Sunday, September 14, 2008

So When Did This Become A Political Blog?

This was the question posted by an anonymous commenter. And it signals to me that this person has been a regular visitor. If so, it would be nice to know who you are so that I can thank you for being a loyal reader, and perhaps we can generate some dialog.

That question is actually a pretty complicated one, so much so that I'm dedicating a whole post to it. First, the short answer is that, as the sole contributor and owner of this blog, I feel free to include whatever content as I see fit. And if you go back into my archives, you'll find any number of opinions, from soccer, to aviation and yes, on politics.

I once considered myself a moderate Republican. I think I even registered that way when I became eligible to vote at 18 in the state of New Jersey. Back then the Republican party was closer to the center while the Democrats were much farther to the left. At least that's the way it seemed to me. After the ineffectual Carter presidency, it seemed sensible to vote for Ronald Reagan, and the first vote I cast for President was for him in his reelection year of 1984. I also voted for George H.W. Bush in 1988. But by then the neo-conservative and evangelical christian forces had sunk their hooks deep into the Republican party. Then the party took majority of control of Congress led by Newt Gingrich. Any remnant of bipartisan cooperation was obliterated. When the party took a position on an issue, they claimed sovereignty of the issue. If you didn't agree with their position, then you were cast as a leftist liberal; no middle ground was given. Republicans even declared that they no longer worked for all of their consituents, they only worked for the constituents who voted for them. For myself, it was time to get off the bus.

But that isn't even the reason why I have decided to vote for Senator Obama. For me, this election boils down to an issue that is larger than any other issue being debated in this campaign, by far. It's an issue that affects our way of life and how we are allowed to pursue our freedom as envisioned by our Founding Fathers. I am referring to nothing less than our system of government and the document that created it. It's the document that I gave nine years of my life in service of its armed forces to protect. I am talking about the United States Constitution.

For those unfamiliar with the Constitution (and sadly, far too many Americans are), it lays out a system of government designed such that no one branch of the government can usurp the other branch thereby keeping a system of checks and balances. Now in case you haven't been paying attention for the last seven years, there have been numerous threats to the rule of law in this country. As excerpted from Power Play: The Bush Presidency and the Constitution by James P. Pfiffner, the Bush administration "abrogated the rule of law by taking actions not authorized by law and sometimes directly against the law." To wit:

--He created military commissions entirely within the executive branch and in doing so ignored U.S. laws that provided authority and procedures for establishing military commissions;

--He used the term "enemy combatant" to exempt the government from granting persons so labeled legal and constitutional rights;

--He denied the writ of habeas corpus to U.S. citizens as well as other detainees suspected of terrorism;

--He suspended the Geneva Conventions, which, because they were agreed to in a treaty, are the "supreme Law of the Land," according to Article VI of the Constitution;

--He authorized the interrogation of detainees using techniques that most of the world considers torture, and which violate the Geneva Conventions and U.S. law;

--He ordered the National Security Agency to monitor the communications of Americans without a warrant as required by FISA; and

--He asserted the sweeping right to ignore more than 1,000 provisions of public law because he deemed them to be in conflict with his authority as president.
The branch of our government chartered to uphold the rule of law in this country is, of course, the judiciary. Right now, the Supreme Court has four justices that are considered conservative, four that are liberal, and one who is considered a swing vote. (It is almost ironic that John Paul Stevens, an appointee of President Ford in 1975, is seen as a liberal mainstay.) From my readings and observances, it is generally agreed that a court split down the middle with a swing vote is a desirable situation. This is where things begin to get complicated. One of the neo-con right's tactics in their desire to create a theocracy in this country has been to attack the judicial system as inherently liberal (that's their cover, where else have we seen that before?) and then strive to place judges in the system that will rule to support their narrow views of basic human values. Senator McCain plans to do exactly that.

Before the end of the next president's term, no less than six justices will be over the age of 70. This includes the entire liberal wing, with Justice Stevens crossing north of age 90. What this means is that the next President will have the responsibility of appointing as few as two and as many as four or more justices to the Supreme Court. The next President will be responsible for the ideological makeup of the Supreme Court possibly for the next generation.

Forget the issues the candidates are talking about. Forget the economy. Forget the war. Forget the best shade of pig lipstick. There is no issue more important to me than the preservation of our Constitution and the First Amendment. Rights that guarantee that citizens can worship in whatever manner they choose, or not at all. Rights that keep public education free from undue influence and bias. It protects the reproductive rights of our women. It guarantees that citizens can't be held without charge. To me, the thought of a McCain Court scares the piss out of me. That is why I am voting for Barack Obama.

So there you have it. I hate politics. It's slimy, dirty, messy, practiced for the most part by liars and hypocrites. In some ways, I hope that by laying out my "manifesto", I don't have to talk about it again. So maybe this was cathartic in a way. I'm not going to tell you how to vote, but I urge you to go out with an open mind, do your research, learn the facts, and vote. Thank you.

I'll get pictures up eventually.

15 astute observations :

  1. Anonymous said...

    Interesting, I didn't realize Bush was running again. I thought it was some other guy.

  2. Anonymous said...

    Constitution and the First Amendment
    "Rights that guarantee that citizens can worship in whatever manner they choose"
    I didn't know this one was under attack.
    "Rights that keep public education free from undue influence and bias"
    Are we talking creationism or unions because it's debatable which influence is the most menacing?
    "It protects the reproductive rights of our women"
    This sounds so much better than abortion.
    "It guarantees that citizens can't be held without charge"
    You mean like the Duke lacrosse team?
    "Barack Obama"
    Socialist or Social Worker? And what exactly did he organize? Is this another Jimmy Carter? Wasn't Jimmy Carter president during the last big economic meltdown?

  3. richmanwisco said...

    I didn't know this one was under attack.
    If "Faith Based Initiatives" doesn't make your skin crawl, then you're a theocrat just like the rest of them.

    Are we talking creationism or unions because it's debatable which influence is the most menacing?
    Of course I'm talking creationism, a purely religious fiction. If you want to invoke unions to cloud the issue, do so on your own blog.

    This sounds so much better than abortion.
    Abortion. There, I said it. Who the hell am I to tell a woman what to do with her body?

    You mean like the Duke lacrosse team?
    Okay, I'll bite. If memory serves, there was no crime, the DA was disbarred, and the accused will be made whole by the courts. You know what? You made my point for me. Thanks.

    Socialist or Social Worker? And what exactly did he organize? Is this another Jimmy Carter? Wasn't Jimmy Carter president during the last big economic meltdown?
    Straight from the talking points. You've been watching too much Sean Hannity. I expected better.

  4. Anonymous said...

    Since you seem to have some level on interest in the influence of the Supreme Count over the politics of the U.S. I suggest you study the history the court and discount most of Cass R. Sunsteins article. Like all of us, Sunstein's analysis appears heavily influenced by his personal politics. A number of items in the article that are presented as fact, may be questionable at best.
    I'd hold the pronouncements regarding Bush or the McCain Court as some unique and unprecedented attract on the Constitution.
    One of my personal favors and where I'd start is the use of the Commerce Clause by a Federalist leaning court to minimums the powers granted by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights to the States.
    Be careful with the States Rights question relative to civil rights. Admittedly the Commerce Clause was used effectively to introduce the Federal Government into arenas of power historically reserved for the States and yes, we all support the results.
    But the question here is academic, not a moral. Did the authors of the Constitution grant the Federal Government the right to interject itself into the business of the States. And did the authors expect the Court to interpret the Commerce Clause accordingly and does the intent of the authors really matter?

  5. richmanwisco said...

    Which is a very long winded way of saying that a long standing precedent should be overturned on the Commerce Clause condition that it wasn't a Constitutional matter to begin with, starting with, say Roe v Wade? Please, go on, but I warn you, I am not a Constitutional scholar, I may just fall asleep.

  6. Anonymous said...

    No, you're missing the point. It has very little to do with Row v Wade or the McCain Court. The Constitution has been buffeted by the ebbs and flows of politics since it's inception. There's nothing new and nothing to fear. Vote your believes but not out of fear.

  7. richmanwisco said...

    I appreciate the clarification, I now understand where you were going. And were we having this conversation 14 years ago, I would agree fully. But the climate, largely created by the conservative right wing and explained in the original post completely changed the calculus. In my opinion, stacking the Supreme Court was the quid pro quo for the conservative right to put them in power. That way the right could succeed in the appellate where they failed in the legislature. I would welcome a return to the day when a nominated justice didn't have to answer to his views on morality. I guess I'm just cynical that way.

  8. Anonymous said...

    It is interesting that some people would vote for Obama, who has less experience with goverment, than George Bush did when he ran for president. We all know what a fiasco that turned out to be. McCain, who has served the United States with distinction both in the Armed Services and as an elected member of goverment is to be tried for Bush's transgressions, rather than his own record. Shame!

  9. Anonymous said...

    Dear #8

    But it's a great strategy. Connect McCain to the fiasco. If you can connect McCain in the eyes of the average voter with the sins of Bush then Obama is a winner. The interesting aspect of the strategy is historically McCain has not been a mainstream Republican. How on earth do you connect that with Bush. I've always considered McCain a right wing Democrat. Which brings up another interesting thought, we have the most liberal Republican senator running against the most liberal Democratic senator. I don't think the Republicans even have a dog in the race.

    The part of the Democratic strategy that confuses me is raising the question of Palin's experience. They're correct, Palin does not have the experience to serve as President but Obama has even less. Palin has served in an executive role while Obama was a community organizer coming out of the most corrupt political system in the country. It doesn't exactly create a lot of confidence in the U.S. electorate.

  10. Anonymous said...

    richmanwisco, I hear all the blab... blab... blab about the Supreme Court. You seem like an intelligent guy, what's up with the Obama nonsense?

  11. Anonymous said...

    I support the position of the Constitution guy. Characterizing abortion as a question of women's rights is not completely accurate. Some people who are not religiously incline consider abortion a form of murder. Agree or disagree that is their position. To suggest any and all anti abortion sentiment is rooted in some kind of religious fanaticism is patently wrong. And to suggest all non believes fully support abortion is ridiculous. Abortion should not be decided by the McCain Court or the Obama Court. I think we need a Constitutional amendment or leave it to the States?

  12. richmanwisco said...

    Still sawing the experience log? Hasn't Governor Palin demonstrated beyond a shadow of doubt that lack of intelligence far outweighs any experience? And our president was a two term governor; that should have made him the best president ever based on experience, right?

  13. Anonymous said...

    Come on richman, get on point.

    Both my neighbor Jeff and I do not have the experience to quarterback the New York Jets. The assessment Jeff is a better athlete than I does not change the fact Jeff is not qualified for the position. I seriously question the critical thinking of someone who thinks otherwise or falls for the silly fuzzy logic. I guess it is not silly if it plays with the swing voters.

    Very simple, if you are questioning Palin's experience they have you looking the wrong way. Good for them and shame on you.

    Questioning Palin's experience is a Democratic tactic, not mine. I am just surprised it still has legs. It seem to play with you which intrigues me.

    Palin is as dumb as a deer in the headlights therefore Obama will make a wonderful President. What kind of strange logic is that?

    Let me try one more time.

    richman logic

    A < 0

    B < 0

    A < B therefore B > 0

    # 9 logic

    A < 0

    B < 0

    A < B therefore B < 0

    But # 9 you are missing something

    A < 0

    B < 0

    C ~ Community Organizer = 1

    Therefore B + C > 0

    Now I completely understand. Someone get me an Obama sign for my front yard.

    Come on, just admit it. You like the idea of Obama. Experience is not part of your equation.

  14. richmanwisco said...

    Alright, I have fallen for the threadjack. Let's keep the comments to the thesis of the original post, please.

  15. Anonymous said...

    I give up. You're too though to bait .....