The ruling upholding most of Obamacare was an as-yet-unappreciated boon for the GOP. A brilliant move by Roberts, he managed to preserve the remaining integrity of the court — and raise his own stature — while at the same time increasing the odds of a Romney win. How? By recasting the mandate as that third-rail of politics, a tax. Let’s dissect both these statements.
First, how can we be sure it wasn’t a major victory for Obama, pundits notwithstanding? There is a “market” in presidential election predictions, www.intrade.com. One may place bets on candidates and while, like the stock market, it is wrong sometimes, the “price” of each candidate does react to events. So, for instance, Rick Perry’s price fell 75% within seconds of his forgetting the name of the third cabinet department he was going to eliminate. And yet, a full day after Obama’s “victory” the “price” his re-election chances still has not budged. It bumped briefly and has since fallen back to the same $5.40 (to win $10 if he wins—a 54% probability) that it’s been hovering at for weeks.
Second, was Roberts accurate, or just politically astute, in re-casting the mandate as a tax? Answer: The latter.