It’s not easy to pick the most cynical political act you’ve ever seen. For me, however, it occurred early in 2002, when President George W. Bush signed the McCain-Feingold campaign reform act — over his own objections over its constitutionality. Bush wanted his signature on a popular bill, without losing support from conservatives and libertarians who worried (correctly) that it was a bad law. The buck stops with the Supreme Court — Bush expected, in vain, that the Supremes would do his job for him.
That is, I thought that was the most cravenly cynical political act of my lifetime — until I read Michael Tomasky’s piece today in The Daily Beast. Close your office door or stuff a sock in your mouth before reading the opening graf:
Last Friday’s decision by a three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, holding the individual mandate portion of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) unconstitutional, will almost surely force a Supreme Court decision next year, many legal analysts believe. So, bam, right in the middle of a presidential election, we’ll have the biggest and most political high-court decision since Bush v. Gore—and one with far greater destructive potential as precedent. The standard liberal position is to fear that the court will overturn the ACA. Sure, I fear that. But I also fear the political consequences on next year’s election of the court upholding it and worry that those consequences could be even worse for the progressive cause.
You read that right — heaven forbid voters should hold the President responsibly for “his signal legislative accomplishment,” as Tomasky would have it. Surely, no one could be that cynical?
Well, yes. Tomasky admits that a Supreme Court decision against ObamaCare would “be a disaster in terms of legal precedent and health-care substance.” He understands that an overturn would be “a terrible blow to a whole body of jurisprudence that has helped support and sustain the New Deal.” Furthermore, “politically it would be a crushing defeat for Barack Obama… What would he have left to run on?”
If the Supremes uphold the law, Tomasky worries that “‘Obamacare’ becomes a hot-button issue all over again.” And then “multimillionaires and billionaires out there who will throw money at independent expenditure campaigns” to put more Republicans into office, especially the oval one. Even the headline screams it’s “Obama’s Best Hope for Re-Election.”
In other words: Better to have the Court knock down ObamaCare to give liberals a reason to rally around the Democrats next year — so they can try, try again to shove collectivized medicine down our throats. After, of course, they get the Supreme Court stacked in their favor.
Never forget that Progressive will use any means — fair, foul, or just plain villainous — to advance the cause of statism.