If the Supreme Court overturns President Barack Obama’s healthcare law, it will be a devastating blow to his presidency. It could also create a backlash against Republicans and galvanize the Democratic base, The Washington Post
The tough questions thrown at defenders of the law during oral arguments this week have led many to believe the law is doomed. Such a result would be a damning commentary on Obama and his singular piece of legislation.
“He’s mortgaged his presidency, at least his first term, on healthcare,” Texas A&M University’s George Edwards, the author of a new book on Obama called “Overreach,” told the Post. The law “would have restructured a major aspect of life in America. It would have been a major, major legacy for the president. If that is thrown out, he has much less to show for it.”
However, in the political world, a loss can have a different effect. A number of proponents of Obamacare, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., believe such a ruling could help Obama’s re-election campaign.
“If they overturn the individual mandate and undermine the central element of this bill a few months before the election, it will anger Democrats and rile up the base,” Neera Tanden, president of the left-leaning policy group Center for American Progress, told the Post. “People will see it for what it is: an activist court rendering a partisan decision.”
Supporters also note that GOP front-runner Mitt Romney is not well positioned to take advantage of a Supreme Court ruling striking down Obamacare because he was the architect of a similar law in Massachusetts while governor. It has often been noted that the federal measure was modeled on the Massachusetts law.
“Romney does not have clean hands here,” Rep. Gerald Connolly, D-Va., told the Post. “Saying that we stretched the commerce clause too much, and therefore it’s not constitutional — well, what about the law in Massachusetts that Mitt Romney signed? It has exactly the same premise.”
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