I'll leave most of the analysis of today's legal fallout to the experts (here's the somewhat paradoxical positive spin, and the obvious negative one). Let's turn to politics for a moment. As I mentioned in the Obamacare mega-thread earlier, Republicans are already pouncing on the Court's central "it's a tax" holding to emphasize the need for democratically-enacted repeal. In order to accomplish this, President Obama must be defeated, and Republicans must control Congress. To that end, I suspect we'll be seeing these two clips quite a lot in the coming weeks:
"I can make a firm pledge: Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.”
"You can't just make up that language and decide that's called a tax increase."
In the first video, President Obama makes an unambiguous promise that he would not -- under any circumstances -- raise taxes on middle class families earning less than $250,000 per year. The CBO has estimated that Obamacare's freshly-affirmed and clearly-defined punitive tax overwhelmingly affects those very people. Indeed, 75 percent of those socked with the Obamacare mandate tax earn less than that magic sum. Overall, the tax/requirement applies to every single breathing citizen in America. Obama's "firm pledge" to middle class Americans has (once again) been violated. In the second video, Obama banters back and forth with ABC News' George Stephanopolous, acting as if the mere suggestion that Obamacare represents a tax was preposterous on its face. According to the 5-4 High Court majority, not only was that suggestion it not preposterous, it is in fact the only reason the entire law wasn't thrown out. The president campaigned for office on a huge broken promise, then jammed an unwanted, unpopular healthcare bill through Congress using exceptionally dishonest -- and now thoroughly debunked -- assertions along the way. Today, the law of the land forces every American to purchase a product, a federal edict that is enforced by the Obamacare Mandate Tax and the IRS. Take it away, Mitt Romney:
"What the Court did not do on its last day in session, I will do on my first day if elected President of the United States: Act to repeal Obamacare."
Romney's campaign says it has taken in over one million dollars in unsolicited donations since the ruling was handed down. This law remains enduringly unpopular, and Romney will benefit politically from what has happened today. That said, this political calculus does not erase the real pain and daunting hurdles that remain -- a better decision would unquestionably have been better for the country. Barack Obama was spared a serious embarrassment this morning. In his statement crowing about the decision (notice how the Left's demonization of the Supreme Court has instantly evaporated), Obama (a) repeated the demonstrably false claim that "if you like your plan, you can keep it," (b) demonized insurers and highlighted a few of his law's poll-tested provisions (essentially recapitulating his unsuccessful 2009-2010 sales pitch), (c) urged everyone to "move forward" and not re-fight old battles (which is exactly how he treats President Bush, right?), and (d) demanded that Washington focus on job creation -- which is precisely what he didn't do by pushing Obamacare for two full years as the economy languished.