Via Newsbusters, this is the only part of today’s fallout that I can’t bear. ObamaCare can still be undone this fall and we did, in fact, win the Commerce Clause argument, in case you’re one of those people who thinks that’s important despite losing the big one. But please, spare me the Strange New Respect for the Court from tedious squealing liberal infants who would have been crying today about creeping fascism and the end of the judiciary had Roberts simply gone the other way on the tax question. (Read last night’s Quotes of the Day for more on that.) I know I’ve been harping on this point all week but I don’t want it to get lost in the shuffle: For all the mewling from the progressive nursery about partisanship and politicization on the Court, it was only conservative votes that were ever in play. The four leftist hacks on the bench were take-it-to-the-bank votes to uphold from day one despite the constitutional novelty of the mandate. They are and forever will be a rubber stamp on any sort of economic power grab by Congress, and yet, oddly, that never seems to affect leftist calculations about the integrity or the independence of the Court. If Roberts’s opinion had been, in its entirety, “Upheld because I say so,” Matthews still would have been on the air tonight slobbering all over him.
The other thing about this is how it’s predictable on both the macro and micro levels. It’s not enough to salute Roberts for having saved democracy or whatever; in the span of 80 seconds, he mentions three times how historic the ruling was, takes a gratuitous shot at “right-wing fever swamps” and their “hate vapors,” and name-checks — wait for it — the Koch brothers. And remember, this guy is probably farther to the center than anyone else in the MSNBC afternoon/evening line-up. This is virtuoso hackery. Appreciate it.