It was two years ago today that President Obama triumphantly signed the health care legislation. At the time, Vice President Biden called it a "big [redacted] deal." And it was.
Passed over the sustained and vociferous objections of not just many legislators, but millions of American citizens, the law is headed for a big Supreme Court battle even as new problems with it are discovered. See, for example, the Obamacare-enabled attack on religious freedom via the HHS mandate (which I'm headed to go protest here in D.C. in a little bit).
President Obama isn't making a big deal out of this birthday. No speeches are planned. No mention at all, it seems.
Charles Krauthammer writes:
Today, it’s the Catholic Church whose free-exercise powers are under assault from this cascade of diktats sanctioned by — indeed required by — Obamacare. Tomorrow it will be the turn of other institutions of civil society that dare stand between unfettered state and atomized citizen.
Rarely has one law so exemplified the worst of the Leviathan state — grotesque cost, questionable constitutionality and arbitrary bureaucratic coerciveness. Little wonder the president barely mentioned it in his latest State of the Union address. He wants to be reelected. He’d rather talk about other things.
But there’s no escaping it now. Oral arguments begin Monday at 10 a.m.
“At the two-year mark Friday, nearly everything that Democrats believed about the politics of health care has turned out to be false. And the ramifications for those miscalculations have been huge. They have haunted Obama’s presidency, soured business as usual at the Capitol and upended the conventional wisdom peddled by political strategists, who have rarely been so wrong about something so big.”
They focused on politics and little else in creating one of the largest legislative bungles in history. Their lack of focus on the actual, real-world policy implications is staggering to behold, even as we're left to handle all the damage.
But I'm a touch more hopeful about how the Supreme Court arguments will go. I'm more hopeful because of the weakness of arguments from the other side. I read the left's favorite court pundit, Linda Greenhouse, trying to make the argument that Obamacare's opponents were weak in yesterday's New York Times. Her argument scoffs at the idea that Obamacare is unprecedented, failing to understand the legal significance of its lack of precedent.
Dahlia Lithwick's piece in Slate appeals to, and I'm not joking, Nancy Pelosi's understanding of the Constitution to defend the law.
It makes me ever-so-slightly more confident that the right side will win. Even if we're still doomed.