CAMPAIGN donations were flooding into the coffers of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney yesterday, signifying a tidal wave of outrage among conservatives over Thursday's decision by the US Supreme Court to uphold President Barack Obama's controversial healthcare overhaul.
While dismayed by the ruling, Republicans hope that conservative fury can be harnessed not only to ignite support for Mr Romney in November but also for the party's congressional candidates with the aim of taking control of the White House and both houses on Capitol Hill, and thereafter dismembering the package known as 'Obamacare'.
The Romney camp confirmed that it had hauled in $4.3m (€3.4m) in new donations from 43,000 individual donors within less than 24 hours of Thursday's court ruling. In the entire month of May the campaign registered individual donations from only 25,000 people.
Meanwhile, a new TV ad for Mr Romney began airing, claiming that electing him was the only option left to ensure 'Obamacare' would be swept away.
Democrats were closing ranks also, highlighting parts of the package they know are popular, such as a ban on insurance companies turning away people with pre-existing conditions, and reminding voters that the mandate, which at its core requires all Americans to buy coverage, was originally a Republican idea, and that 'Obamacare' was in part inspired by reforms introduced by Mr Romney as Governor of Massachusetts.
"Republicans are expressing outrage that a Republican-dominated court approved a Republican idea that was first implemented by a Republican governor, Mitt Romney," mocked Ted Strickland, the former Governor of Ohio.
In the end, it is the state of the economy, not healthcare reform, that will determine the outcome of what promises to be a very tight election. But this week's ruling will have deepened emotions of partisan enmity in Washington and made the country's already gaping ideological divide even harder to bridge.
That state of war on Capitol Hill was also evidenced by a vote taken on Thursday to hold the US Attorney General, Eric Holder, in contempt of Congress for allegedly withholding documents arising from a probe into a botched gun-running operation on the US-Mexican border.
It is an inflammatory move and the first time a member of a president's cabinet has been sanctioned in such a manner. Mr Holder called the vote "crass". (© Independent News Service)