Within the last 48 hours, the Obama administration dodged two huge bullets. First, Congressional Republicans passed the trade promotion authority act, paving the way for passage of the Trans Pacific Partnership, which the administration has been negotiating for years, and the Trade In Services Agreement. Then, this morning, the Supreme Court bailed out Obamacare, rewriting key provisions of the Affordable Care Act to prevent Obamacare from collapsing, with two presumed Republicans, John Roberts and Anthony Kennedy, providing the margin of victory.
Both of these developments are being hailed as triumphs for President Obama. Today the Democratic Party sent out an email touting Obama’s victory in the Supreme Court:
President Obama after the ruling: “We finally declared that in America… health care is a right for all”
Obamacare is the law of the land!
Will you congratulate President Obama on this enormous victory? You can even leave him a personal note of congratulations!
He’s gonna love this.
In truth, both of these “victories” could more accurately be described as narrow brushes with disaster. If Congress had denied Obama fast track authority, he would have been the first president since World War II to be so snubbed. And when Obamacare passed with no Republican support, we didn’t expect that it would collapse ignominiously due to its own internal contradictions.
It may be that some D.C. Republicans are content to bail Obama out. The Chamber of Commerce badly wanted fast track passed, and the insurance industry gained billions in market capitalization from the Supreme Court’s decision. I don’t mean to suggest that Republicans are swayed by such venal factors; rather, that they can be complacent and have no killer instinct. If Obama had been denied fast track authority and if Obamacare had been required to operate as written by Congress–in other words, if it had fallen apart–newspaper headlines would be telling the uninformed that the Obama administration is down, defeated, on life support. A failure.
Republicans should want that. President Obama is doing terrible damage to the United States by helping our bitter enemy Iran to obtain nuclear weapons, refusing to enforce the immigration laws and releasing many thousands of illegal immigrant felons into our communities, failing to protect us from cyber warfare, racking up trillions in debt, and more. Republicans should be trying to bring the administration down, any way they can.
Democrats always understand this. Somehow, Republicans never do. The Supreme Court illustrates the point: the overwhelming majority of cases are not political, and justices apply their legal skills to decide them as best they can. But every now and then, a case has political consequences. In those cases, Democrat-appointed justices always–always, without exception–toe the Democratic Party line. Republican-appointed justices, like John Roberts, treat such cases as academic exercises. Consequently, the Democrats generally win.
Over the last 48 hours, the Obama administration could have been–should have been–thrashed and left for dead. Instead, it survived to damage America another day. That is, unfortunately, a victory for Barack Obama and a defeat for America.