Obamacare and 2012

An interesting perspective from the Washington Examiner‘s Stephen Smith about Obamacare’s pending SCOTUS ruling on Obamacare.

It may sound counterintuitive, but here’s betting that President Obama wouldn’t be at all upset if the high court rules that his health plan is unconstitutional.

By urging an expedited review by the U.S. Supreme Court, the president knows that the politics cuts his way. If the court strikes down the plan, then Obama won’t have to defend it in the fall campaign, robbing the Republicans of one of their two lines of attack, the other being the moribund economy. He could rally his base by arguing that he had pushed through a great “progressive” reform only to be foiled by the conservative-leaning Supreme Court. People, like markets, hate uncertainty, and the presumed swing vote by Justice Kennedy could settle the issue.

If Obama wins the judicial appeal, it will still be a win for him along the lines of today’s conventional thinking. He will be able to argue that the Administration always knew Obamacare was constitutional, and the expedited review will muffle the issue in the general-election campaign.

Here’s my thoughts.

First of all, should Obamacare be ruled unconstitutional, as it most likely will be, that’s a pretty big defeat for Obama. When your signature achievement is declared unconstitutional by the highest court in the country, that’s hardly a rallying point for voters to support, especially the coveted moderate vote. It’s hard to find victory out of a defeat like that. And even if a defeat energized his base, it won’t energize moderates.

Second, the biggest issue of the election will be the economy. Obamacare may be an issue in 2012, but regardless of a SCOTUS ruling or lack of one, Obama will be judged primarily on his failure to fix economy… or more accurately his success in making it worse.

Your thoughts?