As even Michael Shear of the uber-liberal New York Times acknowledges: “[T]he ruling also has the potential to re-energize the tea-party movement … and provide new political power to Mitt Romney’s pledge to repeal the law. … Republicans eager to seize control of the Senate now have a renewed rallying cry in races across the country.”
And the GOP’s nominee-to-be has wasted no time. It must’ve been all high-fives around Romney headquarters. Shortly after the ruling the former Massachusetts governor took to the microphones, warning America: “If we want to get rid of Obamacare, we’re going to have to replace President Obama. … What the court did not do on its last day in session, I will do on my first day if elected president.”
That’s a powerful promise to a lot of independent voters. Indeed, in little more than 24 hours, Romney had raised nearly $5 million on his pledge to repeal Obamacare alone.
I don’t mean to diminish how utterly mind-boggling the court’s ruling remains. Legal scholars will be dissecting this bizarre decision for decades to come. Still, what I’m more interested in, at least for now, is how the ruling will affect the 2012 elections.
Under any objective analysis, it’s a boon for Mitt Romney and the GOP. Most damaging to Obama and Democrats, perhaps, is the fact that Obamacare’s individual mandate was held to be a “tax” rather than a “penalty.”
Recall that, while Democrats were using parliamentary sleight-of-hand to ram Obamacare through on Christmas Eve, 2009, they expressly wrote into the bill that fines associated with an individual’s failure to fork over the bucks amounted to a penalty, not a tax.
President Obama promised the same, saying on multiple occasions that the individual mandate was – you guessed it – a “penalty,” not a “tax.”
Nevertheless, Chief Justice Roberts enigmatically joined the four known Supreme Court liberals to effectively revise the bill so that it might pass constitutional muster. To do so, they arbitrarily invoked the government’s taxing power, despite lawmakers’ legislative intent to the contrary. This, by definition, is legislating from the bench. It’s judicial activism.
The effect? Obama and Democrats are a pack of liars. They’ve promised, over and again, not to raise taxes on the middle class.
Well, middle class, congratulations. You now have 21 brand new tax increases costing you over $700 billion out of pocket.
How do you like them peas?
It’s a double-edged sword. Obamacare has become ObamaTax. Although this strange legal fiction may have temporarily saved the health-care overhaul, it likely spells doom for Democrats in November. Ultimately, when all the smoke has cleared, this means that Obamacare remains on life support and is fading fast.
Shortly after Thursday’s decision, Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel and dean of Liberty University School of Law, said: “Elections have consequences. Obamacare is the result of squandered votes cast in 2008. This November, we need to elect principled people who will repeal Obamacare.”
And by “we,” he means you.
In the 1970 film “Tora! Tora! Tora!,” shortly after bombing Pearl Harbor, Japanese Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto is portrayed as saying, “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.”
On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court awakened a sleeping giant.
This giant likes tea.
Remember 2010, Democrats. Mr. Obama? Well, to borrow from Bachman-Turner Overdrive: You ain’t seen nothing yet.
Matt Barber is founder and editor-in chief of BarbWire.com. He is an author, columnist, cultural analyst and an attorney concentrating in constitutional law. Having retired as an undefeated heavyweight professional boxer, Matt has taken his fight from the ring to the culture war. (Follow Matt on Twitter: @jmattbarber).