Big Fucking Deal: It’s going to be the Economy

“Lexington” (The Economist) had expected a different ruling, two weeks ago, and in what looked like an effort to keep this year’s presidential race moderately suspenseful even if the Supreme Court struck down Obamacare, the author pointed to a potential silver lining for the president:

A poll on June 7th found that 76% of people think that Supreme Court justices are sometimes swayed by their political or personal views, and that only 44% approve of the court’s performance. It used to be by far the most popular branch of government.

People might hesitate to hand the Republicans the White House, the House of Representatives, the Senate, plus the Supreme Court, in the November elections, “Lexington” mused, if the Supreme Court should turn out to be that politicized.

But obviously, the decison today is much better news for the Obama administration  than a silver lining. The decision about Obamacare, about the individual duty to buy healthcare, just as the political direction of the country, has been handed back to the voters. Barack Obama had been voted in, four years ago, with a platform which had included Obamacare (even if very different from what it eventually became two years ago).

Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential candidate, announced today that he was going to seek majorities in November that would repeal the law. That, of course, would require a Republican triple-victory – regaining the White House, and taking control of both houses of Congress.

If “Lexington” was surprised this morning, so were most observers. Chief Justice John Roberts

gave so little evidence that he would practice what he had preached, and so much that he would instead undertake an activist agenda with a partisan bent,

The Atlantic‘s James Fallows wrote today, after the ruling.

Chances are that Obamacare is neither as overwhelmingly popular with the American majority as it is with its original and ardent supporters (many of whom may feel that what it finally became is only a watered-down version, and may not be that enthusiastic anymore, anyway), nor as screamingly unpopular as it is with the “tea partisans”.

If not other “big fucking deals” happen, the economy is likely to decide the race for the White House, and possibly decide the fate of Obamacare, too – just by the way, as far as many voters are concerned. If the economic situation or job market should be too gloomy to tolerate in November, the voters won’t ask if their expectations had been realistic – in that case, they will choose Romney – as tugged to the right as he may be.

But the Supreme Court’s ruling this morning was a great deal, all the same. Above all, it shows that “Wasington DC” and “gridlock” aren’t yet synonymical. Things can still get done.

____________

» If Krauthammer had been the Chief Justice, Charles Krauthammer / National Post, June 28, 2012
» First Steps into a Multi-Polar World, Dec 23, 2010
» Unhealthy Individual Health Insurance Market, CFAP, Dec 23, 2008
» Fear and Hope, Nov 5, 2008

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