When President Obama said Thursday that he didn’t pursue health care reform “because it was good politics,” he wasn’t kidding.
Over the course of its short life span, the Affordable Care Act has left a trail of political wreckage behind it — and while an exultant White House breathed a sigh of relief in the wake of Thursday’s Supreme Court validation, Obama’s signature policy achievement still faces a host of questions ahead.
First among them: Does the party really want to embrace a measure that proved so costly to Democratic candidates in 2010 and polls so poorly?
While the Supreme Court’s decision upholding the law provided the president with a major victory, the trickle-down political effect isn’t quite so obvious. Put another way, for down-ballot Democrats in red or purple states, the politics of health care still aren’t so good.
With Thursday’s defeat, Republicans were handed a powerful tool for motivating their base and a fresh ammo clip for use in House and Senate races across the map. It removed one arrow from the Democratic quiver — the prospect of an outraged and highly motivated base — and provided a new one to the GOP by defining the mandate as a tax.