The Washington Post

What the Supreme Court decision could mean for the elections

Life is all about the net, not the gross. If the Supreme Court strikes down Obamacare, it would be a clear net loss for President Obama's reelection chances. The legislation in which he invested so much capital would be erased.

He forced Obamacare on an unwilling public and put his congressional majority in harm's way. The price he paid to get the bill passed was too high, for both himself and the Democratic Party.

The White House insisted there were substantive and political benefits to come in the future, but the future never got here. Now it claims there could be victory in defeat if the disappointed rally to vote for the president in 2012 to renew his effort. But no one voted for Obama in 2008 because of this legislation, and the Democratic majority in the House was thrown away in the 2010 elections in part because of their votes for Obamacare.

Oddly, both Republicans and Democrats might want to keep the ghost of Obamacare alive if the court delivers a fatal blow. Republicans need it as a rallying cry to turn out voters committed to stopping its resurrection and Democrats will need to try to make lemonade by energizing part of the Obama 2008 coalition to turn out in hopes of there being an Obamacare II. Good luck with that; the bill's impact was never appreciated by swing voters or was really broadly popular in the first place.  

Maybe Obama will try to promise to attempt a smarter, smaller, better battle if he is reelected. Wait, that sounds too much like what he promised us for Afghanistan.

There is no spinning it, if Obamacare is killed off by the court, Obama is a clear net loser in November.

Ed Rogers is a contributor to the PostPartisan blog, a political consultant and a veteran of the White House and several national campaigns. He is the chairman of the lobbying and communications firm BGR Group, which he founded with former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour in 1991.
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