Monday, August 22, 2011
Thursday, August 11, 2011
With everything else going on, no one talks about the Supreme Court much these days. But we all know how critical it is, particularly with major elements of Obamacare likely to be adjudicated upon in the next couple of years. Right now, the court has four conservatives (specifically, Consitutionalists) and four liberals (specifically, liberals). The ninth, Anthony Kennedy, is someone who's judicial philosophy at times seems guided by a random number generator, but lately he has tended conservative.
The court, in other words, is almost dead even with votes frequently hinging on Kennedy, whom no one understands. Now, consider the ages of the justices:
The conservatives are going nowhere until at least after the next election. They will opine from hospital beds if they need to. On the liberal side, Sotomayor and Kagan will be with us until gravity forces the universe to collapse back on itself. Breyer and Ginsburg are more interesting, but particularly Ginsburg. At 78, she is the oldest member of the bench. She has also been fighting pancreatic cancer for some time.
Ginsburg is a proto-liberal. Her background includes time on the legal ramparts of feminism and the ACLU. Neither she, nor the Democrat establishment, will tolerate her seat falling into the hands of someone who thinks the constitution actually trumps social justice.
It is said that the Republicans have a weak field. As you know, the Naked Dollar believes that the Republicans could nominate a toaster and it will beat Obama, who may be the weakest incumbent of our lifetimes. Yesterday, for the first time, the prediction market odds on his re-election dropped below 50% for the first time. The scenarios for his successful re-election get fewer with each passing day and each new bit of horrible news.
Despite their capacity for self-delusion, these facts will seep into the liberal firmament. The necessary response will be for Ginsburg to yield her seat, probably around next spring. That's when you'll have confirmation that panic has set in. (Note: if Breyer resigns as well, the panic will have morphed into full-blown hysteria.)
Mark it on your calendars.
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
I have a friend who voted for Obama using the following logic:
- McCain would be a terrible president, leaving the conservative movement in disarray as people continue to confuse Republicans with conservatives. Hillary then gets elected and our collective pain gets stretched far into the future.
- Obama would be worse, but he would focus our thinking. The pain will be worth it. Carter gave us Reagan, after all.
Whether my friend was right remains an open question. About point one, there can be no doubt. While John McCain would not have been an O-style disaster, he would have been pretty bad, and since he's a Republican, people would have blamed - incorrectly - the conservative movement for the country's problems.
No doubt you know of this confusion. It's not unlike liberals saying, "You have no credibility criticizing Obama's spending because Bush spent a lot, too!"
Leaving aside the fact that Obama has ratcheted the problem to a whole new level, I don't know a single conservative who was pleased with Bush's spending habits, particularly with things like the prescription drug entitlement. But the public is frequently confused between the conservative movement and the Republican Party. That they grew far apart accounted for the birth of the Tea Party, a development that makes the Republican establishment highly dyspeptic.
So, there are reasons not to be too upset with the last election. The wrong Republican was nominated. Conservatism would have lost relevance for decades, potentially.
But will the damage be worth it? We can't know, at this point, but I grow increasingly optimistic that the answer will be yes - by a hair. I believe that in a year and a half the Republican party will control all the White House and both branches of Congress, and they will have a mandate for some long overdue, radical change. A new tax code. Entitlement reform. Repeal of the twin job-killing monsters Obamacare and Dodd-Frank. Big stuff, and much needed.
Whether Republicans will actually do these things is probably a bigger question than whether they will have the opportunity. This all depends on who moves into the White House.
Whether any of this will offset the incredible damage Obama has managed to inflict in a such a short period of time is still debatable. He is a wrecking ball. Can you imagine if the House hadn't shifted last year? We'd be dealing with things like cap & trade, too.
At least we have a definitive answer that Keynesianism doesn't work. Hopefully, that lesson, and all the others, will be internalized for at least a generation or two, at which point we'll be seduced into making the same mistakes all over again by some new group of charlatans.
Friday, August 5, 2011
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
So, this guy Chuck Todd is a political analyst for NBC. I want you to read the following statement that he made on air last week:
"The old rules no longer apply. There are two more lessons we learned last night. First, the old rules to twist recalcitrant arms no longer apply. Tea Party and conservative House members don’t really care about important committee assignments. They don’t place a value on fundraising help. And earmarks and extra pork for their districts? Forget about it. As the Washington Post recounts, GOP Rep. Jeff Flake -- who opposes Boehner’s bill -- “praised the lack of horse-trading of the type that marred passage of Obama’s health-care legislation. ‘It is the most refreshing thing in the world to see what’s going on in there,’ Flake said. ‘This kind of negotiation a couple years ago would have cost about $20 billion.’” It is refreshing. But it’s also a curse if you’re trying to get things done."