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June 28th, 2012
04:19 PM ET

Letters to the President #1256: 'Winning ugly'

Reporter's Note: I write to President Obama every day. He never responds, so I suppose he and I both wonder why I even bother.

Dear Mr. President,

Congratulations on your big victory in the Supreme Court. I’m sure it is a great relief to find that your signature legislation is constitutional. Like sometimes when I order a shrimp po-boy, I feel really tense until it arrives, because you never know if the bread is going to be crispy and lovely, or chewy and awful. Was your day up until the ruling kind of like that? I’m guessing so.

That said, I have to wonder if you have a whole new worry on your plate now. Because even though the court gave you a policy win, politically what they had to say was like a grenade tossed right into the middle of your re-election campaign. They did, after all, suggest that the primary funding mechanism for all this…the requirement that people buy insurance…is (gasp!) a tax. You, your Democratic pals, and pretty much everyone else who cheered this legislation on during its formative times bent over backward to insist it was not, could not, would not ever be a tax under any conditions…and here is the highest court in the land saying, “Poppycock. Of course, it’s a tax!”

This is going to be trouble for you. I’m sure of it.

I mean, seriously, it took Republicans minutes…minutes!...to start ripping into you; saying that this is certified proof that you broke your promise not to raise taxes the middle class. And you can bet your cufflinks they’ll revisit that theme over and over and over again this summer.

That’s why I imagine your celebration is somewhat muted. Your know that for an awful lot of Americans, taxes remain a toxic subject, and voters can be pretty harsh about punishing anyone who brings taxes to their door…no matter what those taxes are ultimately for.

Anyway, congratulations again…a win is a win, as they say…but at the same time, good luck with the backlash.

Regards,
Tom

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