Thursday, May 13, 2010

Quote of the Day

"Obama came into office promising change and people clutched that to their breasts and ran off in every direction thinking that their pet liberal/progressive cause finally had a champion who would make everything all better overnight. But sometimes change is gradual and, now sixteen months later, he is unacceptable. Quite frankly the country Obama inherited is a fucking mess and, while I’m not entirely thrilled with everything that has gone down under him, I’m willing to cut him some slack. So, have a little faith. This is not the end of the world. Pick your battles wisely and, seriously: chill the fuck out. (Again)"

-- TBogg at Firedoglake, on liberals who are screaming bloody murder about Obama's nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court

Couldn't have said it better myself. Of course I wouldn't want to be the one Jane Hamsher comes after with a kitchen knife.


Anonymous said...

Our options were him or Palin.

Like him or don't, it's not like there was any choice.

Benoît from Ottawa said...

In the past few months, even after winning (ahem) his health bill, Obama's has seemed to me quite resigned -- perhaps only patient?

In his delivery, for instance, and his tone , or strength, of voice. Or maybe it's just his way of saying "everybody calm the hell down".

(And "Fox, grow up".)

Anonymous said...

I supported Obama in the primaries and gladly voted for him in the general. That doesn't mean I have to accept the squandering of a 59 seat Senate on the appointment of one who finds the theory of the unitary executive compelling.
Republican presidents appoint rabid reactionaries to the Supreme Court. Democratic presidents appoint - at best - lukewarm, slightly left of center nominees (Sotomayor) and at worst, out-right centrists who never met duly appointed authority they didn't bow to (ie Kagen.)
Sorry, I really don't think it's asking too much for Obama to nominate a true progressive. If the best argument you got is "yeah, would McCain have been better?" I would suggest you are missing the point. From a progressive stand point, NO, McCain would not have been better because he didn’t claim to be a leftist. I’m guessing he’d have appointed far-right reactionaries. In other words, his election would have given his base what they wanted: he’d have listened to his base. Why is it asking too much for the Triangulating Hillbilly or the Chicago Hawaiian to listen to their damn base once in a while?

Benoît from Ottawa said...

This won't help:

Tracer Bullet said...

It's important to remember, too, that Obama really isn't all that liberal. He's mostly a left-leaning moderate.

That said, George W. Bush was mostly a right-leaning moderate and he appointed fire-breathing ideologues to the bench. I am sick and damn tired of Republicans using court appointments to appease the base and Democrats using court appointments to appease Republicans.

VOTAR said...

This could be due to the fact that I'm arguably not a member of any "base," but what's so wrong with a bench (somewhat more) full of centrists?

I'd much rather have a court full of judges known for their ability to examine all sides of an issue and render interpretations based on thoughtful objectivity, than a court split between two camps of rabid ideologues.

We elected Obama to unclog the pipes, and get shit done for a change. To me, centralizing the Supreme Court (or at least, dulling the traditional sharp divide between the cliques within it) is just another cog in that machinery, one which will outlive his Presidency for the benefit of us all, hopefully.

James said...

The Kagan thing bothers me as far as hardcore progressives go. We're trying SO HARD not to go on the idealogical route, the same way Bush did. We're trying to get back to GOVERNING, a la FDR to Carter.

In that respect, nominating a hard liberal to the court, a polar opposite to Scalia is completely useless because it misses the point; Scalia is useless. Clarence Thomas is useless. Alito is useless. Roberts is useless. They aren't swayed by arguments, like a good Justice should. Their decisions are predetermined.

The SCOTUS is not supposed to function in the same partisan manner as Congress. It isn't a tally of votes, it's a recognition of the law, precedent, power, and the tensile strength of the nation, what it can and should accept as it continues to evolve with changes in demographics.

Bush messed up the courts for perhaps a generation when he started firing appellate justices based on political leanings to the left. We need to pick up the pieces and leave this ultimate partisanship that the Boomers left us with if we're going to have a fighting chance at a decent government.

Kevin Davis said...

Jane Hamsher's "contribution" to the health care debate just killed FDL for me. But it's still a good point.

Katy said...

I'm going with what Votar said. Rabid liberals don't seem to realize they're no better than rabid conservatives when it comes to actually getting something done in this country and working toward fixing a broken system. I just don't mind them as much because they happen to vote the same way I do.

So, um, whatever "anonymous".

ntx said...

Agree 100% with James. The Supreme Court historically has been (and should be) essentially analogous to judging in figure skating -- you throw out the scores at either extreme to find a ruling in the center that can endure the test of time.

Respect for judicial precedent -- stare decisis -- depends on lower-case "c" conservatism. Momentous breaks with past rulings should be rare.

I say that as a progressive, who believes Kagan's mentor Justice Marshall would agree.

Anonymous said...

VOTAR and James: Scalia, Alito, Roberts and Thomas most certainly do count and the rulings they push through have been disastrous for America. Republicans will always appoint hard-right ideologues. If Democrats appoint centrists we end up with a right-wing court. It doesn’t matter what you want, it doesn’t matter how pure you want to be. Expecting Romney, or Palin, or whoever the next Republican in the White House is to appoint moderates is analogous to waiting for the Easter Bunny. A Democrat appointing moderates means an end to legal abortion, any checks on the unitary executive, any checks on torture, etc. Alito and Roberts wouldn’t even have been appointed had Fat Tony & Thomas not succeeded in pushing the execrable Bush v. Gore ruling through.
And James, as far as GOVERNING is concerned, FDR tried to pack the court and if Carter is your model of how a Democratic president should govern I suspect you are a Republican mole. Carter was a disaster from day 1 when he basically told Kennedy and O’Neil to stay the hell away until he summoned them through the Iranian Rescue fiasco, to the inept reelection bid which gave us Ronald Goddam Reagan.
Katy: One normally needs to read David Brooder to find such imbecilic “non-partisanship”.
PS: Love the quotes around anonymous. Cute touch.

Ref said...

Anon 3:29 and Tracer Bullet are right. Even if the nominee doesn't get through, it's time a Democrat made the point very bluntly (and in short words Republican voters can understand) that Republican presidents have made the Supreme Court a far, far right wing philosophy factory. There have got to be some bright YOUNG progressive lawyers and judges out there who can do a better job.

But I guess we shouldn't worry. After all, there might be another chance to appoint in six or seven years.

James said...

Ummm, anon? No.

A democrat appointing a moderate serves as an example. As you've probably experienced over and over, you cannot expect to convince a shrill, extreme view out of that shrill, extreme view.

You're quite aware of the saying, "an eye for an eye makes the world blind?" That's what you're advocating here, when we've LITERALLY seen what happens when you try to confront extremism with extremism.

Like it or not, the only extremists on the court are Thomas, Scalia, Roberts, and Alito. Scalia was nominated by Reagan and he has proved to be nothing more than an extreme view, and without him, Thomas wouldn't know what to do. Alito and Roberts are simply morons nominated by an extremist moron.

But you know what? Kennedy was nominate by Reagan and upheld abortion and gay rights. Stevens was nominated by Ford, yet was a liberal voice. And Sandra Day O'Connor was appointed by Reagan as well, but was a moderate that swung left due to her case-by-case approach. You can have moderates on the court; you don't have to nominate hard liners to maintain "balance." You put the people who do the damn job.

Also, don't try to critique my analysis of governing. I'm well aware of FDR's court packing announcement, which really backfired, and I would have mentioned it if it were pertinent (because the justices changed their tune). FDR was a goddamn DEITY when it came to America, and he couldn't do it. Obama wouldn't stand a chance. And I would've said "through the Clinton Administration" but then you'd bitch about Alito and Thomas, two men that I've already outlined are useless when it comes to actual decision making.

I'd advise you to take a few breathes and calm the fuck down. I know what I'm talking about, while you accuse anyone of disagreeing with you as being a Republican plant.

I love FDR. I love Teddy Roosevelt. LBJ is one of my heroes. I think Carter isn't given the credit he deserves. Reagan was a terrible decision. I drank champagne until I couldn't feel my face when Obama was elected. I took my lady out dancing in our best when the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed. I wrote to my local paper every day to explain what exactly all the data meant (because a lot of it was legal technical jargon and I was a law student). I may be published in the near future for some extensive research on cost containment in our health care system, which is basically a giant fuck you to conservative arguments while it explains what is causing increased costs and how to control them in a humane, pragmatic way.

So For the record, I'm a Democrat. And for the record, you're a douche.

In conclusion, you can eat me.

Ref said...

James. Chill.

What's the point of "setting an example" for someone who isn't watching or listening? The process of vetting these nominees is now so extensive that you won't see a Brennan, Warren, or even a closet moderate like Souter nominated again. Your credentials as a legal scholar take a hit when you characterize brilliant ideologues like Roberts and Alito as "morons." You've got to respect these people if you're going to have a chance to deal with them.

Nobody is saying we need a screaming leftist in the seat. We do need, though, a principled progressive who has the personality and intellectual weight to move those mountains. Kagan has the last part, but I've seen nothing that shows me she will actively oppose the expansion of corporate citizenship or the curtailment of personal freedom.

Anonymous said...

Ref: Don't waste your time arguing with James. When you get to "you're a douche and you can eat me" you will see his intellect in all its glory.
A real deep thinker that James.