You know what I think when I read this Kevin Drum paragraph about the Supreme Court's pending health care decision?
If the court does overturn the mandate, it's going to be hard to know how to react. It's been more than 75 years since the Supreme Court overturned a piece of legislation as big as ACA, and I can't think of any example of the court overturning landmark legislation this big based on a principle as flimsy and manufactured as activity vs. inactivity. When the court overturned the NRA in 1935, it was a shock -- but it was also a unanimous decision and, despite FDR's pique, not really a surprising ruling given existing precedent. Overturning ACA would be a whole different kind of game changer. It would mean that the Supreme Court had officially entered an era where they were frankly willing to overturn liberal legislation just because they don't like it. Pile that on top of Bush v. Gore and Citizens United and you have a Supreme Court that's pretty explicitly chosen up sides in American electoral politics. This would be, in no uncertain terms, no longer business as usual.I read that and I think it's 2003 all over again.
Back then, I couldn't believe that people whose opinions I respected were still struggling with the question of whether the Bush administration was making a wise move by going into Iraq; now, I can't believe that people I respect are still asking, "Could it be? Is it really conceivable that the Supreme Court is highly politicized?"
Kevin Drum himself came around on the Iraq War a week and a half before it began. As Atrios said at the time, what took him so long? But people like Drum just can't believe that people in positions of great responsibility might be acting in utterly bad faith, or might have effectively joined a political cult that believes extremist zealotry is reasonable behavior.
And what the Drums of the world always struggle to grasp is the degree to which decision-making on the right is done on the basis of "whatever liberals hate must be wise and responsible and good." Ultimately, the war was pursued and fought because it was the perfect wedge issue; Citizens United was decided the way it was because liberals rail against corporate power; and the health care law will be partially overturned in the way likely to cause maximum political pain for the Obama administration.
If you're Kevin Drum, you can't really believe that powerful people who hold positions of great responsibility act like this. You can't believe, for instance, that they'd saddle their own political primaries with a Sheldon Adelson just because freeing people like him to give unlimited cash pisses us off. Even now, they can't believe the Supreme Court will overturn a law that reduces government spending, and that Republicans in Congress won't replace it with something that addresses the country's real health care problems in some serious way.
But that's not how it goes anymore. Right-wing decision-makers, first and foremost, want to crush liberalism. They are not acting in good faith. And everyone needs to grasp how seriously messed up a political system is when half its actors are out of control in this way.