The Excellent News

By Ta-Nehisi Coates


Alec MacGillis tackles the idea that the Supreme Court decision was somehow a win for Mitt Romney and Republicans:


Judging this the better outcome for Romney means seriously understating just how brutal the law's rejection would have been for Obama. It would have allowed Romney to argue--to crow to the skies, surely--that Obama's entire first term had been a giant zero: not only had he been unable to bring the economy back to full strength, but the issue he chose to focus on for the first two years of his term, when the economy was at its worst, had been proven a fool's errand. It would, as Jon Chait put it before the ruling, have cast a "demoralizing stench of failure that would have come from having his largest achievement go to waste." 

And that's not all. Romney has been in a bind on health care all campaign, given that he signed into the law the model for Obamacare. But a ruling against the law would have allowed Romney to lambast it on the court's terms--as an unconstitutional overreach.

I really hate how these  "excellent news" formulations mix faux-contrarianism, cute argument and cynicism into one noxious brew. Policy matters. And ultimately who "won the week" is only important in that those people represent constituencies which sharply disagree over the proper direction of the country.

The Supreme Court striking down ACA would have been horrible for Obama, and horrible for everyone who supports him because of the ACA. I don't see much use in abstractions like defeat energizing the base. Maybe. We'll see.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/07/the-excellent-news/259296/