Soon after the Supreme Court handed down its decision upholding the landmark health care reform law — including the controversial mandate that individual Americans purchase health coverage — Mitt Romney’s website blared: “Obamacare upheld. Elections have consequences. Donate.”
And within less than four hours of the decision, the presumptive nominee’s campaign had raised $1 million from online contributions.
Therein lies the good news for Romney. Although the court’s ruling is widely regarded as a victory for the president, giving him a boost on his signature accomplishment while he moves toward a difficult fall election, it may just as easily be declared a victory for his opponent, because it is certain to energize the Republican base. And Romney didn’t have to lift a finger for that to happen.
As veteran GOP strategist Mike Murphy, who has advised Romney in the past, put it: “Uphold makes life simpler for Romney. Overthrow would have forced discussion on what next. Now he can just keep running against Obamacare.” He added that the decision will keep Obama from using the Supreme Court as a “wider campaign scare issue with independent voters.”
“All in all I think Mitt does fine. The idea of this as a big Obama ‘win’ is just a Beltway creation. It’s a wash, maybe a bit better for Mitt.”
Romney capitalized on that idea during a brief appearance in Washington. Standing on a rooftop overlooking the Capitol just minutes before the president delivered his own statement about the decision, he said, “What the court did not do on its last day in session, I will do on my first day if elected president of the United States. And that is I will act to repeal Obamacare.”