"It never gets any easier. You just go faster." ---Greg Lemond
"Don't buy upgrades. Ride up grades." --- Eddy Merckx
"You drive like shit." ---The Car Whisperer



This article by Steven Calabresi got me thinking today. It's an examination of Obama's past comments on his criteria for selecting judges.

I don't think it's too off base, really...nothing atypical for a right-leaning publication. Especially when viewed in light of the very real possibility that Congress could be more than two-thirds Democrat come January, as well. Obama's comments do reflect a troubling bent, one that flies the face of the entire concept of the judicial check and of democratic reason.

However, Calabresi is a bit inflated and hysterical in his analysis of some equally typical Democratic rhetoric, for several reasons.

First, again, this is pretty standard Democratic rhetoric. Stuff that people, who've endured eight years of Bush and Cheney, Rumsfeld, Enron, Guantanamo Bay, The Patriot Act, etc. want to hear. It differentiates, it takes a stand...and a lot of people have been saying things like it ever since Bush and Cheney came into office on a platform of deregulation and unilateralism. The little guy has gotten the shaft for the last eight years, and the guy running against Bush's legacy is going to exploit that.

But the fact is Obama, and his fellow Democrats - any politicians - are still beholden to lobbyists and corporate donors, as well as their constituents. Obama certainly isn't going return Welfare - not less than 15 years after Clinton practically abolished it. The country has undeniably moved to the moved rightward - right center is the new center. Much as a real move around Roe v Wade would galvinaze the pro-choice crowd, if Obama tries to make real steps toward renewing Welfare and the independents who put him in office would send him packing in 2012.

And really, when in history hasn't a presidential candidate caused consternation about his potential judicial picks? It's inherent in the two party system, especially in times of crisis - the consequences seem that much more dire. In the 1930s, Republicans thought the world was ending when Roosevelt was elected. We certainly persevered throughout that time. The expansion of American power and foreign policy weight had a much greater effect on our world fortunes.

Indeed, we all recall how much debate went on over Bush's potential picks during the 2000 election. Yet, the damage his presidency caused did not come from that constitutional power at all. Instead, it came from powers he gave himself not imagined by the constitution at all: further eroding Congress' war-declaration powers, as well as legalizing torture and domestic wiretapping.

That is why I am willing to look past Barack Obama's disconcerting criteria for picking judges. It's just talk, and presidents always select judges based on their how their records meshes with their own ideology. The checks and balances in the system, and his accountability to the voters, will counterbalance his views and keep our judicial system impartial.

It is Obama's commitment to rebuilding our domestic agenda - education and healthcare first and foremost - while reigning in executive expansion of power and privilege - that I trust. We can no longer afford to literally print tons and tons of money to give to defense contractors waging war for their own benefit. Using our tax dollars for such a purpose should be grounds for prosecution of the Bush Administration under the RICO statutes. Our education system is a disgrace - on its way to certain destruction under No Child Left Behind, which is nothing more than a typical CEO's bullshit of charts and numbers, quantifying everything and qualifying nothing. Bush has not lifted a finger to begin reforming our heathcare system.

Obama will no more let his ideology guide his judicial nominations that Bush did, and the Framers anticipated that. What they did not anticipate was the level of corporate influence on the elected branches of government. It is my hope that Obama - if elected - and the other ins will take a different path and turn a greater ear to the people and our future.

No comments: