Monthly Archives: March 2016

Obama displays a certain lack of cynicism: White male sacrificial lamb for SCOTUS plays it safe

President Obama has nominated D.C. Circuit Chief Judge Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court.  We had figured that Obama could never nominate a white male, and would go all-in and nominate someone who shares his judicial philosophy—i.e., a leftist in the mode of Sonia Sotomayor.

That would accomplish two things:   (1) Put someone up that he truly would like to see on the Court, in the event that Republicans were to cave and move the nomination.  (2) Failing that, rile up the base, adding the charges of RACISM to the usual OBSTRUCTIONISM.

We figure that if President Obama felt that he had a high probability of getting someone confirmed, and/or was bracing for a fight, he would choose someone like D.C. Circuit Judge Sri Srinivasan, who has the benefit of a somewhat stealth philosophy as well as a history of being approved by a recent Senate with unanimous Republican support.

Instead, we read the choice of Garland as a resignation on Obama’s part that he won’t get confirmed.  It’s a safe choice in that sense, as Garland will go back to his important job, and probably won’t risk having any dirt dug up.  We assume there isn’t any:  Garland has been a typical career-government liberal Circuit Judge for two decades, and the circus surrounding his nomination won’t change his life much, nor will it diminish his chances to be nominated by a future Democrat president (though he’s getting a bit old).  There’s little down-side to the president or to Garland.

(Of course, choosing someone as a sacrificial lamb displays a certain type of cynicism, but if he believed that he has no chance at confirmation, then Obama’s choice of Garland is less cynical than some possible alternatives.)

We can imagine Obama’s conversations with the likes of the NAACP, National Council of La Raza, and other leftist groups, to the effect of, I have decided that my nominee has no chance.  I won’t put up a minority as a token/martyr who would be harmed by the process.

We find it hard to imagine Obama being so magnanimous when faced with an opportunity to engage in racial rabble-rousing.  So we remain open to alternative explanations.

Maybe Obama is just lazy, phoning-in this nomination of an easy choice, as he has been doing with so much else toward the end of his term?

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Advice to Marco Rubio for positioning for a future presidential run

There will be plenty of postmortems dissecting how Marco Rubio went from Tea Party darling Senator-elect in 2010 to a humiliating flame-out in this year’s presidential election.

The five obvious reasons, in order of importance, we think, are:

1.  His leadership of the “Gang of Eight” amnesty scheme.

2.  His leadership of the “Gang of Eight” amnesty scheme.

3A.  His robotic persona in the debates.

3B.  His resemblance to Barack Obama in 2008:  a blank slate, with few accomplishments and no executive experience, who says the right things on the surface—allowing voters to project whatever specific viewpoints they wished upon him—and checks the diversity boxes.  (Notwithstanding (3A), Rubio’s rhetoric is, of course, more substantive than Obama’s.)

3C.  Later in the race, his association with the D.C. establishment.

 

Although we are glad that the primary campaign served its purpose of vetting candidate Rubio, we can’t help but feel a bit disappointed that he didn’t live up to his promise.  To take one example, his speech after President Obama announced his appeasement of Cuba in December 2014 was outstanding.

It is certainly plausible that he could come back.  At 44, he has decades of opportunity left in him.  How he uses the first of those decades will speak to his character and his seriousness to be a viable presidential candidate.

The best course of action for Rubio would be to run for governor of Florida in 2018, when Gov. Rick Scott (R) cannot run again due to term limits.  Rubio needs the executive credentials and gravitas that would come from such a stint.  Of course an electoral loss would derail him (though it didn’t in Richard Nixon’s case, though he had already accumulated a more substantive resume), but he needs to take the risk.

Another alternative would be to angle for a cabinet position—something far away from immigration—like Secretary of Education or Secretary of Transportation.  A university presidency would not be as beneficial, but if he governs like Mitch Daniels, then it could be a step in the right direction.

Of course he should repudiate his actions as part of the “Gang of Eight.”  We don’t think that this will be a major challenge, as President Trump will provide cover by, in concert with Congress, completely changing the way that the U.S. implements immigration policy.  (If Hillary Clinton wins, then no one as conservative as Marco Rubio is ever likely to be elected president again, so this whole discussion would be moot.)

A Fox News gig in the meantime would be OK.  We hope that he doesn’t sit out the political debate and then come riding back onto the scene out of nowhere.  We hope that he does not take the petulant step of resigning from the Senate early.  Though it would give the Republicans the benefit of incumbency following an appointment by Gov. Scott, such a move is not statesman-like.

What he especially should not do is to trod the familiar path of retired establishment politicians and take a high-paying, non-work job in a law or lobbying firm, investment bank, or private equity firm—and then present himself to us again in eight or twelve or sixteen years’ time with only that additional resume item.  Such an occupation would do nothing but reinforce his lack of executive credentials and his membership in the D.C. establishment.  Spending his prime years as a high-class Republican community organizer wouldn’t mitigate the perception of him as another Barack Obama.

No doubt Rubio, who has suffered financial challenges, wants to cash in—and we never begrudge someone that—but if he’s serious about mounting another presidential campaign, he’s going to have to find a way to do more than that.

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Trump chooses not to play the liberals’ grovelling game

The latest phony outrage surrounding Donald Trump’s campaign is his refusal to “disavow” statements of support from some group or other.  Good for him.

The left loves to play the game of denounce, apologize, and grovel.  The MSM attempts to define the bounds of legitimate debate, and never passes up an opportunity to manufacture outrage to serve its own ends.  It is unbecoming of the right to fall into this trap.

Donald Trump plays the no-apology game well.  Even if he believes that the Ku Klux Klan, or David Duke, or whoever, does not bring to the table a point of view that is legitimate in our political discourse, it does not necessarily follow that he must jump on the bandwagon to condemn them.  He gains nothing from it.  He understands that to apologize for something that he didn’t do only weakens him.  He never avowed the KKK in the first place, so he has nothing to disavow.

His honesty is also refreshing.  He “doesn’t want to tick off anybody that might vote for him.”  People will vote for him based on all kinds of motivations, which are irrelevant to Trump.  No obligation is created by accepting someone’s vote.

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