Winning the Supreme Court

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A lot is being made on both sides of the political aisle of the future of the Supreme Court, and both major party candidates are prospectively expected to replace at least one or two Justices in their futures should they win the Presidency.

Although the next President will have a decision or two to make on the Supreme Court front, he or she has an important partner in that decision: the US Senate. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is where the Supreme Court can be won.

It’s a common perception that Presidents will pick Justices in line with the same political and ideological bent as the President picking them. That’s half true. When Democrats and Leftists get into power, they have no trouble picking similarly-minded people to fill vacancies. That’s how we got Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan. (But more on that in a bit.)

When it comes to Republicans…the reverse tends to be true. Sure, you’ll get a conservative Justice once in a while, but more often than not, Republicans don’t get the conservative Justice they want and compromise on a moderate Justice.

That’s where the Senate comes into the equation. Under current interpretation of the Constitution, Supreme Court Justices undergo confirmation hearings where both sides do their best to malign or deify the nominee. When it comes to the Left, they bring their A games. When it comes to the Right, they bring their C- games. A lot of that has to do with who is in the Senate. There are few rock-ribbed conservatives in the Senate, and those who are usually aren’t on the Judiciary Committee. That plum of an assignment tends to go to party hacks who are more concerned about getting along than getting the job done.

Then, when it gets to the full Senate, the Republican party hacks get their surrender pants on and cave. Remember Robert Bork and Douglas Ginsburg? Remember the Clarence Thomas hearings? Now, remember the Kagan and Sotomayor hearings? Remember David Souter, Anthony Kennedy, and John Roberts and how they were more squishy than principled? The dance was different, but the song remained the same: the Left gets what it wants, while the Right gets to capitulate without getting any positive PR for it.

With the 2016 election, it’s important to consider what the head of each major party’s ticket will do for candidates further down the ballot. Republicans have to defend more Senate candidates, which may give Democrats a bit of an edge. A lot will depend on how the Democrats can make either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders attractive to the Democrat base so their turnout is greater than the Republicans. If that happens, Democrats can take back the Senate and have a shot to take back the House.

On the other side, Republicans typically don’t need much of a reason to go out and vote. To them, it’s more of a duty than a task, and they take it very seriously. Having said that, Republican turnout has to at least match Democrat turnout for there to be any hope of holding the Senate. Then, it becomes a matter of which brand of conservatism holds the Senate. If it’s the conservatism of a Ted Cruz, then the next President will have a bit more spine. If it’s the conservatism of a Mitch McConnell, then a Jello spine it is!

Picking a President to nominate Supreme Court Justices is only half the battle. That President needs a Senate to uphold his or her ideological vision for the Supreme Court to truly change in a significant way.

How She Did It

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With the release of the House report on Benghazi, it became clear Hillary Clinton got away with it. From lying about the reason the Benghazi attacks occurred to lying about her private email server to lying about being competent enough to be Secretary of State, the levels of deceit are pretty deep and provided just enough cover to get people to get Benghazi fatigue.

Anyone who watched Bill and Hillary operate might have seen this scenario play out before. When they are faced with scandal, the Clintons have a pretty standard response: ignore it, lie about it, admit to it, give the impression they are cooperating, complain about cooperating and the partisanship behind the inquiry, letting facts dribble out here and there, claim they’ve fully cooperated, and telling people it’s time to move on.

Whitewater? Check.

Monica Lewinsky? Check.

The Clinton Foundation? Check.

Benghazi? Check.

It doesn’t hurt that the Clintons have the media and occasional fall guys/willing supporters to cushion the fall. When Ambassador Chris Steven’s sister came out after the House report and said Hillary was not to blame for Benghazi (while repeating the discredited claim Republicans cut funding to the State Department), the game was over. Hillary got away with Benghazi.

Ambassador Chris Stevens could not be reached for comment.

Adding a new layer to this matter is the fact Bill Clinton met with Attorney General Loretta Lynch recently in Phoenix. If Hillary hadn’t been under FBI investigation, it might be as innocuous as they want us to believe. And if the FBI hadn’t demanded no pictures and no recording of what was being talked about and if Lynch hadn’t stepped aside from the investigation into Hillary after the meeting, I might have believed them.

There is another culprit in helping Hillary beat the Benghazi rap: Republicans. A favorite talking point of the Left is Republicans had 8 (now 9) investigations into Benghazi and Hillary was found not to be responsible for what happened. And Republicans…let that be the narrative. Even Trey Gowdy, a former prosecutor, held his tongue when it was clear Hillary was lying and obstructing the investigation.

Just as she did the previous 8 times.

Gowdy, to his credit, tried to be above partisanship in his comments on the report. He’s smart enough to remember what happened to Kenneth Starr when he took on the Clintons. But when you’re dealing with political animals, when your opponents are intent to win by any means necessary, Marquess of Queensberry rules simply don’t apply.

No matter how much we gnash our teeth or blog about it from this point forward, Hillary Clinton beat us over Benghazi. And unless we get our acts together she will skate on her email server.

Don’t Just Do Something! Sit There!

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Yesterday, the House of Representatives made news, but not necessarily the kind of news you want to make. After Senate Democrats failed to pass gun control laws that would have made it illegal for people on the FBI terrorist watch list to own weapons, House Democrats decided to do something and…conduct a sit-in on the House floor. Personally, I think House Democrats are missing a letter in “sit-in” to more accurately describe what they’re accomplishing, but that’s neither here nor there.

What House Democrats and their Senate colleagues are attempting to do is use political theater to drive their agenda to pass more gun control laws in the wake of the Orlando shooting. Of course, the kind of laws they’re trying to pass right now go completely against the Fifth Amendment’s concept of due process under the law, but hey, it’s just the Constitutional rights of people we’re dealing with here! Who cares when we can pass more gun control laws that will only affect people who follow the law?

The ACLU, for one.

In the spirit of transparency (real transparency, not the Obama Administration’s definition of transparency), I have to say the ACLU and I don’t necessarily agree on much. In fact, the ACLU has been pretty much anti-gun in the past few decades and have adopted the Left’s interpretation of the Second Amendment. Yet, the ACLU came out and said the Democrats’ proposed gun control bill was unconstitutional.

Let that sink in for a moment. A left-leaning organization with a history of being anti-gun is telling their fellow Leftists to slow their roll when attempting to erode the Constitutional rights of people. No, you haven’t gone through a dimensional wormhole. Trust me, I checked. What happened is not just a rare moment where I agree with the ACLU, but is also a red flag that the Left is going way off the reservation with this one. (And, no, that’s not a swipe at Senator Elizabeth Warren.)

This is the point where the curtain gets pulled back and we get to see the Wizard of Oz. If Democrats were serious about passing what they call “sensible gun laws,” they would be willing to draft bipartisan legislation where civil liberties could be protected. Instead, they drive to the left faster than a NASCAR driver at the Daytona 500.

That’s because the Left doesn’t want anything sensible in this debate right now. Doubt me? Keep in mind a handful of Democrats have literally said Republicans want to arm terrorists because they refused to vote for the Democrat bill. (Given the fact the current Administration literally has armed terrorists, the irony is richer than Adnan Khashoggi betting on whether Joe Biden will say something stupid.)

When you resort to gross misstatement to make your point, your point might be weaker than a balsa wood love seat at Michael Moore’s house. Then again, it might have been an attempt to divert attention away from how ridiculous the House Democrat “sit-in” looks. When grown adults are sitting and pouting as their colleagues bring in pillows and blankets, comfort foods like M & Ms, and cater in meals (totally not making that up, by the way), they should be called out as the children they appear to be.

This is where Speaker of the House Paul Ryan fumbled the football a bit by trying to get C-Span to stop broadcasting from the House. If anything, I would have allowed the cameras to keep rolling, but with a bit of a twist. I would encourage House Republicans to hold up signs or visual aids mocking the House Democrats for their antics. As it stands, Ryan miscalculated, and the result was the “sit-in” disrupting actual House business by being vocally disruptive. Yes, they have the First Amendment right to assemble, but for members of a party who has accused Republicans of being obstructionist while they are actually disrupting Congress, we have the First Amendment right to tell them to go pluck themselves.

Or a word that rhymes with “pluck.”

When the shoe is on the other foot

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Here in the United States we only have 2 political parties that have ever gained control of our Legislature and the White House.

Both parties use similar tactics when competing for votes in elections. Both parties use similar methods when they find themselves in strong opposition to the other party.

Yet one political party, the Democrats, seem to think that it’s OK for them to use such tactics and methods. But it’s not OK for the other political party, the Republicans, to use the same.

When the Democrats controlled the Senate Judicial Committee, they would stall and prevent Republican appointed judges from being confirmed. But now that the Republican’s control that gate. It’s not fair and it’s wrong to do the same thing.

When the Democrats didn’t like what the House Republicans wanted to vote on and the Republican’s had a sit-in. The Democrats took the House into recess, turned off the cameras, and microphones. And even turned the lights out in the chamber. And now we have the Republican’s calling the House into recess with the Democrats having a sit-in and it’s not fair and wrong to do what they did.

These are just the 2 most recent examples of course and there are many more when you go looking. It’s OK for the Democrats to do anything they want. But when the shoe is on the other foot. They cry foul. And they are hypocrites.

Good Idea or Bad Idea?

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In the wake of the Orlando shooting, Democrats decided to recycle an idea they introduced last year: banning people on the FBI’s terrorist watch list from getting guns. (At least they believe in recycling something!) On the surface, it makes sense. We don’t want terrorists getting guns, right? Absolutely.

So, why aren’t more people on the Right on board with this idea? A little thing the kids like to call “due process.” It might be just a fad, though, if some people get their way.

Put simply (so Leftists can understand it), due process requires people not be denied their fundamental rights without there being some sort of legal action. Although the FBI is an arm of law enforcement, it is not equal to a trial where little things like evidence and sworn testimony can be used to determine guilt.

Still unclear about this concept, Leftists? Let’s try something closer to your political hearts. Due process prevents cops from throwing members of Black Lives Matter into solitary confinement before the BLM clowns get their case heard in court. After they’re found guilty, then the BLM clowns get thrown into solitary. There are no short-cuts in the process, kids.

Even if you’re not down with due process, there’s another huge (or YUGE if you’re a Trump supporter) problem with the FBI’s watch list. The way you get on the list in the first place is completely arbitrary. You don’t even need to be an actual terrorist to land on it! In fact, you could be an actual terrorist and not land on it. (See the Boston Marathon bombers for a prime example.) And if you’re a mother of three from Minneapolis with the oh-so-Muslim-sounding name of Lena Olson, you could wind up on it by mistake.

Yeah, that’s not exactly a “whoops.”

And it’s not exactly something we can gloss over, either. Since 9/11, we as a society have been willing on some level to let some rights go by the wayside. Democrats and Republicans alike have used the fear of terrorism, both foreign and domestic, to weaken the concept of due process for their own political ends. This continues today, as does the inefficiency and ineptitude of those who keep and maintain the watch list.

That, in and of itself, is not a valid enough reason to apply the watch list to whether someone should be allowed to get a gun. But I do have an idea, and I’m hoping the Left (and some people on the Right) have the intellectual courage to act on it.

If you support the Democrats’ proposal, volunteer to go on the watch list. Even if your name is Lena Olson. Report yourself to the FBI as a suspected terrorist, just to be on the safe side. If it saves just one life…

Party Foul

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With Ted Cruz and John Kasich dropping out of the Republican race, the GOP finds itself with Donald Trump as its standard bearer. Now, comes the fun part: uniting the party behind the candidate.

Easier said than done, given the sheer amount of vitriol coming from most of the candidates on the Republican side. Now, the ante is being upped by the Trump Trainers, with Mike Huckabuck…I mean Huckabee, telling Republicans who don’t support Trump to leave the GOP.

Oh, and Mike? That sound you heard was thousands of Republicans heading for the doors.

On the other side of the aisle, Democrats are faced with a similar situation. The tensions between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are running higher than a Denver pothead on April 20th. Or Tuesday, for that matter. As Clinton seems to be closing in on the Democratic nomination, she is finding it hard to attract Sanders supporters. And why not? She’s only a untrustworthy, calculating, and shrill harpy whose successes can be written on a portion of a Post-It Note and still leave plenty of room for a grocery list.

Put another way, the two major parties have trouble on their hands, and it’s here in River City. That starts with T and that rhymes with D and that stands for douchebaggery. That’s right, kids. Both major parties are treating their party members who don’t support the candidate or presumptive candidate as the case may be like Bill Clinton treats female interns.

I can understand the desire for the two major parties to have their party members coalesce behind their nominees, but it not a given. Just like respect, support must be earned, and out of the three candidates from the two major parties, none of them have earned my support, and there are many more of us out there who feel the same way. Should our voices be silenced or disregarded because we’re not behind the party’s nominee? Maybe, just maybe, there is a reason for our hesitation.

Maybe, just maybe, we’re waiting for the candidates to give us a reason to vote for them. And, no, “Because the other party’s candidate is worse” isn’t good enough. A crap sandwich is a crap sandwich no matter what color plate it’s served on. I’ve gotten to the point where I want to vote for something and someone rather than against something or someone. The problem with voting for the lesser of two evils is you still wind up with evil.

I think I speak for a number of people, Democrats, Republicans, and Independents, when I say if the two major parties want our votes, they’re going to have to earn them, and it’s not going to happen if they continue to take us for granted.

Hoosier Daddy

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With tomorrow’s Indiana primary looming, the writing may be on the wall for at least some of the candidates still in the race for the Democrats and Republicans. Depending upon which set of polls you believe, Donald Trump or Ted Cruz will win the Hoosier State and, with it, a slew of delegates. Between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders…ah, who cares? They both suck.

Whomever wins for the Republicans will have done something important. They will have made later contests matter.

One of the big complaints from states like California is that smaller states have a much larger impact on who the candidates are by the time they get to hold their party conventions. This year, though, that narrative has been thrown out the window. Later contests are actually having an impact on who the GOP’s nominee is.

And that, dear reader, is a good thing.

When we started out the campaign cycle, the Republicans had 16-17 candidates (depending on whether you counted the Pat Paulsen of the GOP this year, Jim Gilmore). By far, that has been the deepest field in my lifetime. Although they took up various points on the conservative spectrum, the GOP had the political buffet from which to savor.

Compare that to the 5 major candidates the Democrats had to suffer through…I mean pick from. Although the Democrats could fit all of their candidates on the same stage, they really didn’t deviate too much from the script: Republicans bad. Democrats good. (Read that in a Frankenstein’s Monster’s voice for the best effect.)

With such a wide array of candidates, Republicans had a lot of choices, and that, in turn, lead to a longer campaign than usual. Previous years saw a Republican candidate sew up the nomination by May or sooner. But this year, voters had an actual choice. They had to weigh options carefully, line up their own values with those of the candidates, and really think for a change instead of being forced to have warmed over dog crap sandwiches this late in the primary season.

Regardless of whether you’re on the Trump Train, want to Cruise with Cruz, or take up space with Kasich, there are two things we can take from this year’s primary season. One, the Republicans have done a masterful job in making later contests matter.

And, two, Bernie Sanders really needs to put away the Flowbee and get to a Great Clips.