The Corner

Krauthammer’s Take

From Special Report with Bret Baier | Thursday, June 28, 2012

On Chief Justice Roberts’s ruling yesterday upholding 2010 health-care reform:

It was result-oriented. And the result he wanted was this: Roberts did not want to uphold the liberal argument in support of Obamacare, which was that you can impose the mandate because it would be OK under the Commerce Clause. As Roberts wrote, that clause allows the government to regulate commerce, but it surely doesn’t allow you to impel or compel commerce, which is what it would do — compel you to buy health insurance. So he didn’t want to accept that.

And you would have thought that he therefore would have overturned the law. But he didn’t want to overturn the law because as chief justice he feels he is custodian of the reputation — of the stature — of the court. And I think he thinks the court suffered in the decision in 2000 — Gore and Bush. It was seen as a partisan court. It went 5-4 along ideological lines. And he was afraid if that happened on Obamacare it would diminish the standing of the court, which he thinks he is responsible [for] keeping up.

So he concocted this finesse which allows him to call a mandate a tax — which it’s not — which allows him to uphold a law and strike down the Commerce Clause as the reason for it.

On Democrats’ claim that the Court’s ruling should end debate on the 2010 law:

That is, of course, absurd. The law hasn’t even taken effect. How can you abandon an argument about a law that is about to impact everybody’s life? …

I think yes, Obama has a victory today. His prestige is raised. He doesn’t crash and burn. However, he now has an issue on his hands which was extremely strong in defeating [Democrats] in 2010….

Yes, the intensity [of opposition] is less, and, yes, the [political] effect is less. However, the Republicans have a very strong argument. It isn’t only that it [Obamacare] will raise your taxes. It’s the bigger, the larger argument about expanding government, expanding the debt, expanding spending in a way that is unconscionable to a lot of Americans.

And that I think is going to be the central argument. That hasn’t changed. Yes, Romney had instituted something like it, in Massachusetts, but elections are about the future and not the past. Romney says I’ll abolish it on Day One. That is still a very strong argument.

On how Mitt Romney is affected by the decision:

I think it does help him. I don’t think people are interested in what he did in Massachusetts. This is about intrusiveness of government — [Obamacare is] the best example of it. And that is the arguments with which Republicans are going win – if they win in November.

On yesterday’s House vote finding Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress:

I think Republicans are right on the substance of this. The administration, however, can stonewall all it wants and it will succeed in doing that…

As a political issue, it all ends today. The Republicans don’t want to continue on this. It’s not going to help them. And the administration is going to run and hide until Election Day.

NRO Staff — Members of the National Review Online editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”


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