In Webster’s Dictionary few words are defined by a single word. Balderdash is just such a word. Webster’s uses the word “nonsense” as the descriptor! Ergo, my dictum of the political circus that has been going on can be described quite aptly by the word balderdash!
Yesterday, the Honorable Mr. Antonin Scalia died. Although I was not a fan, as much as anyone can be a fan of a Supreme Court Justice, Mr. Scalia suffered no fools and never minced his words. Even in the midst of disagreement to the extreme, I always respect anyone who can define their starting place and never vary from that. Thus was Mr. Scalia. From the outset of his career on our nation’s highest bench, he described himself as an “originalist” where the constitution is concerned. He remained faithful to that definition oft times to the scorn of his supporters. Originalism means applying the ideas of those who wrote the constitution to legal decisions. He quite openly stated that the framers never considered homosexuality, gay marriage, abortion and a myriad of other issues when they wrote the document. He believed that making a decision which revised the constitution without the use of the Amendment procedure was simply wrong. Hence his stand of opposition of Roe v. Wade.
I have just spent too much time describing a man I can admire, even though I bitterly disagree with ideologically, why? Because of where we go from here, who will be the next justice.
I decided well over a month ago that the Democrat candidate for president will be Hillary Clinton with Bernie Sanders as her running mate. The Republics I feel are likely to nominate John Kasich as their presidential candidate. Kasich will have the unenviable job of choosing a running mate from a party so splintered it has become an amorphous rendering of its past glory. I suspect Ted Cruz will emerge for ethnic identification and to assuage the far right, a.k.a. Tea Party.
Scalia was not dead two hours when Sen. Mitch McConnell announced President Obama would not be allowed to have a nominee take Scalia’s place. What! He is hoping that his party will retake the White House. He can effectively bottle up any nominee procedurally in the Senate so the candidate’s name never comes up for a vote. I cannot help but believe the Mr. Scalia would have reprimanded McConnell for such chicanery.
The 114th Congress, now in session, is far from the most contentious. That dubious honor is owned by the 37th and 38th Congresses. Those are the sessions held during President Lincoln’s tenure and were well known not just for their theatrics, long and boisterous arguments but also for physical altercations. There were “war democrats” and “peace democrats,” “war republicans” and “peace republicans.” There was also the “Constitutional party.” It amazed many that these congresses were able to get anything done.
Is that where we are at today? The Republicans hold 56% of all House seats and 55% of all senate seats, Bernie Sanders and Angus King declaring themselves Independent. That means neither is veto proof but that the Republicans have enough power to slow down if not totally stop any and all Democrat initiatives, which they have shown a propensity for doing these past 4 years.
The prime purpose of each senator and representative is to champion the desires of those he supports. But you would not know that by the rhetoric coming out of Washington. A recent Gallup poll shows that Americans favor abortion 80% to 20%. That is an overwhelming majority and yet to hear Washington politicians speak one would think the American populace is evenly divided if not slightly tilted towards against abortion. The American public wants abortion and it is the responsibility of the elected officials not only to respect that view but push aside attempts to countermand that.
On other issues it is tighter but still a message is being sent. On the issue of tighter gun controls, Gallup polls show 55% want stricter gun control while only 33% want the laws left as they are. Sixty percent of Americans favor gay marriage, but disapprove of the Affordable Care Act 50-44%. That last poll cautions, however, that the ACA, or Obamacare, shows 57% of all Americans were unaffected by the law. The caution here is that the ACA has more importance, more impact and a much more positive view by younger and ethnic Americans than by older Americans.
I would ask only that each U.S. Representative vote according to: 1. The desires of their district, 2. The desires of their state, 3. The desires of all Americans, and 4. Their conscience. I fear that Republicans as a whole put number 4 as their first priority and that Democrats put number 2 as their first. Neither is correct considering the mandate of the voter is always to do his desire.
I doubt most Americans can give a reason for why we even have a Supreme Judicial Court but that notwithstanding, they would likely want a vacancy filled reasonably quickly. That’s just how most Americans want most things done.