The Supreme Court decision regarding Obamacare was a no-win proposition for the President. If he had lost the decision he would have appeared weak, and his first term would have seemed to be an exercise in vanity, pursuing some grand scheme of Universal health care while the nation's economy foundered, only in the end to have it proven to be unconstitutional and a waste. In for the most part winning the decision, he at the least has avoided appearing "Carteresque", but has been catapulted to an even higher level of disdain as the bully who won; and the unpopularity of the bill may very well be his undoing, as the the only way now to undo "Obama's Folly", is to undo Obama.
Certainly, there are some vocal supporters of the law, but the level of dissatisfaction is reminiscent of Prohibition, and the similarities in the passing of the law are striking; the deceptions used to push the law through, the over-reaching intrusion of the government into what has heretofore been a private matter, under the guise of public health concern; and the willingness of ordinary citizens to express their disapproval and take a stand. When a law is a bad law, there can be no good outcomes. There will always be the "temperance" types, willing to sacrifice freedom to require what they see as what is best, and that is a viable alternative system that to some extent has worked in other countries. It has not generally been successful in the U.S., as we have traditionally followed an equally successful path of personal responsibility and voluntary goodness, unfettered by the intrusions of a heavy handed approach to government. In the words of Frederic Bastiat:
""Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all."
The socialists believe that it is naive to assume that society can resolve these issues satisfactorily without the intervention of government. Americans have traditionally believed that society is up to that task without coercion, by the free will goodness of its citizens and their generosity. Consider the case of the bullied bus monitor and the compassionate citizens who have donated over $600,000 to help assuage her pain and degradation. I'm not saying that there's not a role the government can play in the centralization of relief, but what level of coercion would have gotten this poor soul the level of help freely donated by her fellow Americans? That current remains strong in this nation, and Obamacare runs against the tide, as does its captain. The strength of that current will be determined in November.
All manner of theories have been postulated as to why Judge Roberts chose to side with the liberal wing of SCOTUS in what was clearly a contrived argument. As we can't expect Roberts to explain himself anytime soon, we are left to guessing. Some have suggested that the Chief Justice was concerned with the reputation of the court as being politically motivated, and wanted to lay that notion to rest for the sake of his legacy. I would hope that our Justices would be above that on such an important issue, and I would suspect that Justice Roberts motivation was more principled, albeit misguided. I take him at his word, that he does not want his court to be seen as a shortcut to overcoming the stupidity of the American people in their election of unqualified representatives who make bad law. He does not want to see five votes of the Supreme Court nullify the 69 million who voted for Obama knowing this was his intention. "You made your bed," Justice Roberts might as well have said, "Now sleep in it!". He has seen what division has been caused by judicial "settling" of the abortion debate via Roe v. Wade in an unending controversy, because we never really determined the matter via legislation; and he does not want his court to be a "law maker" court. And so he has found a way, feeble as Justice Kennedy may find it, to allow this law to stand until it is overturned by the will of the people. In his concern against judicial activism and not being like previous Supreme Courts, he may very well have neglected to do the duty to which he was appointed, and in the end may prove to be the Chief Justice who brought the proverbial "knife to a gunfight", as the liberal wing of the court will no doubt prove more dependably political in their decisions.
What remains to be seen is how intense the response to this will be. Remember that Obamacare was perhaps the seminal issue that gave rise to the formation of the Tea Party, and, by extension, the pounding the Democrats took in the last Congressional election. Romney is flawed in his standing to criticize Obamacare, which looks an awful lot like Romneycare; but I'm not sure the rage of the electorate will pause to consider that fine point. If the electorate remains rational, they might consider that giving the majority in both houses to one party along with the presidency is what got us this godawful bill to begin with. On the other hand, they might just as rationally determine that the only way to swing back the pendulum of this Democratic fiasco is to empower the Republicans for a couple of years. Most likely they're just going to say "I'm mad as Hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!" Then, who knows what we'll get.
IMHO: Romney's strategy going forward should be to continue to go after Obamacare, but not to the distraction from the economy. This should not be a problem, as the two are easily connected. He can keep talking about how he will overturn it on the first day he's in office, but we all know it won't be that easy. If he can get majorities in both houses, that will help, but a super majority in the Senate is hardly a possibility. Not following Justice Roberts example, Romney may need to bring his gun to this gunfight. Reconciliation was used to ram the bill through, thus avoiding the need for a super majority to shut down debate; the use of reconciliation might be needed to repeal the legislation. In the mean time, if Romney is elected with or without majorities in the Congress, on his first day he should announce that his administration chooses not to enforce the new health care tax, or any of the other laws incorporated in the Affordable Care Act. Hey, presidents can do that now, right? It's part of that "hope and change" thing, and "fundamentally transforming America". Echoes of Pyrrhus call out to the White House; paraphrased they say "Beware your bloody victories, for they may just bite you in the ass!"