“The Scott Brown Era lasted almost exactly three years,” wrote Alec MacGillis in February 2013 — meaning the three years between Brown’s win in the special election in 2010 to fill the seat left by Ted Kennedy and his decision in 2013 not to run for the former seat of John Kerry.
But by July 22, 2014, when two district courts split on the legality of the Affordable Care Act, it was clear that MacGillis was wrong. In the same week, a poll revealed that opinion on health care was under more water than the Titanic, with twice as many Americans feeling hurt than helped by it; and while being pushed off the stage by four other crises, it had assumed a new life as an election-year issue.
The Halbig decision in the D.C. District Court, delivered to you by Scott Brown’s election, was the result of the choice made by President Obama to pass a huge, complex bill with no consensus behind it, and with much of the country opposed. While Lyndon Johnson and Franklin Rooseveltwent out of their way to ensure wide and bipartisan backing for the Civil Rights Act and for Social Security, Obama disdained such undignified measures.