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Ignore the Electoral College (June 29, 2012, 10:46 AM)
Charlie Cook: "It is a source of constant amusement to me that so many people obsess -- as if fiddling with a Rubik's Cube -- over the various combinations of states that could get either President Obama or Mitt Romney to the magic number of 270 votes in the Electoral College. The guilty include pros at both ends of the political spectrum; people who ought to know better; and armchair analysts who seem to think that they can crack the magic code."
"The simple fact is that our nation has had 56 presidential elections. In 53 of them (94.6 percent), the winner in the Electoral College also happened to be the one with the most popular votes... So people are expending a lot of time and energy trying to figure out something that has about a 1-in-20 chance of happening."
Did Politics Save Obamacare? (June 29, 2012, 10:41 AM)
David Bernstein: "I should note that I think the Supreme Court is a political body (which is not to say that its decisions are primarily motivated by partisanship or political ideology) and that one can expect that the Court's rulings are affected by outside events. As I noted long ago, the challenge to the individual mandate would have stood no chance if the president and the ACA were riding very high in the polls, as the Court would not have had the political wherewithal to write what would be seen as a radical opinion invalidating a popular law from a popular president. Similarly, the level of heat defenders of the ACA were giving the Court could have persuaded Roberts that discretion was the better part of valor..."
"I don't find it at all illegitimate for political actors to put pressure on the Court, so long as they stay within proper legal bounds, and keep their rhetoric within the broad boundaries of decency. But it is ironic that while liberal critics were quick to accuse the Court of playing politics by taking seriously the Obamacare challenges, it may turn out that it was only politics that saved the ACA."
What You Should Know About Politics... But Don't (June 29, 2012, 10:33 AM)
Coming next month: What You Should Know About Politics... But Don't by Jessamyn Conrad.
The Escape Artist (June 29, 2012, 10:26 AM)
First Read: "Yesterday's SCOTUS outcome was typical of what we've seen for Obama over the past four years: He finds his back against the wall -- sometimes due to his own doing, sometimes not -- and then escapes disaster. We saw this during the Dem primary season before Iowa (remember the summer of '07); during Jeremiah Wright; during the '08 general after the McCain-Palin bounce, during the 2009-2010 health-care fight; and now after the Supreme Court's ruling yesterday, which easily could have gone the other way."
"And make no mistake: The decision upholding the law was something Obama and his allies NEEDED; they had to have something to show for the steep price they paid for the health-care law. This was a hurdle the president had to clear to get to November; but the ruling is no political booster rocket. He simply doesn't have a new drag. Of course, as relates to his re-election, Obama once again finds his back against the wall. The unemployment rate is at 8.2%, and a majority of Americans think the country is on the wrong track. Can he again pull a rabbit from his hat here? We'll find out in four months."
No Wave Coming in House Elections (June 29, 2012, 10:10 AM)
Rothenberg Political Report: "Our new projection for gains/losses in the House this November is now between a +1 gain for Republicans and a +6 gain for Democrats."
"We rate 201 seats a safe GOP, 161 safe Dem, 25 as Lean/Favored for the GOP, 19 for Lean/Favored for the Dems, and we have 29 total tossups."
Romney and Obama May Now Ignore Health Care (June 29, 2012, 09:59 AM)
BuzzFeed notes that both presidential campaigns, "like the media, also have good reason to move on, as a slow summer week interrupted by the July 4 holiday approaches."
"For Obama, the health care measure's abiding unpopularity means that he is, at best, mounting a spirited defense. Romney, meanwhile, has centered his campaign on the clear case that the American economy is broken and he can fix it. He has avoided policy specifics, promising to 'replace' the current health care legislation without advancing a specific plan. A campaign centered on health care policy -- which might have come from a different Supreme Court verdict -- would have pulled him into the weeds of an issue on which his own support for near-universal, government-backed health care in Massachusetts makes him a flawed messenger."
Effects of Court Decision on Campaign Still Not Clear (June 29, 2012, 09:48 AM)
Politico: "Over the next six weeks or so, health care will be an unpredictable race within a race: The Obama campaign will seek to downplay the more divisive details of the law and tout the court's approval of his signature legislative accomplishment as proof of his effectiveness -- courtesy of an unlikely bipartisan partnership with a powerful conservative, Chief Justice John Roberts."
"For Mitt Romney, who had every reason to expect the conservative high court to strike down at least a big part of the law, the decision requires a bit of recalibration. He had hoped to portray a full or partial repeal as evidence Obama squandered the trust of the American electorate by wasting two years that could have been used to create more jobs. He'll still make that argument, but it will take a back seat to a more generic GOP assault on the law highlighting the court's insistence that the individual mandate be legally defined as a tax -- an approach more likely to appeal to the conservative base than independent voters."
Europe Acts to Shore Up Banks (June 29, 2012, 07:22 AM)
"European leaders at a two-day summit in Brussels said they would speed up plans to create a single supervisor to oversee the euro zone's banks, and agreed on measures aimed at reducing soaring borrowing costs for Spain and Italy," the Wall Street Journal reports.
Reuters notes it's "a sign the bloc is adopting a more flexible approach to solving its two-year old debt crisis."
Alex Burns: "Like the health care decision, it's not as if a move toward economic stability in Europe is going to give the president a big boost at the polls. But it staves off a different outcome (another global financial crisis) that could have been catastrophic for Obama, and that grim scenario looks somewhat less likely today."
House Votes to Hold Holder in Contempt (June 28, 2012, 05:45 PM)
The House of Representatives voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress over the "Fast and Furious" investigation.
Exchange of the Day (June 28, 2012, 05:34 PM)
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) hastily called a Democratic caucus meeting to discuss the Supreme Court's health care decision and ran into a longtime friend, Rep. George Miller (D-CA) and they hugged, the Los Angeles Times reports.
"What a great victory!" Pelosi said.
"You bet your ass," Miller responded.
"I did," she said, as they laughed.
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