God, sometimes I hate the world so much. Here's an excellent but very depressing piece from Jon Cohn explaining that the entire argument for striking down Obamacare and denying 30 million people health insurance is that it punishes non-compliance with a fine of X instead of taxing everyone X and refunding those who comply. That's the only reason this vicious sideshow can even happen.
Of course, then someone pops up in comments arguing that had the Democrats tried this, it would have made a near-impossible battle even harder, and likely cost Obama any chance of re-election.
This, of course, is true, though again not a cheery thought. Just to pile on the horror, though, said commentator seems to think this is proof Obama's ego was the problem.
The more time I spend observing American politics, the more it becomes obvious that vast swathes of the Left, the "centrists", and conservative apologists for the Republicans, are all engaged in an endless, brutal battle over which Democrats and liberals might have shaved a few decimal places of the percentages of progressive successes, when the real problem is that the Republicans have so thoroughly rigged the deck, and/or burned the prize at the end of the game. The elephant is in every room. Criticising Obama's ego at this point is like bitching over someone settling for a pair instead of going for a flush, when they're playing five-card draw against Shaw Gondorff.
It seems to me self-evident that a country in which no government initiative requiring a tax increase can be deemed acceptable, and in which no monetary penalty can be deemed constitutional, there's literally nothing left to fight over any more. Paralysis is total. It's governance by Catch-22. And the only way out is to gain a sizable majority in the House, a supermajority in the Senate, and do so repeatedly until the Supreme Court has a majority of non-conservative judges. Good luck with all of that.
Thirty million people, tens of thousands of whom will die each year from the moment Scalia starts posturing about how he's helped make America safe for broccoli haters from Juneau to Tallahassee. I am reminded again how much the right screamed when Obama dared suggest that the Supreme Court was a institution one might hope to not be entirely devoid of empahty.