When we look back on the 2012 campaign, will the turning point be the Supreme Court decision on Obamacare?
Not only the decision of course, but how the candidates react to it—how will they spin it? The Obama campaign has not exactly been deft in handling touchy matters so far. And the Romney campaign is still untested.
Supreme Court police are said to be ready. Justice Ginsberg predicts it will be contentious. The decision will spring soon–in the next few days.
Most of the impact of the health care law will take effect in the distant future. But efforts to assuage the electorate do not seem to have worked so far.
The most recent Rasmussen has 52% in favor of repeal.
“Seventy-six percent think they should have the right to choose between expensive insurance plans with low deductibles and low-cost plans with higher deductibles. A similar majority believes everyone should be allowed to choose between expensive plans that cover just about every imaginable medical procedure and lower-cost plans that cover a smaller number of procedures. All such choices would be banned under the current health care law.”
And there is this one: “65% angry at government policies.” A bit vague, but ominous.
For the Obama campaign, whatever the outcome, they had better bring the A game, because the polls are opposed to the decision.
An outright win for the Obama administration will set up repeal of the law as the defining domestic issue in the campaign: Repeal vs the imprimatur of the Court’s blessing. How will the Obama campaign try to do what they have been unable to do for the past two plus years? Surely they have a major media blitz, unlike anything we have seen from them so far. Andy Griffith with guns blazing. Betty White exuding reassurance and calm. Pitches from other popular media personalities. Will it work?
A partial or complete loss for the Obama administration will be more difficult: Opponents will crow that their hand is called. They overreached. The professor didn’t understand what would be allowed under the Constitution, etc.
Proponents of the health law will be quick to brand the justices the “Bush Court” and dismiss their views as partisan.
But the Obama campaign will have to convince already hostile or indifferent voters that the remnants will need to be protected from the savages in Congress.
The Romney campaign has a much easier game plan. Win, lose or partial loss, they can be for repeal. The law can continue to be the economic bogeyman. Fear of the law’s impact on our future health is easier to imagine than fear of the status quo—our current system.
Regardless of the decision and your health care views, watch the spin. The best spinners are going to win in November.