Commentary on Republicans, Libertarians & Politics

Month: February 2016

Thoughts on the Presidential Campaign

We went to different businesses and people and asked them what they thought of the Presidential election campaign and the different candidates. First we asked George at Bel Air Gutter & Siding what he thought of Trump. He rolled his eyes and said, “Trump is so bombastic that I didn’t think people would take him seriously. I have listened to him on some of the debates and was surprised that a lot of what he said made sense. But then he goes off in a crazy fashion from time to time. He also seems to be very thin skinned. I think a President needs to be a bit less volatile and thicker skinned. He could get us into World War III.”

We then asked John at Enchanted Marketing what he thought of Ted Cruz. He said, “Cruz seems like a narrow minded and spiteful individual. I think a lot of people would consider moving to Canada if he became President. He says he wants to restore America and make it better, but all I see is the worst parts of America and him bringing the country down when I look at him. This is a country that is a melting pot and welcomes people and he is intolerant and seems bigoted. It is good that he is for free trade but bad that he doesn’t see the value of the export-import bank and why trashing it would hurt American business. He wants smaller government and doesn’t understand how important government can be in doing fundamental things and basic research that private industry or states won’t or can’t do. Most Republicans laud Abraham Lincoln and probably most don’t realize that the beliefs of the Republican party have changed over time and the beliefs of the Democratic Party are more in line with the beliefs of the Republican Party at the time of Lincoln. Lincoln felt it was important for the government to take the lead in certain projects. Luckily, I think if he becomes the Republican nominee, he is far enough to the right that there is no way he can win the election. He would energize Democrats and turn off Independents.”

Dollie in Ruxton had this to say about Bernie Sanders. “He seems like a sincere guy and is likable. However, I wish he would top saying he is a socialist. It gives people the wrong impression of who he is. If you listen to him, his beliefs and what he conveys is not what most Americans would consider socialist. Liberal no doubt. But, at the same time, many conservatives who listen to him (those who are open enough to actually listen and not just prejudge. People on both sides can be closed minded, not just conservatives.) find that what he has to say makes a lot of sense and find themselves agreeing with a man they never imagined they had anything in common with or would agree with. He is very harsh on the large banks and some of this I agree with but I think he probably goes too far in what he says and the solutions he proposes. I think he will give Hillary a run for the money. If he beats her and the Republicans come up with a more main stream candidate than Trump or Cruz, I am afraid that he might not be able to beat them.”

For a view on Hillary Clinton, we asked Tom at O’Connell Ford. “I think Hillary is probably the most qualified of the candidates and when you hear her speak she makes a lot of sense and seems very reasonable. However, I have trouble trusting her. Even if she hasn’t done anything wrong, I question her judgment with some of the things she has done. She should know that even if they were technically legal, they wouldn’t look good and would have a hard time passing the smell test. She needs to have a better idea of how things will appear to people but I doubt she will suddenly learn it now. It will be an interesting election because I am not wild about any of the candidates, although I really dislike some of them.”

So there you have some interesting opinions on the top four candidates at the present time. We will see how things change with time.

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Supreme Court Fight Intensifies

It didn’t take long for the shit to hit the proverbial fan. Presidential candidates from both parties are weighing in as well as many Republican Senators. It should make for an interesting year. And it could have surprising impacts and influences on not only the Presidential race but also the race for many Senate seats and possible Congress as well.

Will Obama Nominate a Liberal or Moderate?

Thoughts had been that President Obama would nominate Sri Srinivasan who was born in India but grew up in Kansas. He is viewed as extremely intelligent and even tempered and is fairly conservative. The logic of course was that he would get enough votes from Republicans to clear the Senate. He was confirmed unanimously to the US Court of Appeals three years ago and was praised by Ted Cruz of all people who was a law clerk at the Supreme Court at the same time as Srinivasan.

This was the probable choice if it had been earlier in Obama’s term, but with Mitch McConnell and other Republicans saying they will block absolutely anyone that President Obama nominates, he may change direction and go for someone more liberal.

A Black Nominee?

Some people think that President Obama will want to nominate an African American candidate for the position to counter balance the extremely conservative Clarence Thomas. Paul Watford of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals was suggested as a possibility. At one point he was a law clerk for Ruth Bader Ginsburg when she was in the 9th Circuit.

There are several other black judges who will be considered as well, including Judge Robert Wilkins, cabinet member Jeh Johnson or Attorney General Loretta Lynch. Another possibility is Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick.

Prior Picks

President Obama’s prior picks have been fairly moderate. Elena Kagan was pushed for by both liberals and conservatives on the Harvard Law School faculty where she was dean. In fact, Justice Scalia had suggested Kagan even though she was seen as liberal.

Will Republicans Follow McConnell like Lemmings over a Cliff?

Assuming that President Obama picks someone fairly moderate, it will be difficult for Republicans to block them just because they are nominated by President Obama. Mitch McConnell the Republican leader of the Senate said after Scalia died that he didn’t care who Obama nominates, he would oppose that person. People in the US are tired of the bickering in Congress.

The Republicans want to hold on to their majority in the Senate and voting against a moderate nominee or failing to hold hearings altogether could anger voters and make it much more difficult for Republicans to win in swing states.

On top of that, if the nominee is black, it could really energize African Americans to get out and vote which could make a difference in a close election.

It will all be interesting since Scalia’s death puts all three arms of the government in play in one election cycle: the Supreme Court, the Presidency, and the Senate. (The House not so much).

Supreme Court Votes

Scalia’s death also changes the dynamics in an interesting way. Before Anthony Kennedy was conservative but often a swing vote that could change the outcome in a 5-4 vote. But now there are only 3 reliable conservatives, so just to tie, they need Kennedy. The liberals have 4, so they can tie and with Kennedy as a swing vote, they get the 5 needed.

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Scalia’s Death Opens Division

Justice Scalia was in Texas at a luxury resort doing some hunting. At least he died of natural causes and wasn’t shot by Dick Cheney. It is a 30,000 acre ranch. He attended a private party with about 40 people and went to bed. When he didn’t show up for breakfast, someone from from the ranch went to check on him and found him dead in bed. It is assumed that he died of natural causes.

Changed Supreme Court Dynamics

This will definitely change the Supreme Court even before someone is nominated and approved. If there is a 4-4 tie, the lower court ruling stands. There are a number of cases before the Supreme Court where this could make a difference. Although, it won’t have an impact for a while since most of the cases early in the term tend to be less controversial and are less likely to be close votes from what the close followers of the Supreme Court say.

Scalia’s Conservative Viewpoint

Scalia felt that all Supreme Court decisions should be made from the viewpoint of the founders and writers of the Constitution and not interpret in a way that makes sense in today’s world. He was also strongly against abortion, gay marriage, and affirmative action. Although he had a quick wit, it was a very sharp acerbic wit. But his views were so strong and unrelenting that he often alienated other justices instead of creating a coalition to get the results he wanted.

He changed the Supreme Court in oral arguments. He was much more assertive and asked many more questions than had been asked in the past. He would sometimes verbally attack lawyers presenting one side of a case.

Political Jockeying

But, wow, it didn’t take long for his death to start the political jockeying. The Republicans and conservatives of any stripe even if they aren’t Republican are hoping to hold off the nomination of a new justice until a new president is sworn in. The Democrats are expecting the nomination process to happen immediately.

President Obama has said that he will nominate someone to the Supreme Court to take Scalia’s place. He expects the Senate to do its job and confirm that person in a timely manner.

However, Senator Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader had a completely different view. He said that no decision should be made until a new president takes office. He said that the American people should be able to make that decision. That is one of the more blatantly partisan, political things we have heard in a while. He obviously is hoping for a Republican to win in November and appoint a conservative justice to replace Scalia. But to wait a year to fill a Supreme Court post seems a bit incredible, unless of course you are Mitch McConnell or a number of other Republicans who have jumped on the band wagon.

It is going to make the Presidential election process even more interesting.

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