How does it add anything to a SCOTUS nominees qualifications when it is noted that a nominees life story is inspirational, a real American rags-to-riches success story, and so forth and so on? While the life experiences of Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor are certainly a made-for-TV movie waiting to happen, they have nothing to do with being a Supreme Court justice. If anything, those life experiences tend to suggest a certain subjective POV that leans toward one specific ideological perspective and its not one conservatives can support. But thats hardly a surprise.
Its difficult to believe that President Obama doesnt know exactly what hes getting in Elena Kagan. What we know about her so far is enough to suggest to me two things one, she leans progressive; and two, she doesnt have any judicial experience. The latter doesnt technically disqualify her from serving as a Supreme Court justice, as others have accurately pointed out. However, this gives greater importance to her writings and speeches, and her actions as a law professor. Those evaluating her fitness for this job will have to look at everything she has said and done in the past, and try to accurately predict which way she will go as a Supreme Court justice. This evaluation will be completed before Elena Kagan gets her first question in the Senate confirmation hearings.
Many Democrats have already started lining up behind the Presidents pick, while Republicans are promising to ask hard questions that are unlikely to be answered. Thats the way this kabuki theater works. Actually ask hard questions of SCOTUS nominees from the opposing party that you will never get a straight answer to, and in the end the nominee gets through, unless he/she is fatally flawed like Harriet Miers.
Honestly, Im ok with this. Many pundits find their latest column idea by disparaging the way nominees are told to handle their confirmation hearings. Since both sides have already made up their minds about the nominee before the hearings ever take place, the questions will always be a formality. When was the last time we learned something useful from SCOTUS confirmation hearings? Bork. Right. If straight-up answers keep qualified candidates from making it to the high court, then Im all for the non-sequiturs. Besides, its not likely that anything said in the hearings would turn a Democrat against Elena Kagan, and since the Republicans could very well be so open-minded their brains fall out, they could decide that theres no point in opposing a nominee when her confirmation is more than likely.
What I’m currently reading:
The fallacy that continues to dog Project Cameron – John Rentoul (who wrote this killer Tony Blair bio I totally loved) says that David Cameron’s ideas are just as flawed as Gordon Brown’s. Sad part is that in this battle between the Conservative Party (Cameron) and Labour Party(Brown) one of these two will probably end up being UK Prime Minister. Side note: Current UK PM Brown was never going to be Tony Blair. Sometimes a politician is best suited to his previous job, rather than his current one. This is very true of Brown. However, I have no love for David Cameron and his “New Labour” -lite schtick and his obsession with the environment. Of course, that’s generally how the Brits roll anyway — with their entrenched welfare state and their socialized health care with the NHS. Naturally, these are the kind of politicians they like. Bully for them. Moving on…
Jack Kelly on President Obama’s new nuke deals. Here’s the bottom line as far as I’m concerned – if President Obama really believes that we are facing a more challenging time in dealing with nuclear threats, then he’s got the wrong solution to this. We can’t be voluntarily reducing our own nuclear arsenal and stopping production on more modern weapons at the same time North Korea and Iran are ramping up their nuke production. This seems backwards to me. The United States of America may very well be the only country which would be willing to voluntarily do this — and that’s exactly why we can’t do it.
A cautionary tale from Europe – Greece’s monetary struggles – a result of overspending and a massive entitlement society.
Watch Al Sharpton say something interesting on Fox News:
In case you didn’t catch it, Al said that the American public overwhelmingly voted for socialism when they elected President Obama. But that’s not possible. How could such a committed capitalist free-marketeer as President Obama have any intention of implementing anything close to a socialist agenda? Quite a mystery to me. Guess we have to watch the effects of what he and the Democrats do and decide for ourselves what we want to call all these new laws.
(h/t Hot Air)
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, ladies and gentlemen (on the must-pass health care bill):
Youve heard about the controversies within the bill, the process about the bill, one or the other. But I dont know if you have heard that it is legislation for the future, not just about health care for America, but about a healthier America, where preventive care is not something that you have to pay a deductible for or out of pocket. Prevention, prevention, preventionits about diet, not diabetes. Its going to be very, very exciting.
But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy.
The Democrats need to pass this bill so that you can find out what is in it, because obviously all these Republicans haven’t been telling you the truth. Got it. Just one problem with this though — if this is such a great bill and we are just too stupid to realize all the benefits of the health care bill, that’s the Democrats’ fault. The job of selling this belongs to the majority party, and to President Obama. It’s their failure to do that that could ultimately save us from this health care bill or anything like it.
While we can all agree Rahm Emanuel is not the most warm and cuddly guy in politics, this Eric Massa sounds like a real jerk, and it doesn’t surprise me that these two hate each other’s guts. It seems that the Democrats just can’t help themselves when it comes to the fratricide now in progress among the Democrats in Congress, those “retiring” from Congress, and the White House. Conservatives and Republicans do very much enjoy watching this. However, shredding Rahm Emanuel is very inside baseball stuff for the common people. All those people want to know is: who will stand up and fight the Democrats’ health care plan? We don’t like it. President Obama and the Democrats are clearly headed in the opposite direction from what we want.
What has been proposed is not reform. The House plan is nothing new and doesn’t make any positive radical changes to reduce cost AND increase coverage — because IT CAN’T DO BOTH. Reduced cost will most likely mean rationing. This is common sense. Increasing coverage, mandating coverage, fining employers and individuals for not having insurance — explain how health care will be cheaper under this strategy. It will not. I would be wasting my time waiting for the Democrats to include anything Republicans can support in the legislation, because they don’t have any intention to accomodate the minority party. That’s just as well, because I don’t want any Republicans to have their names tied to this political anvil.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is willing to sacrifice the political futures of her fellow House Democrats in order to get the health care bill passed. That’s generous of her, and the Republicans will absolutely accept that result. I just wonder how many left-leaning true believers are left in the Democratic Congress. The answer to that question will determine the future of this health care bill. Sure, there are a few like Nancy Pelosi who would sacrifice the rest of their political life to get this country-changing reform passed. But I’m willing to bet that at the core, most Washington politicos value self-preservation over ideology. They have seen the writing on the wall with the recent Republican victories and are considering future votes more carefully than they would otherwise.
Most Democrats will choose their jobs over following the Speaker over the political cliff. That’s my prediction.
Even though our side seems to be winning the argument on health care reform, there’s still no reason to be overconfident. There is still work to be done, and when the current legislation goes down in flames, we need to be ready to take advantage of that failure with our own vision and solutions.
Our lovable Vice President Joe Biden talking to Larry King:
I am very optimistic about — about Iraq. I mean, this could be one of the great achievements of this administration. You’re going to see 90,000 American troops come marching home by the end of the summer. You’re going to see a stable government in Iraq that is actually moving toward a representative government.
I spent — I’ve been there 17 times now. I go about every two months — three months. I know every one of the major players in all of the segments of that society. It’s impressed me. I’ve been impressed how they have been deciding to use the political process rather than guns to settle their differences.
I’m obviously blinded by my anti-Obama bias, because it’s not clear to me how this administration gets credit for Iraq.
I would say that the credit for that should go to President Bush, just like the credit / blame for deficits, the stimulus, the bailouts, and every struggle that our new President has to deal with right now. Didn’t President Obama run for president as an anti-war candidate? Why yes. Didn’t VP Biden propose that Iraq be divided up into three partitions to keep the peace there? Yes again. It takes an incredible amount of nerve for this administration to attempt this argument when President Obama has opposed the war from the beginning. But it could just be VP Biden talking out of school, as he is often prone to do…
Fair is fair. If everything previous to the Obama administration is Bush’s fault (and Iraq is part of that), then any success there should be credited not to President Obama, but to his predecessor.
Now, that said — if Iraq becomes a stable ally to the United States, and a useful partner in that dangerous region of the world, ultimately I don’t care who gets the credit. The end game is far more important to me than political points for Republicans or Democrats.
What Alan Bock said in the OC Register:
It’s not that there isn’t a good deal of truth in such criticisms of the ways of a “Washington” he invoked more as an epithet than a place. But at what point does a president of the United States take responsibility for his part in feeding the atmosphere of distrust?
Barack Obama has been president for a little more than a year, during which time his party has had a theoretically filibuster-proof majority in the Senate (a rare occurrence) and a substantial majority in the House. During that time he has engaged in a goodly share of partisan sniping while making only empty gestures toward the will-o-the-wisp of bipartisan cooperation. He’s the ultimate insider. Yet he took no responsibility for the poisonous atmosphere in Washington, trying to make believe that he is still quite above it all.
Yep. You can only convincingly run against Washington when you aren’t part of its culture of failure. That’s part of the reason for Scott Brown’s success in Massachusetts. At some point — and God only knows when this will happen — the statute of limitations on blaming Bush will run out and President Obama will have to take responsibility for his own actions. Until then, we all must suffer through complex explanations of why the consequences of Democrat / Obama policies are all Bush’s fault. Yay.
It’s going to be a very long three years…
CBS newsman Bob Schieffer says that “Real security is built on trust in the government.” He actually wrote that! Read it here.
Trust in the government. That’s a scary proposition if you really think about it. The more bureaucracy you add to deal with a potential crisis, the more likely it is that the potential crisis becomes an actual crisis. I get the point Schieffer was making about spin and how the feds should be honest with us when addressing terror-related events, but you can’t just depend on the government to protect you in these kinds of situations. The flight crew and a brave passenger saved the day on Christmas Day. Not the TSA or DHS.
Everything the federal government can and should do to improve our domestic security will not completely protect us from a future terrorist attack. If we are completely committed to telling the truth to the American people, we should start by admitting this.