Got good news and bad news for you, Mr. President. The good news is that Chief Justice John Roberts just saved your legacy and, perhaps, your presidency by writing for the Supreme Court majority to rule health care reform constitutional.
Bad news is he declared you a tax-raiser.
“The Affordable Care Act’s requirement that certain individuals pay a financial penalty for not obtaining health insurance may reasonably be characterized as a tax,” Roberts wrote in an opinion that said the Constitution’s commerce clause could not be used to save the bill.
“Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness,” Roberts concluded.
Republicans would have preferred the court overturn the health care bill, an act that would have underscored Obama’s biggest liability — the perception among voters, including those who like and trust him, that he has been ineffective.
But you can count on them to use Roberts’ bill-saving justification to label Obama a tax-and-spend liberal.
“I’m sure they’ll nail us on taxes and I’m sure it will work,” said a senior White House official speaking on condition of anonymity. “But, given the alternative, that’s a bitter pill I’m ready to swallow.”