SCOTUS, POTUS, SOTU And Q&A: What’s It All Mean?

I apologize for the lack of posts as of late, my fellow Politcos. As a part-time blogger, and full-time mom & teacher, life’s been particularly demanding the last week or two. And meanwhile, The Supreme Court goes bonkers, The President changes his focus and grows what appears to be a sizable pair, the State of The Union knocks our socks off, and Obama schools the GOP about the dangers of politics as usual..on the Tee Vee machine, no less! Good God, it’s enough to make me want to quit my job and blog for a living!!! (Ah, maybe one day…) But I am back, Kids, so let’s take it from the top:

1. SCOTUS: The Supreme Court Reverses 103 Years of Precedent and Sells Us Down The River

A long time ago, as a first year teacher, I won a national award and received a trip to Washington, D.C. – I simply can’t think of a better prize for a nerdy-geeky-wonk like yours truly! (Okay, maybe to watch a filming of The Rachel Maddow Show…is my inner pundit showing???) In any case, I had the opportunity to visit the hallowed halls of our Supreme Court: walking under Lady Justice in her blindfold, holding her scales of justice high. And once inside the hushed chamber, there I stood in the place where so many of our legal precedents were set in stone:: Brown v. Board of Education, Miranda v. Arizona, Roe v. Wade, and the list goes on, ad infinitum. I sat down in the front row, on long benches that felt more like pews than the gallery, thinking what a sacred and holy place this is to our democracy, in a very small “d” democracy way. The Supreme Court was my National Cathedral.

Fast-forward to the Election of 2000. In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that a statewide recount of Florida’s ballots was unconstitutional. And they left their decision “Per Curiam,” (by the court), a case in which the decision could not be used as precedent in future cases. In other words, they threw up a red flag indicating that the Court’s bias was most definitely political; they knew the decision was morally and legally wrong. Despite the popular vote, the Democratic candidate chosen by the people was tossed aside to make way for the GOP Heir to The Throne. The Boy Prince. I felt disillusioned and truly betrayed by our system of justice, the highest court in the land. The Republican-stacked Supreme Court was no longer the bastion of democracy I’d believed, no longer the objective, blindfolded Justice in which I grew up to believe. 

Now, in 2010, we see the most recent decision by the court, another 5-4 decision, that is most literally the unraveling of the very fabric of our democracy. Ignoring a substantial body of precedent-setting decisions reaching as far back as 1907, The Supreme Court has now granted Corporations the same right to free speech as living, breathing members of our populace, the same rights as you and me; in fact, corporations both foreign and domestic, now have the power to direct our elections to the point of obliterating the vote of the individual. In his dissenting opinion, Justice Stevens says it far better than I could ever dream of saying it:

Essentially, five Justices were unhappy with the limited nature of the case before us, so they changed the case to give themselves an opportunity to change the law...The Court operates with a sledgehammer rather than a scalpel when it strikes down one of Congress’ most significant efforts to regulate the role that corporations and unions play in electoral politics. It compounds the offense by implicitly striking down a great many state laws as well. Going forward, corporations and unions will be free to spend as much general treasury money as they wish on ads that support or attack specific candidates, whereas national parties will not be able to spend a dime of soft money on ads of any kind. The Court’s ruling thus dramatically enhances the role of corporations and unions-and the narrow interests they represent-vis-à-vis the role of political parties-and the broad coalitions they represent-in determining who will hold public office...The Framers thus took it as a given that corporations could be comprehensively regulated in the service of the public welfare…It might also be added that corporations have no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts, no desires. Corporations help structure and facilitate the activities of human beings, to be sure, and their “personhood” often serves as a useful legal fiction. But they are not themselves members of “We the People” by whom and for whom our Constitution was established.

This was a strategic path that the GOP has been fast-tracking through the courts, and if you look back over the route that this challenge took to get here, there are Rethuglican fingerprints all over it. God bless Justice Stevens and his other three dissenting Justices, for there would be no one to speak for us otherwise. But where are we to go from here when such a heinous decision has been rendered? Thankfully, there is still some measure of the system of checks and balances in play, and Barney Frank has come out fighting. He will be working through the legislative process to place limits on the rights of corporations to donate and influence elections. But can he get any workable measure through the present Congress? Well, that remains to be seen, as does the enormous effect this decision will have on even the 2010 midterms. Never thought I would live to see the day…”Of The Corporations, By The Corporations, For The Corporations” “E Corporatus Unum” My God.

2. POTUS: Health Care Reform on The Back Burner  So, earlier in the week, it looked as if President Obama was ready to toss the health care reform battle to the wayside. To paraphrase the pundits, we had the ball on the 1 yard line, and The President was ready to punt – even those of us who are entirely un-sports-minded get that analogy: do the work, push it through the line, and don’t just toss it up for anyone to grab. It seemed like there were reports everywhere of health care reform being DOA, dead in the water, or being “put on the back burner” for awhile. I was so angry I was ready to spit, and hammered off a post that included five feasible ways to get the bill through. Reasonable, very smart people (like Barney Frank, once again) seemed to be ready to throw in the towel. And no one I know could figure out why on earth we don’t play ball like the GOP. Did they call for their colleagues to wait until Al Franken was certified before tackling important measures, because it was the right thing to do??? I was in absolute disbelief. The Hubby was threatening to become an Independent over it all, and Little Man piped up with, “You know, Momma, I’m not saying we should act like Republicans. I know it’s not right to play dirty tricks, but they held up our Senator getting into office, why don’t we let them some of their own medicine? It’s the only way they’ll learn.” (Can I just say how much I love having smart kids???) I’m still not sure where we’re going with health care at this point, but in the State of The Union, it looked like it was still breathing, if in critical condition. But this is one time when a “wait and see” approach won’t help the patient.

 3. SOTU: The Prez Spanks The Court & Puts The GOP in A Time-Out  The Hubby set the State of The Union up to tape (on MSNBC, of course…) so that I could get to Little Man’s school  – he’s got his big trip to science camp on Catalina Island coming up, and they had to meet with us to make sure no one brought spear guns. And oh, yes, to let us all know that “the most qualified parents were chosen to chaperone.” I guess my teaching credentials, CPR and first aid training and 20 some years of working with kids isn’t enough experience…but, hey, I’m letting it go…

Anyhow, I got home and we sat down to watch the speech. We were both encouraged by what we heard throughout – our platform planks were still alive. I was absolutely delighted when The President literally shook his finger at the GOP for their obstructionism, and stood up and cheered when he took on SCOTUS’ recent decision. And then, I could not believe my eyes. “Wait a minute! Go back! Go back!” I shouted at The Hubby. “Did you see that???” He did, and he ran it back:

 

Yeah, he said it all right. From Joe Wilson’s “You Lie,” to the activist GOP Justice heckling The President with “Simply Not True,” it has been a year that highlights the lack of decorum and simply, disrespect and disdain for the Office of The President which the Rethugs have come to represent. But the speech was a great one, with a confident President at ease with his message, and appearing to be back on track to lead his party. But hey, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet, Kids….

4. Presidential Q & A: The President vs. The GOP or, Davey and Goliath
After a period of doubting that our President had the arm twisting skills of LBJ, and wondering whether he had wasted away his substantial political capital, he pulls this proverbial hat trick and takes on the House Rethugs entirely on his own. See for yourself:

I have always thought that President Obama is a man of significant intelligence, and it’s evident he is an amazing speaker, but tonight we can most definitely state that we have, without a doubt, a brilliant man in the Office of The President. If you’re going to ask our guy a question, you’d damn well better be ready to back up your assertions with facts! It was a joy to watch him tackle each GOP soundbite and bumper sticker, each campaign speech and commercial, by using the wealth of information he has about, well, everything they asked and more! This was a Clintonesque moment, one in which the ability to have specific figures on the tip of his tongue, and the ability to jab and perry with each and every GOP who dared to show bluster. Simply put, The Prez nailed it. He kicked some serious political ass. He took on all comers and remains the champion. By the time the session was over, and a long one it was, a full 86 minutes, there was no doubt who was in charge. And it was obvious that the GOP were kicking themselves for allowing the cameras in the room! (Somebody’s gonna get hung out to dry for that one…yet, politically, what choice did they have? The headline would have been “GOP Afraid of Transparency?”) Yes, I think we can say, in no uncertain terms, The President has grown a pair, and managed to demonstrate the GOP lack of a set of their own. President Obama made certain that we all knew who was the smartest man in the room, and he’s on our side.

Ah, I feel much better now. Finally caught up and ready to see what will happen next on the political scene. It’s been a whirlwind of a week, so now I am waiting to hear your take on it all, my fellow Politicos. POTUS, SCOTUS, SOTU and The President’s Q & A, all up for grabs and fair game. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

By the way, our first guest post will be up soon, by my blogsistah ConchExPat, from She Started It! Hope you’ll come by and check out her distinct voice and politcal smarts!

10 Comments

  1. Hey MommaP, always good to see a new post from ya! It was a great week ending with my all time favorite, Q and A with the rethugs!! It was superb, Obama answered the questions with ease and intelligence without notes, teleprompter,or script! To the dismay of the smug and arrogant rethugs I might add!I really tried hard to stay away from the neocon bloggers but one today actually called Obama weak after yesterdays rethug take down! Can you believe that shit?? Jerks I tell ya, jerks they are! Oh well, this year is gonna be a great one, it would be fun to stay home and blog all day huh!?

  2. Correction.. It was Stevens.. not Souter.. Souter retired last year.. now we have Sotomayer in his place.. remember….lol Just thought I would jog your memory… Yes, it was a great week all around. But I have never doubted our President, never thought he would let us down and never for a moment thought HCR was dead no matter who said it was. Even Barney Frank pronounced it dead, but I think he was speaking prematurely… and he backtracked very quickly when called on it. There have been lots of delays due to ineptitude in the Senate.. and some of the blame may lay with the President for not being more forceful with the Senate and with Reid for not being more forceful, hopefully this will change.. I hope this session with the rethugs will start something and the President will do the same with the Congressional Dems and lay the law down to them in much the same way. I think they could stand to have some schooling too. I loved watching it and have posted it… I have watched it about 5 times… he set the record straight on a number of their lies and all but called them liars in a number of instances….. he didn't say LIE, which I wish he had.. but he did say they were falsehoods which is as good as….. and I loved them squirming in their seats…lol

  3. Fascism is the word that comes to mind from the Supreme Court Decision. Can I have a Mussolini baloney wedge on a Kaiser roll with some spicy SCOTUS on the side? I hope Obama continues his tough stance and walks the walk this time, standing tall and taking long strides with his back straight and strong from the recent fitting of a titanium spine that he previously had left behind.

  4. Hey to you, too, Sue! Glad you came by! Yeah, that was one rockin' number. Maureen Dowd said it well in her column in the NY Times, saying that they couldn't turn it down because they'd look obstructionist, so they decided to take that young and snooty whippersnapper on! Well played, GOP! ;) What a bunch of B.S., Sue – the lies and propaganda just went on and on. I nearly came to lows with a mom of one of Little Man's classmates at the parent meeting…seriously conservative GOP and everything she said was a Fixx News lie. I finally said, "You watch Fox, don't you?" "Of course," she answered. I took the high road and nodded, and walked away. "What's that supposed to mean?" she yelled after me, and I waved, smiled, and headed home to watch the SOTU. Who knows, Sue? It may be when we're old and gray, but one day it sure would be fun to stay home and write!

  5. Hi Annette, and thanks! I stand corrected, and have noted it duly in the record! ;) Please forgive my blond moment!Barney must've spoken out of frustration, 'cuz he backtracked pretty quick. I was quite perturbed at the man…my Lord, he of all people should know better! But he redeemed himself when he came out swinging at the SCOTUS' latest ridiculousness. I agree, I hope that this will be the jumpstart the President needed to get momentum on his side. And I appreciate your undying support for The Prez, Annette, because, as usual, you help to keep me grounded, my friend. I also appreciate that you see the delays and that maybe the leadership should have been more forceful – well put. You're a fair-minded pal, and I love ya for it, Girl!Our guy really brought it home – he was the Christian thrown to the lions, and he really does seem to thrive in that setting. Like Sue was saying, no teleprompter, so the "he needs one" claim is now defunct! A great show, and I hope the rest of the public gets it – FIXX didn't even show the whole thing; they cut out about halfway through…"can't let the base see how stupid we really are…can't let them see us get eaten up and spit out by that Socialist!" Ah, let the good times roll! Thanks much for the fact check, and thanks for the great comments, Girlfriend. I'll be by your blog tomorrow – can't wait to read your latest!

  6. Lauren, my Dear, you have a wonderful way with words – from your sandwich order (LOL!) to the titanium spine…love it! Yes, I am hopeful, and The Hubby is "proud of our President again." The Supreme Court ruling is one of the most terrifying in the history of our justice system. We can only hope that there is some semblance of checks and balances in our system, as the objective opinion of the court is gone. Someone suggested that Alito might have perjured himself in his testimony to the court by saying he didn't believe judges should act in an activ actiist manner. Wouldn't that be a hoot? I'd love to be a fly on the wall…Thanks for your on-the-money comments, and hope to be over your way tomorrow!

  7. Obama was good before the Republican caucus, especially during the Q&A; when he refuted their arguments with strong language and a measured tone. Obama made a strong case that a civil debate and willingness to compromise are prerequisites for bipartisanship. Now, the WH has to keep hammering that point home.BTW, does anyone else agree that one of the losers in the Massachusetts election is Joe Lieberman? There's really no need to kowtow to him anymore, and he is a genuinely malignant force. It's probably too late to strip him of his committee assignments — he'd play the Politics As Usual card — but there's no reason to deal with him, either.

  8. 1. SCOTUS – I despair of meaningful campaign finance reform as long as these corporate pimps sit on the court. They are willing to infect the entire body politic by letting corporate interests run amuck.2. POTUS – I'm with Little Man. 3. SOTU – Obviously you're the most highly qualified for chaperoning, but the teacher is jealous and afraid you'll take her job. Oh, yes…the speech was good.4. Q & A – it is a real pleasure to have an intelligent leader. Super Son is doing debate events in high school now, and he loves to listen to the President.

  9. Hi K., I think you are absolutely right re: Lieberman, and thank God, because it's well overdue! Really no need to court the man any longer. He's been out of the news cycle for about a week now, and I'd imagine he's feeling pretty left out about now.I agree as well, that the Prez was commanding and cool, relaxed yet brought it all home. And he needs to keep it comin', relentlessly, reiterating over and over that the Rethugs are just not helping. Thanks for the comments, K. Always good to hear from you!

  10. Man, Girl, you can capture the sense of it all so succinctly! "Infecting the body politic by letting corporate interests run amuck" – great turn of phrase.LOL! You may be right about the teacher on that one! ;) How fun! I wish Tweenie was interested in debate, but no such luck. Here I am, the eternal geek, and I have this beautiful, well-liked (but nice!) kid…damn, the gene pool is an amazing thing! Hopefully Little Man will head down a political course of some sort…God knows he's getting schooled that direction! Thanks so much for coming by, FF. Always a pleasure!

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Welcome

I refuse to cave to a minivan. I am still a tomboy - comfortable in Levi's, my Yankees cap and Converse. And I always have a political opinion...hell, I always have an opinion, period. The hubby, my kids and my friends think I should run for office. Maybe one day. But for now, Momma Politico blogs. Peruse, enjoy, and know that our busy lives are as significant as those in The Washington Post. Cheers, Heidi Haines AKA Perry MacNeil Momma Politico

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