Later this month, the Supreme Court will deliver its ruling in the Obamacare case. Suppose the government loses. What will Obama say? Perhaps his speech will go something like this:
“My fellow citizens. I’m not going to mince words. The decision rendered by the narrowest majority of the Supreme Court is unacceptable. And let me be clear about why.
The decision is not unacceptable because millions of our fellow Americans will die as a result of the arrogant hard-heartedness of five judges – though die surely they will.
The decision is not unacceptable because five unelected judges have overturned the people’s will, expressed through legislative giants such as Ben Nelson and Mary Landrieu – though make no mistake, this is most unconscionable judicial power grab in American history.
Nor is the decision unacceptable because it once again shows America to be morally inferior to our European betters – though I have no idea how I’ll be able to look the G-6 leaders in the eye next time we meet.
No. The Supreme Court’s decision is unacceptable because it leaves me without a single meaningful legislative accomplishment in my three and half years in office. And the Navy Seals are getting pretty sick of hearing me brag about taking out Osama bin Laden.
And the Supreme Court’s decision is unacceptable for another reason: it rejects the fierce urgency of now and replaces it with the facile ugliness of no.
But our friends in the Republican Party have always been the Party of no. And I’m not just talking about Rutherford B. Hayes.
It was a Republican, Calvin Coolidge, who banned toaster ovens from the White House.
It was a Republican, Dwight D. Eisenhower, who, after watching Ted Mack’s Original Amateur Hour, declared that talent shows would never have a mass audience on television.
It was a Republican, George H.W. Bush, who wondered whether the Euro was such a good idea.
But to the strident cynicism of conservative obstinacy, we progressives have an answer of profound power: Yes We Can.
Yes We Can scare the living daylights out of Americans with ads of their fellow citizens, and not just Granny, being pushed over the cliff.
Yes We Can blame this illegitimate 5-4 decision on George Bush.
Yes We Can denounce the Justices who produced this disturbingly divisive and activist ruling by name during my next State of the Union (and please let there be one).
Yes We Can.
But know this America. Although the four whitebread male Justices and their inauthentic black colleague have perverted the Constitution they are sworn to upheld, I do not condemn them. I can no more disown these reactionary Justices than I can my white law professors, who gave me B+s at Harvard, but avoided Boston’s African-American neighborhoods like the plague and had me pegged as a world-class BS artist.
And so I say to my five friends who reached this corrupt and deceitful decision: know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist – and retire.
Now, I know a thing or two about constitutional law. In fact, I taught it. And as a constitutional law scholar, I say to you that that ours is a living Constitution. And so I reject as false the choice between upholding our Constitution and upholding government policies that tell Americans how they must go about living.
But I’m not just an expert on the Constitution; I’m also an expert in the empathy that must inform constitutional law. And so I know the anguish many of you feel after today’s crass and unfeeling Supreme Court ruling. In my travels, in between posh fundraisers, I have met many Americans who will suffer because of that ruling. In fact, my staff is busy lining some of them up for my next State of the Union address (and please let there be one).
To these people, and to all other decent, hard-working Americans who play by the rules, I say, hope and change cannot so easily be derailed. For, truth be told, I never cared much for the individual mandate. What this country needs – what it fiercely and urgently must have – is a single payer plan, the kind used in Canada and Great Britain whose health care systems are the envy of the World.
Socialized is the medicine we have been waiting for.
And if we courageously and unconditionally commit ourselves to bring about this audacious agenda, then we will one day look back on this decisive day as the dawn of a new age. And future generations will be able to say that this was the moment when the deaf began to hear; the moment when the blind began to see; the moment when the tides of old age began to slow, and our planet began to heal.
All this we can do. All this we will do.
Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America.”