I’d like to open with Sarah Palin’s response:
Obama lied to the American people. Again. He said it wasn’t a tax. Obama lies; freedom dies.
– @SarahPalinUSA via web
My response? Nothing new under the sun: Obama wins; Palin spins.
The only thing relevant about Palin and her devotees is the repeated demonstrations of their continued irrelevance.
But more to the substance of this, what is clear here is that this whole rigmarole has devolved upon the popular American distaste for the term “tax.” All federal social policy in the near term will have to work by re-labeling taxes, an absurd semantic sleight of hand made necessary by a widespread impoverishment of our command of basic civics terminology and its concerted ideological slandering by one special interest group, as the GOP should now be known.
What reveals this understanding of the GOP as a special interest group more than anything else is Chief Justice John Roberts’ decision. Roberts clearly looked down the arc of history and did not want “his” court to be the one that capitulated to partisanship and undermined the institution’s integrity. It’s that simple. He understood that his name would become synonymous with partisan judicial activism. As a Federalist, this was intolerable. Hence he opened with a statement affirming that the court’s role is not to seek ways to overturn legislation, but to uphold it. Only if there is no conceivable way to bring its rationale into accord with constitutional language should the court strike down the laws written by our elected representatives. We could not get this bill passed by including the language of taxation, hence no single payer or public option. But those are political conditions. Roberts quite brilliantly (if wrongly) adhered to his own conservatism with regard to an unnecessarily narrow reading of the commerce clause, but latched onto US Solicitor General Verrilli’s back-up argument that the mandate could be considered a tax triggered by an individual’s lack of health insurance. But his tacit acknowledgment of what he (I think correctly) believes will be the historical view of the court implicitly reveals the degree to which the GOP is a special interest group, uninterested in the substance of legality or the welfare of the US. It represents a very narrow constituency’s interests and will do anything to serve them. It’s nothing more than the political action committee of the Chamber of Commerce.