March 28th, 2012
08:20 PM ET

Letters to the President #1164: 'Health care still under fire'

Reporter's Note: The Supreme Court has been hearing some strong attacks on and defenses of the president’s health care reform plan. So while the White House waits to see what the justices will do, I thought Mr. Obama might enjoy yet another letter from me.

Dear Mr. President,

I don’t know about you, but I’m thinking about keeping some football pads handy in my office. Because when the ruling comes down from the Supreme Court on your health care plans, no matter which way it goes, I expect things to get pretty rough here in D.C.

I don’t mean rioting in the street or anything like that, I just mean that I have rarely seen legislation evoke such intense emotions from both parties, and I can’t imagine the “losing” side in this case will be particularly gracious in defeat. More likely we’ll hear vicious attacks on the court, the individual justices, the opposing party, and anyone else foolish enough to stray into the line of fire.

And of course we’ll hear all about positioning…or triangulation…or whatever you want to call it. Already I’ve heard more than enough talk about how Democrats are going to declare it “good” if the court goes against the legislation, because it will invigorate voters to re-elect you. I’ve also heard Republicans predict the converse; i.e. if they lose, they expect voters to turn out in droves to defeat you.

Both sides may have a point, but we both know that whenever a sitting president has his signature legislation struck down or upheld at the Supreme Court level it is a big deal. The former is undeniably a defeat. The latter, undeniably a victory. People can spin it all they want from that point forward, but the initial impact is indisputable.

But like I said, people will certainly still dispute it. Heck, I expect the losing side…whichever it may be…to dispute everything. It would be nice if it didn’t turn out that way, but I have no faith to fuel that hope. So buckle your seatbelt…whether your side wins or not…we’re all in for a bumpy ride.

Call if you can. I’m around.


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