Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Two spot-on statements

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Glad that Mitch McConnell agrees the president has every right to nominate someone to fill the late Justice Scalia's seat.  Some Republicans make it sound like the president will be bashing the Constitution to do such a thing.

Chris Coons makes sense to me, too.  No progressive thinks that the GOP-lead Senate is going to approve any candidate the president puts forward.  

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Senate Majority Leader McConnell -  "Presidents have a right to nominate, just as the Senate has its constitutional right to provide or withhold consent. In this case, the Senate will withhold it." 

Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) - "I understand that ultimately a nominee by this president may not be confirmed by a Republican-controlled Senate, but I think everything about the historical record, everything about the constitutional structure ... urges that we do our job, that we not continue the obstructionism & outright refusal to even consider nominees that have been characteristic of the last six years in the Senate;  that we not risk spreading the infection of this dysfunction in the Congress to the only remaining branch which hasn't been decisively infected by it." 

Yep, they're both spot on.  Don't have any fault with either comment. 

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Paul Ryan nutshells GOP Politics 2016

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Appearing on Fox News The Kelly File, Rep. Paul Ryan explained to Megyn Kelly, in one sentence that perfectly embodies projection, how conservatives view governing circa 2016, explaining that if we have  “a progressive president, he’s not going to sign conservative bills into law.”

Actually, they do.  And, in the past, conservative presidents signed progressive bills into law.  If they were good for the nation.  But, post-2009, conservatives have twisted themselves into what Megyn Kelly aptly describes as their current "die trying" mentality,  where anything smacking of even reasonable compromise is derided as a betrayal of core principles.

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House Speaker Ryan illustrated his point by saying President Obama has vetoed very bill the House has sent him - what he meant, I assume, was every archly conservative bill that got to his desk.  The president has vetoed only nine bills, 2009-the present:

  • The XL Keystone Pipeline
  • Various appropriations bills that would have essentially defunded Obamacare
  • A bill crippling the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)
  • The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 because its costs soared past existing spending caps
  • Twice vetoed bills related to rule submitted by the EPA
  • The Restoring Americans' Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act of 2015 which would have repealed Obamacare
  • A bill that would have compromised the Federal Water Pollution Control Act

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Over his two terms in the Oval Office, President George W. Bush vetoed 12 bills that made it to his desk.  His father, President George H.W. Bush officially vetoed 29 bills & "pocket" vetoed 15 more, for a grand total of 44.  Over his two terms, President Reagan vetoed 78!

Now, my guess is that what galls Speaker Ryan isn't the comparatively paltry number of vetos the president has signed, but the fact that the House has not, to date, been able to override so much as one of them, whereas 2% of Bush 41's were overriden & a whopping 33% of Bush 43's.

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But my piffle on the history of presidential vetoes (forgot to mention Clinton's 47) digresses from the Speaker's succinct sentence re: progressive presidents never signing conservative bills.  I would agree with him that progressive presidents never sign SIGNATURE conservative bills, bills that go against the very heart of their ideals & belief about what's best for the country.  But Democratic presidents have & do sign bills that have the support of Republican representatives & senators. 

Even in 2016.

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That's all, folks!

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For all my Facebook friends who INSIST that Democrats are every bit as recalcitrant in their politics as the current Republican party, here is a simple fact - there is no record of any Dem saying at any time, in any century, that it is worth losing a Senate majority rather than to let a principle exercise his constitutional right & responsibility

Hey, understand - it's perfectly okay for the GOP to refuse so much as a hearing to any name President Obama puts forward to fill the SCOTUS seat left vacant by Justice Scalia's death.  That's not outrageous.  In politics, that's called "business as usual." 

When the popular blog, Outside the Beltway, writes, "If it were Ruth Bader Ginsburg who had suddenly passed away during the final year of a a Republican Presidency, there would be plenty of Democrats calling on the Senate to forego action on a nomination until a new President takes office," it makes total sense. I could fully understand any Republican saying that very thing.  But the party doesn't stop there - they don't want the president to even submit a name.

The Federalist, another popular blog, is 100% correct - there are countless examples of Democrats blocking conservative justice nominees for a range of federal benches.  But that is NOT what Republican leadership is demanding.  It's not simply that they don't want to give any name or any candidate, regardless of their voting record, so much as a single hearing.  They don't want the president to even submit a name.

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The very popular conservative radio talk show host, Hugh Hewitt, originator of the gone-viral hashtag #nohearingsnovotes, threatens to vote for support the opposing Democrat of any GOP senator who doesn't go to the mat of refusing so much as a hearing to any Obama nominee - for him, it is worth losing the Senate majority rather than back down from the principle of... what?  Over the constitutional right of a sitting president to name someone to the SCOTUS bench when a seat is vacated?  My head is still spinning - he's willing to LOSE the Senate to Democrats over a constitutional principle that only exists in the fevered brain of a shocking number of Republicans.  And people find that rational?  Sheez...

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The following two points will get no argument from me:

  • The Republican-led Senate can refuse a hearing to any presidential nominee requiring its approval - totally within the Senate's constitutional rights.  
  • The Senate Majority Leader can refuse to schedule a vote - again, totally within Sen. McConnell's constitutional rights.  

But to get bent out of shape over the president following his constitutional right & responsibility of putting a name forth for consideration?  

To say it's better for the GOP to lose the senate rather than to have so much as one Republican senator speak in favor of giving the name due consideration in the Senate Judicial Committee?    

Sorry, that sort of looney tunes thinking posturing demanding is only found in today's Grand Old Party.

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Monday, February 22, 2016

Peggy Noonan (unintentionally) nails it

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My thanks to Peggy Noonan for nailing so beautifully the way current conservatives see the political world.

In the 02/18/16 Wall Street Journal, Ms. Noonan makes the argument that President Obama should hand off naming anyone to fill Justice Scalia's seat because it would alter the court's balance, inflicting great damage to our nation:
When the court is roughly balanced, 5-4, the public is allowed to assume some rough approximation of justice will occur—that something that looks like justice will be handed down.

There will be chafing and disappointments. ObamaCare will be upheld. Yay! Boo! Gay marriage will be instituted across the land. Yay! Boo!

The closeness of the vote suggests both sides got heard. The closeness contributes to an air of credibility. That credibility helps people accept the court’s rulings.
When the balance of the court tips too much one way, it invites people to see injustice and bully politics. It invites unease and protest.

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Translate "roughly balanced" as meaning "when conservative justices hold the majority."  Even if President Obama named a clear-cut liberal to fill the position  - rather than a politically palatable moderate - the balance would still hold, albeit in the other direction.  

If Ms. Noonan's point really was fear of overall imbalance, we can assure her that all is well. 

My profound thanks to Peggy for perfectly capturing a point I've struggled to make with friends.  A conservative majority of one is fine with her.  Flip the exact same scenario to a progressive majority & it "invites people to see injustice & bully politics...  invites unease & protest." 

Well said, Ms. Noonan - just not terribly well thought-out.

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Sunday, February 21, 2016

They just don't get it

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The GOP Establishment has gotten so used to plying the party's base with promises, promises of radical change - even when it knew such changes were constitutionally impossible to deliver - that it will not, can not wake up to the fact the base finally wised up & are through with being taken as political yokels.  

The hot rumor of the morning is that Mitt Romney is going to endorse Marco Rubio.  THAT, they believe, will end to the Trump juggernaut.  

Riiiiiiiiiight...Have someone the base never accepted as conservative come out for a candidate once considered a tad Tea Party, but now flies his moderate flag high.   Seriously?!

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The Republican base is fed to the teeth with moderates.  They would prefer a hybrid like Donald Trump to another one.  But the Establishment just doesn't get that harsh reality.  

The base believes that Mitt Romney lost to Obama where a true conservative would have won.  They believed that in 2008, with John McCain.  They are not going to see nominating another moderate as a good thing.  

Many of Donald Trump's more fervent fans know in their heads he's not the true conservative they crave, but they know in their hearts he's not the moderate they loathe. And THAT is what stirs their deep rapport & support.  

These are the folks who will see the nomination of anyone other than Trump or Cruz as confirmation that the GOP does not represent them, that it wants their vote but doesn't have their backs.  And who knows what will happen next.

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