Skip to comments.Video: Why the White House should be afraid, very afraid, over the ObamaCare arguments this week
Posted on 03/29/2012 10:15:53 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
Reason's Damon Root attended the final day of the ObamaCare oral arguments at the Supreme Court yesterday and has extensively analyzed the proceedings from earlier in the week as well, and concludes that the White House underestimated the difficulty of its task. While the Left has focused most of its blame on the performance of Solicitor General Donald Verilli, Root says that the problems stem from the arguments that the Obama administration made about the PPACA, and how quickly the justices poked significant holes in them:
"If I was in the Obama administration, I would not be comfortable with how the last three days went."
Reason's Damon Root was in attendance for the third and final day of oral arguments before the Supreme Court on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), which focused primarily on the issue of severability, which brings into question whether the individual mandate be excised from the law, or if the law in its totality must be struck down.
Now that the case is in the hands of the Court and a decision isn't expected until late June, Root thinks the Obama administration has reason to be concerned not only because their Solicitor General’s performance rated poorly, but because “their arguments were nowhere near as strong as they thought they were going to be.”
Democrats are starting to hit the panic button, as this Washington Post article makes clear. While a few publicly say that a Supreme Court rejection would make for good politics for Barack Obama and other Democrats in the fall election, most understand privately that losing the entire bill or even just the mandate would be a huge political embarrassment:
The Supreme Courts skeptical consideration of President Obamas landmark health-care legislation this week has forced his supporters to contemplate the unthinkable: that the justices could throw out the law and destroy the most far-reaching accomplishment of the Obama presidency.
The fate of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is uncertain. A ruling is not expected until June. White House officials are refusing publicly to consider that the law might be struck down or to discuss contingency plans, insisting that they do not address hypothetical questions.
Other Democrats have begun assessing how such an outcome could affect the political landscape of 2012, with some surmising that a backlash against Republicans could follow a ruling against the law. But supporters argue that on a substantive level, the results would be devastating. …
The court will effectively render judgment on the leadership of the president. It was Obama who, at every turn during the original health-care debate, pressed for a more ambitious package that required Americans to purchase insurance.
A nullification would serve as a dramatic rebuke of that decision as well as the judgments Obama and his advisers made about the legality of the law.
Hes mortgaged his presidency, at least his first term, on health care, said George C. Edwards, the author of a new book on Obama called Overreach and a historian at Texas A&M University. The law would have restructured a major aspect of life in America. It would have been a major, major legacy for the president. If that is thrown out, he has much less to show for it.
Meanwhile, the White House is keeping a stiff upper lip, at least publicly. Yesterday, deputy press secretary Josh Earnest insisted that the Obama administration hadn’t begun gaming out a Plan B in case the court tossed ObamaCare out:
The White House has no contingency plans in place in the event the Supreme Court rules the healthcare law is unconstitutional.
White House officials said Wednesday they remain confident that the healthcare reform law is constitutional and is implementing all the provisions of the law.
If the law is thrown out, there’s no contingency plan in place, principal deputy press secretary Josh Earnest said at Wednesdays press briefing with reporters. We’re focused on maximizing the benefits of this law.
Don’t bet on that. After this week’s developments at the Supreme Court, no political organization would shrug off the possibilities of defeat. If nothing else, they will have begun to formulate a political plan of attack in the event of a total or partial loss when the decision comes down, most likely in late July, and you can also bet your bottom dollar that it will include a strategy of launching nasty attacks on the integrity of the justices who vote it down — unless the final vote comes out differently than the 5-4 split everyone is expecting.
Update: Perhaps this is a trial balloon for the post-overturning strategy?
Obama pollster Joel Benenson at Third Way breakfast downplays
#hcr; “the president has many signature accomplishments over his first term.”
Well, there was the stimulus that failed to stimulate, the Recovery Summer That Wasn’t, bankruptcies at Solyndra and other Obama-donor-linked companies that cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars, high gas prices, and … er … the Lily Ledbetter Act. Yeah, that strategy probably won’t fly.
Just as an “aside” - someone on another board posted the link to the Ulsterman report (I know, I know) that the WH “insider” is saying that IF obamacare is knocked down by the SCOTUS, the WH is planning a healthcare “war” over the summer. I tried to post the link, et al. on here but was unable to do so as a new thread. If someone could post it, I think it’s worth reading.
Do the Supreme Court justices have body guards? Should they?
The SC read all the briefs and knew pretty much everything they were going to know before the arguments were presented. There were no bombshells to change their minds.
It’s going to come down to Kennedy and Roberts - and it could very well go 6-3 to uphold the law if they decide not to get involved in a high-profile case in an election year.
Our only hope is that the two are still smarting from the SOTU speech where Zero criticized the SC to their faces and the Rats applauded.
A decision is not expected until June?
What a relief! Plenty of time to influence the Supremes...Michelle, hand me my Chicago Rolodex...
Of course, those adherent to a Constitutional Republic understand that a benevolent fascist state will cease being benevolent almost immediately, but the fascism only gets rinsed away with blood.
Embarrassment or not, killing this would be a political plus for Barry.
Get the albatross off of his neck and allow him to move on to other things. Plus he gets to demagogue Right Wing Extremists for tossing your 26 year old slacker off of your Blue Cross and taking away some poor student’s birth control. In turn that would free up huge numbers of Catholics to go back to pulling the straight party “D” handle as they’ve always done.
0bama is also going to foment racial unrest. As we know, that’s already underway in Florida.
This evil bastard is going to create a crisis a week until the election so he can divert attention away from his treachery. Fortunately, more and more people are seeing him for what he is.
So they might decide not to get involved, or they might operate on personal emotions.
You base this on what?
Could very well be the payback. The justices do not like publicly being made to look bad.
And the terminally arrogant Liar-in-Chief has offended many many powerful people in the past 3 years.
I think they have a passion to stick it to Obozo and will rule 5-4 to 6-3 to strike it down completely.
Thanks for the link.
Over the next few months leading up to the election we should see Americans abandoning the traditional news outlets in droves (CBS,NBC,ABC,etc). Fox News ratings will skyrocket as a result.
That they are human - OK maybe not Ruth, but I'm pretty sure about the rest.
Maybe. But all the GOP has to do to blunt the first is to put forward a market-based reform that includes the “slacker provision” and the ‘Rats can’t demagogue this as the GOP taking away health insurance from the under 26 crowd. And I’m not sure those put out by the abortifacient/contraceptive mandate will be quick to forgive even if it’s become moot. (An awful lot of the Latins who pull the D lever are folks like Pelosi who weren’t bothered by the mandate anyway.)
Get the albatross off of his neck and allow him to move on to other things. I don't see that. I think tossing this out puts the entire issue front and center for November because the question would be "what happens now"? And I think that dynamic actually hurts Obama, because the most obvious question for him will be "if you could just convert the mandate into a tax, the bill would be fine. Do you support that?"
So either he says he doesn't support his own concept, or he endorses something that voters hate.
Bar9, you make good points.
I would add three comments:
1. I think the Justices were surprised at how poorly the Solicitor General’s defense came off;
2. Justice Kennedy has expressed concern for over-reaching and is not afraid to take a ocntroversial stance to protect the consitution - see Gore v Bush; and
3. Justices Sotomayor and kagan are NOT intellectually deep enough to sway Kennedy if he is in fact inclined to vote this mess down. In fact, they both - especially Sotomayor, came across a intellectual lightweights the past three days.
I'm afraid that if only the mandate is struck down, insurance companies will be forced out of the market because they cannot give guaranteed issue and meet community pricing and still make enough to cover costs, let alone make profit. This will leave us all no choice but to go into the government pool giving the administration what it wanted all along... single payer.
I love reading that when I see it posted/linked here. It never dawned on me to just go out and find it.
Anyways, whether it is true or not, it let’s me pretend (or not) that the worst things I think about that couple are true! I really need that some days.
Let's face it -- saying the health care tar baby should be decided by the people of each state is something about which it's difficult to manufacture much outrage.
I think it could go either way. Other than getting bin Laden, his only claim to fame for anything he felt was a success was the health reform act. If that goes down, he could lose some support. On the other hand, he’ll no doubt spin it to show that he and all of the rest of us are victims of the Supreme Court, for taking away all of our free health care. He will be able to get away with that, unless the GOP comes out strong with all the reasons it is good to have the health care act repealed.
I see a 4-4 deadlock with Kagan abstaining. That would kick it back to the three Appeals Court s for review. That is the only politically correct decision to make for the SCOTUS. Anything else and one side or the other is going to play holy Hades over the decision.
OTOH, should the justices reach unanimous consent to either keep or overturn DeathCare, then any backlash would be blunted.
If the attempted blaming of the Republicans and Palin for the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords didn't already permanently sour people on trusting the media, then nothing will.
The Republicans are put in a somewhat tougher spot if Obamacare is struck down. Suddenly instead of arguing against an unpopular bill, they have to create their own bill and sell it against something else new from the Democrats. Instead of being in the lead, they have to start the race all over again. And the public will either have forgotten about Obamacare or won't care by the time November rolls around. The notion that it was struck down will be a distant memory, something the media won't be talking about or asking about at the debates.
Romney won't have any special credibility on this issue because he can't point to what he did in Mass. as a model for the nation. He can push the states' rights angle, but that would contradict the idea of selling insurance across state lines, which conservatives seem to want. Although I'm not sure where RINO Romney stands on that issue.
If only the mandate is struck down, there could be a different type of fight or an interim fight. I'm sure that Congress will have enough votes to override a veto on striking down the rule that insurance companies have to cover pre-existing conditions. The insurance lobby will make sure of that. But the White House might set it up so Dems not up for reelection vote for that override, while Obama can publically tell people he vetoed an attempt to stop universal coverage while he insists Congress come up with new funding for it.
"Mr. President, how do you respond to the vast majority of Americans who think that gas prices are too high?"
"They may be high, but I got Osama!"
That doesn't typically sell to voters. If Obama comes up with a detailed plan and promises a bunch of goodies and Romney's response is to say no, I have no plan, it's up to the states, most voters are going to with Obama. Yet any plan Romney comes up with is going to contradict his defense of Romneycare as health care being an issue for the states. So he'll be put in a very difficult position. If all Romney's arguing for is the status quo we had before Obamacare was implemented, people aren't going to go for it. Most conservatives want health insurance sold across state lines. The dems will just keep saying millions remain uninsured under that system.
Once again, this turns out to be all about obama. How it affects him politically, etc. How about how it affects the American public?
I’m sick of this meme about how everything is about zero.
Don't forget this unhinged guy either ... Justice Breyer's unhinged Commerce Clause ramblings
I don’t the long knives are out for Obotulism and they are going to help finish him off. 6-2-1 or 5-3-1 if Elena Kegface abstains as you say.
By that logic, people should have loved ObamaCare. But people hated it, and it sunk the Dems in 2010. The problem is that while generalities may sound good, as soon as you start getting specific, you're inevitably going to say things that alienate people. That's why ObamaCare sank.
And the worst part of that for Obama is that he won't be able to get by with just generalities. When he had a chance to draft something, he came up with something people hated, and the GOP nominee can just say "why would you trust this guy a second time when he did something you hated the first time?
The reality is that Obamacare and the reaction to it has ratchetted up the usual distrust government of government solutions, so a "punt" to the states may well be the most inoffensive solution.
I understand the decision will be made very soon, in the next week, but will not be released until June. I am unsure why that is the case.
Well, the conservatives and Republicans actually did a good job in the spin war and messaging war against Obamacare. They simultaneously made it sound like a single payer government takeover of health care, which it fell short of actually being, and also played up the mandate, making people see it as a tax increase. I think many of the people who hated the mandate/tax actually would have been covered by the “free health care giveaway” provisions of the law. But for some reason the Dems could never get that message across. I still think Obama can win the health care issue if he promises people free goodies and says he’ll tax “the rich” to pay for it. “Taxing the rich” still polls incredibly well. The Republicans have been doing some of their worst messaging on that issue. Bottom line I don’t think we’re well-positioned on the health care issue for the general election if Obamacare is overturned, at least not at this point.
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