Many laws as certainly make bad men, as bad men make many laws. ~Walter Savage Landor, Imaginary Conversations
A federal judge has ruled that the individual mandate in Obamacare is unconstitutional. Judge Henry Hudson, a federal district judge in Virginia, found in a 42 page ruling that the core premise of Obamacare, the individual mandate, exceeds the Constitutional authorities of Congress. This is one of some 20 plus pending cases against Obama’s signature political achievement.
This does not come as a great shock to most, however, the left- led by White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs- have trotted out the foolishness that of the three courts that have examined Obamacare thus far, two of the three have ruled in favor of the law.
Well Mr. Gibbs, it only takes one.
That said, it is important to understand the political ramifications of this ruling and the impact it will have on the political environment through this political cycle and into the next. This ruling sets into motion a series of dominoes that will eventually bring down the Obama Administration. This still has to go to the Supreme Court, but I predict that Obamacare, through the individual mandate, will be found unconstitutional by a 5-3 decision (Kagan will likely recuse herself from the case).
1st Order Effects…
The individual mandate was the critical component to Obamacare. Without it, the entire bill falls apart. It is the primary funding mechanism for the bill, and is the only way that the bill can possibly hope to pay for the coverage of 30 million plus, no pre-existing conditions or keeping young adults (yes, 26 makes you an adult) on older adult health plans.
By declaring that mechanism unconstitutional, from a technical perspective, the skeleton of the bill is removed. But there is a more important aspect that must be considered- severability. A standard part of any legislation is a severability clause, which allows that is any part of the bill is found to be unconstitutional, then the rest of the bill stands apart. In their back-room push to get this thing out, the Dems didn’t include a severability clause into the Obamacare. That means that any part found to be unconstitutional brings down the entire bill.
The left cried bloody foul long and hard because Obamacare did not allow for a public option, let alone mandate a single payer system altogether. This ruling is salt in the wound as a public option would have provided the funding mechanism and backbone to the bill that would have allowed for it to stand on its own. And with the collapse of the Dem party in the 2010 mid-term elections, there is no chance that a public option will see the light of day. This has to be a major disappointment for a political ideology that recognizes that it is in the national minority and following the political momentum of the 2008 political season, liberals were at the strongest they have probably ever been. That is all gone now with the 2010 mid-terms wiping out all of the gains made by Dems since 2006.
Obamacare, as we know it, is gone.
2nd Order Effects…
Obama spent an enormous amount of political capital to get Obamacare passed. In fact, it was like a singular objective for the Administration, which some on the left finally recognize, in this economy, as a critical error made by the Administration. My friend Rutherford Lawson made this observation the day after the mid-term elections:
”Liberals will burn me in effigy for saying this but if last night taught us anything it was that we wasted eighteen months on health care reform that most of the nation didn’t want when we should have had a full court press on job creation. Before you stick your pin in my voodoo doll, let me distill this for you. I walk up to you and say I am going to ensure that your employer can provide you with health care and that you cannot be rejected for pre-existing conditions. Your reply, “that’s fine and dandy but I don’t have an employer. I haven’t worked in two years. I’m about to lose my house.” And then I say “but I insist it’s your right to have good health care!” Then I wonder why you don’t vote for my ass in the next election.” – Rutherford Lawson
If you want to talk about messed up priorities, let’s talk HCR wrangling with almost 10% unemployment. THAT messed up priority is one I’ve finally come to accept and you’ll no longer get an argument from me there.
Dems in Congress have already paid a dear price for this miscalculation, a bill that will likely come due again in 2012. A reason for this constant pain is the constant unpopularity of the bill. Disapproval has surpassed approval since July… of 2009. A recent Gallup poll found that 45% of Americans think that Obamacare will make healthcare worse, not better.
So, Dems need to get past Obamacare as soon as possible, but Obama is not helping. Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and Virginia Attorney General Cuccinelli have asked Obama’s Department of Justice to bypass the Fourth Circuit of Appeals and bring the case before the Supreme Court, but Obama is unlikely to do this because the Administration wants to see the outcome of the remaining legal challenges to the bill. This ‘hope’ that some legal momentum can be ginned up prior to a Supreme Court challenge will keep the challenges to Obamacare in the forefront of the media. Likewise, DOJ’s appeal to Hudson’s ruling through the Fourth Circuit and- regardless of the ruling- places the inevitable appeal to the Supreme Court to early 2012, meaning that we could likely have a ruling by late summer, 2012- right in the heart of the 2012 Presidential election season. Dems who supported Obamacare, in the face of a Supreme Court ruling of unconstitutional, will likely be destroyed.
3rd Order Effects…
This does not happen in a vacuum of course. Because of the way Obamacare was passed into law, because of the political bribes and wasteful spending of the bill, the GOP House will be in an extremely strong position in 2012, and a Supreme Court ruling striking down Obamacare will only strengthen the GOP’s position. The GOP claimed repeatedly during the legislative process that they were being shut out of the process and that the legislation was far exceeding the power of the Federal government. The Supreme Court will agree, thus making Dem rhetoric- especially that of a campaigning Obama- illegitimate. Whoever challenges Obama in 2012, whether in a Dem primary or in the general election, will be able to inflict significant political damage. More to the point, his challengers will be able to successfully take the issue of health care reform away from him, leaving him devoid of any real success to claim for his own.
And the Cards Come Tumbling Down…
This Administration, because of HOW it handled itself and because of HOW its party has managed legislation, is about to surpass Jimmy Carter as the worst President this nation has had in modern history. While Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid share large portions of the blame, the legacy of failure that this President has earned lies squarely on the shoulders of Barack Hussein Obama.