Friday, March 9, 2012

The 800 Pound Gorilla

("White House Works to Shape Debate Over Health Care Law")

It is hard to predict what issue, apart from the troubled economy, will most capture our attention this November. In a world in the midst of such tumultuous times and with those on the right willing to invent disasters, it seems that each day brings endless unsettling possibilities. But if I were asked as to what is likely to be the 800 pound gorilla in the fall, my first choice would be the Supreme Court decision on whether to uphold certain provisions of the health care law, derogatorily referred to by its critics as "Obamacare".

This law has to be considered the centerpiece achievement for the Democrats and the president. Weak as the final product was, and inadequate to address the screaming needs of millions of Americans, still it took up most of the air in the room for so long, and when passed, was an overwhelming accomplishment in the face of such unrelenting opposition. So, if a central component of this legislation were to be deemed unconstitutional, the Republicans would seemingly have their theme for the campaign handed to them on a silver platter. What, they would ask, was this administration trying to shove down the collective throats of this country? For a Republican party obsessed with creating the fiction of a government bullying us into submission, they would have Exhibit A .

The 3 days of arguments before the court at the end of May, and then the moments just before the decision is rendered, will undoubtedly have this nation gripped in intense public debate. The outcome may well go a long way to defining this presidency, determining this election and directing the future course of this nation.

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