The Supreme Court pulled the plug on one central attack strategy of the Republicans’ 2012 campaign against President Barack Obama by upholding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, but it may also have energized another.
Republicans had hoped the conservative-dominated Court would invalidate entire law, opening the way for them to say the centerpiece legislation of the Obama administration was not only unconstitutional but that the President had wasted three years on a flawed and failed policy.
But they’re not about to give up. Within an hour of the Court’s decision, House Republican Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) scheduled a vote to repeal the entire law during the week of July 9. With an automatic majority in the House he should have no trouble getting that passed by his legion of lemmings, but it is pure grandstanding that will die there.
Moments later GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney declared he not only disagreed with Chief Justice John Roberts’ decision but repeated that on his first day in office “I will act to repeal Obamacare.” He went on to quote the objections to the law of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, one of the major contributors to his presidential campaign.
Romney conveniently overlooked the similarities between Obamacare and Romneycare, the plan he enacted as governor of Massachusetts, largely avoiding substantive discussion of similarities by focusing on the fact that his bill applied only to one state and Obama’s covers the full country. Romney said the only way to get rid of Obamacare is to get rid of Obama.
In his own reaction to the court decision, Obama pointed out Romney’s inconsistencies. The individual mandate provision, at the center of the debate, in the past "enjoyed support from members of both parties, including the current Republican nominee for president," Obama noted.
Look for Romney to avoid the issue and tough questions as much as possible for fear that Democrats will focus in on the similarities between the two laws and accuse the former governor of hypocrisy.
Justice Ruth Rader Ginsburg, in her opinion on the case, credited the Massachusetts law as setting important precedents, noting "Congress followed Massachusetts' lead."
Other Republicans, however, will continue to hammer away at Obamacare, particularly at the congressional level, where they will focus on it as government intrusion into their lives. Even the president’s supporters concede he has largely failed to build a broad constituency for the program; ironically polls show the major elements of Obamacare enjoy broad support but conceptually the overall law is unpopular among large numbers of voters.
To no one's surprise, the National Jewish Democratic Council “lauded” the Court's decision and the Republican Jewish Coalition was "disappointed."
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