June 6, 2009
A few weeks back when Obama had yet to publicly pick a nominee for the Supreme court, CNN put up a picture on their front page of a large grid of faces, each a likely choice for the nomination. In a fraction of a second, before I even recognized any of their identities, I picked Sotomayor as the obvious political choice. I find this troubling. It’s true that she could be the best of the bunch, but I think that is improbable for reasons I’ll go into below.
Pat Buchanan has repeatedly referred to her as an affirmative action pick. While I can see how he would think that, I think it is more complicated than that. Obama got two thirds of the Hispanic vote, and 56% of women. He might be trying to directly appeal to his base. As much as it may have been one of his greatest obstacles at many points on the path, I’m of the belief that Obama’s ethnicity was a positive for him in the final presidential vote. He could arguably claim that he has a mandate to shake up the old white guy club that is Washington D.C.
Obama has both the Constitutional background and the advisers to tell him the history and expectations connected with a Supreme Court nomination. There has been something of a tradition of ‘reserved seats’ on the courts for various groups, such as Catholics (Catholics now make up two thirds of the court). I don’t like such traditions. I think the appointment should go to the most qualified individual, based on impartiality, and an understanding of the Constitution and our legal system. I don’t think we should legislate this, but I do think a strong legal background is a plus. I think as much as possible, the government should be blind to race, gender, and religion.
“I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would, more often than not, reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”
The above quote doesn’t come from anyone I’d confirm for for such a position. I’ve yet to hear anyone say that they think a white guy making the inverse statement would have any chance of confirmation.
I’ve heard the Obama administration’s statement that if she were to make the statement again she would have used different wording. This wasn’t some offhand comment she made after a few drinks. This was in a published speech for a law review, specifically Law Raza Law Review, a play on La Raza, or ‘the race’, a term of Hispanic pride. She is a member of The National Council of La Raza, a group dedicated to the advancement of Hispanics. She has used the above quote in many speeches and many places over a nine year period.
I’ve heard it suggested that the quote was just taken out of context. After reading the context it was in, I found it to be even worse. I find the quote inexcusable, and I see three possibilities for explaining it:
- It was poorly stated and not what she meant, in which case she is unqualified for a position in which all of her statements will be picked over for decades or centuries to come by lawyers and judges deciding people’s futures.
- She said it because she was pandering to Law Raza, in which case she doesn’t have the ethics for the job.
- She believes what she said, in which case she is guilty of ethnic discrimination, and doesn’t have the impartiality to be any kind of judge, much less on the Supreme Court.
The reason Barack gave for voting against Roberts was the he had the impression that Roberts most often ruled for the strong over the weak. This is a statement that brings me to the core of my beliefs about affirmative action. If Hispanics tend to be poor, should we give Hispanics some help? No. If you want to help the poor, help the poor, not the Hispanic. To do otherwise isn’t fair to the poor who aren’t singled out by their ethnicity, or to those Hispanics who are already successful, and it breeds resentment and the impression that people gained their positions through something other than their own merit. If Sotomayor is confirmed without addressing that quote, all of her decisions on discrimination cases will come with an asterisk.
As for her past work, she has twice ruled on Second Amendment cases as if it did not exist.
I’ll be interested to hear what she has to say for herself in the confirmation hearings. The Democrats have control and it is expected she will be confirmed. The Republicans don’t have the cojones to vote against a swing demographic, but who knows, it could yet get ugly enough to be contested.
May 19, 2009
In Pat’s latest column he looks at the various options available to Israel to adjust for their mounting demographic issues. I’m sure there are unforeseen events that will affect the outcome, but I can’t fault his logic here. Israel’s actions are those of a desperate nation seeking escape from an untenable situation.
An excerpt outlining the three main options for going forward:
“The first is annexation of the West Bank. But this would bring 2.4 million Palestinians into Israel, giving her a population 40 percent Arab. With a higher birth rate, Palestinians would soon outnumber Jews and vote to abolish the Jewish state, thus creating a bi-national state. That would mean the end of the Zionist dream.
The second option is the Meir Kahane solution. The late rabbi urged the expulsion of the Palestinians from the occupied territories. But the ethnic cleansing of hundreds of thousands or millions of Palestinians would mean innumerable casualties, a severing of all ties to the Arab world, the moral isolation of Israel and a break with the United States. America could not stand by and let such a human rights atrocity take place.
The third option is the Netanyahu option: no annexation, no ethnic cleaning, no Palestinian state — but permanent control of the West Bank to assure the “Hamastan” in Gaza is never replicated on the West Bank.” -Pat Buchanan
That third option looks pretty good on the surface, which means it is politically nearly guaranteed. Unfortunately it leaves Palestine as a giant concentration camp in permanent apartheid and war.
It really bothers me when religions attempt to simply out-breed their enemies. If they are the source of conflict, the last thing we need is more of them. If I lean towards the Palestinians in this conflict, it isn’t because they are right, but because they are oppressed.
January 17, 2009
Today, the post on the official Pat Buchanan website is entitled “Has Israel Become A Neo-Nazi Germany?”
Pat has done the unthinkable for a major political commentator, he has invoked Godwin’s law at the highest level, comparing the Jewish state to Nazi Germany.
James Carville once said about Hillary and Obama, “If she gave him one of her cojones, they’d both have two.”
I would say of Pat Buchanan that if he gave Bush one of his cajones, the man wouldn’t be able to lift it.
January 17, 2009
Pat Buchanan debating Clifford May (foundation for the defense of democracies (an anti-islamic neocon group))
“They triggered a blitzkreig against the Palestinians, in Gaza, which in my judgement is an Israeli Concentration camp, where a million and a half people are locked up, cannot go out or come in, the’ve been controlling food, electricity, fuel, and the innocent people in Gaza are the ones suffering” -Pat Buchanan
December 21, 2008
Recently on the McLaughlin Group, Pat Buchanan coined a new term for a faction of the Republican party: Toyota Republicans. The phrase is an odd one because it is far more subtle and complicated than it seems. Under the watch of the Bush administration we saw outsourcing become the norm. We didn’t slowly lose a difficult battle to China, we eagerly gave them the plans and asked them to take over our manufacturing. The Alabama foreign car manufacturers Pat referred to are an interesting case. When we can’t even lead in our own industry in our own country selling to our own people, we have failed. It isn’t about patriotism and buying American. I’ll buy American when faced with a tough choice, but in the end I’m going with the better product, as should we all. We don’t need to bail out the failures, we need to create successes. These foreign plants on U.S. soil aren’t entirely a bad thing, although they are still sending our money overseas.
An interesting point has been made about who pays the cost of medical care. If the American auto makers are saddled with responsibility for the health care of their workers, and the foreign competitors aren’t, because the government takes care of that, then we didn’t fire the first shot in the coming Cold War Race to Socialism, they did.
As Pat puts it: “America faces nationalistic trade rivals who manipulate currencies, employ nontariff barriers, subsidize their manufacturers, rebate value-added taxes on exports to us and impose value-added taxes on imports from us, all to capture our markets and kill our great companies.“
How should we respond? Pat wants us to “produce ourselves the guns and ships to defend the republic and the necessities of our national life so we could stand alone against the world.“ He suggests we do this by putting tariffs on imports in order to level the playing field. This isn’t a wise step forward in the new global economy; it leads to foreign retaliation, reducing our exports. When you are only selling things to yourself, you don’t earn any money. It would work well here in the U.S. Until the industries got lazy and corrupt. We already can see the results of such tactics in the corn industry. The reason everything we eat is packed with corn syrup is that we tax the import of sugar and subsidize the growing of corn. What we need is to be lighter on our feet. We need small specialized manufacturers.
Pat Buchanan puts the blame on neocons for removing tariffs imposed by Reagan:
“When an icon of American industry, Harley-Davidson, was being run out of business by cutthroat Japanese dumping of big bikes to kill the “Harley Hog,” Reagan slapped 50 percent tariffs on their motorcycles and imposed quotas on imported Japanese cars. Message to Tokyo. If you folks want to keep selling cars here, start building them here.“
Alabama is now home to several automotive plants:
- Mercedes-Benz: Headquarted in Germany
- Honda: Headquartered in Japan
- Hyundai: Headquartered in South Korea
- Toyota: headquartered in Japan
These U.S. plants make a total of more than 700,000 vehicles a year and employ over 11,000 workers. This would all be a good thing if these vehicles were being shipped out, but they are built here to be sold here. To follow the money: You buy a Toyota. Part of that money goes to the workers in the Toyota plants in Alabama and elsewhere in the US; another part goes to Japan. To some extent it is nice to have foreign industry in our country; it gives them incentive to be nice to us so they can retain their factory. On the other hand, if we are making the product in our country with our labor and selling it to our people, we could do without sending the profits to Japan.
Pat is afraid that if we don’t do whatever it takes to keep the big three in business, that these foreign owned manufacturers will take over their market share.
Agreements like NAFTA aren’t really free trade, they are managed trade. In the end, under NAFTA, manufactuuring and agriculture find advantage in moving to Mexico. This includes companies like Toyota. The question is, are these Toyota republicans opposing the bailout on strong free trade principles, or are southern politicians trying to remove the competing U.S. manufacturers in Detroit to better their own foreign owned manufacturing?
From here on I will be using the term ‘Toyota Republican’ to describe the NAFTA loving portion of the party that is partially responsible for outsourcing and the exodus of industry.
Update: Leo Gerard, the president of the United Steelworkers Union, went on Bill Moyers Joural with his take on the auto bailout and the Toyota Republicans.