Does Obama already know the fate of ObamaCare?
While I don’t like to engage in conspiracy theories or anything like that, I do find it odd that President Barack Obama has been targeting the Supreme Court so heavily the last couple of days over ObamaCare (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act). Some conservatives have suggested that he knows how members of the High Court cast their initial ballots on Friday and what we’re seeing is a reaction to that.
Obama may really just be trying to sway Justice Anthony Kennedy, but it’s hard to see how this will play well with him or even Chief Justice John Roberts, who was believed to be more sympathetic (though that’s quite a stretch) to the administration’s argument. Obama has already spurned Kennedy once thanks to his 2010 State of the Union address in which he blasted the decision in Citizens United, an opinion written by Kennedy.
But thinking about the motivation for Obama to do this, here are a few scenarios that I’ve been thinking about today.
Obama has no idea where the Supreme Court is going: As mentioned above, he’s desparate to see his signature domestic initiative survive this legal challenge and he’s is making an odd plea for them to rule on his side. Again, the way he has handled this, if this is truly the case — and it may very well be, is odd and probably not the best move.
Obama knows the PPACA is going down: Then what we’ve seen the last couple of days is indeed Obama lashing out at the Supreme Court. This is what opponents of ObamaCare want to believe, myself included. He knows it’s coming and we can call this part of the “five states of grief.”
Obama is playing mind games with PPACA opponents: This is where it gets interesting. Obama knows how the Supreme Court has cast their initial ballots, but they went in his favor. He knows that seeing ObamaCare go down in flames would be a huge boost to conservatives headed into the fall, and he is trying to build up their hopes only to see the Supreme Court is going to uphold the law. This would be deflating to conservatives and take a lot of momentum out of their corner.
It wouldn’t be the first time that Obama has taken a policy issue and used it to lead conservatives down a trail that only hurt them in the end. The contraception issue, which was handled horribly by conservatives, is a great example of that.
No matter how the Supreme Court cast their ballots on Friday, they can change their vote at anytime during deliberations. It wouldn’t be the first time it has happened. But again, if Obama is trying to convince Kennedy to change his voted, he’s certainly going at it the wrong way.