Jim Lee: Reactions to ruling follow typical pattern

As word of the Supreme Court's ruling on President Barack Obama's health-care reforms burned across websites, social media and portable phones Thursday morning, close behind was a flood of emails, statements and declarations that for the most part were predictable and not worth the time they took to read.

The winner for the fastest response in my email inbox came from the Americans For Limited Government group. It arrived literally minutes after the Supreme Court's decision was announced - which sort of tells you how much time they spent truly analyzing the ruling - and carried the ominous title "The Death Of The U.S. Constitution."

Oh my.

Had the group actually read the ruling, they might have held off on that drama as the Court didn't rule on the constitutionality of using the Commerce Clause to impose a mandate that everyone purchase health insurance. Instead, the Court basically said the penalty for not getting insurance amounts to a tax, and yes, Congress has the authority to impose taxes.

The statement also blamed "these nine lifetime appointed jurists" for essentially ending life in America as we have known it, even though the decision on the mandate was 5-4, a fairly big split. Their statement would have held more power if the group had capitalized on the split and used that as a springboard to say that the entire law should be revisited.

Of course, demanding a review and possible compromise isn't as dramatic, so it isn't surprising that they didn't go that route.

The Libertarian Party followed in my email inbox, their response coming also less than an hour after the decision was announced.

They argue that now it is really important that we don't elect Mitt Romney to the presidency. According to the Libertarian Party, elected officials of both major parties are proponents of expanding government reach, but the difference is that while Democrats will vote for Republican initiatives to expand government, as they did under George W. Bush, Republicans won't vote for Democratic initiatives to expand government, as evidenced by their opposition to the health-care law's individual mandate, which they originally supported until Obama said he was for it.

They say if Romney is elected look for him to expand government, as he did in Massachusetts. And if he has a Republican majority in Congress, as is likely to be the case, we're all in deep doo-doo.

Speaking of doo-doo, Gov. Martin O'Malley's release came next. I could have recited the contents of that email without even opening it.

No press release from our Democratic governor is complete without at least a mention or two of how - no matter what the decision is - it will help "move Maryland forward."

Yeah, I heard that when he doubled my flush tax too, but I guess with all that doo-doo flowing out of Annapolis the amount of pollution entering the Bay has increased as well.

Next came the predictable releases from both elected officials in Congress and those hoping to unseat them in November. As expected, the Democratic releases recited the Democratic talking points we've been hearing since the health-care law was enacted. The Republican releases recited the same tired Republican talking points.

Please, stop wasting my time. I know how you feel about the law. It's only interesting if you say something new or different, like if you are a Republican who supports the law or a Democrat who opposes it. Otherwise you're just a party lemming who probably hasn't had an original thought since you took office.

The funniest line in a release came in the early afternoon, from President Obama. The first line of the statement he gave in the East Room of the White House was, "Earlier today, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act - the name of the health-care reform we passed two years ago."

Apparently he feared that since the Republicans had been calling it "Obamacare" for so long most folks wouldn't know that the Affordable Care Act was its real name, and they might confuse Thursday's ruling with something else.

The lesson from this flood of news releases, of course, is that you really have to look hard to find real answers to real questions you may have about any given issue.

Wading through the political rhetoric and canned talking points, eliminating the self-serving pleas from special interests and getting to the basics of what it actually means to you can be difficult, and it isn't going to come from a spam email sent by your favorite politician.

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