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  • . . . but will Republicans have the last laugh?

Shrewd political observers who know better than to take anything at face value will interpret Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling on Obamacare as a devastating right-wing thrust against progressive values.

As the Washington Post‘s James Hohmann pointed out the other day—echoing other analysts—the Democrats stood to win by losing in the high court. “I can think of no case that would more galvanize progressives across the spectrum,” Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress think tank, told Hohmann. “It would be a ridiculous decision and a travesty of justice, but like many travesties of justice it would serve to galvanize people.”

What defeat would do, Hohmann explained, is force the Republican Congress to put up or shut up. Having all but wiped out Obamacare, what’s their alternative? They have none. Defeat “would highlight Republican dysfunction in a way that I can’t imagine any other specific event doing,” said a Democratic strategist.

But instead of winning by losing, the Democrats won. Even if victory benefits the millions of ordinary people who stood to lose the subsidies that made health care affordable to them, strategic thinkers of a liberal bent surely curse the opportunity that slipped through their fingers. Republicans are now free to go on being scornful Republican candidates for president free to swear they’ll eradicate Obamacare just as soon as they get around to it.

Making matters worse, dissenting Justice Scalia has introduced a deliciously repugnant new term for the evil program—Scotuscare. Republican candidates can now run against not only Bolshevist entitlements but also activist judges who recklessly make law and shove it down the people’s throats.

My first reaction to Scotuscare was that it’s already taken—isn’t that what they call the pampering and grooming by men in showers?—but then I recognized the difference in spelling.