Critical Section

politics after Scalia

Sunday,  02/14/16  10:40 AM

Antonin ScaliaUnless you've been out living a normal life away from a computer you will have heard; Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia has passed away, at the age of 79.  This is a pretty big deal because he was a staunch conservative, and it opens the door for current-President Obama or whomever is our next President to nominate someone considerably less conservative.  It feels like the 2016 Presidential race will take place in two parts, before Scalia, and after.

It is worth noting that in this context conservative is used in its traditional, one might even say "conservative" meaning, as one who conserves the status quo, and resists change.  Justice Scalia was apolitical, but became embroiled in politics by arguing strongly against those who wanted to have the court drive change.

President Obama has already said he will nominate a replacement, and the various Republican candidates for President, debating last night in South Carolina, have all called for the Republican-led Senate to delay confirmation of any candidate until the next President is seated.  It will be an interesting fight, and it will be played out in public.  A year is a long time to go without confirming a new judge, but it is unusual for a lame duck President to nominate a new justice.

I watched a little of the debate last night, and I must tell you, whatever softening I had in my opposition to Donald Trump has hardened again.  I will vote for anyone against Hillary Clinton, but I certainly hope it won't be Trump.  I think Trump and Sanders are both selling magic, and while that might work to get elected, it doesn't do much to make things better once you're in office.  (And I guess President Obama is exhibit A.)  This is the downside of our democracy; everyone gets to vote, and everyone isn't very smart, so we end up picking leaders with not-very-smart thinking.

I still think Ted Cruz is the smartest candidate, and support him on that basis, but perhaps Marco Rubio is the most likely to get elected running against Clinton, and so I support him on that basis.

As Winston Churchill noted, "democracy is the worst form of government, except for everything else".

PS did you see this Cruz ad now running in South Carolina, "It feels good to be a Clinton".  +1 for the Office Space reference and +1 for not letting Clinton off the hook for having a personal email server while Secretary of State.  Heh.

feels good to be a Clinton


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