Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Powell, Sotomayor, Specter

Unfortunately for Republicans, the wrong RINO decided to stay with the party. Colin Powell and Arlen Specter have nearly identical left of center viewpoints but Powell remains while Specter bolted. Powell's party affiliation doesn't matter - he's basically just a political commentator at this point - while Specter's switch gives the Democrats (potentially) a filibuster proof majority.
Powell's political commentary doesn't warrant the high regard that the MSM gives it. His basic message is that rigid conservatives like Rush Limbaugh and Dick Cheney have turned the electorate away from the GOP. The graph above (from Pew Research) refutes that assertion. There's been essentially no change in Americans' ideology over the past 16 years. It still trends strongly conservative.
Powell's also badly mistaken that the country wants bigger government and higher taxes. This was made clear by the overwhelming rejection that voters in (deep blue) California gave to tax increase proposals last Tuesday. Powell deserves deep respect for his military service and expertise but this doesn't make him particularly knowledgeable in other areas of national policy.
His explanation for his support of Obama for President was specious, in part claiming that the GOP was moving too far to the right by nominating McCain-Palin. As opposed to Bush-Cheney? Some Republicans believed it was a race thing and that was probably part of it. But I think a bigger factor was that Powell wanted to get back at the Bush administration for his having to present the faulty evidence of Iraq's WMD programs at the U.N. As one conservative put it,

"Powell cares a lot about his reputation with Washington elites, and he thinks he was badly damaged by his relationship with the Bush administration. So this is a way to make up for what he regarded as not being treated well by the Bush administration, not being given the due deference he thinks he deserves."

Before getting to Specter, a few words about Sonia Sotomayor. It was inevitable that President Obama would nominate a hard leftist for Supreme Court justice. He's not even being subtle about it, saying that the number one qualification he's looking for is "empathy". Empathy for the poor, for women, for unions and for certain minorities, that is. Having such a prejudicial attitude should disqualify Sotomayor, not commend her. As Karl Rove points out quoting Sotomayor -

"I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion [as a judge] than a white male who hasn't lived that life." Invert the placement of "Latina woman" and "white male" and have a conservative say it: A career would be finished.

Never mind that. Have a Latina Republican say it, verbatim, and her career would be finished.
Or how about this outrageous statement of Sotomayor made in 2005.

"All of the legal defense funds out there, they're looking for people with Court of Appeals experience. Because it is — Court of Appeals is where policy is made."

Anyone with such a distorted view of judicial function should be disbarred, much less be nominated for a position on the Supreme Court. At her confirmation hearing, Sotomayor will no doubt disavow these ideas or at least say they were taken out of context. Then, once confirmed she'll be free to practice her empathetic legislating from the bench.
And what does Arlen Specter think of Obama's choice?

I applaud the nomination of Judge Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. Her confirmation would add needed diversity in two ways: the first Hispanic and the third woman to serve on the high court.

...And allow the senator to further ingratiate himself with his new party. Specter's betrayal of principal for personal gain brings to mind the classic rebuke from Sir Thomas More to Richard Rich in the 1966 film "A Man For All Seasons". Paraphrasing,

Why Arlen, it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world...but for Pennsylvania.

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