishes his planned targets. But that’s another issue.

Dwight Boud
3/22/11

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One response to this post.

  1. well said, sir.

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