Media Welcome OTaxaCare With Open Arms
In the blink of a shocking Supreme Court ruling Thursday, the President's signature piece of legislation went from ObamaCare to OTaxaCare.
Not surprisingly, the Obama-loving media didn't mind that despite promises from their hero his healthcare reform wasn't a tax, according to the highest court in the land, it is.
I guess many of these folks forget that it was imperative to the President and his party that his healthcare reform proposal wasn't a tax, for they knew Americans including many Democrats wouldn't support such a thing.
Such was made infinitely clear in a September 2009 interview the President had with ABC's George Stephanopoulos:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC: I wanted to check for myself. But your critics say it is a tax increase.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: My critics say everything is a tax increase. My critics say that I’m taking over every sector of the economy. You know that. Look, we can have a legitimate debate about whether or not we’re going to have an individual mandate or not, but…
STEPHANOPOULOS: But you reject that it’s a tax increase?
OBAMA: I absolutely reject that notion.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court absolutely rejected his rejection.
In so doing, ObamaCare quickly became OTaxaCare, a fact that likely would have been met with far greater consternation from the media before March's oral arguments at the Court.
Prior to that point, much of the Obama-loving media had concluded the individual mandate would be upheld.
Some cocky journalists even predicted as many as eight jurists would move to uphold.
Had Thursday's ruling emerged at that time, the declaration that the penalty for not complying with the mandate was a tax and not constitutional under the commerce clause would have been reported as a huge blow to Obama. Ditto the striking down of the Medicaid extension.
But that didn't happen because oral arguments come first.
There, a fly flew into the ointment: Justice Anthony Kennedy - who the media were convinced would side with the four liberal jurists to uphold - grilled Obama's solicitor general about the individual mandate in a fashion that left most observers concluding he was clearly opposed to this key part of the bill.
Thus began months of media hand-wringing as the fate of the President's signature accomplishment appeared more dire than originally thought.
The change in sentiment was best exemplified at online trading website Intrade where the probability of the Court ruling the mandate unconstitutional jumped from 35 percent to 65 percent in the days following the oral arguments. It would eventually reach 80 percent.
In a state of utter panic, Obama's press bombarded the print and airwaves with all manner of attacks on the Court as partisan hacks appointed by Republicans with the exclusive goal of championing conservative causes without regard for the Constitution.
The rabid foaming hit a zenith this week with MSNBC's Chris Matthews claiming this "most conservative" Court would have upheld desegregation.
In almost exactly three months, the entire liberal media landscape went from relative certainty ObamaCare would be upheld to almost universal belief it was going down.
So when the news came out the mandate survived, the press got so caught up in their euphoria that they weren't concerned the ruling radically changed the meaning of the individual mandate.
For it to be Constitutional, it had to be considered a tax.
But that's not what the American people or members of Congress were told; it seems a metaphysical certitude key Senate Democrats would never have supported the legislation that way.
Jeff Zeleny of the New York Times said Thursday neither Louisiana's Mary Landrieu nor Nebraska's Ben Nelson would have voted for the bill if the mandate penalty was a tax.
Recall the former had to be bought off with a Louisiana Purchase and the latter a Cornhusker Kickback to support the measure.
That wouldn't have been enough if the mandate penalty was a tax.
How many other Democrats in 2010's mid-term election year would have withdrawn their support if ObamaCare had been more accurately pitched?
And how would that have impacted the public's view of this bill, especially as it's been quite negative since the get-go?
Maybe 70 to 80 percent of Americans would have been against it likely making its passage impossible.
But that's not what happened.
Congress and the public were baited with the notion the individual mandate was constitutional under the commerce clause only to find after the fact that wasn't the case and the only way for the bill to remain intact was for the penalty to be considered a tax.
Did this concern most media members?
Hardly. The broadcast networks gushed over Chief Justice John Roberts calling him "the man of the hour" who "might have saved" the Supreme Court.
ABC's Good Morning America cheered "statesman" Roberts for having "saved" ObamaCare.
NBC's Tonight Show created a mock video of Obama dancing in the White House after the ruling was announced.
Wasn't anyone annoyed about being lied to concerning this being a tax?
Where was the concern that this would also represent a broken campaign promise by Obama to not raise taxes on anyone making less than $250,000 a year?
Or that such a tax would be regressive impacting the middle-class far more than high-income earners?
Such was almost nowhere to be found.
These folks were in full celebration mode because their worst fears - ObamaCare being completely overturned - didn't materialize, and this was clearly a victory for the President they helped get elected and want to see reelected.
But where was the finger-pointing at a President that had been found to have lied to the public to get a bill passed that will impact every American for generations?
And what of the praise for Roberts, a man that had been excoriated by the press since the moment he was nominated by President Bush in 2005?
His ruling was hysterically heralded as being apolitical, and that he had marvelously threaded the needle to re-establish credibility to the Court after such supposedly political decisions as Bush v. Gore and Citizens United.
Yet if these folks had been honest in their assessment, their conclusion would have been that this might be the most political ruling of Roberts' career.
As conservative author and constitutional lawyer Mark Levin said Thursday, this decision was "absolutely lawless."
Declaring it constitutional for citizens to be taxed if they don't make a purchase is preposterous, and someone of Roberts' intellect and background knows this.
However, he clearly either decided and/or was pressured to find a way to uphold the individual mandate irrespective of the Constitution and thereby not only save face for the President but maybe more importantly for the Court he presides over.
Isn't that political? Isn't intentionally behaving in a fashion that might go against your real beliefs in order to appear bipartisan and apolitical actually an act of pure politics that judges shouldn't engage in, especially the highest judge in the land?
But this also didn't concern America's media.
Roberts' clearly political act was to be heralded because they liked the outcome.
So it's not the politics of this Court that bother the press. Oh no.
It's only when the politics don't go their way.