Time magazine’s Mark Halperin on Monday predicted that President Barack Obama would come out as the loser whether the Supreme Court decided to strike down the health care reform law or not this week.
“I actually think whatever the court rules, it’s bad for the president,” Halperin told MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough. “And that’s not my opinion, that’s based on reporting including with a lot of Democrats.”
“If they uphold the law, which is unpopular, it’s going to be rallying cry for Republicans across the country,” he continued. “Even if the law is upheld, advertising and campaign rhetoric from Republicans will be all about health care. Democrats largely hide from it. There’s not more than a handful of Democrats in the country — including the president — who will put health care front and center.”
“So it will be a defeat for President Obama,” Mika Brzezinski agreed. “But how much of a gain for Mitt Romney?”
“He wants to run on the lack of specifics and just saying, ‘I’m going to do things differently from the president,'” Halperin explained.
“But he’s the godfather of this health care plan,” Scarborough noted. “Can he run against a health care plan that he helped write?”
“He can say what he said which is, I’ll replace it and Washington shouldn’t tell the states what to do,” Halperin replied. “Look, he survived the Republican nominating fight finessing health care. That was the real challenge.” “
In the general election his message is pretty simple. The court, if they strike it down, he’s going to say, ‘It needs to be replaced. Who do you want to replace it? Me or the guy who wasted a year and a half of the country’s time passing something unconstitutional?’ And if they uphold it, he can say, ‘Country, you don’t like the law? The only way to replace it now is not through the court, but through a new president.'”
Chief Justice John Roberts has hinted that the decision will be handed later next week, possibly by Thursday. Some experts predict that the court will strike down the health insurance mandate for individuals, while leaving the rest of the law intact.
Watch this video from MSNBC’s Morning Joe, broadcast June 25, 2012.