Caught red-handed. Why did liberal justices join in curtailing Obamacare’s Medicaid ruling? “Well, you could say all that rhetoric at oral argument was just for show – a bunch of provocative hypotheticals – and that these two justices have never been as supportive of federal power as their entire previous careers might suggest. But that doesn’t seem too likely. Or you could say that this was part of the price they paid to secure Roberts’ vote to uphold the individual mandate as an exercise of Congress’ taxation power, when faced with the far greater threat of a 5-4 conservative bloc vote to strike down the entire statute. But then you’d have to believe that Supreme Court justices engage in negotiated voting, which we know, from their repeated public denials, does not happen.”

Thrown for a loop. “He never wanted people to think of it as a tax. Whenever President Barack Obama talked about his health-care overhaul, political realities forbade use of the T-word. But his signature domestic policy, which he signed into law in the spring of 2010, survived because the high court ruled Thursday that the enforcement tool at its core is just that: a tax. . . . Republicans still hope to gain traction from the Supreme Court ruling through the verdict that the law imposes a tax—yes, a tax—on those who fail to comply with the mandate to buy health insurance.”

It would be an error to conclude Obamacare is rehabilitated.“The notion that the Supreme Court’s imprimatur alters the electoral equation implies that the hostility to Obamacare among independents and swing voters is related to their doubts about the law’s legitimacy. To the contrary, there is considerably more polling evidence that the political middle’s resistance to the Affordable Care Act is grounded in bread-and-butter realities: sticker shock at the cost; reflexive doubts that any fledgling federal bureaucracy will work the way it is supposed to; and a suspicion that for all the hoopla, the reform won’t lower their premiums or improve their coverage. The constitutional gripe never really permeated the congressional debate, and it has become a rallying point only within the GOP’s tea-party base and on the intellectual right. . . .”

China walks all over Obama, again. “The Obama administration may have granted China an exemption from a tough new round of Iran sanctions that went into effect today based on a fundamental misreading of the country’s motivations, congressional insiders warn.”

Mitt Romney strikes it rich. “The Romney campaign has raised $3.2 million online since the Supreme Court ruled to uphold the Affordable Care Act, a Romney aide tells me. The news here is that Romney’s tapping into conservative small-donor enthusiasm — he had clocked multi-million-dollar days before, but not from the GOP rank and file.”

Robert threw a change-up, it seems. “Though he shocked many by joining the left plank on the high court, Justice Roberts pretty much did what he was supposed to do. He finally put a boundary on how much freedom the federal government can gobble up from states and individuals under the ‘commerce clause’ — that most specious scheme for so much federal thievery.Then he told President Obama and his kleptocrats in Congress that they can have their health care law, but they cannot keep lying about it. A tax is a tax and they are liars if they call it anything else. And they just stuck the crippled American taxpayer with one of the biggest, broadest, most regressive tax-hikes in history — and during a deep recession!”

Holder is called out of line. “The House voted Thursday to place Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for not complying with a congressional subpoena. Seventeen Democrats bucked party lines and voted with Republicans to pass a criminal contempt resolution in a 255-67 vote. House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) pushed that resolution as part of his 16-month investigation into the botched ‘Fast and Furious’ gun-tracking operation.”