29 June 2012, 15:45

Obama, the first communist president?

Obama, the first communist president?

The topmost recent news is the Thursday ruling of U.S. Supreme Court that in a 5-4 vote upheld Barack Obama's controversial healthcare law.

The ruling was, to a certain extent, unexpected, because the court is almost evenly divided along the conservative–liberal lines, and the vote that determined the decision in favor of the administration was that of the conservative Chief Justice John Roberts.

Hours before the ruling it was not clear whether the Court would uphold or repeal the law in its entirety, or uphold it only partly. The Wall Street Journal, citing its sources in Obama's inner circle, even stated that President Obama had prepared three speeches in anticipation of the ruling. Luckily for him, he had to stick to the most preferred one.

The ruling has been widely recognized as a triumph for President Obama who had put much of the labors of his presidency to this singular law. But it still keeps open the question of what impact the ruling will have on November 6 elections.

It is probably impossible to go into all the details of the law in a short commentary but the core of it suggests providing medical insurance to 30 million people who presently remain uncovered by any insurance plan. Shortly speaking, it means providing medical care to all Americans – whether they can afford it or not. This, in turn, poses a question of whether those who can afford medical care should pay for those who cannot (and a considerable number among the latter prefer to live on social benefits not because they are unable to earn a decent living, but because they are unwilling to). This reminds of is the motto formulated in the Communist Manifesto and attempted to be implemented in the Soviet Union – "take and divide".

As was calculated by the Congressional Budget Office in March, the overall cost of the new law's implementation for the period of 10 years will amount to $1.76 trillion, and this in fact means additional taxation on the middle class in order to support the poor.

The peculiar thing about the American public's reaction to the law is that, according to Reuters/Ipsos poll, the majority of Americans oppose the law even though they strongly support most of its provisions. And this opens the possibility for the issue to become one of the most hotly-contested in the months to come on the eve of November 6 elections.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has already vowed that he will make the issue central in his campaign. "Our mission is clear: If we're going to get rid of Obamacare, we're going to have to replace President Obama," he said shortly after the announcement of the court's decision.

His supporters have already worked out plans to intensify the ad campaign, specially targeting the "swing" states which are likely to determine the outcome of the presidential elections. And the Republican-dominated House of Representatives is going to try to once again repeal the law in a July 11 vote.

The latter move is regarded as purely political and having no impact on the law itself – the Democratic Senate is sure to block any move by the House aimed at the repeal of their much-cherished achievement (and one of the few Barack Obama's presidency can boast of).

So, the Supreme Court's ruling is viewed by some commentators as a new boost for conservatives. "This is great politically. Bad for the country, but great politically," Reuters cites a Romney adviser as saying.

A totally different sentiment is expressed by the liberal media that are overloaded with joy. Some commentators (already 200 percent sure of Barack Obama's re-election) state that now that the law is there to stay, Barack Obama has all chances to be remembered in history as the president who changed the course of the nation.

They may be right. In 2008, Barack Obama became the first black president. After supporting same-sex marriages, he was called "the first gay president". Now he has all chances to be labeled "the first communist president". And this really means that he is the person to change the course of America – the way Lenin changed the course of Russia about a century ago.

Boris Volkhonsky, senior research fellow, Russian Institute for Strategic Studies

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