Published June 19, 2012
Every political strategist working the fall elections sees a game changer coming by the end of the month.
That’s when the Supreme Court rules on the constitutionality of President Obama’s signature legislative accomplishment, the Affordable Care Act (also known as "ObamaCare").
The Democrats have a nuclear option in this political game if the high court throws out the health care law as unconstitutional.
That blowup-the-system button, not pushed since FDR’s attempt to stack the court with Democrats during the New Deal, is for Obama to use the bully pulpit of the White House, and the national stage of a presidential campaign, to launch a bitter attack on the current court as a corrupt tool of the Republican right wing.
It is a move that could energize Democrats and independents even as Republicans celebrate a major legal victory.
Some Democrats, sensing a political windfall, can’t wait to start the offensive.
Nebraska’s Sen. Ben Nelson, a retiring Democrat, sent out a news release last week condemning the “activist Supreme Court,” for potentially dismantling a health care law. The senator said without the new law, health insurance premiums will be “skyrocketing,” and endanger “health care for more than 100,000 Nebraska kids with pre-existing medical conditions such as asthma or diabetes.”
That protest comes from a conservative Democrat who held back his vote for the bill until the White House awarded his state a special Medicaid deal. The deal was rescinded but not before the GOP memorably labeled it an attempted bribe, “The Cornhusker Kickback.”
Now even Nelson is climbing the political ramparts to defend Democrats.
This column originally appeared in The Hill newspaper and on TheHill.com.