Roberts Did Flip

CBS News is reporting that rumors that Chief Justice John Roberts flipped his vote on Obamacare are true.*  Roberts originally was with Scalia, Alito, Thomas, and Kennedy in striking down the individual mandate as unconstitutional and not justified under the Commerce Clause.

When Roberts flipped, the others conservatives, led by Kennedy, spent a month trying to get him to switch back to their side.  Roberts, for his part, tried to get Kennedy to join with him to create a larger majority.

The conservatives were (and are) so angry that they refused to join the portions of Roberts’ decision with which they completely agree, such as his views on the Commerce Clause.

* “Roberts switched views to uphold health care law,” Jan Crawford

It’s All Harvard’s Fault!

Campaigning today, Mitt said that President Obama “spent too much time at Harvard.”

Both Mitt and Obama got their law degrees there.  But Mitt also got an M.B.A., which takes an extra year, so he must have spent way too much time at Harvard.  But maybe he was protected by his magic Mormon underwear, which Muslims aren’t allowed to wear.

Why isn’t Mitt complaining about the time Supreme Court justices Roberts, Kennedy, and Scalia spent at Harvard?  They also got their law degrees there.

Requiem for Santorum

From The Hill‘s A. B. Stoddard, “Santorum’s lost message,” on what might have been:

“Somewhere, buried in Rick Santorum’s fatally flawed campaign messaging, were winning words.  Had he committed to them, the former senator could have derailed Mitt Romney’s path to the GOP nomination. Despite Romney’s overpowering resources and organization, Santorum’s potent argument — the party could not throw the issue of health care away by nominating someone who had supported mandates — was his key to victory, but he threw it away.

“It [his victories in Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri on February 7] was the pivotal moment in the race…and Santorum blew it.  He veered off course, and out of this millennium, enthusiastically bemoaning birth-control pills, free prenatal testing and college education.  He insulted Obama, calling him a snob, and President Kennedy.

“On the night he lost the Michigan primary to Romney by 3 points, the exit polls told the story.  He could have easily made up the votes to win from some of the women Romney won, the Catholics Romney won, the older voters Romney won, the voters earning more than $100,000 whom Romney won, and those voters with college degrees Romney won.  That night Santorum seemed to acknowledge he had let it slip away — he brought out his mom and paid tribute to her education and years as a working mother, as well as his daughter and his wife.

“But he strayed, and lost Ohio by 1 percentage point.  Then he strayed again, decrying the dangers of porn…. So this week he lost Illinois by more than 11 points.  He won’t recover.”

I think Stoddard over-states the case for Santorum.  He certainly has been his own worst enemy.  But even if he’d been more circumspect in this campaign, a guy who lost his reelection to the Senate by 18 points wasn’t going to get the nomination without a lot of scrutiny of what he said back then to cause such an enormous loss.  To the extent he backed away from his extreme positions, he would have been just another flip-flopper, less well-funded and well-organized than Mitt.  So he doubled down.

The GOP and the country have dodged a bullet.  Although he appeals better to average working people than Mitt, I don’t believe an obvious extremist like Santorum could win a general.  And if somehow he did win, he would be a dangerous preacher/president with his fanatical views.

It’s interesting.  We still don’t know what Mitt really believes about anything (other than that he should be president).  We know way too much about Santorum.