Today wasn't a good day for Obamacare. As Mother Jonesreporter—and Prospect alum—Adam Serwer pointed out on Twitter, it was as if "Obama's lawyer brought a butter knife to a bazooka fight." In the aftermath of the second day of hearings on the Affordable Care Act, the fate of the legislation seems much more precarious thanks to Solicitor General Donald Verrilli's unfortunate stab at defending the individual mandate. When you're going in against the big guns—andPaul Clement and the Supreme Court bench are pretty scary people to face—you come prepared.
Today's health-care blunder isn't the only political battle this season featuring mismatched opponents. Santorum definitely brought a knife to the primary gun fight. At every turn Santorum—who owes his first success of the primary to a trusty pick-up truck thanks to his nonexistent infrastructure— is outspent, outraised, and outpaced in delegate collecting. Poor guy just wasn't ready for the big leagues. But, when Mitt Romney jumps into the big pond of the general election, he might find himself in Santorum's floaties. Even when you bring a gun to a gun fight, it's not as impressive when you're only used to taking down small varmints.
Romney could very well be the solicitor general of the general election unless the likely nominee ups his game (Verrilli's tax/not a tax contradiction yesterday called to mind America's foremost flip-flopper too). The Obama campaign was a formidable machine the first time it tried the presidential election game, and now they've upgraded to well-oiled behemoth. The Romney campaign—still prone to gaffes from the top-down and otherjunior varsity mistakes—isn't quite ready to make the general election a well-matched fight.
So They Say
"Just heard red wolves howling in response to local hospital siren-four wolves make quite a noise-fascinating-red wolves very endangered"
—Newt Gingrich, chronicling his time at the Salisbury Zoo on Twitter
Daily Meme: The Right Reacts to Trayvon Martin
- Tasteful as ever, this morning's Drudge Report implied that the Obama campaign was selling sweatshirts to capitalize on the death of Trayvon Martin.
- Jonah Goldberg called Martin's death a "statistical outlier" and reminds us that "more whites are killed by blacks than blacks killed by whites."
- On the heels of reports about Martin's suspension from school, a fake photo made its rounds on the web, depicting a teenager (not Martin) in "prison orange" and sagging pants next to a picture of Zimmerman, the shooter, in a suit and tie.
- Newt Gingrich described President Obama's remark—"If I had a son he would look like Trayvon"—as "disgraceful."
- Rick Santorum took the opportunity to say that the teenager's death had been crassly politicized by the president.
- Santorum also made it very clear that there's no need for a national discussion on race.
What We're Writing
- Jamelle Bouie says Republicans shouldn't count on Marco Rubio to pull in the Latino vote.
- Paul Waldman argues that we shouldn't pay too much attention to public-opinion polling on health care.
What We're Reading
- Karl Rove and his allied super PACs are plotting how to take over Election 2012.
- Will Afghanistan hurt Obama in the general election?
- Republican party organizers are swarming swing states in anticipation of the general election.
- Voter registration is down in Florida, likely due to a new voter-registration law.
- Olympia Snowe hasn't talked to the president in ages.
- Jeffrey Toobin says that overturning ObamaCare could lead to the downward spiral of activist government.
- Rick Santorum is just as bad at winning as Mitt Romney.
- No better time than March Madness to point out how important sports can be for politicians.
Poll of the Day
Sixty-nine percent of those polled in the newest New York Times/CBS News poll think the United States should no longer be in the decade-long war in Afghanistan—a 16 point jump from just four months ago.