As noted earlier in my pulse, I enjoyed watching the hilarity ensue after the recent SCOTUS decision regarding the controversial individual mandate provision of our country’s most recent attempt at healthcare reform. No matter the outcome, the sky would have been falling. If the entire Act had been rejected as unconstitutional, many Democrats would be getting their base riled up against those activist (read: people who don’t agree with me) judges who thwarted the will of the people. This would probably help quite a bit with their fundraising efforts as well as the public outrage being generated translated to campaign donations for those who wanted to implement a similar health care bill quickly. And let’s face it, many Americans liked a fair number of the provisions in the Act. In a fairly short time, another attempt at healthcare reform would be on its way. And while the Democrats were playing the helpless victims, the Republicans would have no doubt declared a great victory for the sake of liberty and conveniently not mentioned the importance of their corporate donors.
On the other hand, if the Court had accepted the administration’s argument that it was constitutional under the commerce clause, many Republicans would be getting their base riled up against those activist (read: people who don’t agree with me) judges who expanded the power of the federal government so far that we’ve become a fascist nanny state overnight. This would have created a fundraising bump for the Republicans as they generated public outrage at the tragic blow being struck against the liberty of people who can’t afford health insurance in large part because the Republicans and Democrats both played a significant role in driving up the cost of health care and keeping many people uninsured. Of course, the Republicans would blame it all on the big-spending over-regulating bureaucratic ways of the Democrats and neglect to mention their own help in perpetuating the corporate greed and callousness that also contributes to rising healthcare costs. While the Republicans would be very busy wailing at the injustice of a massive loss of liberty, the Democrats would be declaring a great victory for the American people and conveniently not mentioning how far we’re going to be in debt.
Neither of those rulings came out of the Court’s decision, and still we have some people claiming the sky is falling or that a great victory was won, because apparently that’s just what they like to do. What I find interesting is that Chief Justice Roberts played this one really well. He upheld a popular bit of law that the Democrats wanted upheld, but did so on conservative terms, not granting any more powers to the federal government that could help with other Democratic legislative endeavors, invoking instead the taxing powers already well-established. He very neatly pushed the issue back to the legislative branch where it belonged while not engaging in the partisan hackery of just voting in lockstep with the other conservatives on the court. I’m sure that both Democrats and Republicans were not entirely happy with him if they actually bothered to read about the case, but I for one give him kudos. Even though the decision was not what I wanted, I’ll admit that it was well-handled.
So the Republicans and Democrats with all their fanfare just leave me smirking because in the end, the victory was Pyrrhic at best and the only skyfall I’m likely to see soon is this one:
Or any movie with a classic Aston Martin.