On Thursday the Supreme Court decided 5-4 that Obamacare was constitutional. Conservatives went into shock, liberals cheered, and the stock markets crashed. Chief Justice John Roberts, a Bush 43 appointee, shocked conservatives across the country by voting with the four liberal justices. His statement as to why left Republicans across the country pondering.
While the Court rejected two of the three parts of the administrations argument supporting the individual mandate, they did say that the mandate could survive as a tax.
“Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness,” said the Chief Justice.
To put it bluntly, elections have consequences. If the American public wants to change this law, vote the people out of office that are for it, and vote in those that want it gone.
After conservatives across the country put down their John Roberts voodoo dolls, they realized that there’s only one option now, and that’s the upcoming election. They also realized that the administration has either been lying for the past three years, or they’re incredibly stupid. Obamacare is a tax. It can now be considered one of the largest tax increases not only in American history, but the entire world.
Obama once argued with ABC News’ George Stephanopolous, stating that his health care law wouldn’t be a tax. A year before that, candidate Obama claimed that health care should never be purchased with tax increases on middle class families. Also, remember when the attorney for the administration argued before the Supreme Court that the mandate did not constitute a tax?
Chief Justice Roberts said that at the end of the day, whatever they want to call it, it’s a tax, and that makes it constitutional.
This isn’t the time for the GOP to play ‘Taps.’ There’s one way forward now. Nine people made their votes known on Thursday. This November, everyone else gets their chance, and it might not go so well for President Obama.
The Democrats took a nearly unprecedented beating at the ballot box in the 2010 midterms. The dominant issue that powered that tidal wave was Obamacare. Now it’s back on the table. It may even replace the still-ailing economy as the dominant campaign issue.
Did the Supreme Court hang an albatross around the neck of the president that he thought he’d finally gotten rid of while giving a gift to Mitt Romney and the Republicans? The law is still hugely unpopular with the public. The majority of people want it repealed.
Mitt Romney and the GOP will hammer every day until November. Obama will have to once again defend an unpopular bill to a public that remembers and resents how it was passed by Congress at midnight on a Sunday, with favors and payoffs.
Mitt Romney, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) spoke again today about the need for a complete repeal. House Republicans have already scheduled a repeal vote for early July. Even though they know Majority Leader Harry Reid will never bring it up for a vote in the Senate, at least it will continue to put the Democrat’s support of what’s undoubtedly an unpopular bill on record.
President Obama, members of the blogosphere and the mainstream media will probably spend weeks gloating. Even the DNC’s Twitter account decided to spike the ball with a few less-than-classy colorful metaphors.
Republicans, libertarians and Tea Party supporters had a fire lit underneath them in a way that they have not since 2010. If Obama thought the opposition was a pain before, he hasn’t seen anything yet. While that same passion’s been re-ignited, there is one major difference between 2010 and now. This time, Obama’s name is on the ballot.
President Obama did more than wake the sleeping giant. He spiked the football on its head. His recent support of gay marriage and his attempts to push for amnesty are peanuts compared to the outrage his healthcare law causes. The moment the ruling came down from the Supreme Court, it became an entirely different dynamic.
Obama won’t have the Supreme Court to campaign against. Instead he’ll now have an angrier, reinvigorated opposition. The sleeping giant is awake once again, and it’s pissed. As Mitt Romney said Thursday: “If we want to get rid of Obamacare, we have to get rid of Obama.”
As for the Chief Justice, there’s one more thing to consider. He ruled the mandate relative to the commerce clause as unconstitutional. By reframing it as a tax, there are actually several upsides. Congress can still levee taxes, but it can’t compel people to buy a product. It also makes Obama look bad after he spoke for three years about how the penalty was not a tax.
Calling it a tax also means that a repeal bill could now pass the Senate by 51 votes instead of 60. All the GOP needs is a few senators this November, and a vice president to break the tie.
Did Roberts join the majority so that he could write the ruling in a way that might in the end harm the president politically? A little payback for all of the insults the president has tossed towards the Supreme Court? And while he was at it, did he toss a little fuel on the fire of the opposition?
We shall see.