Thursday, June 28, 2012



The GOP just dodged a bullet with the Supreme Courts’ upholding of the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as ObamaCare, and its insurance mandate. I have written extensively on this bill and its provisions; see my 3/28/12 post YOU CAN’T TELL THE PLAYERS WITHOUT A SCORECARD, which dealt primarily with the politics of the issue and my 3/29/12 post PAY ME NOW OR PAY ME LATER…, which dealt primarily with the substance of the health care mandate. It’s obviously time to revisit the issue, today to discuss its politics.

As a realist (My realism is often derided as cynicism, and I don’t mind that somewhat derisive moniker. Paraphrasing that great philosopher Lily Tomlin, no matter how cynical I become, it’s never enough to keep up. But I digress.), I have long given up the naïve notion of my youth that the GOP, or any political party, cares about anything but getting elected and obtaining the opportunity to loot the public treasury such election entails. So even if they profess disappointment, grounded in ideology, in today’s ruling, the Republicans are, if they are sentient (and one wonders most of the time), popping champagne corks. There are at least three reasons the GOP is doing so.

First, if the health care mandate were struck down, and probably the entire ObamaCare structure with it, the GOPers, as opponents of ObamaCare, would have to wear the jacket for their constituents’ no longer being able to keep their twenty something kids on their health insurance policies and, if they have preexisting conditions, their not having any hope in the foreseeable future of getting health coverage. While many people are opposed to ObamaCare in theory, they like many of its provisions, especially the aforementioned preexisting conditions and kids on the policy provisions. The GOP, for all its talk of “replacing” ObamaCare with a plan that contains the things their constituents like while eliminating the things they find ideologically or financially onerous, have nothing resembling a replacement in the wings (and for good reason, but that is grist for another mill). Thus, those popular provisions would have been gone if ObamaCare went down, and the Democrats would be incessant about reminding voters who took them away—the Republicans and what the Dems would surely call the Republican Supreme Court. This would not bode well for the GOP in 2012.

Second, one of the GOP’s campaign themes for 2012 is that we must elect Mr. Romney (The irony here is incredible, by the way.) if we are going to “get rid of ObamaCare.” If the Supreme Court had struck down ObamaCare, that issue would have eliminated.

Third, had ObamaCare been struck down, the Democratic base, which has shown signs of lethargy of late, would have been instantly energized by citing the necessity of “taking back the Court,” or something like that. Killing ObamaCare would have once again shown how important the Court is and, thus, how important having a Democrat in the White House is Democratic faithful. If this did not become obvious to the typical Democratic true believer, David Axelrod and company would have made it obvious. This issue is now perhaps not gone but clearly diluted.

So, my friends, the big winners today were the Republicans.


Julie said...

Astute analysis, Mark. Apparently the Romney campaign raised $300,000 in the first hour after this morning's announcement, attributing donations to the Court's decision to uphold Obamacare. Definitely no tears in the War Room.

The Pontificator said...

Thanks, Julie; this should be the gift that keeps on giving for the GOP.