Ok, so on first blush this seems like a bad decision for conservatives. So here are a few things that I found that say that it isn’t that bad.
Here’s moderate pragmatist Dick Morris.
Right now, presidential polls show Romney and Obama both in the mid-40s. The single most unpopular thing Obama has done is the health care law. Now it is going to be the lynchpin issue. It means that the election itself will increasingly be polarized around opinions of the health care law – a fifteen point loser for the Democrats.
In a real sense, the Supreme Court did not let Obama off the hook by striking down the law. Now he will have to defend it during the election.
Remember what this law does. It requires everyone to spend upwards of 7 percent of their income on health insurance or pay a fine of several thousand dollars. Neither is an attractive alternative for the young and the poor who are the president’s political base. And, with the expansion of Medicaid rejected by the Court, the government will not be there to help them.
In 2010, Democrats running for Congress (most of whom lost) did not even attempt to defend Obamacare. They put as much distance between themselves and the law as they could. But now, neither Obama nor his Senate and House candidates will have that option since the Supreme Court has kicked the football back into political play.
And here’s conservative Townhall.
Over, and over, and over, President Obama assured us that this was not a tax. He was not raising taxes on the middle class (that’s what the Republicans were doing, remember?). Nope, says the CJ: ya raised our taxes. Politically, that’s going to prove troublesome for Obama this fall, and in a much more substantial way than having his “signature legislative accomplishment” overturned altogether.
For one, Roberts took away Obama’s ability to campaign against the Court. They upheld his law; he can’t do as he did after Citizens United and construe the ACA ruling as a massively political attack on the little guy and his uninsured plight. He has nothing to blame on the Justices. All they did was recharacterize the “penalty” as constitutional under the taxing power. Roberts robbed Obama of a scapegoat, and stuck Obama with an unpopular law in an election year. Ouch.
Second, Roberts has literally forced Obama to acknowledged that he broke a promise, and raised taxes. And tax increases don’t resonate well with the voters. Now, it’s doubtful Obama will assume responsibility for raising taxes – note that in his speech today, he didn’t acknowledge the Court’s reasoning for the ruling, only that they ruled in his favor. But the GOP has just added a major weapon to its arsenal: want to lower taxes? Then don’t reelect Obama.
This third observation is one that isn’t immediately eminent, but nonetheless just as important as those prior two, if not more so. Roberts has made it substantially easier to repeal Obamacare, and substantially harder to pass anything like it in the future. As noted above, Americans don’t like taxes. And thanks to the fact that many will opt to pay the tax rather than buy insurance (as that will cost less), the insurance problem in this country hasn’t been solved. The fact that we’ve settled the question of the mandate’s constitutionality means we can turn to the rest of the law, and address the flaws contained therein, and perhaps find a real solution to the healthcare crisis. As for future laws, Democrats lost the ability to hide behind “penalty” language. Roberts saw that the mandate waddled and quacked, and gave it the appropriate name. (He also forbade Congress from actually “mandating” anything, so that name isn’t even correct anymore.) The ACA barely passed the first time; future iterations of this theory are destined to fail, because Congress will have to stand up and say, “We propose to enact a new tax so as to influence your behavior.” If that isn’t the proverbial lead balloon, I don’t know what is.
So there you have it: it’s really not all bad. It’s not what we wanted, but then – as I suspect Obama will learn in the coming months – we must remember to be careful what we wish for.
UPDATE: I have been told that if something is a tax, then it only has to get 50 votes in the Senate to repeal it, and not 60. I’m not sure if this is correct. Additionally, Romney got $3.2 million in donations the day the Supreme Court made their decision. So that is good news for sure.
That’s the silver lining. It’s a big cloud, but there is a small silver lining.
UPDATE: Wes sent me this full list of all the taxes contained in Obamacare. All we have to do now is win in November.