Cui Bono?


Today’s Supreme Court ruling has two angles.  The smart angle — ably covered on today’s podcast by Lawyers Yoo, Epstein, and Freedman below — and the political angle.

Which is sort of up for grabs.  So I’ll start.

This is good news for Romney.  Obamacare is now the central issue of the campaign, and it’s not popular.  In addition, it’s a tax — according to befogged Chief Justice Roberts — which nobody likes.  

Romney has already been in action.  They raised $1 million in the hours after the ruling was handed down.  And his language has been robust.  From the Daily Caller:

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney reacted Thursday to the Supreme Court upholding President Barack Obama’s health care reform law by flatly saying, “If we want to get rid of Obamacare, we’re going to have to replace President Obama.”

“As you might imagine, I disagree with the Supreme Court’s decision and I agree with the dissent,” Romney said from a Washington, D.C., rooftop with a view of the Capitol in the background. “What the court did not do on its last day in session, I will do on my first day if elected president of the United States. And that is I will act to repeal Obamacare.”

Romney argued that “Obamacare was bad policy yesterday, it’s bad policy today. Obamacare was bad law yesterday, it’s bad law today.”

So to me, and others, it looks like “Advantage: Romney.”  But there’s another side to consider.   David Frum in the Daily Beast:

First, today’s Supreme Court decision will make it a lot harder to elect Mitt Romney. President Obama has just been handed a fearsome election weapon. 2012 is no longer exclusively a referendum on the president’s economic management. 2012 is now also a referendum on Mitt Romney’s healthcare plans. The president can now plausibly say that a vote for the Republicans is a vote to raise prescription drug costs on senior citizens and to empower insurance companies to deny coverage to children for pre-existing conditions. Those charges will hurt—and maybe hurt enough to sway the election.

Second, even if Republicans do win the White House and Senate in 2012, how much appetite will they then have for that 1-page repeal bill? Suddenly it will be theirtown halls filled with outraged senior citizens whose benefits are threatened; their incumbencies that will be threatened. Already we are hearing that some Republicans wish to retain the more popular elements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Which means the proposed 1-page bill will begin to grow.

I’m not convinced.  I think that Obamacare is just one more way for Romney to clobber Obama — it’s unpopular, after all — and it doesn’t muddy the message at all.  It amplifies it.  President Obama has raised your taxes, spent your money, spent your grandchildren’s money, and has nothing to show for it.

How hard is that to say?

Cui bono?

Mitt Romney.

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  1. Profile Photo Inactive

    can the repubs dream of holding a 60 seat senate now? or is it time for me to wake up?

    • #31
  2. Profile Photo Member
    dittoheadadt: “Befogged” seems charitable.  If I understand his opinion correctly (and yes, I concede that’s a huge “if”), the individual mandate as a “penalty” was struck down as unconstitutional on the grounds that the government cannot compel a private citizen to buy something, namely, health insurance…or broccoli. Or health club attendance.

    But as a tax, the “mandate” IS constitutional because it’s a “tax,” on a private citizen for NOT buying something, namely, health insurance.

    Well, then, by duh, doesn’t it stand to reason, using that befogged logic, that the government could constitutionally tax a private citizen for not buying…broccoli? And for not going to the gym?

    Did I misunderstand Roberts’ opinion, or is he blatantly talking out of both sides of his mouth? · 6 hours ago

    No, it is effectively a credit against a tax for those who take the incentive to buy insurance.  The tax principle under the law examines the effect, not the hyperbole.

    • #32
  3. Profile Photo Member
    John Marzan: can the repubs dream of holding a 60 seat senate now? or is it time for me to wake up? · 35 minutes ago

    Don’t need 60, now reconciliation kills it with a simple majority.

    • #33
  4. Profile Photo Inactive
    Duane Oyen

    John Marzan: can the repubs dream of holding a 60 seat senate now? or is it time for me to wake up? · 35 minutes ago

    Don’t need 60, now reconciliation kills it with a simple majority. · 7 minutes ago

    i know, but this decision by the SC makes a 60 seat GOP majority a possibility now, yes? bye bye claire mckaskill, bye bye jon tester.

    • #34
  5. Profile Photo Coolidge

    Chris O.:  I get a funny feeling that Roberts outsmarted all of us and somehow has just put a cage around Congress. · 37 minutes ago

    Maybe so, in which case I’m slightly less pessimistic than my last comment.  There is a liberal author who agrees with you on Slate:  “Obama Wins the Battle, Roberts Wins the War” and the more conservative Sean Trende has an interesting comparison with Marbury vs. Madison here. · 3 hours ago

    Dog, I read the second piece and, though I wasn’t thinking of it in the same terms with comparisons, the effects Mr. Trende outlined are very positive in the long term. I’m choosing to think about it this way: any major initiative that comes through Congress where a new funding mechanism has to be attached will now be considered a tax in order to bypass a constitutional question on the commerce clause. Who does that hurt? Not our side. Well, at least not these days. So the cage I referred to is a big one, but it is there. Looking at it that way, this decision is quite a limit on congressional power.

    • #35
  6. Profile Photo Inactive

    Mitt was very good today, and as for Frum’s analysis, this isn’t 2008 anymore; the Romneycare line of attack is old news.

    I’ll repeat what I said yesterday: 10-state bus tour, hammering away at Obamacare with specific, free-market reforms that make the moral case for repeal, not just the technical case.  As for the whole Mediscare tactic, that is slowly, but surely losing its’ effectiveness.  Be not afraid, Governor.  The American people (at least the segment that will decide the election) are ready to be talked to like adults.

    • #36
  7. Profile Photo Inactive

    I had hoped that the SCOTUS would kick the POTUS in the SCROTUS,  but I still intend to stay positive. The Right thrives under assault. I worry about the precedent set but hope this gives us the fire in the belly we need.

    • #37
  8. Profile Photo Inactive

    I stopped considering David Frum when he came out wit hthe no labels nonsense.

    • #38
  9. Profile Photo Inactive

    Yeah, I think it’s a booster rocket for Romney,and will reignite the tea party in a big way, but I’m still depressed. Gimme a few days. Mitt does sound pretty good these days though, doesn’t he? Our last best hope, who’d a thunk it?

    • #39
  10. Profile Photo Coolidge

    We’ll see. But if Romney is elected, and I hope he is, I hope that he will pursue a legislative repeal of Obamacare, not continue Obama’s separation of powers destroying habit of executive fiat.

    • #40
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