Karl Marx once said "Misery motivates; not utopia."
Well, conservatives are miserable today, and progressives are hula-hooping in their local parks.
But besides Karl Marx's quote, there are a couple reasons why this is good news for Romney.
1. "ObamaCare" is a catchy, symbolic killer.
In 2010, angst over ObamaCare, sui generis, was real, but it was especially potent because it stood as the symbolic head of everything people didn't like about the Administration.
If someone asked you what you didn't like about Obama, you probably didn't have numbers on the debt and deficit off the top of your head, you probably didn't have specs about the stimulus or decisions on energy to fall back on as you talked in the grocery store.
What you did have was that pejorative, big brother, dystopian word, "ObamaCare" (As I've said before, you could call a food donation program "MotherTeresaCare," and people would be grabbing pitchforks).
People who hated George W. Bush could say "Iraq", and that was enough. People who hated Bill Clinton could say "Monica Lewinksy" and that was enough. People who hated George H.W. Bush could say "Economy", and that was enough. You didn't really have to explain yourself with anything deeper than that even though you had deeper feelings.
Well, for rhetoric's sake, "ObamaCare" is the most potent, one word objection to his presidency, and after today, it's suddenly moved from the sign atop an empty building, "WALMART -- COMING SOON" to now... six hundred cars, waiting to make a left turn into the parking lot while you're behind them and late to work.
2. ObamaCare is about everything else.
It feeds into the most damaging perception of Obama -- that he's a big spending, profligate and fiscally promiscuous rabbit who births one government overreach after another.
Polls show that people like a lot of those programs, but that they've also got a queasy feeling that a huge credit card statement is going to arrive any minute.
Now... combine that credit card queaze with the fact people DON'T like the government program that is ObamaCare, and you have a very serious political problem.
This also revives, at a most inopportune time for Obama, the notion that he's a government-loving, tax and spend liberal, and now that the word "tax" has actually entered the equation? Political nightmare.
Forget about the specs of the deal. Obama has had two years to try to convince Americans that ObamaCare will save money, and that they'll really, honestly, and truly like it. But if it looks like cold, leftover beets at the Golden Corral, then those beets will probably get even colder -- even if it tastes like their yummy Mac and Cheese.
And ObamaCare doesn't just damage the president on ObamaCare or health care alone.
Instead, it reinforces an image of WHO he is, which then informs everything you believe about both him and his politics.
For example, Democrats are ripping Romney on Bain -- not because they're sworn enemies of private equity -- but because hanging Romney with Bain hangs him on scores of other issues and because it strikes at the heart of who he is as a political figure.
Same thing with ObamaCare. It's the icing on the cake for anyone arguing that Obama is a big government liberal.
3. This will help GOP turnout.
You're going to hear Obama defenders talk about how people who hated ObamaCare were already going to vote against him anyway, and that even if you're 20% madder at Obama than before, your vote doesn't matter 20% more when it's counted.
But that overlooks all the grunt work ObamaCare-haters are already prepping.
Have you ever seen an ant hill after you've kicked it? Not exactly a reggae festival.
And remember Obama's immigration proposal? It wasn't about increasing his margin with Hispanics (which was already about as high as it'd get), it was about increasing turnout and enthusiasm, and polling shows he's poised to do that.
Same thing here. Enthusiasm and turnout just stepped into a speed boat and neither is stopping.
Democrats will claim that today's ruling is just as invigorating for progressives, and I will say "yes, it is." Today's ruling is just as invigorating... today. But tomorrow, it will be less so. And by November, even less.
Remember, "misery motivates; not utopia."
4. Swing voters care.
There's this faulty idea out there that it's only tea party and burnt-red Republicans who don't like ObamaCare -- just like there was this faulty idea that the 2010 election was just about angry tea partiers. No, it was about angry centrists, too.
2010 proved that lots of fence-dwellers who didn't put thirty American flags on their porches or substitute their wedding vows with the preamble to the Constitution actually disliked ObamaCare, too (73% of independents oppose it) and were worried about what it meant for their health care, the economy in general, and freedom for all.
There's a whole silent majority dynamic going on with these people. They're suburbanites and soccer moms who'd rather not fight about politics, but will join the fight when they're absolutely needed -- Kind of like Gandalf the White, galloping down at the last minute, only because he has to if he's going to save Orlando Bloom's ears from getting lopped off.
If you personally liked Obama, but were a little skeptical about his ability to turn the economy around, then this might be the tiebreaker.
Now the caveat to all that is this -- I do think that Obama will receive a short-term bounce in the polls from this. After all, it's a win, and it will make him look like a successful leader. But it won't change the reality of perceptions about this bill, and perceptions of leadership are awfully ephemeral.
Rupert Murdoch said the White House was probably giving each other "high-fives" today. Well, bipartisanship lives, because the Romney campaign is probably high-fiving, as well.