I put Middle Earth Journal in hiatus in May of 2008 and moved to Newshoggers.
I temporarily reopened Middle Earth Journal when Newshoggers shut it's doors but I was invited to Participate at The Moderate Voice so Middle Earth Journal is once again in hiatus.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Hillary Handcuffs

In his piece, The New Hillary?, Ron asked the following question.
I do think that it is essential that a Democrat occupy the White House in 2009. The reason, the Supreme Court. The next president will appoint at least two new justices. Do we really want Mitt Romney or John McCain doing the appointing?

Following the events today in Nevada, I'm becoming more and more sure that the "Obama threat" was largely a media creation. Even with the service workers' union support and floating caucus sites inside of casinos, Clinton looks to handily serve up another defeat to Obama outside the margin of error. And from what I can see, Senator Obama will simply get steamrolled on Feb. 5, 2008. Obama has put up a game fight, and I'm sure he'll continue the battle, but I no longer see a path to the nomination for him. This leaves me with some difficult choices to face.

For some time now, while not endorsing any one particular candidate, I've pretty much been in the position of "anyone but Hillary or Romney." My memories of Hillary Clinton from her time as first lady, combined with my experiences with her here in New York as one of our two Senators, have left me with more than a bad taste in my mouth. I simply outright don't want her in the White House.

I am still pretty much a fiscal, smaller government conservative. When I combine this with the fact that I feel the Democratic frontrunners have pretty much bailed on the issue of Iraq, I found myself giving a serious look at some Republican candidates, including John McCain. In fact, having listened to them all, I even found myself thinking that Fred Thompson really wasn't such a bad guy. But beyond my fiscal concerns, I'm still very much a social moderate to liberal, like many of my former Republican colleagues from the Northeast. Having spent so much time analyzing my key issues and where each candidate stood on each side, I have allowed myself to forget that one question which looms like the elephant in the room.
The next president will appoint at least two new justices. Do we really want Mitt Romney or John McCain doing the appointing?

When I voted for John Kerry in 2004, I did so holding my nose. To cast a vote for Hillary Clinton would probably require a full scuba mask, oxygen tanks and dry diving suit with chemical warfare coverings. But do I want a Republican appointing the next one to three Justices to the Supreme Court? The last two appointments have already dragged the court to the right and they have delivered some very upsetting setbacks to social issues which concern me. (And let's face it... SCOTUS has a lot more impact on social issues than they do on the war in Iraq or the creation vs. elimination of government agencies, spending, etc. ) Even in a best case analysis of the GOP candidates, let's say Rudy Giuliani won the presidency. He has a long background of moderate to liberal stances on social issues, but in order to take the White House he's already singing some hard line conservative tunes to win over the base. And he wouldn't be running for one term. Were he put in the position to appoint a SCOTUS Justice, would he risk a revolt in his own party for 2012 by appointing a moderate to left leaning Justice? It's hard to picture. He's speaking the code words of the GOP base, assuring them he would appoint "strict constructionist judges" which basically means tossing Roe v. Wade back to the states given the chance.

Is that enough to get me to don the full diving gear and cast a vote for Hillary if it comes down to the line? It's very, very important, no doubt. Of course, I still feel that Hillary will take the government in a direction I don't wish to see on government size, cost and taxation. And, as Ron notes, she's not just weak on Iraq... she's down right hawkish far too often for my isolationist preferences. But the aging SCOTUS judges seem to be sitting there sending me signals. But - and this is critical - a President is with us for four or eight years. A SCOTUS Justice could be there for forty. And I ask myself Ron's awful question again.
The next president will appoint at least two new justices. Do we really want Mitt Romney or John McCain doing the appointing?

Does Hillary have me in handcuffs of my own making because of this? Will I really have to cast that vote in order to be able to look myself in the eye on the morning of November 5th? I remember, as a child, watching this really wonderful old movie called, "Sweet November." I can assure you that November 2008 won't be very sweet for me, no matter which way things break.