Maddow On 'Today': ObamaCare Decision Will Be 'Referendum' On 'Conservatively Politicized' Supreme Court

Appearing on Tuesday's NBC Today, left-wing MSNBC host Rachel Maddow spun the Supreme Court ruling on ObamaCare as being a judgment of how partisan the high court has become: "...this may as much be a referendum on the Supreme Court and whether or not the Roberts court is so conservatively politicized that it will make a decision to hurt the President, rather than sticking closely to precedent here."

Maddow touted a recent Bloomberg poll, "that 75% of people think that the Supreme Court will decide based on their political beliefs, not on the law." She conveniently left out the results of the latest CBS News/New York Times poll that showed only 36% of Americans approve of ObamaCare, while 47% disapprove.  A recent Rasmussen poll showed 56% favoring repeal of the law.

Rather than challenge Maddow's assertions, Lauer wondered: "...if they uphold this – this law, what's the effect on the President come re-election time in November?" Surprisingly, Maddow yawned at that result: "I don't actually think it will have that much of an effect if it is upheld....if what the Republicans call ObamaCare, is upheld, then the President has still reformed health care and Republicans still hate it and we're back to where we are now." The CBS/New York Times poll found only 56% of Democrats approved of the law.

Lauer also asked Maddow about an open mic gaffe President Obama made while meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, speaking about having more "flexibility" to deal with Russia on arms control after his "last election." Lauer pressed: "Why shouldn't people think this is a disingenuous stand on foreign policy?...it adds to the cynicism that people have. They say our leaders should take a stand on principle, not political vulnerability."

Maddow predictably downplayed the obvious stumble for the President: "So it's a little bit of a window into realpolitik and the way these guys really talk to each other. I don't think we learned anything new. But it's kind of interesting to see two leaders, you know, speaking unguardedly."


Here is a portion of the March 27 exchange:

7:11AM ET

(...)

LAUER: Let's move over to what's happening at the Supreme Court today. Second day of oral arguments over the President's health care reform law. If it is struck down by the Supreme Court, talk to me about how that affects November. And then take it the other way, if it's upheld by the Supreme Court.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Supreme Test; How Will Health Care Debate Impact The Election?]

MADDOW: The most interesting thing that I have seen about this in terms of how it's going to affect the public, is that Bloomberg did some polling on it and Bloomberg's poll found that 75% of people think that the Supreme Court will decide based on their political beliefs, not on the law. So, this – this may as much be a referendum on the Supreme Court and whether or not the Roberts court is so conservatively politicized that it will make a decision to hurt the President, rather than sticking closely to precedent here.

LAUER: If they don't, though, if they uphold this – this law, what's the effect on the President come re-election time in November?

MADDOW: I don't actually think it will have that much of an effect if it is upheld. I mean, I realize that the partisans who have – the people who have made this about partisan politics think that it will be the end-all-be-all for the election. But, if what the Republicans call ObamaCare, is upheld, then the President has still reformed health care and Republicans still hate it and we're back to where we are now.

LAUER: This open mic issue, okay? It happened yesterday. The President speaking to the Russian president, said, "On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this can be solved but it's important for him, Putin, to give me space." "Yeah, I understand," replied the Russian president, "I understand your message about space." And then President Obama said, "This is my last election. After my election, I have more flexibility."

MADDOW: Yeah.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Open Mic; What Does Candid Comment Say About Obama?]

LAUER: Why shouldn't people think this is a disingenuous stand on foreign policy?

MADDOW: Well, what they're talking about is missile defense. And what he's saying is, "We're probably not going to make any further agreements or have any better – we're not going to make much progress in terms of talking about missile defense while I am in an election year."

LAUER: But it adds to the cynicism that people have. They say our leaders should take a stand on principle, not political vulnerability.

MADDOW: But the issue with arms control and the Russians is that the agreements that the President has been making with the Russians, the Senate will not follow. The Congress will not follow. And so, if you want to be realistic about it, the Congress and the Senate, in particular, is not going to follow him in an election year. So it's a little bit of a window into realpolitik and the way these guys really talk to each other. I don't think we learned anything new. But it's kind of interesting to see two leaders, you know, speaking unguardedly.

(...)

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC