George Will’s Dr. Feelgood conservatives really won the Obamacare decision theory met common sense real world brick wall named Keith Olbermann today on ABC’s This Week.
Here is the video from ABC News:
GEORGE WILL, AUTHOR: Yes, and I’ll tell you why. The conservative legal insurgency made two arguments, both of which were dismissed as frivolous by the liberal law school professoriate, both of which won.
Both were the broccoli argument, the Tea Party argument, if you will, argument against the Commerce Clause, said if you affirm this under the commerce clause, you will have given the federal government a general police power to prescribe mandate or regulate behavior of every individual at every instance of their existence.
The court did not do that. In fact, it built a fence around the Commerce Clause. Then, on Medicaid expansion, for the first time in history, a majority of states banded together to challenge the constitutionality of legislation and they won.
For the first time since the New Deal, 75 years, the Supreme Court has overturned a federal spending statute (inaudible) by coercing the states, it undermines the dual sovereignty that is the heart of our federal position.
So for two reasons — and these reasons are going to be there if, come November, there’s a Romney presidency, and a Republican Senate, ObamaCare will gone. The Roberts precedents will remain.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Price worth paying, Keith Olbermann?
KEITH OLBERMANN, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR AND WRITER: I think so, because we may be overthinking this from a larger standpoint in this country. The premise of the mandate as tax or tax as mandate, the various subdivisions of what the meaning is, aren’t — they’re important to us; they’re important to people analyzing this.
To the public, the outcome was something the president proposed was upheld. Also in a larger sense, if you think about what is a mandate, do we have them? Are they — is this taxation possibility for non-users legitimate?
Every day in our lives we are subjected to the largest mandate any of us could ever have. We have to buy a product each day called the United States government. That mandate supplies everything from wars that we don’t go along with, to solicitor generals we disagree with, to the salaries of the Supreme Court justices.
So I think if you look at this from a layman’s point of view, I think it’s a pretty clear-cut victory for the president.
Olbermann was right. When the best spin conservatives can put on it is the Commerce Clause, they lost. Beltway insiders like George Will can try their best to shape this into a win for conservatives, but the truth is that it was a massive defeat. Will’s point about the court limiting the Commerce Clause may not hold much long term water either.
The Supreme Court’s interpretation of the constitution changes with the composition of the court. Supreme Court rulings are not the same thing as Moses coming down from the mountain with two stone tablets. There is a reason why Plessy v. Ferguson and Dred Scott v. Sandford are no longer the law of the land. The Commerce Clause could be easily more broadly interpreted by a future court.
The point that George Will has been trying to sell is some conservative intellectual salve designed to take the sting out of the defeat for Republicans but in terms of public perception and practical politics, Olbermann nailed it. This was a big win for the president.
Average Americans do not spend their days thinking about the implications of a Supreme Court ruling on the Commerce Clause. What they do spend their days thinking about is what happens if I get sick? Will my insurance company drop me? How am I going to pay these hospital bills? Am I going to have to have a baby because someone has decided that I can’t have access to birth control?
George Will offered up a theory, which Keith Olbermann countered with a dose of common sense reality. Republicans are well aware that they have to kill the ACA before it is fully implemented, or the American people will like it and this nation will take a giant step towards a healthcare for all single payer system.
As George Will comforts himself with judicial interpretation, Keith Olbermann and others understand that Americans want a better healthcare system and the Supreme Court’s ACA ruling kicked the door open to progress.
That reality is something even the intellectual gymnastics of George Will can’t overcome.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA.Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association