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Manic Monday Markup 7/23/12…

…And the World:

Spain’s situation looks increasingly desperate.  Despite a bailout for its banks, the country looks about as poised as any to ask for a  bailout for its government as well. Today’s run on Spanish debt came as more semi-autonomous regions of the country sought help from the central government to meet obligations.

Meanwhile, Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti fights to keep his country out of antsy creditors cross hairs.  He may have to conquer a greater challenge from within before he can succeed.  Taming Sicily’s wayward finances.

Pakistan faces Déjà vu as another Prime Minister is being pressed by that nation’s highest court to reopen corruption charges against the President, the widower of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

The Feds:

President Barack Obama visited Aurora, Colo. after last week’s movie theatre shooting.  In comments before reporters at a Aurora area hospital, he expressed sadness and his commitment that the United States government will marshal all its forces toward this case.  The suspect, James Holmes, appeared in court today, still sporting his fluorescent hairdo and appearing dazed and distracted.  On Friday evening during a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises, Holmes is alleged to have shot and killed 12, while injuring dozens more.

Elsewhere in the campaign, NPR looks into how many politicians these days have shied away from gun politics.  ABC, for its part, finds that many records from the Salt Lake City Olympics may never be public.  Many wonder whether sponsors received contracts from the games in exchange for their “sponsorships.”  The secrecy also mirrors Romney’s refusal to discuss his tax returns and Bain (his central argument for election to the presidency) and even as governor when he destroyed state records as he left office.  In all cases, it seems, he has done it to keep political opponents (read: the public) from learning anything about him.  You know, like how he governed.

The Connecticut Senate race is heating up.  On August 14, Democrats and Republicans in the Nutmeg State will pick their nominees for United States Senate.  Congressman Chris Murphy of the 5th District and former Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz are competing for the Democratic nod and has thus far provided more entertainment that the Republican race.  Wrestling executive Linda McMahon is expected to win the Republican nomination against hopelessly outmatched former Congressman Chris Shays.  Still he’s trying.  Meanwhile, Bysiewicz continues her withering attacks against Murphy, many burdened by errors like confusing Murphy with another Murphy from New York state.

Finally, the Associated Press looks at Sen. Orrin Hatch’s place as a key deal maker.  Hatch, who recently won a primary election, was a well-known friend of the late Senator Ted Kennedy and worked with him to pass several key pieces of legislation like the Americans with Disabilities Act.  Regardless of the November election, Hatch is expected to have a role in what a budget deal will look like.

The State of Things:

Scott Brown’s latest web ad twists the president’s words about “building that” totally out of shape and context to represent Obama saying something that he did not.  Put more simply, he lies!  Big surprise, Scott Brown emulating Mitt Romney’s intellectual dishonesty.  The share campaign strategists, but they’re completely different.  Honest!

The pile on in Holyoke continues.  State Representative Michael Kane resigned his seat for the Fifth Hampden District (which encompasses Holyoke alone) in June, but he remains on the ballot.  Nobody bothered to file by May 1st for the Republican nominations, as an Independent, or as a Democrat except for Aaron Vega, a current City Councilor.  Vega has the support of Mayor Alex Morse.  Consequently, Vegas is expected to win the Democratic nomination.  However, after Kane’s resignation, a Republican, City Councilor Linda Vacon, is mounting a write-in campaign for her party’s nomination and two others will run as independents on the November ballot.  Miguel Vazquez is the latest to join the fray.

City Slickers:

City and State officials were joined by US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood to announce the final piece of funding for Union Station in Springfield.  The project, despite decades of false starts, is expected to actually cross into reality this November when the station’s baggage building will be torn down.  The main station will be renovated while a new bus terminal will be built on the site of the baggage building.

Springfield gets some ink in the Boston Globe as the city faces multiple offers for building a casino.  Mayor Domenic Sarno and Economic Development Director Kevin Kennedy discuss the various proposals that are before the city or could be before it.  However, the piece does not end flatteringly for Sarno and the Globe Mark Arsenault bathes his story’s close in apparent irony.

Twitter Chatter:

Do you remember Jeff Perry?  We do.  Perry ran for Congress as a Republican in the 10th Congressional District which covers much of the South Shore and all of the Cape (the reconfigured ninth district largely mirrors the old 10th).  He lost to Bill Keating after a campaign that unearthed an incident while Perry was a police sergeant in Wareham.  A subordinate officer strip searched and sexually assaulted a teenage girl while, according to the victim, Perry did nothing.  We award this week’s tweet prize to none other than Jeff Perry who states simply that we must reelect Senator Scott Brown.  This is the same Scott Brown that continued to support Perry even after victim Lisa Allen broke her silence on the 1991 assault.  Perry’s tweet today links to the same Scott Brown web ad that deceitfully reworks President Obama and Elizabeth Warren’s words.  Perry, however, must share this week’s Tweet Prize with Progress Mass, which responds by asking if Perry will campaign with Brown? (We cannot display the tweet due to technical difficulties)  Were that to happen, Brown would invite, once again, charges of indifference toward women (that he is not related to).  For reminding us why we know you and why you still matter, Jeff Perry, you win this week’s tweet prize.  For reminding us, indirectly and artfully, why his head popping up from the proverbial political dustbin is bad news for Brown, we also award this week’s prize to Progress Mass.

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Tardy Tuesday Takedown 7/17/12…

…And the World:

We begin today in Israel where the always uncomfortable alliance Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cobbled together with one-time opposition Kadima is on the verge of collapse.  Haaretz has sources saying that party could bolt the coalition as soon as today.  Turns out that that is exactly what has happened, as expected. That in turn could tear Kadima apart and leave its leader Shaul Mofaz as the head of its centrist wing, which views him as illegitimate.  Since former Kadima leader Tzipi Livni quit the Knesset, however, those centrists may left in the metaphorical dessert.  The breakup is due to vehement disagreements among the governing parties over how to change the nation’s draft.  Far-right religious students were exempt until the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that exemption invalid.  Mofaz has called the latest proposals inequitable.  The failure by the governing coalition, which Kadima joined in part to find a solution to this problem, has led to bitter disagreements in the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament.  Mofaz’s move to join the coalition was nevertheless seen as an act of betrayal and the destruction of Kadima could have the effect of resetting Israeli politics somewhat.  Kadima, while a “centrist” party, has drawn votes from the Israeli left because it is supports a two-state solution.  If Kadima or its centrist successor’s influence diminishes, more votes could go to the Labour party and its allies paving a path for a Labour party led government in the next election.  Given secular Jews support for left-leaning parties, the failure by Netanyahu to find a fair solution to the draft law could weigh heavily on him in the next election, too.

As in Israel, Great Britain is having marital troubles in its coalition government.  In a recent joint statement, Prime Minister David Cameron, the leader of the Conservatives and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrats’ leader, said they intended to serve the full five year term in Parliament.  The announcement also came as they promised new infrastructure investment to bolster Britain’s flagging economy.  Commentators say the coalition can only dream to make it to 2015 (when new elections are scheduled) while others say Cameron should just cut his losses and take the Conservatives on their own in a Minority government.  However, should the government lose a vote of no confidence or fail to secure a majority for a money bill under those conditions, the government falls and new elections will be called early.

The Feds:

The Bain of Mitt’s Existence.  Mitt Romney has been pummeled by President Barack Obama and his campaign over the former’s time at Bain Capital, the private equity firm Romney founded.  Last week it was revealed that Mitt Romney maintained several titles at Bain while he was running the Olympics in Salt Lake City.  More to the point, this era was also when Bain became a pioneer in outsourcing.  It has not helped that Romney and his surrogates have argued, blissfully unaware of the irony, that it is wrong to call out Mitt Romney’s record in the private sector, even as that record is Romney’s chief argument for being president. Romney has been hit in the polls, even as the candidate and his campaign tried to fight back.  However, the President’s campaign seems to have gained control of the story and ads like this show why.

Disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner, who resigned following shall we say, a Twitter scandal, may be looking for a political resurrection.  Certainly political careers have survived worse, but much of his political apparatus has gone on to other New York politicians like City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who is widely thought to be planning a run for mayor next year.  Still Weiner has more than $4 million in his campaign account left over after his resignation and could run for any number of citywide offices opening up next year.  Mayor might be a crowded field, but others like Public Advocate might fit the fiery ex-Congressman.

The State of Things:

Joseph Kennedy III, the grandson of Robert Kennedy, was in Springfield for a fundraiser held by associates of a longtime Western Mass confidant of the late Senator Edward Kennedy.  Donald Dowd of West Springfield had long worked with the Kennedys before dying shortly after the senator.  Friends of his organized the fundraiser for the younger Kennedy who is running for Barney Frank’s old seat which, while reconfigured, runs south from Brookline to the Southeast Coast of the State.

Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown have the same anniversary.

Meanwhile, Scott Brown voted against the DISCLOSE Act once again this time calling it a cynical ploy.  For definition of “cynical ploy,” see “2012 Senate Campaign of Scott Brown.”

Andrea Nuciforo and Bill Shein the two Democrats from Berkshire County challenging Richard Neal for the 1st Congressional Democratic nomination have been making their way through the Springfield area and its media in an attempt to pick up every vote they can.  The reconfigured district includes all, but a speck of Hampden County, all of Berkshire County and the western edges of Hampshire and Franklin Counties.  However, the districts base of population gives the advantage to Neal, which Nuciforo and Shein hope to blunt with media appearances like these.

City Slickers:

The Hearing Officer at the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection has denied an appeal by residents and environmental groups opposed to Palmer Renewable Energy’s biomass plant.  Earlier this month, the Springfield Zoning Board of Appeals sustained the Springfield City Council’s appeal to revoke PRE’s building permit.

The Springfield City Council took second step to raise the trash fee, which was part of a broader bid to keep libraries in the city open.  We’ll have our report on that meeting soon.  Also approved was a resolution opposing the Citizens United Supreme Court decision.

Twitter Chatter:

Mitt Romney is suffering at the hands of an age-old political attack, define your opponent first.  The Obama campaign is starting early with efforts to define Mitt Romney as a heartless, out of touch, job-destroyer.  Certainly, we believe this is true, many other Americans seem to be moving in that direction too.  This is why those outsourcing stories resonate.  Now Romney may have been a pioneer or a follower in the outsourcing fad, but either way it becomes impossible for him to argue his “success” in business is relevant when his job creation record is more of a boon in Beijing than Washington.  We award this week’s tweet prize to Ryan Davis, who works for a Democratic-aligned digital media firm.  Packing in all of the details of this wide-ranging story, his tweet today succinctly sums up the argument against and the risk of a Mitt Romney presidency. Albeit sourced from the Obama campaign, the tweet state both the story and Mitt’s biggest problem…his own “qualification” for office.

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Manic Monday Markup 7/9/2012…

…And the World:

The first elections in Libya since the end of Colonel Qaddafi’s rule have thus far indicated a surprising result.  While official totals are not expected for several days, early results suggest that the liberal/secular coalition party is likely to win a plurality and maybe a majority.  This would mark the first time since the Arab Spring began wherein a non-Islamist party has won following the fall of the previous dictatorship.  Both Tunisia and Egypt elected Islamist parties (although the latter’s election results were later annulled), but Libya has bucked the trend in favor of Mahmoud Jibril’s coalition.  Jibril, the former transitional Prime Minister, never demonized Islamists in the campaign and has called for Islamic law to be the primary, but hardly the only inspiration for the country’s laws.

In Europe, finance ministers are trying to get interest rates for Spain and Italy under wraps.  Despite rather dramatic moves made over the last few weeks, Spain and Italy’s rates on their sovereign debt remain too high and threaten not only the European economy, but the political futures of the likes of Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti.

Finally, in Great Britain, a tight vote is expected on the fate of Lord Reform.  The House of Lords in Great Britain is not elected as the House of Commons is.  It remains relatively weak in comparison to the Commons, but the existence of an appointed, often lifetime tenured legislative body remains an arcane oddity among Western democracies.  Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron, at the urging of his Liberal Democrat coalition parties supports a change to an 80% elected House of Lords.  However, enough Conservative party members have threatened to vote no on the measure to kill the measure with the help of the Opposition Labour party.  However, the whole process may be a farce to save the meaning of the coalition in the eyes of some.  In any case, if it fails it will be the first major Commons defeat for the coalition.

The Feds:

President Barack Obama came out today to push for a one-year extension of the Bush tax cuts for those making under $250,000 a year.  In an election year argument about tax fairness, the President rightly notes that such an extension would cut taxes for 98% percent of taxpayers and leave the other 2% to the fate of this election.  Ostensibly, if Obama wins, the wealth languish under Bill Clinton era tax rates (all of 4% above the current rates).  If he loses, the rich will win more respite from taxes.  Point worth making!  Don’t believe the argument small businesses suffer if tax cuts go away on those making more than $250K.  Small businesses are almost always taxed through the individuals that own them and only on their profits.  What small business do you know of that clears a quarter of a million in PROFIT a year?  Law firms do not count.

Meanwhile, Mitt Romney despite a fabulous fundraising month is facing withering criticism, rightly earned, for his offshore accounts in the Cayman Islands and his refusal to release his tax returns to explain why his finances are so exotic.  Of course, the evidence is also suggesting that the attacks on Mitt’s foreign monies and whatnot are hurting our former governor in the swing states.  All of it suggests whether voters can take seriously Romney’s biggest claim (“I can fix the economy”) when he cannot even be clear on his finances.

A rather ignominious end to a career in Congress.  Michigan Congressman Thaddeus McCotter, who made an unsuccessful bid for the Republican presidential nomination, resigned Friday after a fiasco that knocked him off the ballot for reelection.  McCotter failed to turn in enough signatures to be put on the ballot and shortly thereafter abandoned a write-in option.   His decision to resign appears to stem, in addition to the above nuttiness, to a decision to start penning a TV sitcom, rather than work for his Constituents, after ending his Presidential bid.  Of course, left holding the bag is the State of Michigan, which now needs to decide when or if a special election must be held for McCotter’s old seat and then under what district lines.

The State of Things:

Scott Brown ran as the candidate promising the kill health care.  Instead, his election made it more likely.  Now he’s trying to do it again, but Elizabeth Warren is not letting him.  The Democratic nominee went on offense on the topic in an Op-Ed in the Metro West Daily News.  At the same time a coalition of unions, health care advocates, community activists and constituents took their message to Brown’s campaign headquarters yesterday urging Brown to drop his opposition to the Affordable Care Act.

Warren’s latest once-more record-breaking numbers drop:  $8.67 million.

Finally, David Bernstein had a piece last week about the incoming onslaught of right-wing baloney that will descend onto Massachusetts as the senate race heats up.  In fact, only days after the piece was published, Bernstein was faced with right-wing retaliation that did not even address the issues he discussed in the original article.  Enter the right-wing cacophony.

As for the other Senator, John Kerry, he’s got a new interview in Forbes.

City Slickers:

Last week a federal judge upheld Springfield’s foreclosure ordinances passed last year.  We have a story on this, which is heavier on the legal analysis of the outcome.  If you would like a less self-promotional link, the Reminder also has a story as does the Valley Advocate.  Both stories also note that the groups that backed the ordinances are stepping up pressure on Mayor Domenic Sarno to actually begin enforcing them.

Elsewhere the Springfield Intruder’s Bill Dusty worries aloud that the fifteen versus ten dollar increase in the trash fee portends broader misbehavior on the part of city finances.  While we support the financial transfers to keep library services as close to the status quo as possible, Dusty’s worries are not necessarily misplaced.  However, it assumes the mayor will actually give up the funding (he has not as of yet).  Furthermore, although the increase is ostensibly intended for the libraries, the higher trash fee could just as easily be thought of as a means to cut the general fund’s subsidy to trash operations.  The higher the subsidy, the more it cuts into other city services.

Twitter Chatter:

Of all the moments in the Sun that seemed brightest in recent political memory, none comes to mind more than Marco Rubio, the junior Senator from Florida.  However, it seems as thought that moment is over, at least for now.  This week we recognize Buzz Feed’s Andrew Kaczynsky who tweeted out the Amazon selling status for Rubio’s new memoir, #322.  The result is not terribly impressive and matches Rubio’s fall from possible Vice-Presidential nominee grace.  Ever since President Barack Obama announced his decision to let the children of illegal immigrants stay if they are in school, Rubio’s raison d’etre, appealing to Hispanics, has evaporated.  Of course, one may wonder if that would have worked anyway.  His book is doing well on the New York Times bestseller’s list, but if the level of interest on Amazon is any sign, Rubio’s book may soon be headed to the bargain basket.  Maybe Rubio will have to be a Senator and do something with the jobs for a few more years before trying to take the country by storm.  For tweeting this fact, but also describing the fate of Rubio writ small, Kaczynski wins this week’s tweet prize.

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Manic Monday Markup 7/2/12…

…And the World:

Early polls and election results from yesterday’s presidential election in Mexico indicate that the party that ruled the country from 1929 to 2000 is poised to retake power.  The Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) candidate, Enrique Peña Nieto appears to have defeated the conservative National Action Party (PAN), which under Felipe Calderón and Vicente Fox ruled Mexico since 2000 as well the liberal candidate who placed second in 2006.  Peña Nieto appears to have won only 38% of the vote, but nevertheless appears to be the clear winner.  He faces continuing pressure from the United States to continue the drug war, which in part drove voters away from current President Calderón and the PAN.  There are concerns within the US that Peña Nieto may not be as dedicated to that fight, but he has thus far promised Mexican cooperation including during a phone call with President Barack Obama.  He has apparently promised, however to focus on the crime that has killed 50,000 Mexicans since 2006, rather than trafficking itself.   Others worried that the PRI, which has been dogged by accusations of corruption in the past may revert to its old ways once in power.

Another Euro deal to save the single currency has been struck and met its first challenge after passing the Bundestag in Berlin.  This time, responding the crisis’ current evolution into a banking crisis, European officials have agreed to let the bailout fund help banks directly, form a stronger continental banking union/regulatory regime and sponsor billions in economic development.  Meanwhile, The Washington Post has an interesting look into the challenges both in policy and culture Italy faces as it tries to right itself during the Euro storm.

The coalition of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may be on the rocks after the dissolution of a committee charged with rewriting the nation’s struck down Tal Law.  Until the Israeli Supreme Court the law down, some ultra-Orthodox Jews or Haredi could escape the country’s otherwise mandatory military service.  Resolving the law following the Supreme Court’s action was the reason Kadima’s Shaul Mofaz agreed to join Netayahu’s government earlier this year.  The move by Mofaz killed plans for elections this year, but came at the expense of his party’s credibility.  With the dissolution of the committee looking into changes, Mofaz is threatening to pull out of the coalition, which could upend Israeli politics once more (Haaretz story may require registration to read).

Both a blow and a blessing to Japan’s embattled Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda comes as several members of his Democratic Party bolt on the orders of Japanese political kingmaker, Ichiro Ozawa.  Japan’s political system has been in flux for years now, cycling through several prime ministers in less than a decade.  Ozawa quit after Noda sought a tax increase to pay for future social obligations as the nation’s population shrinks.  Noda had to negotiate with opposition parties, which control Japan’s weaker upper house, to get the tax passed.  Ironically, although his party’s majority shrinks (they still have the most seats in the more powerful lower house), Noda can now pursue deals more easily with the opposition without worries about defections on his flanks.  Ozawa may form his own party, but he has a nasty reputation of forming and destroying Japanese political parties.

The Feds:

There are no shortage of opinions about what has happened with regard to health care.  Although the Commerce Clause took a glancing blow, the bigger fears lay with the spending powers of Congress.  We recommend thumbing through SCOTUSBlog, which was really the heroes of the Health Care Ruling day, who reported it right first after Fox and CNN blew it.  Also, there appears to be a claim stemming from a member of the  conservative media and boiling over into the mainstream that the Conservative justices on the court tried to push their conservative colleague Chief Justice John Roberts to strike the law.  Obviously, Roberts, for the first time, joined with the liberal bloc, saving the Affordable Care Act, but also giving himself the insulation to strike down other laws liberals like such as Affirmative Action.  Still, if the conservative justices blabbed early in an attempt to force Roberts hand, it represents and unprecedented break in Supreme Court process and could presage a wider fissure, as evidenced by conservative freakout after Roberts’ vote, in the conservative bloc albeit not necessarily a fatal one.

A minor, but noticeable uptick in support/acceptance for the Health Care law followed the ruling according to Politico and DailyKos based on polls from Reuters/Ipsos and the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Meanwhile, Mitt Romney, whose plastic response to the ruling countered the president’s restrained, yet elated statement on the ruling/explanation of the law’s virtues, agrees with the president and the administration that the mandate is not a real tax.  Why?  Because the federal mandate is nearly the same as Massachusetts and Romney signed that.  Therefore, if Romney attacks the president for raising taxes, he admits that he is raised taxes.  Something other Republicans seem to persist with the tax mantra to Romney’s own peril.  By the way, although it is fair to say that the mandate operate through Congress’ taxing power, you can fairly call something a tax that you can legally avoid paying.

Meanwhile, noted Daily Kos poster Meteor Blades writes about an effort to engage the Native American vote.  According to the post, there are about 1 million Native Americans who are not even registered and leaders in those communities, specifically Jefferson Keel, are looking to change that with a Rock the Vote push this year.

The State of Things:

Massachusetts Transgender Bill has gone into effect extending protections in employment, housing and education to transgender individuals.

Some Massachusetts Democrats will join other national Democrats in skipping this year’s Democratic National Convention.  Senators Claire McCaskill and Jon Tester had announced they would not attend, which has been read as a snub to the national party.  Congressman Richard Neal will also not attend, but for more practical reasons.  The Democratic Primary in Massachusetts coincides with the national convention and Neal faces two primary challengers.  Congressman Stephen Lynch of South Boston will also not attend to focus on his general election race.  Half of the other eight Massachusetts representatives will attend while the other half had not yet responded to Masslive’s calls for comment.  Among those not confirming was John Tierney who faces quite possibly the only particularly competitive House race in Massachusetts this year.

City Slickers:

Following last week’s less than interesting budget hearing, Ward 7 Councilor Tim Allen is proposing that the trash fee be increased to $15 with the extra money being used to reopen the city’s three shuttered libraries.  This was mentioned during last week’s meeting, but the mayor was non-committal.  However, unclear is whether or not the mayor will submit an appropriation for the libraries before final approval of the higher trash fee.  If the Council approves the trash fee without an appropriation on its agenda, the mayor has not obligation to submit the appropriation and could use the money for something else.  However, the Council does not need to approve that appropriation, but if the money were going toward public safety it is unlikely that a majority on the council would vote against it.  The Council may only consider the first of three steps to approval on Tuesday’s special meeting meaning that final step is likely to occur on the regularly scheduled July 16 meeting.

Twitter Chatter:

The Supreme Court’s ruling on health care provoked a wide array of emotions and although there are massive question marks following the Roberts health care ruling, it was a victory for the President.  It was also a victory for the Supreme Court itself and its ability to rise above the fray.  As Salon.com writer Alex Seitz-Wald says succinctly in this week’s winning tweet, approval of the Court shot up among Democrats while crashing among Republicans.  However, there was also the Arizona immigration ruling that likely angered Republicans/conservatives as well.  In any event, it is clear given the conservative freak out, the possible leak to the conservative press and other flailing of limbs on the right, that the right expects the Court to do nothing more than advance their agenda.  On the term’s two highest profile cases, members of the conservative bloc refused to do so (while doing so on other lower-profile matters).  All of this analysis is not in Seitz-Wald’s tweet, but the implications are there in the numbers he tweeted out that won him this week’s tweet prize.

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Health Care Mandate Upheld!…

US Supreme Court Building (wikipedia)

In a major victory for President Barack Obama, the Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate and with it the rest of the  Health Care law on a 5-4 decision.  Chief Justice John Roberts joined the liberal bloc of the court, albeit on different grounds, to sustain the mandate.  Roberts said that although Congress lacks the power to impose the mandate under the commerce clause, it is within its power to do so via its taxing and spending prerogatives.  Kennedy, in a surprise, voted to strike the entire law.  Roberts’ opinion also included a limitation on the government’s ability to require states to expand their Medicaid pools.  Ginsburg, writing for the liberal bloc, said that the mandate is constitutional under the commerce clause and that the states can be compelled more forcefully to expand their Medicaid pools.

There does appear to be some impact on the commerce clause because five justices voted to strike the mandate’s viability under that portion of the constitution.  However, legal landmines aside, the ruling is a huge victory for the Obama administration and may very well cement the Affordable Care Act for the foreseeable future.

The law has, in the analysis of one media outlet now circulated among all the branches of government and indeed it is up to voters now.  However, even a Republican victory in November does not spell certain doom for the law.  The reaction from Massachusetts political figures has been largely expected.  Congressmen John Olver, Richard Neal and Jim McGovern all praised the Court’s decision.  Governor Deval Patrick and Attorney General Martha Coakley also praised the decision (the commonwealth submitted amicus briefs supporting the law at Coakley’s direction).  Senator John Kerry countered Senator Scott Brown’s disappointment with a call to implement the law and move on.  Brown’s opposition to the health care law, like Mitt Romney’s, has always been a bit bizarre.  Brown has relied on the notion that this is a states problem and that the federal law will harm Massachusetts.  However, the law largely imposes identical burdens on business nationally that Massachusetts health reform does…which Scott Brown voted for as a State Senator.

Again, Senator John Kerry offers the best response to Brown:

Those who have sought to demonize health reform need to put an end to their scare tactics.  This needs to begin a new day, where the test is not what you can oppose but what you can propose.  Enough time has been wasted in the United States Congress on pointless repeal votes designed to score political points.

The fight will now be taken to the ballot box and although it will likely inflame the right and fill Romney’s campaign coffers, it gives Democrats and the President a chance to reaffirm that their efforts were not only right, but also not in vain.  Just as critically, to his credit Chief Justice Roberts pulled back his Supreme Court from the edge of decay into partisanship.  He also saved it from entering a new era of low public esteem.  For the court to enter a new Dred Scott era of disrepute, as it did after cases like Lochner v. New York or, even Rowe v. Wade would collapse the Court’s reputation (which is its only real power) just as all other branches of government seem to have done.