It would be unfair to say that today’s Supreme Court decision on Obamacare will decide this fall’s presidential election. But, unless some big national security emergency happens between now and November, no single event will more determine the outcome.
If the individual mandate is upheld, then the core of Obama’s signature domestic accomplishment will carry a stamp of approval from an ideologically center-right Supreme Court. This would not change Americans’ opinion of the law overnight, but it would significantly undercut Republican claims that Obama attempted to stretch federal powers far beyond those intended by our nation’s founding documents.
If the individual mandate is struck down, Obamacare will be mortally wounded but not yet dead. Obama will have to remake the case to the American people that reforming health care is essential to our economic recovery. He failed to convince them the first time, but that doesn’t mean he won’t fare better the second time, especially against a Mitt Rommney who passed a similar law at the state level and refuses to get specific about what he would do on the issue at the federal level.
If the entire law is invalidated, then Obama will have wasted his first, and maybe only, term as president. He will look like an ineffectual leader who arrogantly overestimated his own popularity and power. Some liberals, like The Daily Beast’s Michael Tomasky, believe Obama can recover by leading an all out attack on the Supreme Court like President Roosevelt did after it struck down his New Deal expansions of federal power.
But the American public largely supported Roosevelt and his reforms. Obamacare, by contrast, has been unpopular ever since it has been passed. Not only does a vast majority of Americans want to see Obamacare overturned, but a slim majority of Democrats does too.
Europe could solve its debt crisis tomorrow. The U.S. economy could start adding 500,000 jobs a month. Israel could strike Iran’s nuclear facilities. Any one of these events would boost Obama’s chances in the fall. But, short of those, or any other game changers, today’s Obamacare decision could well decide the fate of his presidency.
Florida: A federal judge rejected a request from the Obama administration to put an immediate stop to Florida’s non-citizen voter purge program.
Romney: The Washington Post is refusing to retract its front page story purporting to report that, while at Bain, Romney specialized in investing in companies that sent jobs overseas. The Romney campaign has provided a detailed rebuttal showing that the firms mentioned by The Post either created jobs in the United States or were invested in after Romney left Bain.
Obama: Obama has no public events on his schedule today.
Around the Bigs
The Washington Post, Some student loans to become more expensive despite deal: College students are facing a roughly $20 billion increase in the cost of their federal loans, despite a much-heralded deal in Washington to contain the expense of higher education. Loans for graduate degrees were not covered.
The Los Angeles Times, Jerry Brown signs budget that relies on voter-backed tax hikes: California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a budget yesterday that makes deep cuts to social services and assumes that voters will pass $8 billion in tax hikes in November.
The New York Times, After Years of False Hopes, Signs of a Turn in Housing: Announcements of a housing recovery have become a wrongheaded rite of summer, but after several years of false hopes, evidence is accumulating that the optimists may finally be right.
The Hill, Black caucus to stage walkout during Holder contempt vote in House: Members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) plan to stage a walkout during Thursday’s vote on whether to place Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress. At least four Democrats say they will vote Thursday in favor of placing Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress.
The Weekly Standard‘s Michael Auslin claims that Colorado’s ‘epic firestorm’ reveals the danger of Air Force cuts.
National Review‘s Robert VerBruggen debunks a Fortune story claiming that Fast and Furious never happened.
The Washington Examiner‘s Tim Carney shows that the Supreme Court did not decide the 2000 election.
The Washington Post‘s E.J. Dionne wants Justice Antonin Scalia to resign from the Court.
Firedoglake‘s David Dayen predicts liberals will push for single payer at the state level if Obamacare is overturned by the Supreme Court.
The Washington Post‘s Sarah Kliff reports that some of the firefighters battling the Colorado fires don’t “have access” to health insurance.