Thursday, January 12, 2006

The silence is deafening

If the swing voter is a moderate on most issues, and is sooo important to elections, how has George W. Bush and his extremely conservative politics gained such traction nationwide and why has the Republican Party gained so much power by going further right than ever?

That's what I want to know.

Right now it actually appears that Samuel Alito is going to become the next Supreme Court Justice in this country. A man who seems to me most definitely does NOT fit in the mainstream. See this from the New York Times:

EVIDENCE OF EXTREMISM Judge Alito's extraordinary praise of Judge Bork is unsettling, given that Judge Bork's radical legal views included rejecting the Supreme Court's entire line of privacy cases, even its 1965 ruling striking down a state law banning sales of contraceptives.
--So, um, yeah. Siding with a guy who would thought it was OK to forbid sales of contraceptives, very mainstream (in the Vatican, i guess).

OPPOSITION TO ROE V. WADE In 1985, Judge Alito made it clear that he believed the Constitution does not protect abortion rights. He had many chances this week to say he had changed his mind, but he refused. When offered the chance to say that Roe is a "super-precedent," entitled to special deference because it has been upheld so often, he refused that, too. As Charles Schumer, Democrat of New York, noted in particularly pointed questioning, since Judge Alito was willing to say that other doctrines, like one person one vote, are settled law, his unwillingness to say the same about Roe strongly suggests that he still believes what he believed in 1985.
--Support for more reproductive freedom outweighs greater restrictions virtually every time, according to polls conducted by every organization. For example: 53 percent of Americans consider themselves pro-choice according to a CNN/USAToda/Gallup poll from this past week. 42 percent consider themselves pro-life.

SUPPORT FOR AN IMPERIAL PRESIDENCY Judge Alito has backed a controversial theory known as the "unitary executive," and argued that the attorney general should be immune from lawsuits when he installs illegal wiretaps. Judge Alito backed away from one of his most extreme statements in this area - his assertion, in a 1985 job application, that he believed "very strongly" in "the supremacy of the elected branches of government." But he left a disturbing impression that as a justice, he would undermine the Supreme Court's critical role in putting a check on presidential excesses.
--Sen. John McCain, perhaps the most respected Senator nationally because of his genuine independent streak, has built his reputation in the last few years on challenging unquestioned executive authority.

INSENSITIVITY TO ORDINARY AMERICANS' RIGHTS Time and again, as a lawyer and a judge, the nominee has taken the side of big corporations against the "little guy," supported employers against employees, and routinely rejected the claims of women, racial minorities and the disabled. The hearing shed new light on his especially troubling dissent from a ruling by two Reagan-appointed judges, who said that workers at a coal-processing site were covered by Mine Safety and Health Act protections.
--Let's see here, more right-wing than two Reagan appointees. That's more conservative than Alex P. Keaton, who would have been on the conservative side in 1750, according to his dad.

DOUBTS ABOUT THE NOMINEE'S HONESTY Judge Alito's explanation of his involvement with Concerned Alumni of Princeton is hard to believe. In a 1985 job application, he proudly pointed to his membership in the organization. Now he says he remembers nothing of it - except why he joined, which he insists had nothing to do with the group's core concerns. His explanation for why he broke his promise to Congress to recuse himself in any case involving Vanguard companies is also unpersuasive. As for his repeated claims that his past statements on subjects like abortion and Judge Bork never represented his personal views or were intended to impress prospective employers - all that did was make us wonder why we should give any credence to what he says now.
--In Kindergarten, before we form political views, they teach everyone to be fucking honest. So this disingenuousness is clearly outside the mainstream.

[MORE FROM THE NYTIMES] The debate over Judge Alito is generally presented as one between Republicans and Democrats. But his testimony should trouble moderate Republicans, especially those who favor abortion rights or are concerned about presidential excesses. The hearings may be short on fireworks, but they have produced, through Judge Alito's words, an array of reasons to be concerned about this nomination.

[BACK TO ME] Though I am an admitted bleeding heart liberal, who often finds the "mainstream" Democratic Party platform tooo right, I value the more moderate point of view. For it's often in the heads and hearts and wills of the moderate that our country has done the thrived and been most uniting of disparate forces. Bill Clinton's stewardship of the economy, which to be fair had some of its roots in George H.W. Bush's presidency. Or Arnold Schwarzenegger's staunch defense of California's coastline in the face of Republican-led federal pressure to relax environmental standards for economic gain.

Thus it pains me to see so many reasonable and intelligent Republicans on the sidelines during the recent Samuel Alito confirmation hearings, and to be honest during the five years of the Bush II presidency.

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