The Senate and SCOTUS — A Modest Proposal

Since the nomination of Merrick Garland has been held up all year, and is at this point likely dead, President Trump may nominate as many as three (even 4?) Justices to the Supreme Court.

The Senate, of course, must approve those nominations. Historically, this would have been subject to a 60-vote requirement to overcome any minority-party filibuster. But retiring Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid eliminated that precedent, and, indeed, even two weeks ago sought to permanently “nuke the filibuster.” We may therefore expect that even a bare majority in the GOP-held Senate could approve each of those nominees.

Perhaps today Democrats can better see the folly of Harry Reid. Even some Republicans are uneasy at the prospect of President Trump’s SCOTUS picks.

I believe that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell should, in the interest of national unity, allow the Democrats to restore to the Senate the historic protection of the filibuster.

He should announce that he will, in this session, schedule hearings for Merrick Garland on the condition that each member of the Senate — every single one, without exception — go to the floor of the Senate, and make a public pledge of support for the filibuster, along the lines of: “I solemnly renounce and abjure the disastrous and demagogic policies of Harry Reid which so gravely imperiled the historic safeguard that is the filibuster, and put our republic in jeopardy of descending into the ugliest form of mob rule.”

Since no Senate can bind a future Senate, this show of support for the filibuster will be necessary at the start of each term. Incoming Senators should be required to make the same pledge in January. Without such a show of national unity and resolve, McConnell should declare the filibuster dead and delete it across the board from all Senate rules.

Would this be humiliating for Democrats? Absolutely. So it might tempt the Republicans, who, otherwise, will want to wait for Trump’s nominee and those who will come later.

But swallowing their pride would be good for Democrats. Being (sort of) generous in victory would be good for Republicans. And restoring a strong filibuster would be good for the country, and not only in the area of SCOTUS nominees.

If nothing else, the election of President Trump and a GOP Senate should teach us that it is dangerous to take power into our own hands that we would be terrified to see in the hands of our political opponents.

How to Survive Thanksgiving at Your Liberal Relatives’

How to survive Thanksgiving at your liberal relatives’ house:

“Why don’t you come to our place next year. Seeing as how your taxes are going up in a few weeks, it’s only fair.”

“Sorry I parked you in. Oh, darn, I drove the Chevy Volt today. You wouldn’t have an extension cord, would you?”

Smirk. Love the picture of Sarah Palin speaking in front of the turkey processing plant.

Help! I’m bein’ REPRESSED!

Most of the faculty and staff at Princeton University who donated to a presidential candidate donated to Bronco Bama. By “most” I mean “all but two.” I know, ho-hum, so what? It is, after all, the school that employs Peter Singer as an ethicist. But the interesting thing is who those GOP big shots were. One was an engineer, or, rather, a visiting lecturer at the Keller Center for Innovation in Engineering Education. Probably has a day job foreclosing loans on Wall Street. What about the other plutocrat-for-Romney?

The only other donation to the Romney campaign from a University employee was contributed by Mark Oresic, a custodian in the 1903 Hall.

Too bad. Except for his politics, Mr. Oresic probably could have expected a lot of lunch invitations to the faculty lounge.

Walter Olson via Ilya Shapiro.

Now what?

Okay. Lady parts are safe now. And, now that he’s lost, Mitt Romney’s a statesman and not Jack the Ripper any longer. Who knows, maybe he’ll get a cabinet post, like Huntsman before him. Failing that, maybe an ambassador. (“Anywhere but Benghazi, Mr. President.”)

And with that out of the way, then what? I sure hope there’s something up the President’s sleeve to get the economy moving. Upward, I mean. I doubt it, but I sure hope I’m wrong. We’ll see.

Recovery?

From the “It Sucks to Be Us” Dept.:

The recent census report shows that despite (extremely slow) increases in national GDP and employment, inflation-adjusted household income—an indicator with far more impact on the lives of most Americans—has been dropping since 2009. As the New York Times notes, median household income is now 8.1 percent below its level in 2007.

Kudus: a 2008 Obama voter Via Meadia.

Do It to Julia

The Obama campaign introduced a new message showing how Obama policies—interestingly, they’re calling the Affordable Care Act “Obamacare” now—have benefitted an everywoman they call “Julia.”

Good luck finding it on the website. Julia seems to have been disappeared, probably because it has drawn fire from both sides of the aisle. An example from the left is the Washington Post‘s “Fact Checker” explanation of its “misleading” “campaign trick” on Social Security. Still, it’s worthwhile to look at the campaign yourself.

Even more worth looking at, however, is Iowahawk’s send-up of the Julia messaging. My favorite line is the last one.

Sarah Palin on Crony Capitalism

I was delighted to read Sarah Palin’s op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. This piece deals with the topic of Crony Capitalism, which she also addressed in her September 3 Iowa speech:

… They talk endlessly about cutting government spending, and yet they keep spending more. They talk about massive unsustainable debt, and yet they keep incurring more. …

No, they don’t feel the same urgency that we do. But why should they? For them business is good; business is very good. Seven of the ten wealthiest counties are suburbs of Washington, D.C. Polls there actually—and usually I say polls, eh, they’re for strippers and cross country skiers—but polls in those parts show that some people there believe that the economy has actually improved. See, there may not be a recession in Georgetown, but there is in the rest of America.

I’m glad. This is a drum that needs beating, almost as much as the crony capitalists need beating. By continuing to address the topic, she sheds light on the source of some of our nation’s greatest troubles, and ways we can fix them. More light, I would say, than two months of silly #OWS self-indulgence. Good for her.

Godfather’s Pizza

Earlier this week, Politico posted an article about Godfather’s Pizza, presumably as a way to knock down Herman Cain. It was a sad little hit-piece, as you might expect. Cain hasn’t been at Godfather’s since the mid-90s, and even if he were, this “blind taste test” simply brings to mind the Reagan’s observation that “there’s a difference between the critics and the box office.” Regardless what some food critics think about the pizza, nobody can dispute that Cain led the company back to profitability.

When I was in college, Albuquerque was where we went for fun, and most of the time, our evenings began at Godfather’s Pizza. One of my friends (Joel) could calculate everyone’s portion of the bill in his head between the cash register and the table, including tip and tax, and accounting for different drink purchases. And despite that, he was a mediocre student in the math classes. I hear he works at a bank these days, although he doesn’t use Facebook or LinkedIn so I can’t be sure.

Another friend (Kevin) used to tick me off because he was a quicker eater than me. Suppose you have a three people sharing an eight-slice pizza. Everyone gets two slices, and then they have an argument about who doesn’t get a third, right? Not with Kevin at the table. He’d eat three slices as quickly as the rest would eat two. Then he’d look at that last slice sitting all by itself, and ask if anybody else wanted it. And we’d say, no, shucks, we’re not greedy, you go ahead eat it, Kevin.

I don’t say these things to slam my friends. Well, I do, but that’s not my point. After all, I’m sure if you checked their memories, they might have some less than 100% flattering memories of me, too.

What’s interesting to me is that we always ate at Godfather’s. It wasn’t even a question. We just did. The pizza was good enough, I suppose, but nothing special. My guess is that, since that Socorro had a Pizza Hut, when we went to Albuquerque, we wanted something different.

After college, I moved to Albuquerque and learned about Nunzio’s Pizza, which I liked a lot better than Godfather’s. You could purchase by the slice, so there, Kevin. And if you asked for anchovies, they wouldn’t lie to you and say “we’re all out, sorry,” the way most pizza places do. Sadly, Nunzio’s went out of business sometime in the late 80’s or early 90’s. I’m happy to see the family has started over with a new pizzeria called Saggio.

Palin piece in NY Times Magazine

I found the NY Times Magazine profile of Sarah Palin pretty interesting. Here’s one of the reasons:

In truth, few are underestimating Sarah Palin anymore. In that endearing manner of the Beltway echo chamber, the prevailing narrative of Palin in 2009 was that that she was an incompetent ditz. This year’s story line is that she is a social-media visionary who purposefully circumnavigated the power-alley gasbags and thereby constructed a new campaigning template for the ages.

I hate to say I told you so. Well, no, not really. In fact, I love to say I told you so.