What impact will the Supreme Court ruling on ObamaCare have on the presidential election? Perhaps one measure could be seen in its immediate aftermath:
According to Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul the Supreme Court decisionupholding President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform law led to a windfall for Mitt Romney. Ms. Saul told The Politicker supporters donated at least $100,000 in the 50 minutes between the immediate aftermath of the ruling, which was issued at approximately 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Romney has already vowed to repeal the ruling if he is elected and some political watchers have speculated a decision to uphold the law would be good for Mr. Romney because it will allow him to energize conservatives by pushing for repeal. The rapid flood of donations to his campaign certainly bolsters the argument the decision could help Mr. Romney fire up supporters on the right.
Romney had run on the explicit promise to repeal ObamaCare. That certainly had fired up Tea Party activists, but they generally haven’t trusted Romney to get it done, especially given his own history on health-care mandates in Massachusetts. Daniel Halper wonders if this won’t fire them back up to fully support Romney as the only means possible to removing Obama from office:
With the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Obamacare, the issue now shifts to the elected branches of government and raises this question: Will the intense opposition dissipate or will it lead to a fervent new effort to repeal the liberal health care law? …
Will the 5-4 decision revive the Tea Party? Will Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney make Obamacare the centerpiece of his campaign against Obama? Will GOP candidates do the same?
Unless the answer to those questions is “yes,” the court’s decision may turn out to be the pivotal moment in legitimizing Obamacare, improving its public support as reflected in opinion polls, and embedding it firmly into the American health care system.
My guess, for what it’s worth, is that the anti-Obamacare movement will recover and make health care the most salient issue in the 2012 campaign. Then its fate will depend on who wins the White House.
I’d say that this decision will reinvigorate the Tea Party, which hasn’t exactly retired anyway — but that the most salient issues in the 2012 campaign will still be the economy and jobs. However, for Tea Party activists who had hoped for a better outcome from the Supreme Court, this will be the most catalyzing issue.
National Journal’s Ron Fournier believes that John Roberts might have done Mitt Romney another favor, too:
Got good news and bad news for you, Mr. President. The good news is that Chief Justice John Roberts just saved your legacy and, perhaps, your presidency by writing for the Supreme Court majority to rule health care reform constitutional.
Bad news is he declared you a tax-raiser.
That is a point that has already been sold among the Tea Party activists, but it might be new to most other voters. Obama and Democrats in Congress repeatedly denied that the ObamaCare mandate was a tax, but now it’s clear that the only basis for its legitimacy is as a tax — the biggest tax ever imposed on American citizens, amounting to $1.7 trillion over the first decade, according to the CBO. That point will resonate in the center and among those who don’t immerse themselves as deeply in politics, especially since it violates Obama’s tax pledge of 2008:
The Supreme Court’s move to uphold Obamacare’s health-care mandate as a tax means that President Barack Obama’s far-reaching law massively violates his 2008 campaign-trail pledge to not raise taxes on middle-class and poor Americans.
“I can make a firm pledge – under my plan, no family making less that $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase,” he said in a September 2008 campaign speech in New Hampshire.
Prior to Obamacare’s passage in 2010, Obama denied it was a tax. In September 2009, Obama told ABC News that the law “is absolutely not a tax increase.”
The court’s conversion of the law into a huge tax may also boost the GOP’s ability to persuade voters to back GOP candidates in 2012. The Obamacare tax may amount to $1.7 trillion over a decade, according to a Congressional Budget Office projection.
Republican analysts have long assumed that a Supreme Court ruling that upholds ObamaCare would be bad news overall for Barack Obama. We’ll see, but so far, it’s good news for Mitt Romney.
Update, 1:28 ET: The RNC’s communication team now says the combined Romney and RNC Victory funds have raised over $1 million since the court’s decision.