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Legacy Chooses

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Ian Walsh believes President Obama is just about done being proactive. I agree.

The Republican/conservative brightness before the burn out I keep thinking is happening, only gets brighter and brighter, and not in a good way. As the Birthers, Tea baggers, and generally just mad at the world types, descend upon the town hall meetings, I realize that my imagining of their behavior falls quantitatively short of their capabilities.

Then, Ian had this to say:

They took the lesson of the Clinton administration to be "don't enflame (sic) the fanatics on the right--avoid social issues, and don't slash the military".  They were, of course, wrong: the radical right (and there is hardly a non-radical right left) will oppose Obama no matter what he does and if Obama is unwilling to use to the full might of the administrative apparatus against them, they will simply take advantage of his weakness to escalate.  Tactics which are seen to work, will not be abandoned, to the contrary, they will be used more and more.
don't enflame (sic) the fanatics on the right--avoid social issues

Suddenly, my imagination made a quantum jump that pictured a radical increase in the use of deadly force, with a resultant increase in dead minorities (including gay, lesbian, and transgenders).

Now, I am not about to believe one way or another that President Obama understood this possible scenario. Still, to pick health care as his first major policy push might have been for other reasons besides the time was right. Regardless of whether he recognized it was a policy that could result in the least amount of insanity and violence, in the end, it is what happened.

Ask yourself this; had President Obama picked an African American jurist for the Supreme Court, just what kind of push back do you think would have happened? Unlike health care, an African American nominee to the Supreme Court is a racial element that would have inflamed the radical right even more then the current push for health reform. I don't know about you, but my imagination in this situation includes some serious killings, maybe even a lynching or three.

What? You think that's too far? If there are calls by influential leaders of the radical right for people to bring guns to town hall meetings, my suggestion of lynchings had President Obama attempted to place an African American on the Supreme Court is going to far? Considering how easy it is for the radical right followers to kill gays, lesbians, and transgenders during less politically decisive times, any push to end DADT, or otherwise legislate equal rights for sexual orientation, would suddenly result in a decrease of killings? We are talking about a section of the electorate that thinks it is funny to print out liberal hunting licenses.

So, for whatever reason, President Obama went the path of least resistance. But, Ian is right. No matter what policy the President pursues, the radical right will fight back. And they will use any action they perceive to have already been effective. If the push for health reform does stall, and no bill is forthcoming this year, I too believe the President is dead in the water. He will achieve no further legislative goals. And even if he does pass health care reform, I still believe he's dead in the water, simply because the radical right, already inflamed and instilled with an Armageddon mindset, will simply believe the end is nigh and make a homicidal/suicidal push. They are going to take as many with them as possible.

In my opinion, any further legislative attempts by the President and violence is assured. It is already occurring. If President Obama manages to shove a version of health reform through congress, he's going to be faced with one angry, pissed off radical right. He will pretty much be unable to overcome any further resistance because civil unrest is only going to continue. Chances are, it will take up most of his administration's attention.

So, once he's done with as much of the legislative work he can realistically achieve, I suggest he turn his attention to judicial/legal house cleaning. Unleash the Justice Department and force a searching and fearless constitutional inventory of our government. There is a world of hurt in it, with much latent corruption and incompetence set to cause further decades of pain and suffering, thereby weakening our country. If he truly wants to be seen as an agent of change, the more important task he faces is exposure of the past administration's eight years of malfeasance and criminality. Hell, cleaning up the last 30 years of modern conservative governance is one damn fine legacy, if you ask me.

Now, I do not believe President Obama wants that for a legacy. But most people do not get to choose their destiny, it chooses them.

My Intuition Calling

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This move to fight the gay marriage ban strikes me as right. Mustang Bobby is cautioning that a quick move to the Supreme Court could cause a backlash, as seen with several other cases. However, those cases were not quickly rushed to the courts, but made their way through the usual process of courts, appeals, etc., until they appeared before the SCOTUS.

This whole movement for gay marriage has happened quite quickly. In my 47+ years*, I've never seen social change occur at this pace. No doubt, it seems to be the tone for this particular issue, California and Florida not withstanding. For there to be a quick move to address this issue in front of the SCOTUS is in complete harmony with the advent of this topic. My gut tells me this will work out. I wish I could point to something concrete facts to support my intuition, but I can't. But then, if I could, it would be called reasoning, not intuition. Duh!

Oh, and as a side note, in a not totally unrelated topic, the California Supreme Court did not rule the ban on gay marriage to be constitutional. At least not from what I read of the decision. What they did was hold up the process by which the ban was passed. Hopefully, Californians will pull their collective heads out of their collective asses, and reform their ballot initiative process. Because, quite frankly, Proposition 13 has destroyed them. But then, what the hell do you expect when you number it 13?

* Yes, I'm old. What of it?

Missing The Point

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Okay, look. The conservatives don't have a problem with empathy. They have a problem with where that empathy is employed. If it's employed towards minorities, BAD. If it's employed towards old white guys, GOOD.

Got that?

If you need a more in depth discussion on the whole judicial empathy kerfuffle, go read GG.

Thank God For Other Blogs

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If it weren't for other blogs, well, I'd never discover the true depth of conservative stupidity.

(TPM) According to Hill reporter Alexander Bolton, "This has prompted some Republicans to muse privately about whether Sotomayor is suggesting that distinctive Puerto Rican cuisine such as patitas de cerdo con garbanzo -- pigs' tongue and ears -- would somehow, in some small way influence her verdicts from the bench."

Curt Levey, the executive director of the Committee for Justice, a conservative-leaning advocacy group, said he wasn't certain whether Sotomayor had claimed her palate would color her view of legal facts but he said that President Obama's Supreme Court nominee clearly touts her subjective approach to the law.

Slightly gobsmacked, I called Bolton earlier today and asked him whether this was for real--whether any conservatives were genuinely raising this issue. He confirmed, saying, "a source I spoke to said people were discussing that her [speech] had brought attention...she intimates that what she eats somehow helps her decide cases better."

Bolton said the source was drawing, "a deductive link," between Sotomayor's thoughts on Puerto Rican food and her other statements. And I guess the chain goes something like this: 1). Sotomayor implied that her Latina identity informs her jurisprudence, 2). She also implied that Puerto Rican cuisine is a crucial part of her Latina identity, 3). Ergo, her gastronomical proclivities will be a non-negligible factor for her when she's considering cases before the Supreme Court.

Got it? Good. This is the conservative opposition to Sotomayor.

See, what's nice about other blogs is that I don't have to wallow through an entire article of standard batshit crazy just to get to this phenomenally stupid conservative talking point. In this particular case, I was able to cull the above piece of "wtf" from TPM by way of Mustang Bobby. The end result, I don't have to wipe up the green discharge of my brain leaking out of my ears.

Oh, and what is it about the people with the last name of Bolton? Are they all naturally insane, or is it a curse that comes with the name?

She's Got My Vote

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Unfortunately, I'm not a senator.

(NYT) She loved Nancy Drew mysteries, she once said, and yearned to be a police detective. But a doctor who diagnosed her childhood diabetes suggested that would be difficult. She traded her adoration of Nancy for an allegiance to Perry -- she became a fan of Perry Mason on television, she said, and decided to become a lawyer.
Que copious amounts of Perry Mason reruns on TBS.

Hat Tip Steve Benen

Update: Here are the relevant Legacy Media links about Judge Sonia Sotomayor's nomination to the Supreme Court: BBC, CNN, MSNBC, NYT, StarTribune, Washington Post.

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