Thursday, June 25, 2015

SCOTUSCare Ascendant!

From The Dissent
In a move that, frankly, didn't surprise too many people, SCOTUS has ruled 6-3 for the Obama administration allowing the federal subsidies to continue. Needless to say, a lot of people are very upset about this (and other people are very happy--jury still out on Republicans receiving subsidies--probably conflicted).

What are we to make of this?

The Court Saved The GOP
Despite outrage, Capitol Hill GOP staffers are apparently highly relieved. The court didn't throw a golden-apple into their caucus and force them to fight it out Hunger Games style (Paul Ryan Threat Rating: 12). What was said--but not acknowledged by the base--was that the GOP was in no way ready to execute on the window of opportunity that a ruling against the ACA would have provided.

The GOP Probably Fumbled The Ball
While Roberts probably likes to think of himself as calling "balls and strikes" there is no way a human being (which all of the justices, save Scalia who is undead, are) can separate themselves from the context of a decision. If Roberts had ruled against the ACA there would have been chaos followed by more chaos. Millions of people would have lost their subsidies--some . . . might have died.

The fact that the GOP had five years to come up with a viable alternative--and instead came up with several competing half-baked plans--should be acknowledged in the assignation of blame. With no cohesive plan to go up against the ACA the GOP did not provide a safe-landing for the justices to push towards.

The fact that there IS no solid alternative itself should perhaps be seen as a key point in the debate. What if it's Individual Mandate or Pre-Existing Conditions and that's that?

ObamaCare is Here To Stay
While the ACA will likely feature in some 2016 politics, it appears that it's going to go the way of abortion rights: there may be some hay to be made around the edges--but at this point? It looks like a done deal. Even if the GOP wins the presidency next year, it seems unlikely to see a serious repeal given that the party has been unable to agree on anything thus far and the Insurance Companies will be against chaos.

The GOP may need to pick another hill to die on--maybe reviving the Confederate Flag?

What About A Third Party?
Maybe just a second party would be good, eh? There will be talk--chatter--about voting the bastards out and reforming the party and taking back the country. The smart money is that nothing will be done--Game Theory, the science of incentives and behavior--is against it. The fact is that there are parties out there (and The Omnivore means Out There)* that would bring the ideological purity that the GOP base needs. What they can't provide is the credibility that a vote for them is worthwhile. So long as the GOP has a lock on anti-Democratic votes they can play in the gray-space of realpolitik and still keep control of at least one branch of government.

The fact that the base can't face is that their solutions (stand and fight--at ALL COSTS) are not practical. The modern history of the GOP has been that of being backed into one blind-alley after another--and the leadership, at each point, making--executing on--the reasonable choice--and simply absorbing damage as a result of their compromises with their own base.

This dysfunctional condition will continue until either The Base gives up on unreasonable expectations or the GOP gets a new name. If neither of these seem likely to you, you're reading things right.

While the GOP is likely breathing a sigh of relief on this, the fact is that SCOTUS is handing down very 'liberal' rulings from a majority conservative court (the other ruling today was a win for Democrats authored by Kennedy. It seems likely Gay Marriage will happen next week). Conservatives who are looking at the abrupt, avalanche of the Confederate Flag (and Confederate Culture) collapse should carefully consider a broader picture that seems to be emerging. These rulings are being constructed against a back-drop of changing political tides. The GOP isn't frozen out here--but attaining a real victory may involving changing what victory 'looks like.'

Here's a couple of questions:

  1. If you accept that a pro-GOP SCOTUS decision would still result in the extension of subsidies (which seems the case) and the Republicans had no reasonable plan for reform of the law, was all of this just theater? If so, who was the performance for--who was fooled by it?
  2. If you accept that the Confederate Flag was legitimately viewed by many as a racist symbol (even if also viewed legitimately as a symbol of heritage) then, if you therefore agree it should be taken down today--wasn't it always the case that you were standing up for a racist symbol (even if it had other meanings?). If that's true--then were the Democrats (and blacks) correct in calling racism on the GOP? Or did the flag just suddenly become racist when Dylann Storm Roof used it in his manifesto and massacre? Seems unlikely, no? 

* If the 4th major talking-point of your presumptive party's platform is Agenda 21, you should re-examine your life.

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