Progressive Voice Needed On The Court

On State of the Nation with Candy Crowley, Haley Barbour, the Republican Governor of Mississippi, said that “the president is going to appoint a liberal successor to Justice Stevens who’s one of the most liberal members of the Supreme Court”.  Mr. Barbour should be reminded that Justice Stevens was nominated by Republican President Gerald R. Ford and was unanimously confirmed in 1975.  And Mr. Barbour should also remember that a President cannot appoint a supreme court justice, but can only nominate one.  The candidate has to be confirmed by members of the U.S. Senate.

Just as George W. Bush and his father before him nominated young conservative ideologues to the court – Roberts, Alito and Thomas (the later two just barely confirmed) President Obama should tap a liberal voice to provide some ideological balance on the court.  President Obama need not consider republican comfort levels at all – and there is precedent for this – family Bush trying to appeal to the base ignored the democrats concerns over the nominations of  two ultraconservative judges – Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas, who received 42 and 48 no votes respectively.  Outraged members of the party of “hell no” could only muster 31 votes against Obama’s first pick of Sonia Sotomayor.

Day 3 at the RNC

The Republicans have brought back the L word – Fred Thompson used it to describe Barak Obama as the most liberal politician ever to run for the Presidency.  Liberal/Conservative; Blue States/Red States.  This labeling game is designed to divide, distract and demonize.  Elder Bush used the L word to brand Dukakis as a liberal, left leaning, eastern, urban extremist, out of touch with the mainstream.  What is the mainstream?  Who is mainstream?  Big business.  Certainly not the Christian right or the Progressive left.  There are those labels again.  Distracting from the issues.  What are the issues – are there any?  Is this election simply about taxes?  Sounds like this is the only thing that matters to Republicans.  Of course, no more taxes simply means, no more corporate taxes.  Tax breaks for the rich – corporate welfare.  Not at all surprising that the Republicans had a billionaire in Pat Whitman speaking to America.

Do the Republicans care about the middle class – the vast majority of Americans – who are struggling to pay the rent or mortgage; who struggle to fill the tank and to put money in the bank; who lack health insurance.  Is the soaring cost of college tuition of any importance to anyone out there?  Education – come on.  What do the Republicans plan to do?  Seriously.  We hear about accountability, but not about providing more resources. Teachers, students and administrators are blamed for failing schools.  Fire the teachers – just like the air traffic controllers back in the 80’s; privatize the schools – bring big business into the equation to educate the masses to SERVICE the corporate bottom line.  Accountability.  Replace the school signs with corporate billboards.  Plaster the school walls with advertisements; pipe in MUZAK – send subliminal messages designed to sell jeans, sneakers, Mickey D’s and Pepsi or Coke if you prefer.   Hire Madison Avenue executives to create an army of young consumers.

What’s wrong with the word Liberal?  Absolutely nothing.  It’s a good word – it means progress; an open mind – open to new ideas.  Aren’t the REpubs running on the reform Washington message.  Isn’t that a liberal idea?  The Dems don’t use the C word, but they could.  Are conservatives out of touch with mainstream ideology – more guns, less choice, more wiretaps, less civil liberties, tax cuts for the rich, more deficit spending, more military spending.  One thing the REpubs know well; create an imagined enemy, demonize that enemy – in this case fellow Americans (who dare to put people first) and turn the debate into the politics of fear and hate.

The Eastern elite.  Mitt, weren’t you the governor of Massachusetts?  Do you not hold a Harvard MBA?  There he goes.  Liberal.  The L word.  Throw out the liberals.  Now that’s a big idea.  And opportunity for whom?  Not for me and probably not you either Republican America.  Here’s another swell line:  “Keep Al Gore’s private jet on the ground.” No need to discuss Global Warming because it’s not really happening – or so the Republicans claim.  Or more aptly, keep the inconvenient truth grounded because it’s bad for big business.  USA, USA, USA!

Stay tuned for another installment of Day 3 at the RNC.