James Carville seems to think that it will be "the best thing to ever happen to the Democratic Party" if the Supreme Court overturns the Affordable Care Act. I'm not so sure I agree with him on the politics and who takes the blame, but it is true
March 28, 2012

James Carville seems to think that it will be "the best thing to ever happen to the Democratic Party" if the Supreme Court overturns the Affordable Care Act. I'm not so sure I agree with him on the politics and who takes the blame, but it is true that if something doesn't happen to get health care costs under control, we're going to see increasing anger from the electorate in response.

He's also correct on the public perception that this Supreme Court has become way too politicized and the fact that we can't afford to have any more conservatives appointed to the court after the enormous damage they've already done to America over the last decade or so with some of their rulings and as Carville noted, overturning an election in the case of Bush v. Gore.

Transcript of Carville and Erick Erickson's exchange below the fold.

BLITZER: Let's get right to our strategy session. Joining us now two CNN contributors, the Democratic strategist James Carville, and Erick Erickson, the editor-in-chief of RedState.com.

James, this -- here in the testimony today, whatever you want to call it, the arguments, maybe for the Supreme Court, the government's chief lawyer, the solicitor general Donald Verrilli, according to people inside, including our own Jeffrey Toobin, they thought he was weak, to put it mildly. I mean, they had months and months to prepare. The questions were obvious.

How is that possible that the lawyer representing the Obama administration comes in seemingly unprepared for these important arguments?

CARVILLE: Well, and his oral argument, (INAUDIBLE) to defend this gentleman, but I went and looked at a bunch of other people and it wasn't Jeffrey's opinion. It was pretty unanimous. I had no idea (INAUDIBLE) for the Supreme Court.

And according to legal experts and these are not conservative experts and both sides think it wasn't all of that prepared for some of the questions that he got, which seemed to me and other people to be pretty anticipated questions that he would get. So I'm at -- honestly, I'm at a little bit at a loss for an explanation.

BLITZER: Yes, I'm at a loss myself because they usually do major preparation, these (ph) courts, a lot of rehearsals. The questions were obvious.

Erick, if this goes down for the Obama administration and the Supreme Court in June, end of June, let's say, rules that it's unconstitutional and the mandates requiring people to buy health insurance, is this -- are you convinced that this is an automatic political win for the Republicans?

ERICKSON: I don't think it's automatic, but I think it's pretty close to being automatic. Suddenly, Mitt Romney, if he's the nominee, I think he will be, has the one issue that will galvanize conservatives for him and independent-leaning Republicans, and that they've got to support him to preserve the 5-4 conservative majority on the Supreme Court and that may be what he gets to run to November with.

I think it's not automatic, Wolf, but it probably will embolden Republicans either way, frankly, than the Democrats, many of whom, they would love to see this law upheld. But at the same time, some of them wanted the public option that they didn't get.

BLITZER: Let's say it is overturn, James. What's the political fallout from your perspective? What's going to happen?

CARVILLE: I honestly believe -- this is not spin. I think that this will be the best thing to ever happen to the Democratic Party because health care costs will escalate unbelievably. It's 2012, 20 of 100 over 65. By 2020, it's going to be 26.

And you know, what the Democrats is going to say and it's completely justified -- we tried. We did something, go see a 5-4 Supreme Court majority. The public (INAUDIBLE) figure out. Our poll shows half of the whole thing is political. They overturned an election.

And just as a professional Democrat, that did nothing better for me in overturning this thing 5-4, and then the Republican Party will own the health care system for the foreseeable future. And I really believe that, that is not spin. Go see Scalia when you want health care.

BLITZER: I think what it will do, Erick and I'm not anxious to get your reaction. What it will do is energize a lot of Democrats out there and they'll say, you know what, there could be one or even two vacancies on the Supreme Court over the next four years.

And if there's a Republican in the White House there will be another Antonin Scalia or a Samuel Alito. If there's a Democrat in the White House it could be a Sonia Sotomayor or Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The difference is for the next 30 or 40 years, one or two Supreme Court justices for the American people could be enormous, this could be a huge issue going into the next presidential election.

ERICKSON: Wolf, both sides, Wolf, not just the Democrat side, even if the laws were upheld or struck down, there is a 5-4 conservative majority right now.

Historically, you see Republicans picking justices who have a greater propensity to gravitate to the left than you see Democrats putting in judges who have propensity to gravitate to the right.

So both sides are going to be fighting over the Supreme Court, but I still think that the economy will be the biggest issue going into the election. This will be undercurrent issue for both sides, though.

BLITZER: Because I keep hearing, James, a lot of liberals out there who aren't necessarily thrilled with the president's performance so far. They do say when all is said and done they need to re-elect President Obama.

Otherwise, Roe versus Wade and all sorts of sensitive issues will be overturned by a new Supreme Court, that's why they say a Democrat needs to be in the White House.

CARVILLE: Well, I mean, I think the president's done a good job on a host of things, but to just to go back on the basic argument. If they did this thing 5-4 and overturn it, and I think that it will give the Democratic Party an argument for a long, long time about this.

And you know, it gets charged up and remember Scalia and these guys overturned an election and I don't understand why the solicitor general and everyone was so lackadaisical about this. These guys aren't going to read a law book and decide what to do and the public has this figured out.

This court did enormous damage with Bush versus Gore and it lingered and to overturn the thing 5-4, I mean, as a professional Democrat and not just as U.S. I think it's the best thing that could happen.

ERICKSON: I would say that's a larger at American history and I think it goes back before Bush versus Gore. Everyone feels every issue in America has become politicized including the Supreme Court.

It is a matter now of -- it depends on what Anthony Kennedy had for breakfast on how the decision goes 5-4 to the left or 5-4 to the right. I mean, we have handed ourselves over to one man in the black robe.

CARVILLE: I agree on that, Erick. I'm not sure, again, just speaking just as a political partisan. I think I'd rather lose this thing 5-4.

ERICKSON: You think you do.

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