"It's constitutional. Bitches." —Patrick Gaspard, Executive Director, DNC Obamacare lives. And, with it, Barack Obama's case for a second term.
In laying the groundwork for 2012, Obama and Mitt Romney have had dueling imperatives: The president needs to make sure that the November election is a choice. Romney needs to make it an up-or-down referendum.
In Team Obama's frame, choosing to reelect the president is a vote to continue moving "Forward"; choosing Romney is a vote to return to the policies that created our current pain.
That frame only works, however, if you can demonstrate that you're, in fact, creating forward progress that's easing the pain. And June has been a hazardous month for that narrative. The nation's slow, steady economic recovery appeared to stall out. Job growth flatlined. Then Obama gaffed, calling the private sector's stagnating performance "fine."
The June gloom played right into Team Romney's frame: "Obama isn't working." The president hasn't delivered. You need to vote him out of office (by, oh yeah, voting for me.) The upshot of this referendum model is that you don't even have to like Romney, just so long as you want to oust Obama.
Now, imagine for a moment that the president's signature legislative accomplishment had gone down the tubes this morning, with Chief Justice John Roberts joining the dissenters in finding the Affordable Care Act "invalid in its entirety."
The Romney camp could have rightly blasted Obama for two years of wasted effort. MORE...
H/t to Ari Berman.