Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Alito, SOTU, and Cindy Does it Again

Today was one of those whirlwind political event days where we were treated to the confirmation vote of now Justice Samuel Alito(only the 110th in our nation's history, second most select company behind the Presidency) and the State of the Union address. I really have very little to say since I happen to believe such speeches are political spectacles and not actual policymaking events. I guess that is me being cynical.


I was glad to see Samuel Alito confirmed. I think he is a level headed judge who will practice restraint and interpret laws based on what the Constitution actually says. I think he has proper respect for precedent but will not be bound if a case opens the door for interpreting law in a different light. Regardless of what the Democrats think, I do not believe Alito will bring minorities and women in submission to white male power nor do I think he is set to hand President Bush a license to run a dicatatorship. Yes he and Roberts are conservative, but that's what happens when you win elections; you get to choose people of similar ideology to serve in such capacticies. Besides, at some point a Democrat will get elected and nominate a liberal which will keep the court fairly balanced.

I did find it interesting that for all the talk over the past six months about how weak the President was politically with sub-50 approval ratings and various storms brewing in and around the White House, his Administration did manage to get a conservative judge confirmed to the court by a decent margin. Either the President is not was weak as we think or the Democrats are even worse off that the President.


I watched the speech because I enjoy the pomp and historical signifigance. I thought it was a good speech for Bush in terms of oratory. I always approach such speeches cynically even thought I support Bush for the most part. The high points for me were: permanant tax cuts, reducing the deficit(especially line item veto), tough stance on terrorism, Iran, and the war in Iraq, and the Social Security commission(though we all know these kinds of things always go nowhere). The low points were any and all education initiatives, healthcare initiatives, and the energy plan. I do think education is important but how much money are we going to pour into it and still watch the public schools get worse. Also, I think healthcare is important but again how much money is the Federal government going to hand out on this issue. I agree with the oil dependency line, but suggesting ethanol which is not an adequate alternative is silly and pretty much a throwaway line just so everyone can cheer about ending the oil dependency.

I did not see the Democratic response which was given by newly sworn-in Virginia Governor Tim Kaine. I choosing a state level Democrat is telling. One, he is a young and fresh face to most Americans which makes him more captivating and he is from Virginia, a Bush state, which means he is likely to be a moderate Democrat. Secondly, I think Democrats in Congress, particularly ones in the Senate have almost no credibility at this point, especially after the Alito confirmation. The Democrats know if they trot out the same troupe of politicians who have been seen so many times, it is an immediate turn off to the viewer. This was a fairly smart move for the Democrats.

Cindy Sheehan

As it turns out, putting Tim Kaine up there was the only smart move the Democrats had all night. Cindy Sheehan, anti-war protester and thug dicatator sympathizer, was given a gallery pass by Rep. Lynn Woolsey, of--wait for it--California! Of course Sheehan could not pass up such a monumental opportunity to make a complete fool of herself by getting arrested for revealing an anti-war slogan on a T-shirt she had on under her coat. Protests and shirts with such messages are forbidden inside the House chamber and after being warned she refused to answer and was subsequently arrested.

Once again, I am sorry this woman lost her son, but she is way, way past the point where that is even relevant to the kinds of things she does now. I honestly think her fifteen minutes are up, but no one else seems to agree. Also, I wonder where she is getting her PR or political advice from. The best thing she could have done was stay in her seat because the networks would have put her on the air probably five times during the speech. I mean they showed Hilary Clinton at least that many times, so I can assume Sheehan would have gotten the royal treatment from ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN. Instead of sitting tight and being a presence in the room, a reminder of what she stands for and a counterpoint to Bush's message on the war, she becomes a news blurb and a mockery. Not that I mind, because I have absolutely no respect for this woman and I think she is expoiting her son's honorable sacrifice for this nation and she is allowing herself to be used by some of the worst elements of the Democratic party. She just does not seem to get that while support for the war is spilt in this country, I find most people think what she does crosses the line between respectful disagreement and outright hatred against the nation itself.

So to sum up: Alito=Good. Bush speech=Mix bag of nuts, which means I like the peanuts and cashews, but not so crazy about the almonds. Cindy Sheehan=Clueless and at this point somewhat pitiful. Which means I hope she does run for Senate because the entertainment vaule would be fabulous.

Nice analysis

Alito: When you have the majority in Congress it doesn't matter what the President's approval ratings are. And I don't trust him farther than I can throw him.
It will be interesting to see how he votes on key issues. Of course we all know at some point the Democrats will get back in the White House and offer up liberal judges to maintain the balance. Besides, I think the court may be leaning a little more to the right, but not enough to radically upset the balance.
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