Barack Obama faces Judgment Day today as the Supreme Court is set to announce whether his healthcare reform will be struck down and Attorney General Eric Holder faces being held in contempt of Congress.
Having spent his first 14 months in office on achieving Obamacare, for the former constitutional law lecturer to see his signature reform declared unconstitutional would be a humiliating blow.
In ramming the bill through Congress, Obama failed to secure a single Republican vote, thereby shedding his campaign image as a bipartisan uniter. Although passing the bill was a legislative victory, the reform itself has proved to be a political millstone.
The censure of Holder, in which a number of Democrats are poised to join Republicans, would also be a major embarrassment because Obama has claimed executive privilege, something he blasted his predecessor George W. Bush for doing.
Republicans on Capitol Hill have pursued Holder tenaciously over the botched ‘gun walking’ sting operation in which thousands of weapons were allowed into Mexico and into the hands of drug criminals. Two of the weapons were found at the murder scene of border agent Brian Terry.
With the Supreme Court Justices peppering Obama’s lawyer with hostile questions about Obamacare and Republicans united and in control of the House of Representatives, the White House is bracing itself for a dismal day.
Obama faces a Catch-22 situation over the Supreme Court ruling. If the legislation is upheld, presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney can run on repealing it if he’s elected – an almost sure-fire crowd pleaser.
But if Obamacare – formally named the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – is struck down in whole or in part then Obama will look like a failure as well as a President who has exceeded his powers.
A split decision might be the worst outcome for him as full rejection would force Republicans to come up with an alternative plan and full support would hand Romney a popular rallying cry for repeal.
Obama’s planned strategy for the reform being struck down was to condemn the Supreme Court justices as being controlled by a partisan core of Right-wingers.
But that has been undermined by this week’s split ruling over the Arizona immigration law in which conservative Chief Justice John Roberts wrote a majority opinion that largely backed the Obama administration.
Judgment Day for Obama comes at a perilous moment for him. He faces a brewing rebellion among Democrats who are refusing to attend the national convention in September where he is due to be crowned as his party’s nominee.
At least three Democratic senators and eight members of the House of Representatives have said they will not attend the party festivities in Charlotte, North Carolina – a clear sign that they view the Obama brand as toxic.
Among those who will stay at home is Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri, who was virtually attached to Obama’s hip on his campaign plane in 2008.
Representative Steve Israel, head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, urged all democratic candidates to stay away, saying: ‘If they want to win an election, they need to be in their district.’
Although Obama leads nationally by three per cent in the RealClearPolitics national average, undecided voters tend to break decisively against incumbents and there are a number of alarming underlying factors for the President.
In the latest NBC/WSJ poll, 49 per cent felt less optimistic about the economy as a result of recent news, 53 per cent disapproved of Obama’s handling of the economy and a whopping 61 per cent felt the United States was moving in the wrong direction.
Although Obama retains some strength in swing states and has boosted himself with Latino voters because of his recent decisions to allow up to 800,000 young illegal immigrants to stay in the US, his numbers in each of those key categories have slipped since the last NBC/WSJ poll.
Obama faces criticism from the Left over his aggressive drone strike policy in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Jimmy Carter, the former President who backed him over Hillary Clinton in the 2008 primaries, this week wrote that the US under Obama was ‘abandoning its role as the global champion of human rights'.
Carter charged: ‘Revelations that top officials are targeting people to be assassinated, including American citizens, are only the most recent, disturbing proof of how far our nation's violation of human rights has extended.’
The unusual criticism from a former President comes just weeks after Bill Clinton stated that Romney had a ‘sterling’ business record and that the work of Bain Capital, Romney’s former private equity firm, was ‘good work’.
Clinton’s words undercut the centrepiece of Obama’s attacks on Romney – which have led to his campaign vastly overspending, even as Romney outraises him – which have been that he is a corporate predator who has made profits out of cutting jobs.
Senior Romney officials, however, believe that the attacks only emphasise that the Republican was a hugely successful businessman whereas Obama, who has never held a job in business, has presided over an economy in which unemployment has just risen to 8.2 per cent.
The day should get interesting! Time for popcorn and soda while watching these fireworks!
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