Can Obama Survive a Supreme Court Defeat?
The ultimate irony of 2012 would be for Mitt Romney to win by running away from health care reforms he once pioneered while Barack Obama’s presidency bleeds out from injuries sustained while trying to pass them nationally.
A new poll shows two-thirds of Americans hope the Supreme Court will overturn some or all of the 2010 law this month. Only 24 percent want the Court to “keep the entire health care law in place.”
When it rules later this month, the Court may well start an Obamacare avalanche to bury not only the individual mandate but underpinnings of the entire law, as Jeffrey Toobin explains in the New Yorker.
That could well be the final nail in the coffin of Democratic hopes to hold on to the White House and/or at least one chamber of Congress.
Toobin destroys wishful thinking that the President could politically survive and “avoid the problem of defending the law on the campaign trail and concentrate instead on issues on which the Democratic view is more popular.
“This is nonsense. In the first place, in politics and the rest of life, it’s always better to win than lose…Moreover, the invalidation of such a central achievement of his Administration would taint Obama’s Presidency forever…it would look like Obama overreached in the way that the stereotype suggests that liberals often do in expanding the size of government.
“In the event of a loss, Obama would blame the Court, perhaps for good reason, but for better or worse the Justices will have the last word. In the famous words of Justice Robert Jackson, ‘We are not final because we are infallible, but we are infallible only because we are final.’”
For collectors of ironies, the bottom line in such a November defeat would be that the health-care war was lost not only by the ugly spectacle of both parties in Congress bloating the law into a monstrous mess but a President who let them do it by not taking charge at the start.