Health Care Decision: Michele Bachmann Holds Court Outside SCOTUS
Outside the Supreme Court this morning, a culture clash showed its colors, with right-wingers bearing their trademark yellow Gadsden flags, and liberal activists awash in a veritable rainbow: women's rights advocates with pink signs reading "STOP THE WAR ON WOMEN," Move Forward members carrying signs printed in gentle turquoise: "PROTECTING OUR CARE."
Most expressive, as always were the hand-lettered signs, which ranged from "OBAMA: WE ARE NOT YOUR CHATTEL" to one held by a teenager that read: "High School Debaters for a Reasoned and Civil Discourse."
As word of the decision on the Affordable Care Act, the health-care reform bill at the center of the Obama legislative agenda, filtered through the raucous crowd gathered on the sidewalk in front of the Supreme Court building, competing press conferences took place, each surrounded by a crush of allies and hecklers. As a liberal presser featuring Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Rep. Raul Grijalva and Rep. Keith Ellison took shape, the Tea Party Patriots staged its own event featuring Rep. Michele Bachmann, founder of the Congressional Tea Party Caucus.
For Bachmann, the finality of the Supreme Court's decision of the law suits brought by 26 states challenging the constitutionality of the individual mandate would likely have marked a sad day whichever way the court had decided, for it was as an oppositional force to the health-care bill that Bachmann found her place as a ubiquitous media presence.
What a difference a couple of years makes. Less than three years ago, Bachmann filled the lawn of the House of Representatives with thousands railing Tea Partiers bused in by Americans For Prosperity for her "House Call" protest of the health-care reform bill. Today, she drew only a couple of hundred.
Bachmann's rhetoric was predicable, with lots of talk about the nation's founders, and the ostensible unconstitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. But the fly in the ointment of the decision's composition was the role played by Chief Justice John Roberts, long a darling of the Tea Party, in providing the deciding vote to uphold the mandate. In her comments outside the court, Bachmann seemed to paint Roberts as a hippie singing Kumbaya with the court's liberal minority.
"This court now has made us pay for their utopian dreams," she said, adding, "We still have access to a ballot box...We will remember in November."
With that, a group of young Obama supporters drowned out Bachmann's amplified remarks, chanting: "Four more years! Four more years!"
Bachmann also charged the court with, though its upholding of the health-care bill, aiding the Obama administration in allegedly denying employers "religious liberty" because of the law's provision of birth control without co-pay to those covered by employer-provided health plans.
The decision also, according to Bachmann, amounted to a loss of economic liberty, and "the liberty to set our own course."
"This is clearly a turning point in American history," she said.
Hard to argue with that last point.