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3

2012 Electoral College Prediction 2.0

You can see my first prediction from this Spring here.

So what has changed?

I have moved Wisconsin and Iowa to the red column.  Iowa has been trending red for quite some time, and Obama won the state narrowly in 2008.  Same goes for Wisconsin, and I think the conglomeration of Paul Ryan, along with a competitive Senate race is going to turn out the Republican vote…and the results of that kind of turnout resulted in Scott Walker comfortably holding his Governorship just a few short months agao.

I have moved Nevada from red to blue.  Obama appears strong in the Las Vegas area, and Romney simply has not made any headway in the polling there.

As for swing states leaning blue, Colorado remains in the Obama column for now, as does New Hampshire.

As for swing states leaning red, Ohio, Virginia, and Florida have been stubbornly even for months.  However, Obama cannot get above 45% in any of those states for a consistent period.  Those states will be determined based on turnout, and all three have Senate races that  make it more interesting.

Thus, I see Romney expanding his electoral lead slightly since the spring.  For Romney, the weakest states remain Wisconsin and Iowa; for Obama, New Mexico, Colorado and Nevada. As for expanding the playing field, Obama simply has a narrowing window while Romney’s window may be slightly expanding.  States such as Michigan may come into play as we enter the Fall.

Overall, Romney should feel good, but not overly confident, while Obama must improve his base support while decreasing his negatives on the economy in these key battleground states.

I foresee doing more changes and adjustments as in the coming weeks.

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Vice Presidential Nominee Paul Ryan

Today, Governor Mitt Romney chose Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan to be his running mate for Vice President of the United States.

It was only a year ago, almost to the day, that Ryan himself was seriously considering making a presidential run.  I actually wrote a piece, titled “Is Paul Ryan The Answer?“.

Paul Ryan’s positives are clear:  he was the leading voice for budgetary restraint long before the Tea Party existed.  He was the only politician to put out a comprehensive package to reform entitlements, most specifically Medicare.  No one else has come close.

But in these points lies a black cloud…which is that Ryan’s honesty about entitlements is his Achilles’ heel.  The public is still not honestly discussing the reality that entitlements need to be cut.  And so the Democrats have successfully demagogued Ryan over the past few months.  Yes, the attacks have been false and laden with lies, but it has still hurt his standing with the general public, who often don’t look very deep into the political discourse of the day.

One thing is clear:  this will excite the conservative base, in ways only picking Marco Rubio or Bobby Jindal likely would have superceded.   Ryan is by far the most vocal defender of conservative Reagan-style government that we have today.  He truly believes in the free market. He is a true capitalist in the Milton Friedman school of economics.

Furthermore, liberals will whine and complain, but Ryan may be one of the few people in the entire nation that understand our budget whole in a true sense.  In debate after debate, when it comes to actual facts and data, Ryan has taken his opposition to task.  One reason, for example, that Barack Obama really hates Paul Ryan.  See below…

 By picking Ryan, Romney now owns much of the Ryan budget plan.  That, too me, was the biggest drawback of picking Ryan.  However, I think in a way, the Obama campaign has made that entire discussion moot.  Consider the direction of the campaign over the past month.  Obama has accused Mitt Romney, with virtually no evidence whatsoever, of racism, bigotry, felonies, and most recently murder.  In that environment, does it really matter if they accuse Romney/Ryan of killing more people?

So Paul Ryan is the choice, largely defining the future of the Republican Party if Romney goes on to win.  I say hooray.  He is conservative’s dream, in virtually any way.  He could be the next generation of Reagan Republicans.  Romney has, for better or worse (mostly better), now clearly stated that he is a Reagan conservative, and proud of it.  I say, good for him.  Now conservatives, lets get to work.

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If You Like 2012, You Will Love A 2nd Obama Term

Presidents who are successful in winning a second term often center their campaigns on a grand vision.  Reagan had the ‘city on the hill’ in 1984. FDR continued his grand progressive vision of the New Deal, cementing Democrats as the majority party for a generation.  Even Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, neither known for the ‘vision thing’, largely had a clear, enunciated plan to move the nation forward.

Dare I ask:  What is Barack Obama’s vision?

Left to his own devices, Obama would love to run a campaign on ‘Hope and Change 2.0′.  But a little thing reality stepped in the way:  the economy.  The economy, which many have suspected was languishing in a period of stagnation we have not seen in four decades, is truly struggling, as today’s July jobs report is sure to show once again.

There is no change.  And there is certainly no hope.

President Obama has laid out very few specifics on what he would do with a second term (the irony is the Obama campaign as well as the media criticize Romney for providing far more specifics).  The stump speeches today are largely the same as they were in 2010 and 2011:  more spending, more infrastructure, and magically…more jobs.

The truth is Obama’s economic plan is a house of cards.  The public, by large margins, is against another large stimulus. The evidence is clear that although infrastructure spending may have a positive economic impact in the ‘out years’ (meaning a duration of decades), it does not have much economic impact in the short term.  Obama himself now accepts that ‘shovel ready jobs’ never existed.  Those jobs were always an illusion created in a liberal think tank, not on the roads and byways of America.

So all that is left of the liberal solutions to our economic doldrums is to throw money blindly at the problem, and hope for the best:  The Krugmanian solution, as it were.  But we all know where that ends up, don’t we?

Actually, we are living that reality, here today, in 2012.

We don’t need to imagine what a future under a second term of Barack Obama would look like, because we are experiencing it in real time.  Obama as President. The House in GOP hands.  Sure, the Senate could switch to the GOP or not, but would that really make all that much difference? Basically, re-electing Barack Obama is a vote for the status quo.  There really is no reason to believe that any of the major players will change if Obama is re-elected.

And what is that status quo?

As of the last jobs report, the unemployment rate is 8.2%, while the Obama Administration predicted it would be 5.6% when the stimulus was passed.  Since the recession ended in June of 2009, less than half the jobs lost in the recession have been recovered. About 7.6 million people were working before the recession than are working now.  4.2 million of those jobs were lost from the time Obama took office to February of 2010, just as a point of clarification.

The Obama Administration arbitrarily picks 27 months ago as the starting point for their recovery.  Even using that starting point, Obama’s 4.3 million jobs created, divided by the intervening 27 months, comes to an average of about 159,000 jobs over that stretch. That is treading water, considering we need 150,000 jobs a month just to meet our overall population growth.

The closest analogue we have historically for this recession is the 1980-1982 recession.   At this point during that recovery, which began in July 1981 and ended in November 1982, the economy had produced an 8.9 percent increase in civilian employment — almost 9 million jobs. Real GDP growth averaged over 5 percent in the first three years of the Reagan recovery, compared to an average of 2.4 percent three years into the Obama recovery.

Obama supporters will argue that this is a deeper recession with more profound structural difficulties.  Maybe so.  But traditionally, even going back to the Great Depression which had far greater long term structural challenges, the economic rule has been clear:  the sharper a recession, the faster the recovery.  The opposite has held true under Obama.  Even if you can’t compare this recession to Reagan’s, you cannot make a valid argument to explain away the doldrums that we now suffer through.

What makes this doubly bad is that Obama really has no new vision to change the country’s course.  Ironically, his mantra has become ‘Stay the course’.   His stump speeches are the same, tired rhetoric about jobs and infrastructure we have heard from 2008 onward.  What you see is what you get.  And what we are seeing right now isn’t good.

Every presidental re-election campaign ultimately boils down to a simple binary choice:  does the President deserve four more years?

It is always a referendum, no matter how the President in power wants to spin it.  1980 was clear referendum on Jimmy Carter’s abject failure both in foreign affairs and domestically.  Reagan’s landslide in 1984 was driven by the appearance of a real recovery, with an average of half a million jobs being created a month late into that year.  1992 was fascinating, as the economy was clearly recovering (GDP grew by 4% in the final quarter of that year), but the public didn’t feel the recovery, pushing George H.W. Bush to defeat.  Bill Clinton and George W. Bush both had good economic records while running for re-election, even while they had other issues dragging them down.  And even in those cases, it didn’t matter, as the public gave both of them a second chance.

There is no historical analogue for Barack H. Obama to create a path to re-election. There is no real example of the economy languishing and the public giving the President a pass.  Maybe, as liberals keep hoping, this time will be different, unique, unexpected.  However, one thing is clear:  you don’t need to imagine what a second Obama term would look like.

We are already living it today.

 

Please note that this was previously posted at RedState

 

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The Dark Knight Rises: Movie Review

The Dark Knight Rises completes Christopher Nolan’s fabulous Dark Knight trilogy, and does it in a spectacular manner.  The final film of one of the great movie trilogies of all time demonstrates a world in upheaval; in rebellion and revolution, with only one old, past his prime hero that stands in the way between civilization and the chasm.

Since the last movie, 8 years have passed, and Batman is in virtual banishment.  Bruce Wayne has turned into a modern day Howard Hughes, largely ignoring or avoiding the reality of the society around him.  He is not actively Batman, and his body shows it.

Gotham City is fairly lawful…but the corrupt underbelly of the city, like always, remains.  Of course, the peace was achieved only through the passage of Draconian laws which, of course, limit true liberty and freedom.  Add to this the divide between the rich and the poor, and you have a city that is primed for strife.

Into this vacuum enters Bane. Bane is a bulky, evil S.O.B. who wears a large gas mask covering his face, which makes him utterly frightful.  He plans on completely disrupting the entire social construct by using terror and mayhem.  Bane makes a call to arms to the indigent and the weak, to stand up and face their rich oppressors, in echoes of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

It is Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) who remains without Batman, keeping the peace. He still has only a few trusted allies in the police force, among them John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a beat cop who becomes central to the movie.

The stakes of the final showdown are raised to epic proportions with grandiose images of disaster and murder, that seem all too real in 3D Imax.  Bane is the ultimate threat; he does not mind destroying the world in order to save it.  And Nolan makes you believe in the threat as much as a movie can.

So what does Nolan do?  He takes us where no other film would dare take us.  This is not a spoiler, just a statement.  Nolan, as usual, has something in store for the viewer that is special and unique, in a way no other movie series could ever achieve.

Is this better than The Dark Knight?  I don’t know, but if it isn’t…it is damn close.  That in itself is an achievement of the highest order.  The Dark Knight should still be considered for posterity as the best film of 2008 (all apologies to Slumdog Millionaire) and possibly the greatest of all superhero movies.  However, nobody steals the movie the way Heath Ledger did with his portrayal of the Joker, although the acting is superb and at a high level.

Christopher Nolan ends this trilogy in a fabulous, fantastically exciting and satisfying way, that should make any fanboy ecstatic.  I am not sure how he could have out done himself, as he concludes one of the great movie arcs in history.

Possibly the best movie of the year so far; a must see.

This blog post was written before the events of Aurora, CO came to light.  Condolences to the families and victims of that atrocity.

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Senate predictions July Edition

The 2012 cycle of course is going to spend the bulk of its time talking about the race of Gov. Mitt Romney vs. President Barack Obama. That is the way of things.

However, especially for Republicans, Congress may actually be more important.  Nothing Republicans want to achieve (tax reform, entitlement changes, spending restraint) can be accomplished without retaining the House and Senate.

As for the House…I am fairly confident that, short of a catastrophe that is unimaginable at this moment, the Republicans will hold the House of Representatives. Charlie Cook, who is by far the best predictor of House races on a national level that I know, basically predicts very little or no change to the Republicans advantage.  Stuart Rothenberg, another respected expert, basically believes that Democrats have no chance of retaking the House.

But the Senate?  The Senate is much more fascinating, and should lead to many intriguing races in the fall.

So what are the most interesting races, and the overall picture, of the Senate race?

1. Massachusetts

The race between Sen. Scott Brown, who took over for liberal lion Ted Kennedy, and Harvard Professor Elizabeth Warren has been heated and likely will be the most expensive Senate race this year.  Brown has earned a lot of political capital in the state as he is one of the few true moderates left in the Senate.  Warren has the liberal machinery behind her, and although she has had headwinds (like her question of Native American ancestry), it has little mattered so far.  The race is tied in virtually every poll.

PREDICTION:  Scott Brown by a nose.  But really a tossup.  Right now, Republican hold.

2.  Virginia

The race between former Gov. and DNC head Tim Kaine, a close ally of Obama’s, and former Sen. George Allen will get heated for numerous reasons, not the least of which is that Virginia is now a presidential battleground state.  This may end up to be a Republican vs. Democrat proxy fight.  The latest poll by a Republican outfit shows Allen leading by 9, but I think this is an outlier.  This race is tied.

PREDICTION:  Allen, by a few thousand votes; a virtual toss-up.  Republican pickup.

3.  Nevada

Nevada is another battleground state which, like Virginia, is going to be a party proxy.  Current Sen. Dean Heller faces Democrat Shelley Berkeley.  Heller leads by a tiny margin in the polls, but any news could shift this race.  I do wonder though, in this state with a large Mormon population, if that extra lift may push Heller over the top.

PREDICTION:  Heller.  Republican hold.

4. North Dakota

North Dakota should be the easiest of Republican pickups, but it is not turning out that way.  Rick Berg has struggled to add distance from Democrat challenger Heidi Heitkamp.   However, the most recent Rasmussen poll has Berg leading by 9 points.  Heitkamp has so far run a brilliant race.  But in a state that likely will vote for Romney by a +20 margin, and with Berg with a money advantage and ready to pound Democrats over Obamacare, I still think Republicans pick up this seat.

PREDICTION:  Berg.  Republican pickup.

5.  Montana

Montana is intriguing.  Jon Tester is a fairly popular Democrat in the state.  However, most polls show him trailing Denny Rehberg.  Tester is running away from the Obama record as fast as he can.  Again, like North Dakota, this is one of those states where the Presidential race may have coattails.

PREDICTION.  Rehberg.  Republican pickup.

6.  Wisconsin

Wisconsin is a blue state!  Well, until Gov. Walker.  Now, this race is trending red, and Obama now sees it as a battleground too.  Fmr. Gov. Tommy Thompson is the presumptive nominee for Republicans, and he is now leading in virtually every poll versus Democrat Tammy Baldwin.

PREDICTION:  Thompson.  Republican pickup.

7.  Florida

Bill Nelson is like Charlie Brown’s football…Republicans think they can kick him out every six years, and fail.  Connie Mack is going to try his best, but has not run a solid campaign as yet.  Nelson has led in every poll so far.

PREDICTION:  Nelson.  Democrat hold.

8.  Missouri

Claire McCaskill is quickly becoming one of the most endangered Democrats. Every poll has her trailing a trio of Republicans, and all three Republicans (Sarah Steelman, John Brunner, Todd Akin) all poll at over 50%…a death sentence for an incumbent.  Additionally, the Obama campaign has written off the state.  No coattails here.

Prediction:  Republican pickup.

9.  New Mexico

New Mexico continues to trend blue.  Martin Heinrich leads Republican Heather Wilson by five points.  If Romney can challenge in the state, Wilson has a chance. But this is a heavy Democrat lean at this point.

Prediction:  Democrat hold.

10.  Maine

Olympia Snowe stunned Republicans with her retirement.  Former Independent Governor Angus King is going to walk away with this election, and will caucus with Democrats.

Prediction:  Independent win; virtual Democrat gain.

This of course doesn’t include other races like Hawaii, Michigan, Arizona, and Connecticut, states in which should the incumbent party should hold their respective seats, or Nebraska which is an obvious Republican pickup.

One state I also didn’t include above?  My home state of Ohio.  Right now, Sherrod Brown leads by double digits over Republican Josh Mandel.  Mandel has a lot of money, but a lot of ground to make up.

If you take all this into account, that would mean the Democrats gain one Republican seat (Maine), while Republicans gain 6 seats.  That would give Republicans a net gain of 5 seats, a 52-46-2 advantage in the Senate, and the majority, making Mitch McConnell the Senate Majority leader.

There remains an enormous amount of flux in the race.  The most tenuous races for Republicans remain Massachusetts and Virginia, which could easily flip.  Losing those two seats alone, that would make the Senate a tie, leaving the decision to the Presidential race and the ultimate Vice President of the United States.   On the other hand, Florida, New Mexico and even Hawaii could move in the other direction, all of which have competitive races that could easily shift. But right now, the trend is for Republicans to take over the U.S. Senate.

 

 

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Happy Fourth of July, 2012 Edition

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Freedom_is_not_free

And please remember, as you enjoy your barbecues and picnics with family…our troops still serve on five continents around the world, and some dying even this day.  To often do we forget, that freedom is in fact not free.

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The Amazing Spider-Man: Movie Review

Spider-Man is my favorite superhero, bar none.  Always has been.  Peter Parker is the traditional nerdy geek who can never get the girl, and becomes the ultimate superhero, even though he takes a beating along the way.  I always could relate to that.

But in all honesty, when I heard about this remake of a movie that was only released in 2002…I was more than a little dismayed. Why another origin story, when Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man was so brilliant to begin with?  Along with Spider-Man 2, Raimi’s movies were going to be hard to beat; although he thoroughly missed with Spider-Man 3.

But Sony Pictures saw a cash hound, and was not going to let it go.  Somehow, instead of just replacing the actors and going forward with the story, they thought a reboot was in order.  And I humbly suggest, that was the fatal flaw in this movie.

Don’t get me wrong…the movie is decent.  There are parts that I think are better than the original, especially when we get to Peter’s back story.  This movie is no where as great as Spider-Man 2, but it is respectable.

Furthermore, Andrew Garfield is so superior in the role to Tobey Maguire, it shames me to admit it.  Garfield has a depth that Maguire never really had in the original movies.

As for Emma Stone…it is unfair to ask me.  She is my crush of the moment.   I love everything she does.  And as Gwen Stacy, she and Garfield have some real chemistry on screen, which should come as no surprise…they are an item in real life.

The Lizard is Spider-man’s evil villain, playing Dr. Connors in human form by Rhys Ifans, was solid, but not spectacular. At some point, you kind of lose the entire reason why Connors is so mad…and why the Lizard matters all together, other than as a foil for Spidey.

However, I submit that the entire film pales in comparison to the prior trilogy.  Sure, the third film had serious issues (3 villains?  Really?), but to make a reboot successful, they needed to surpass what they achieved just a decade ago in the first two films…and they just come up a little short.

I will say this though:  my six year old, who only recently discovered Spider-Man, loved the movie.  For one reason or another, he preferred it to the Tobey Maquire original.  And maybe that reintroduction of Spider-Man is the real key to the series.  I still think I would recommend this movie, but this is certainly not a must see.  I personally would have been content watching this at home 6 months from now…which I guess tells you all you need to know.

 

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Its The Economy, Stupid…But…

 

…for Congressional candidates, Obamacare may be the issue that wins the day.

This could quickly become a redux of 2010.

In my previous post, I argued that Romney should only talk about Obamacare in reference to its effects on the economy.  It is the largest tax and regulatory bill in American history, and its deleterious effects on the economy and job production fit nicely into Romney’s single issue campaign.

But for congressional candidates, they need only to look at the last midterms to understand the benefit this provides.  Chief Justice John Roberts may have used somewhat convoluted legal arguments to come to the decision, but he now forces a stark reality upon Democrats.

Obamacare is a tax.  Arguably, the largest tax ever.

Numerous candidates who support Obamacare must now defend raising taxes in the middle of a stagnant recessionary economy; or if you believe Joe Biden, a depression.

Just a few examples.

1. Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri.  McCaskill has already been lagging her Republican contenders for months, and is certainly one of the weakest candidates out there.  Can she now defend Obamacare?  What political capital does she possess to make that argument?  And even more so…how does she explain the comments of Democrat MO Governor Jay Nixon, who said the mandate is bad for Missouri?

2. Tim Kaine of Virginia is in a dog fight with Republican George Allen.  Allen now has a new weapon against Kaine: force him to rationalize a huge tax increase during a recession.  Kaine either has to accept it as a tax and defend it, or give a convoluted Pelosi-like answer that most moderates are unlikely to buy.

3.  Jon Tester of Montana is in a tough re-election race against Republican Johnny Rehberg, who has early as May had already hit Tester on voting for Obamacare.   How long before the tax argument arise?  I wager days, if not hours.

This does not even begin to argue about House seats, especially marginal ones in red states, where in 2010 the Obamacare issue was destructive, as it annihilated the Blue Dog caucus.

Mitt Romney needs to take a macroeconomic position and focus on the country at large.  In doing so, he will frame Republicans as the party of economic growth and job creation. But the down ballot candidates need to focus on how critical their role is for the repeal of the unpopular Obamacare law even more now than ever.

Starting this weekend, and continuing today on social networks, liberals are using every excuse they can to define Obamacare as anything other than a tax.  That, in a nutshell, shows you the political bind they are in.  They will try to spin it as anything but what the Supreme Court said it was…and of course, that is a losing proposition for them.  There was one message from the Obamacare ruling:  it is constitutional because it is a tax.

The GOP blueprint for victory and claiming the majority in the House and Senate is clear:  2010 redux.

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OK, Obamacare Constitutional…What Next?

 

So now that we are past the Supreme Court’s decision on the constitutionality of the ACA, we can move on to more important things.

I am completely serious.

This is not to put a spin on what is ultimately a loss for conservatives.  It clearly was that, and a huge victory for progressives led by Barack Obama.  You may hear me putting a silver lining on it, but we all know conservatives lost this round.

But fundamentally, it changes nothing.

First and foremost, most of the ACA was going to be upheld.  I never truly believed that the whole law would be overturned.  That includes the exchanges, the IPAB, and a myriad of taxes and regulations.  So we needed Congressional action to rid the country of this garbage regardless of the SCOTUS decision.  Now, simply add the mandate to the list, and the work load is virtually the same.

Furthermore, this changes nothing central to the presidential election.  It might give some political boost to Mitt Romney, as I stated in yesterday’s post.  Already, Mitt has had a huge day in contributions, raising over $4 million in the last 24 hours.  But the election is still about one and only one thing:  the economy.  The mandate is important to deal with, primarily because of the individual rights that are trampled, but the only reason to talk about it this year is because of its effect on the economy.

This is still a single issue election.  Mitt Romney knows this and understands this.  Yes, repealing Obamacare is a priority, on day one of a Romney administration…but it is only one piece to the economic puzzle that Romney must convince voters he knows how to solve.

It is still the economy, stupid.

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Obamacare Constitutional: Thoughts and Reactions

In a landmark ruling the Supreme Court today announced that in a 5-4 decision (with Justice Kennedy dissenting and Chief Justice Roberts writing the decision) that Obamacare, for the most part, is constitutional, including the individual mandate.

John Roberts declared,

“Congress had the power to impose the exaction in Section 5000A under the taxing power, and the Section 5000A need not be read to do more than impose a tax.  This is sufficient to sustain it.”

“Simply put, Congress may tax and spend,” Roberts wrote in the majority opinion. “This grant gives the federal government considerable influence even in areas where it cannot directly regulate.”

“The federal government may enact a tax on an activity that it cannot authorize, forbid or otherwise control,” Roberts wrote.

In other words, the constitutionality of the mandate is derived from it being a tax, not from any rights under the commerce clause.  As a constitutional scholar friend of mine stated,
I’m going to use this analogy on TV, to explain the Court’s ruling, unless one of you convinces me not to (and the fact that 90% of the population can’t process analogies isn’t a good enough reason). The government can’t force you to have kids, or punish you for not having kids, but they can make taxes higher for people without kids than they are for people with kids.
In a stinging and surprising dissent, Justice Anthony Kennedy suggested that the other justices wanted to wipe out the entire law. “In our view, the entire Act before us is invalid in its entirety,” he wrote.
The justices did rule against another key part of the law, saying the law’s Medicaid expansion — which starts in 2014 — tranforms the program into something it wasn’t designed to be.

“The court today limits the financial pressure the secretary may apply to induce states to accept the terms of the Medicaid expansion,” the ruling states. “As a practical matter, that means states may now choose to reject the expansion; that is the whole point. But that does not mean all or even any will.”

So my thoughts on the legal aspects?:

1.  Although this is clearly a defeat for conservatives, who hoped to put the issue to the grave, the reality is that this court was never going to seriously overturn the entire bill.  I never believed that for a second.  So legislative action was required to turn back Obamacare before, and is still required.

2.  The commerce clause, the Obama Administration’s argument, was null and void.  There never was a good argument for the commerce clause to apply in an industry that is not interstate.  In fact, Obamacare specifically prohibits buying this product across state lines, and the commerce clause simply does not apply in those cases.  The Supreme Court almost completely rejected the argument. The justices rejected two of the administration’s three arguments in support of the insurance requirement. But the court said the mandate can be construed as a tax. “Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness,” Roberts said.

3.  The power to tax is the power to destroy.  Chief Justice Roberts has reaffirmed this government right.  Simply put, they are treating Obamacare much like they treat Medicare and Social Security.

4.  The Medicare ruling is being dismissed, but this may be significant.  States now have the legal right to reject to enact this portion of the bill.  It may be the equivalent of a waiver.  What does this mean practically?  I don’t know if anyone knows.

So, my thoughts politically?

1. Short term, this is a big victory for the Obama Administration.  Their key legislative victory survives for another day.

2. Long term?  Long term this helps Mitt Romney.  I have been consistent on this.  I think overturning the mandate would have helped Romney marginally, by removing the issue all together.  However, now conservatives and especially Tea Party groups must unite behind Romney if they ever believe they can remove Obamacare. Once in place in 2014, it is highly unlikely that it will be repealed.  I would expect that Romney’s campaign coffers will grow substantially as well.

Furthermore, will this convince moderates, independents, and libertarians that it is essential for Romney to be the next President?  I think for some, the answer is ‘Yes’.

3.  Mitt Romney also has a new line of attack.  By defining the mandate as a tax, Obama no longer can claim not to have increased taxes on every living American.  The taxes in the ACA will raise $500 billion over the next decade, making it by far the largest tax increase in American history.  Furthermore, it is inherently a regressive tax, as it is basically imposed equally among the rich and the poor, though the poorest will receive subsidies.

This completely invalidates the left’s argument that Obama has been a low tax president.  If you include Obamacare taxes, our tax rates are the highest in decades.  Mitt Romney should pound this issue into the ground.

4.  The left’s credibility in lieu of the Supreme Court is a joke.  As late as two hours ago, many liberals were losing their minds, calling the Court ‘dishonorable’ and a ‘Banana Republic’.  Justice Roberts yesterday was a pariah…today a hero…at least to the media.

Another point.  CNN initially got the story wrong.  But, the most interesting development concerning the Supreme Court’s ruling when it was released was not the initial inaccurate media reports that the mandate was invalidated, but instead the reaction from the mandate’s supporters on Facebook: in about three minutes, the Court went from a bunch of pathetic political hacks to jurists of great intelligence and wisdom.

On the other hand, you do not see such insults hurled at the court from the Right.  This morning after the ruling, do you hear conservatives calling the court ‘jackals’ or ‘without honor’?  No.  The majority of conservatives disagree with the ruling, but move forward.  Liberals are the one without honor in this issue.

 

My final thoughts?  Ultimately, politically this may matter a lot, as it will likely improve Romney’s arguments of Obama being a tax and spend liberal who will continue to grow government regardless of its long term effects on our financial outlook.  It will also however harden Tea Party support around Romney, and likely unite the conservative base once and for all.

Legally and practically, I have to say I prefer winning this battle in Congress rather than in the Supreme Court.  The public is on our side in this issue, by a 2:1 margin.  If we can’t win that argument for more individual rights and freedoms, we don’t deserve to be a political movement.  Furthermore, I have long argued the worst thing about the abortion issue was that is was not done by legislative action, but by Court fiat.  The same goes here.  The public will accept legislative change much easier than it will accept five unelected jurors determining how their lives are led.

So basically, nothing has changed.  The fight goes on.  And the ultimate battle in that fight is to elect Mitt Romney President of the United States.

P.S. – please ignore any typographical errors…I wrote this in haste. 

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