Just a couple of days ago, one heard dark talk about the partisan, right wing Supreme Court and how, if it overturned Obamacare, it would be engaging in something like a "coup." Today, no less an expert in the ways of partisanship than Robert Shrum is declaring that “the Roberts Court will be seen and remembered as more than an ideological rubber stamp.”

The decision may have been as dazzlingly Solomonic as many have written (for instance, Krauthammer and Will) and it may even be a long-term win for those who believe in limited government. If that is, we survive this particular vast expansion of government. But viewed from beyond the Beltway, only a day removed from the decision, what catches the attention is the way in which the decision seems to have been influenced by an instinct for institutional self-preservation. The anti-Obamacare side won the argument but the other guys won the case. The subtleties may be delectable to those who thrill to the Washington game. For simpler souls, it merely looks like the fix, as always, is in.

In Washington, to get it passed, you call it a "mandate" and insist that it is not a "tax."

Then, you walk the thing down the street and to make it legal, you call it a "tax" and not a "mandate."

Everybody is happy except for the voters who never wanted this thing in the first place.

Now they get a straight-up vote.

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