Saturday, June 30, 2012

Instant analysis by American historian on Supreme Court decision on Obamacare

From CNN website, June 29, 2012
The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that President Obama's health care law is constitutional, but that won't end the debate over ObamaCare and what to do about the health care system.

For many, the debate has shifted from the courtroom to the campaign trail. Presidential historian and author Douglas Brinkley talked to CNN about how the Supreme Court decision will play into the 2012 U.S. election and how history will regard the vote.
CNN: How does health care affect the campaign and the election going forward, and specifically, the debates between Obama and Mitt Romney?
BRINKLEY: President Obama got a lot of momentum. And in politics, the big mo' is everything. June looked like a Romney month, and now the president is ending this month with the wind in his sail. [The health care vote news] sort of buried the Holder contempt story; nobody in the media's really talking about it.
So for Barack Obama, this was big. In fact, he was calling it the Affordable Care Act for so long he may actually want to embrace the term "ObamaCare." ...
Mitt Romney has staked out that he's dissenting with the Supreme Court decision. One of the more brutal debates this year will be re-arguing this health care debate. There's so many tentacles and loose parts that it will drag on with us all the way to next year.
Related: The world of the health care issue
CNN: The crux of this legislation, the individual mandate, was upheld by the court. But when Obama was a presidential candidate in 2008, here's what he had to say about these mandates: "Sen. Clinton says I'm going to make universal health care by mandating that everybody buy it. But if people can't afford it, it doesn't matter what the mandate is, they're not going to buy it." Well, he changed his mind, didn't he? Weren't they originally put forth by certain Republicans, trying to stop "HillaryCare"?
BRINKLEY: Yes. This is like a tennis ball going all over the net, all over the place. I don't think Americans fully understand what's occurred today. Very few people have really read this report.
Related: Breaking down the court's decision
But what you've got here is President Obama has a massive political victory. He was about to be clubbed really. This was almost D-Day for him.
I think President Obama is now in a very good stead to say, "I passed the Affordable Care Act (or it's been proven constitutional), I got Osama bin Laden and I saved General Motors." He has three real historic accomplishments to present on a week when he's seeming to be ahead in the key swing states.
CNN: The president talked about the day as something we're going to look back on 10 or 20 years from now. You're the presidential historian – How will history look back on the day?
BRINKLEY: I think it will be [remembered as when] Supreme Court Justice John Roberts made his name, etched his name in history. Many people thought since Bush vs. Gore in 2000 that it was very partisan court. But this [latest vote] showed how Roberts had ... deep thought. He really played the constitutional lawyer and justice here. I think his stock goes very high, just as Charles Evans Hughes did with FDR and Social Security - a Republican that backed Social Security.
And the world can only hope that President Obama regains the White House for a second term, given the alternative, the multiple emergencies both inside the U.S. and around the world, and the steady hand he has held to the tiller while also holding his adminstration's feet to the fire of most of those contingencies and the need for a comprehensive vision and understanding of both the political and historic realities of this time, without a reductionist version of events and circumstances that can only be held by someone who champions his contribution as a successful businessman, especially one who successfully "outsourced" millions of American jobs while working at Bain capital.

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