Via Mediaite, clarity at last on whether “ObamaCare” is a derogatory term. Sane people say no, that it’s no more or less outre than “Bush tax cuts.” Some of the left’s dimmer lights say yes because health-care reform is an obvious political liability for them and they’d rather not have their brand all over it. To which The One says: Hey, I do care! Okay, champ. You win.
The second clip below, via Greg Hengler, is more important insofar as it’s a sneak preview of Democratic messaging next year in case the Supremes really do end up shooting down the mandate. The last thing O needs heading into a tough campaign is to have his signature policy achievement declared illegal; if that happens, the spin from the White House will be that the Court itself acted quasi-lawlessly and therefore illegitimately by defying its own Commerce Clause precedent. And the pity of it is, there’ll be some truth to that claim. Apart from a blip in the mid-90s, the Court has given Congress a blank check on commercial regulation. The case against the mandate isn’t that it’s obviously unconstitutional under current precedent, it’s that it’s quite arguably not unconstitutional, such that we’re now at the threshold of handing the federal government power to order citizens to buy certain products. A line must be drawn, not because precedent says so but because precedent in this area desperately needs correcting. In fact, as a law professor and a card-carrying statist, Obama’s well positioned to appreciate that argument. Not until the Court abandoned its decades-old doctrine of “freedom of contract” in the late 1930s did liberal laws regulating state businesses finally enjoy a firm legal footing. Sometimes, when a line of precedent is bad, SCOTUS changes its mind. Do note it for when this debate erupts next spring.
Note the Romney jab, too. I wonder how many good polls for Perry it’ll take before Obama starts talking about the high rate of uninsured in Texas instead.