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The Times
  • Philip Maddocks: Millions injured as pundits and politicians rush to judgment after Supreme Court decision

  • In a scene more reminiscent of soccer hooligans than the political elite, millions of expensively-suited and Loafered political aides and on-camera personnel rushed into the streets of Washington, brandishing notepads filled with talking points, screaming legal epithets and smashing windows in buildings along K Street and other tony sections in the nation’s capital.


     

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  • The rush to judgment by commentators and politicians in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision on the health care overhaul law left millions injured and in need of emergency medical care.
    In a scene more reminiscent of soccer hooligans than the political elite, millions of expensively-suited and Loafered political aides and on-camera personnel rushed into the streets of Washington, brandishing notepads filled with talking points, screaming legal epithets and smashing windows in buildings along K Street and other tony sections in the nation’s capital.
    Hospital triage units were quickly overwhelmed with injured congressmen, senators, lobbyists, and reporters who wound up being trampled and bloodied in their zeal to be the first to pass judgment on the ruling by the land’s highest court.
    “Nobody told me that things like this happened here,” said Porter Smith, who had just started his internship with a lobbying firm a couple of days before the Supreme Court handed down its decision on the health care law on June 28.
    “I came to Washington to learn how the system works and I’d have to say it has been a real eye opener,” said Mr. Smith while ducking and weaving through streets littered with broken glass and battered microphones, leaving a trail of fire and smoke in his wake as he sprinted past a law office that had been overtaken by a mob of well-quaffed men and women who at that moment were feverishly working at overturning a bookcase filled with legal reference books.
    A few blocks north, as pieces of burning bindings of constitutional law books dropped from the sky around him, Eric Fehrnstrom, Mitt. Romney's senior adviser, set off a new round rioting when he strayed wildly from the coordinated comments of the Republican leadership on Capitol Hill and other party strategists by writing a note on his Etch A Sketch stating that Mr. Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, agrees with Democrats that President Barack Obama's health care mandate is not a tax.
    In the melee that followed, Fehrnstrom ended up needing treatment for an abdominal strain and a rotator cuff injury to his sketching arm.
    Despite tight security in the blocks between the Capitol building and the Supreme Court building, the rush to judgment by Washington’s political insiders following the justices’ 5-4 decision to uphold the constitutionality of the health care law quickly mushroomed out of control.
    Outside the court building impeccably outfitted rioters threw stones, snatched benches, punched each other, and tweeted erroneous interpretations of the justices’ decision as order gave way to chaos and misunderstanding.
    Clutching a bandage to her temple, Mary Sheenan, who had taken refuge at the Lincoln Memorial, said she and her friends were walking down First Street on the way to a restaurant when they were swept up in the violence. She recalls feeling her glasses flying off her face. The next minute she and her friends were on the ground getting smacked and robbed of everything, including phones, purses, and health insurance cards.
    Page 2 of 2 - “We were walking because we forgot it was a Supreme Court ruling day, ” said Ms. Sheenan, 20, who studies political science in Paris and was visiting her family at the time. “They were 40, and we were four. They threw me on the floor and started punching me and asking me if I wanted my freedoms taken away. Unlike my friends, I got lucky — they didn’t ask me what I thought of federalism.”
    By the afternoon, John Yoo, a former Bush administration lawyer, could be seen on the steps of the Supreme Court building, his shirt torn, his hair mussed, his tie loosened and askew, busily trying to sell electric cars, organic kale, and solar panels to passers-by because, as Mr. Yoo put it, the health care ruling may give the government the power to force citizens to buy these items.
    Mr. Yoo said he had given up on the idea of forcing Chief Justice John Roberts into switching his vote through the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques.”
    “Right now,” he said, “I’m just like everyone else here. I’m trying to make the best of a bad situation.”
    Philip Maddocks is a political satire columnist for GateHouse News Service. He can be reached at pmaddocks@wickedlocal.com.
     
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