Daily Archives: July 6, 2010
I'm sure the Republicans had a good reason for putting Mr. Steele in as RNC Chair. I wonder what it was. #
Huh. The weather widget on my HTC Incredible says we'll have a high of 77 today, with mixed rain and snow. That should be interesting. #
Based in the Constitution’s “supremacy law”, the Obama administration will argue that federal law is supreme to state law. In other words, the feds will argue that enforcing immigration laws is a federal responsiblity.
But that’s the rub isn’t it – it may be their responsibility, but they’re not fulfilling that responsibility to anyone’s satisfaction, especially the state of Arizona. Consequently, Arizona has felt the need, based in public safety and budget concerns, to take matters into its own hands.
The preemption doctrine has been established in Supreme Court decisions, and some legal experts have said such a federal argument likely would persuade a judge to declare the law unconstitutional.
But lawyers who helped draft the Arizona legislation have expressed doubt that a preemption argument would prevail.
I’m not sure what those doubting whether the “preemption argument will prevail” mean. Of course it will “prevail” if it is applicable. It has law and precedent behind it. However, given the fact that the federal government has all but abandoned the enforcement of immigration law, and I think Arizona should be able to provide ample evidence of this, I’d suggest the preemption clause won’t be applicable since the laws aren’t being enforced.
In fact, I think Arizona can argue and make a pretty compelling case of federal nonfeasance concerning immigration laws.
In that case, this may very well blow up in the Obama administration’s face, and verify what most Americans already think – the government has no interest in enforcing the immigration laws on the books.
Not exactly the meme you want out there with midterms approaching. Regardless of how this turns out, I’m finding it hard to see a “win” in this for the administration.
And that may be exactly what will happen when, inevitably, much of the law and regulation pushed by the Obama administration and passed by the Democratic Congress are challenged in court – a poor tactical choice may come back to haunt the administration.
You probably remember the incident. I remember remarking at the time that such a public embarrassment could come back to haunt Obama. And that may end up being the case:
But the year’s most important moment may have come on the January evening when the justices gathered at the Capitol for President Obama’s State of the Union address.
They had no warning about what was coming.
Obama and his advisors had weighed how to respond to the court’s ruling the week before, which gave corporations the same free-spending rights as ordinary Americans. They saw the ruling as a rash, radical move to tilt the political system toward big business as they coped with the fallout from the Wall Street collapse.
Some advisors counseled caution, but the president opted to criticize the conservative justices in the uncomfortable spotlight of national television as Senate Democrats roared their approval.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. is still angered by what he saw as a highly partisan insult to the independent judiciary. The incident put a public spotlight on the deep divide between the Obama White House and the Roberts court, one that could have a profound effect in the years ahead.
A public challenging of the integrity and independence of the court was more than a rookie mistake. It was dumb politics. It was an unforced error by Obama that may indeed have “profound effect” on the court’s rulings.
The court may have had to sit there and take it at the time, but once back in their seat of power, it is they who are all powerful and can wreak havoc on the administration’s regulation regime and legislation.
That’s not to say the conservative side of the court will intentionally go after the administration’s agenda items – damn the law- but it may mean that they cut the administration no slack whatsoever and commit themselves to very strict interpretations of the Constitution that leave little latitude for meaningful legislative change to satisfy the court.
So what does that mean practically? Take health care reform and the possible coming government arguments that the mandate to buy insurance is a) a tax or is b) covered by the interstate commerce clause.
Of course the court then has to decide on whether it is indeed a tax, if that tax is Constitutionally legal and whether Congress has the power to levy it.
Or, it will have to decide if such a mandate is indeed Constitutional under the commerce clause.
Given the incident during the State of the Union address, is there anyone who believes the administration’s arguments will be given the benefit of the doubt when it comes to a ruling on either question? If, in fact, it could conceivably go either way, I think most believe the way it will go will be the way least favored by the administration at least on the conservative side of the house.
Of course you’ll hear charges of “judicial activism” if that happens, but I’d be more likely to find a more narrow definition of the commerce clause or Congress’s taxing power to be anything but activist in nature.
It’ll be interesting to watch this all unfold. It’ll be a while before any of this reaches SCOTUS, but when it does, the fireworks generated will be much better than anything seen on the 4th of July.
The consensus among election experts is the 2010 midterm elections are most likely to see Democrats lose seats in both the House and Senate. The question, of course, is how many? And, will they lose enough seats for the Republicans to take control of the House and/or Senate?
Dealing with the Senate first, the answer is “no”. The most likely number of seats picked up by the GOP is 7. That would give them 48 and a very strong minority. That may end up being better, in this case, than a majority. Certainly 48 will give them the power to stop just about anything in the Senate, and, if they so desire, pass legislation only with their amendments attached.
In the House, Republicans need 39 seats to take control. They’ll most likely pick up between 32 and 39. Even if they don’t hit that magic 39, they’ll have a much stronger minority that will have to be reckoned with by Pelosi and company to get anything done there.
You know it’s going to be bad for Democrats, because Joe Biden is sure it won’t be.
What that all means is even if the GOP doesn’t have control of Congress after the midterms (and many argue – to include myself – that perhaps they’re better off not having control), they will have a considerably stronger hand then now in the national legislature.
Which brings us to the emerging campaign strategies of each party. On the GOP side, it appears that Republicans want to “nationalize” the elections. I.e. they want to make the midterms a referendum on the Obama administration. You’ll be seeing they tying everything back to the first 2 years of the Obama presidency, the economy, the oil spill and the out-of-control spending. I don’t think it will be hard to sell.
Given the precedent set under the Bush administration when Democrats successfully made all elections referendums on the presidency, it has become accepted by voters that party equals president and they act in concert. Hence the way you punish the president and his party is to turn out members of Congress that represent that party – or variations on that theme.
Given that, the Democrats will obviously attempt to counter the GOPs strategy by keeping things “local” if possible. How well that will work, given the tumultuous two years of the Obama presidency and the fact it is Congress under Democratic leadership which has passed deeply unpopular legislation, is anyone’s guess. Mine is it won’t work very well. Votes for health care and stimulus, for instance, will be key “national” topics with which GOP candidates will hit incumbent Democrats.
Which then leaves Democrats trying to fashion a Get Out The Vote (GOTV) strategy which they hope will re-create their 2008 electoral victory.
To avoid such losses, the Democratic National Committee has committed to spending tens of millions of dollars to re-create (or come somewhere near re-creating) the 2008 election model, in which Democrats relied heavily on higher-than-normal turnout from young people and strong support from African American and Hispanic voters.
They’re talking turnout here, not percentages – for instance, African-Americans have always voted in the 90% area for Democrats. The percentage they need in this election is 90% of African-Americans showing up at the polls. Same with Hispanic and young voters.
And that is the job the DNC plans on giving Obama in the lead up to the November vote.
The likelihood of that happening, however, is not especially good. We’ve been chronicling the “enthusiasm gap” for months. The far left is let down. Independent voters are disenchanted and the right is very enthusiastic about “change” again.
Funding is also drying up for Democrats. The latest big donors to drop Democrats are from Wall Street – a traditional well-spring of funding for the party.
The bottom line here is the stars seem to be lining up for the GOP in the midterms, barring any unforeseen event which might mitigate their advantage. The question will be have you had enough of hope and change as a billboard in NE Minnesota presently asks. Conventional wisdom says the answer will be a pretty resounding “yes”. The only question is how much they want to change the status quo.