What a surprise the Supreme Court upheld the health care law by a 5-4 ruling. Chief Justice John Roberts, probably fearing the verdict of the public, rendered a genuinely moderate opinion. The individual mandate was upheld giving the president a victory in principle. The biggest losses were those so-called media wizards who had the legislation dead on arrival.
Mitt Romney certainly had egg on his face expostulating about "repealing" an act he was confident was unconstitutional. He also continued in a partisan vein that had been essentially made irrelevant by the court.
President Barack Obama, on the other hand, was moderate and measured, not gloating and suggesting some improvements could be made. Simply the constitutionality had been upheld allowing reforms to go forward. Perhaps the individual mandate can be revisited now that the idea of health care laws will fit in a constitutional framework.
Gone was the tea party assumption that it is socialized medicine. Indeed, even the opposing briefs were scholarly and not shrill. No references to any great conspiracies or assault on our system of government. Now debate can be civilized, untainted by any emotional psuedo-libertarian arguments. As U.S. Sens. Patrick Leahy pointed out, the Social Security law had to be weighed on the scales of the court. Once the nay-sayers were put in their place, rational voice could make themselves heard.
For Romney, however, this will be different. Obviously some of his experts have taught him only too well how to appeal to the GDP base. He takes no line independent of the tea party even if it makes him appear foolish. Forget Obama's legislation was inspired by Romney's own in Massachusetts, he will not budge an inch. What is he afraid of, that tea partiers will strike him on the snout with a news paper? There is a little suggestion of Alf Landon, a progressive Republican who waged a Conservative campaign against FDR in 1936.
Obama proved to be what Romney is clearly not - a leader. Being a political leader is very different from a corporate executive officer, something the King of Bain simply does not grasp. In his zeal to please the greediest most short-sighted element in the United States, Romney prevents himself from displaying another side. Now he is the scolder, not the purveyor of an optimistic conservatism. He is static, rigid and not particularly clever - a perfect foil for Obama.
Yet he is capable, but is so programmed he cannot break the restraints his advisors have placed on him. The immigration decision made him look foolish placing him squarely in bed with Jan Brewer and Sheriff Arpaio. Is he a bigot - no - is he trying to pander to the worst element, oh yes. During the primaries, Romney's advisor confidently predicted a pivot to the middle, that has not come.
In many ways, Romney is a John McCain without credibility. He parrots the right wing line so thoroughly that he becomes a Rick Santorum minus believability. One advantage that Romney had was that he was intelligent and feasible. Now he appears in stone - a sort of a bland extremist who no one quite believes. However if he is not careful, he will not be able to alter these perceptions. Given Obama's two Supreme Court victories, Romney may have discovered he planned for a campaign that never occurred.
June 28, 2012, might prove to be a day that turned American politics for a decade. Unexpectedly, white right wing forces gathered in the Supreme Court to party and found no punch or snacks. Moderation appeared and did not go with Romney, which a year ago it could have clearly, but with Obama.