By Colin Hanna
It’s not a pretty sound, the braying of donkeys. President Obama pretentiously claims that the Supreme Court decision affirming the constitutionality of his health care law is, “a victory for people across the Country.” The Huffington Post, in the largest headline I have ever seen on that site, self-righteously blares a single word in red, bold type: JUSTICE. I can only imagine what the likes of Chris Matthews, Rachel Maddow and Sergeant Schultz will say over on MSNBC. But once that tiresome braying dies down, my question is: will the law of unintended consequences take over? Will this ruling have the unintended consequence of reenergizing the Tea Party like nothing else could have done? Will this fuel the money machines of the right, the Republican National Committee, the Romney campaign, his SuperPAC and other outside groups like Crossroads, FreedomWorks, Faith and Freedom Coalition, Americans for Prosperity and the Club for Growth? Will it, as Arizona Congressman David Schweikert said, mean that, from now until November, it’s 2010 all over again? I think that’s quite likely.
ObamaCare is unpopular with a large swath of America. A recent ABC News/Washington Post poll showed that 53% of Americans oppose the law. Now that it has been justified and unmasked as a tax instead of a mandate, will that suddenly increase its appeal? I think not. So while others on the right are now lambasting the Court and especially the Chief Justice for their decision, I think we should focus our attention instead on the one Court that’s actually higher than the Supreme Court: the court of public opinion and the sovereign power of the people at election time. Unless Republicans and conservatives do a terrible job of reminding the public why they did not like this unprecedented expansion of government, this intrusion into the economy and the staggering accumulation of debt that will accompany it, then the ultimate loser may well be President Obama – but by no means the only loser. Democratic Senatorial and Congressional candidates may taste once again the sting of public anger that they faced at the forums of 2009 and the elections of 2010.
The bottom line is really not that complicated. As Mitt Romney said shortly after the decision, “ObamaCare is bad medicine.” Senator Marco Rubio said, “What’s important to remember is that what the court rules on is whether something is constitutional or not, not whether it’s a good idea. And while the court has said that the law is constitutional, it remains a bad idea for our economy, and I hope that in the fall we will have a majority here that will not just repeal this law, but replace it with real solutions that will insure more people and cost a lot less money.” That last part will be the key: if conservatives are disciplined and successful in keeping their legislative focus on repeal and their policy focus on what consumer-directed health care would look like if Republicans win back the Senate and White House and hold the House of Representatives, they’ll win the day, not Obama and his vision of neo-European statism. Republicans must pose a winning moral argument, not just a material one. Bills like Georgia Congressman, and doctor, Tom Price’s H.R. 3000 should now be looked at to see if they meet Senator Mitch McConnell’s claim that, “We can do better.” The immediate battle cry in the House of Representatives should be “no funding, no implementation, and full repeal.” But that will never win the day in the Senate and will never make it to the President’s veto pen. But they must not stop there. They do not need to completely finish an alternative bill. That would be futile with this Senate and this President. All they need to do, and it’s no small task, is articulate a superior vision that is consistent with the free market system, the Constitution and the values of outside the beltway America. If they do that, this Supreme Court decision could well be seen as the catalyst for a conservative revival. The law of unintended consequences will have rescued our nation from the designs of an oppressive and repressive élite.