Let’s dispense with the high-minded legal and social analysis of the Supreme Court's health care ruling and proceed crassly and directly to what matters in the N2K Presidential Race memo: Good or bad for President Obama and Mitt Romney?
Good for Obama, probably, although he loses the Court as a foil. Less good for Romney, probably, although he can now hold himself out as the last resort for voters dead-set against the Affordable Care Act.
Good for the president because the verdict by the Court, delivered and validated by a George W. Bush appointee, puts the stamp of approval of the highest legal authority in the land on his signature legislation, and anything else would’ve dredged up all the old, tired “legitimacy” arguments.
And some good for Romney, too, because now Republicans have one means left to rid themselves of the animating spirit behind the tea party’s rise in 2009 and 2010: the ballot box. They’ll vote with their feet, the base will. On Thursday, they’d already started voting with their wallets; by 2:30 p.m., a little over four hours after the decision, the campaign claimed $1.5 million from more than 13,500 donations since the decision.
“I think this is going to elect Mitt Romney the 45th president of the United States,” Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Ga., told CNN after the decision, describing himself as “shocked.”
But the voters who matter aren’t in Gingrey’s district, up against the Alabama border. They’re in Nevada and Michigan and Missouri and Pennsylvania. And most of those folks weren’t like those of us in D.C., in eye-twitching anticipation on SCOTUSblog or Twitter or glued to one of the cable networks that botched the news this morning.
Their eye-twitches are still more about whether they’ll have a job before November, or after.
-- Jim O’Sullivan
NATIONAL JOURNAL’S PRESIDENTIAL RACE REPORT
Even After Big Victory, Health Care Future Uncertain
[National Journal, 6/28/12] Obama’s stunning victory on Thursday in the Supreme Court is a surprising validation of his dogged refusal to give ground on his 2008 campaign promise to provide health insurance for the millions of Americans who live in daily dread of disease or sickness. The success deals a severe blow to Republican hopes to ride "Obamacare" to big victories in November -- but the House is still planning a repeal vote for July 11.
More Swing State Storm Clouds For Obama and Romney
[National Journal, 6/28/12] The presidential race poised on a knife’s edge for both candidates, National Journal’s Ron Brownstein writes: Polls point toward an election that could narrowly divide America between two coalitions utterly divergent in their beliefs and demography, but almost equal in size.
Holder Contempt Vote May Lead to Dead End on ‘Fast and Furious’
[Huffington Post, 6/28/12] In a nearly party-line vote, the House easily passed a measure on Thursday citing Attorney General Eric Holder with contempt. But Darrell Issa’s failure to secure any damning evidence against top official suggests that his investigation has now largely run its course.
Romney Launches Mission ‘Repeal and Replace’
[Washington Examiner, 6/28/12] “What the Court did not do on its last day in session I will do on my first day as president,” Romney said from Washington, with the Capitol building as his backdrop. “I will act to repeal Obamacare.” Former Bush speechwriter David Frum says of the repeal calls: “Good luck with that.”
The New Campaign: Absurd Romney vs. Compelling Romney
[National Journal, 6/28/12] National Journal’s Michael Hirsh writes that the high court just handed Romney a compliment: your health care law in Massachusetts is not only effective, it’s constitutional. But “The Absurd” Romney is being forced to run away from this victory, even as a campaign that should be about the economy – Romney’s best bet” turns into one about Obamacare.
John Roberts, Liberal Icon
[Buzzfeed, 6/28/12] Roberts’ decision did have a strong conservative element -- he noted that he did not believe Obama’s argument that the Commerce Clause was sufficient to impose the mandate. But that small fact was lost on conservatives and liberals alike.
Obama Puts 'Romneycare' in Crosshairs
[National Journal, 6/28/12] The question now before Romney: Can he stoke his party's anger over the Supreme Court's health ruling without burning himself in the process? Newly ignited anti-Obamacare fervor gives Romney an opportunity to rally his base, but it also ratchets up the pressure on the GOP standard-bearer to make repealing law central his campaign -- a move that poses risks.
Romney Cashing In on Healthcare Ruling
[Politicker, 6/28/12] In the first 50 minutes after the Supreme Court ruling, the Romney campaign announced that they’d brought in $100,000 in donations. By 2:30, that figure had reached $1.5 million.
Obama Fooled on Supreme Court Ruling by CNN, Fox News
[Politico, 6/28/12] The president was doing what everyone else was Thursday: watching TV, waiting for the decision. When he saw the mistaken reporting on CNN and Fox he looked “crestfallen and anxious for more detail,” Politico reports. When he finally learned the good news, he hugged White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler and chief of staff Jack Lew.
Obama and Roberts Legacies Are Intertwined
[Wall Street Journal, 6/28/12] Then-Sen. Obama voted against confirming Chief Justice John Roberts in 2005, highlighting the wide breach in ideology between the two that has come to color the current health care debate. But the two men are actually very similar.
Roberts Labels Obama a Tax Raiser
[National Journal, 6/28/12] Got good news and bad news for you, Mr. President, National Journal’s Ron Fournier writes. The good news is that Chief Justice John Roberts just saved your legacy and, perhaps, your presidency by writing for the Supreme Court majority that the health care law is constitutional. The bad news is he declared you a tax-raiser.
Future of an Aging Court Raises Stakes of Presidential Vote
[New York Times, 6/27/12] Justices Ginsburg, Scalia, Kennedy, and Breyer are all over 70, and with an average SCOTUS retirement age of 78.7, a retirement is looking likely during the next presidential term, making the outcome of the fall election pivotal for the future makeup of the Court.
Whose Party Is It Anyway?
[National Journal, 6/28/12] Obama and Romney are struggling to relate to their own parties, although in very separate ways. During his first term, Obama controlled the party agenda to such a degree that, at times, Democrats on Capitol Hill wondered if their own careers were an afterthought. Romney, on the other hand, appears tentative within his own party.
Electoral Map Math Favors Romney
[National Journal, 6/28/12] A new wave of state-by-state polls is showing just how sizable the field of swing states will be this election, with several of the Democratic-leaning white, working-class states looking very much in play.
Romney Shifts Focus from Post Article on Bain to Health Care Law
[Washington Post, 6/27/12] As a Washington Post article that highlighted outsourcing of jobs by Bain Capital gained traction on the campaign trail, Romney pivoted from first trying to discredit it to then trying to ignore it. Perhaps this indicates that the attacks on outsourcing are working.