June 2010

The confirmation hearing of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan consists of long speeches from senators and Kagan working hard on saying nothing.

But here is a rare moment of interest. Senator Coburn asks Kagan if it would be unconstitutional for the government to mandate that Americans have to eat “three vegetables and three fruits every day”. Incredibly, Kagan is unwilling to say that it is unconstitutional to “tell the people what we have to eat every day.”

For most of the rest of the hearing, we find ourselves in the strange position of sympathizing with failed humorist and Minnesota senator, Al Franken, who has trouble staying awake.

More interesting insights into our next Supreme Court Justice: Supreme Court Nominee Kagan: Its Fine if The Law Bans Books Because Government Won’t Really Enforce It

It is time to change the expectations for Supreme Court nomination hearings and demand that nominees who will be on the Court for the rest of their lives actually tell us about their judicial philosophy.

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During the confirmation hearings for General Petraeus assuming command of our forces in Afghanistan, Petraeus skillfully communicated that the deadline for starting the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan in July, 2011 is not something any military commander recommended.

In his testimony today, Petraeus started chipping away on the deadline that President Obama announced to appease his leftist constituency.

Petraeus is in a strong position to change the dynamics of the war in Afghanistan. No other general would have the credibility to say what Petraeus is saying without getting fired by our thin-skinned president. Eliminating talk of a deadline for withdrawal is key to success in the counter-insurgency war in Afghanistan.

No deadline for withdrawal does not mean endless US casualty. Without a deadline, Afghans will have more confidence that supporting the fight against the Taliban will not get them killed because of a premature US withdrawal. This leads to more success in fighting the Taliban which will reduce the number of US casualties.

We have had the American military for more than sixty years in Germany and Japan and for over fifty years in South Korea. There isn’t much objection to this because American troops are not killed in these countries. We may never get to the peaceful conditions of Germany, Japan and South Korea in Afghanistan, but a drastic decrease in casualties will make our presence there as long as needed less of an issue to the American people.

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Florida Pundit won’t often agree with former President Bill Clinton. But Clinton gave good advice to President Obama in a recent interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. Asides from some rambling comments about Obama not “feeling the pain” of people and showing empathy the way our former president was famous for doing, Clinton offers pretty much the same advice given by this blog and other critics of the Obama administration.

Clinton speculates that we may have to send in the Navy and blow up the oil well that is leaking. Regardless of whether this is a realistic option, Clinton gives common sense advice to President Obama: focus on fixing the problem.

In a more extensive excerpt, Clinton talks to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer about Obama’s lack of empathy. If you suffer through Clinton’s rambling on this topic, you will be rewarded with a concise statement of how Clinton would tackle the problem:

The most important thing is to fix the leak. If anyone can help us fix the leak, I am for it.

Second most important thing is to keep the oil away from the shores.

The third most important thing is to minimize the damage from the oil once it reaches the shores.

The fourth most important thing today is to figure out who did what wrong and hold them accountable whether it was somebody in British Petroleum or somebody in the US government and I’d do that, but lets do one, two and three first.

And then, yes, he should show empathy and, yes, he should feel their pain and all that, but what people want is to fix the leak. So one of the best things that they have done is to deploy massive Naval and Coast Guard resources and finally start taking help from other countries.

To quote Rick Santelli who criticized Obama in another context: “President Obama, are you listening?”

We live in strange times when we wish for the competency of President Clinton in our current president.

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The nomination hearings for Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan have started today. Expect endless speeches by senators, but don’t expect senators to ask the interesting questions George Will suggests.

Here is a revealing exchange on free speech and the government’s power to regulate it in which Solicitor General Kagan representing the Obama administration argued in front of the Supreme Court:

Kagan is comfortable defending laws that give government sweeping powers to regulate political speech and her only defense is “but the government has never used the law to ban books”. Asides from the fact that the distinctions she draws between different types of media are becoming increasingly blurred in the age of the internet, why would we want to give the government any power to restrict political speech? The First Amendment’s free speech clause was meant to categorically protect political speech.

Kagan lost the argument in the Citizens United case. The Supreme Court ruled 5 – 4 against the government. Kagan will be replacing John Paul Stevens, one of the four who condoned government restrictions on free speech.

Kagan will most likely be confirmed. Senate Republicans are not united in blocking her confirmation. But the question remains: Why should we continue to condone putting people on the Supreme Court who do not support the basic rights guaranteed in the Constitution?

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House Republicans have created this video about the news that the Democrats will not even try to pass a budget this year:

Republicans need to continue to focus on the incredible failure of Democrats to put any meaningful controls on government spending and their abrogation of one of Congress’ most basic responsibilities. Rather than passing a budget that shows that they are spending like drunken sailors, they would rather avoid accountability and instead pass individual bills for a trillion here and few hundred billions there without adding it all up.

The next election is just four months away. November 2, 2010 will be the Democrats’ day of reckoning.

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