No ObamaCare anniversary celebration for Obama

In just two days, Barack Obama will celebrate the two-year anniversary of his signature legislative achievement as President — ObamaCare. Or rather, he won’t celebrate it.  In fact, according to The Hill, the White House won’t even bother defending the bill against its critics in the days leading up to the Supreme Court review of ObamaCare:

President Obama will not mark the two-year anniversary of his signing of the healthcare law — which takes place days before the Supreme Court offers a decision on the constitutionality of his signature legislative achievement.

Senior administration officials said on Tuesday that Obama will not be offering a vigorous public defense of the law, holding events or even making public remarks in the lead-up to the Supreme Court case.

Amie Parnes reports that White House officials labeled it a “faux milestone,” which might surprise some who also think of it as faux reform, too.  Others think it’s a missed opportunity:

“It’s a little surprising that they’re not trying to get more out of it,” said Martin Sweet, an assistant professor of political science at Northwestern University. “They could go out to the American people, explain what’s happening and set themselves up for whatever happens.

“They might be a little worried about the backlash,” Sweet said, adding that he thinks it is a miscalculation.

If they’re worried about a backlash, they’re almost exactly two years too late for that.

If the White House had confidence in its arguments at the Supreme Court, one would guess that they would use their media power to make that case to the public at the same time, especially in an election year.  I’d guess that they’re worried about having to use arguments about the mandate being a tax as justification for its constitutionality, and they don’t want to have to make that argument explicitly in public any more than they have to do so.  Otherwise, they may be hoping that the media doesn’t cover the substance of the arguments at the Supreme Court in order to play down the arguments of the plaintiffs who are suing to have it overturned.

Either way, this should make good grist for a campaign ad or two.  “Barack Obama hides on anniversary of ObamaCare” has a nice, punchy ring to it, doesn’t it?

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John Sexton 10:40 PM on May 30, 2023