Well, since I’ve been pretty much out of commission for several days, I thought I’d just voice a couple of political opinions.
1. Arlen the Wonder Senator has decided to switch parties. I lived in PA for 13 years, and Mr. Specter never received my vote, nor would he; the term RINO was coined with Arlen Specter in mind. He has always represented to me a lot of what is wrong with our government, and so there’s a big part of me that says, “good riddance”; his leaving is one more step toward clarifying the Republican Party’s mission (even though, as just about a full-fledged libertarian now, I’m not sure how relevant that fact is. Still, of course, of the two major parties, I’ll take the wimps over the Socialists.). Mr. Specter admitted that his move was almost entirely politically motivated; Pat Toomey was going to take him out in the Republican primary after he crossed the TARP Rubicon, and for the naked sake of his further political career, he decided to jump ship rather than have the Republican primary voters decide his fate. That’s just about exactly what you’d expect from this gutless wonder; after serving as a Republican senator for nearly thirty years, who better to decide his fate than the Republicans who supported his career for three decades? The downside, of course, is that in theory, the Democrats, once the Joke from Minnesota is seated, will have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, though Specter may not be much more loyal a Dem than he was a Republican, and might vote with a filibuster if things go too far down the track (as, for that matter, might Democrats like Evan Bayh, Blanche Lincoln, Ben Nelson, and Kent Conrad, among others). But get ready for an interesting ride, and pray that there’s something left of our country to salvage by the time the 2010 and 2012 elections roll around.
2. Justice David Souter has decided to retire. “Good riddance” is definitely the term to use for this perfectly-awful Justice, one of the biggest mistakes of Bush I’s administration. If you remember, of course, in the highly-politicized world of the U.S. Senate, where the Democrat politicians have managed to turn every Republican president’s nominee’s confirmation hearings into a ridiculous circus, Bush wimped out and chose a guy whose judicial philosophy was almost totally unknown–and that fill-in-the-blank turned out to be another in a long line of folks for whom the written Constitution is a nice concept, but really pretty irrelevant to the actual matter at hand, that being social re-engineering according to the dictates of the contemporary (liberal) intelligentsia. It’s the whole “living Constitution” thing. I like the inestimable Robert Bork’s idea, that he has no problem with a “living Constitution”, but he has a massive problem with a wildly-mutating one–which is the exact vision that David Souter has for American jurisprudence.
Now, Comrade Obama has weighed in, and he pledges that he will name a Supreme Court justice who combines “empathy and understanding.” Great. As in other things, the man has no idea what he’s doing. “Empathy and understanding”? Please. I want that in my grandmother, but I couldn’t care less if the entire Supreme Court collectively underwent an empathotomy. Not a shred of “empathy” matters one whit when it comes to the task of serving as a justice, because it’s not one whit about the feelings of a particular Court member; it’s totally about one thing: what does the Constitution say (and then, how does it apply to a given case?)? Sure, people who take that approach may differ on the final answer to a given question, but when we inject bogus nonsense like “empathy” into the equation, we base our jurisprudence on the less-than-shaky foundation of sentiment.
And that, my friends, is a recipe for disaster.
3. Comrade Obama has instructed his top government dudes and dudettes to search high and low for 90 days and find a way to cut $100 million from the budget. Sound impressive? It’s a joke, an utter shell-game joke–as this wonderful video analogy, courtesy of my little buddy Don, illustrates: