Politics

Advantage, Cruz!

We must be winning against ISIS. We have body counts! And John Kerry is pushing them. Next: Jane Fonda sees the light at the end of the tunnel …

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Republicans are thinking of abolishing the Senate filibuster for Supreme Court nominees? Bad idea. Supreme Court nominations may be the case where a filibuster rule is most justified. Why? Because 1) appointments are for life — irrevocable; 2) The Court has immense power that is effectively unchecked when exercised; 3) That power has been extended over the past century to cover virtually any piece of legislation Congress might pass, in a way the Framers probably didn’t anticipate. In the process, 4) the judiciary (and constitutional theory) has been more politicized and polarized than maybe even the allegedly gridlocked Congress. The temptation for a President to push through an activist for one side or the other — if possible — is now almost irresistible. The best we can hope for is that a supermajority requirement will make confirmation possible mainly for nominees from the middle, whether principled or mushy (e.g. Sandra Day O’Connor). Then at least the Court will be unlikely to veer off in one anti-democratic direction or the other. Or at least it will veer slowly …

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NYT sets up the ‘GOPs-must-please-Univision test: If Republicans need to “win” Jorge Ramos in order to prevail, we will never have a border. … It’s like saying that in order to get enough votes from women Republicans have to please Gloria Allred. Or Gloria Steinem. No, they don’t. …

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Vox: “The Smartest Thinkers,” Part XXVIII: Ezra Klein’s “State of the Union” post argues that, due to the Russian currency decline, Obama can “declare a kind of victory against Vladimir Putin’s various provocations in 2014.” … Hello Donetsk! … And Mariupol. … “In recent days the war has returned in full force.” …

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Ted Cruz Has ‘Em Where He Wants ‘Em! What Byron York’s excellent 2016 GOP table-setter suggested to me is this: There is a big opening for the candidate he doesn’t really discuss, Ted Cruz. 1) York notes that Republicans want a new face, not a do-over candidate;  Cruz wins that contrast with Bush/Romney/Perry/Huckabee/Santorum; 2)  “Insiders” think Rubio is doomed by “his authorship of comprehensive immigration reform in the Senate.” If that’s true … well, immigration is a highly salient issue on which Cruz can cut down virtually the entire field — not just Rubio and Jeb and the too-chastened, always squishy Romney but also on-the-record amnesty supporter Scott Walker.**  If Cruz gets all the GOP’s anti-amnesty voters while the other 27 candidates split the GOP’s gotta-please-Latinos vote, he will win by a large margin. … As a contestant in a multi-candidate field, you dream of an issue like this. … That Cruz will try to sell out on immigration too (as soon as he wins) probably won’t matter much in the primary; 3) Cruz’s weakness, in York’s checklist, is foreign policy. But that is a weakness across the entire field, with the exception of John Bolton. If Cruz can’t beat Bolton he should go back to Canada. … P.S.: Cruz is also an excellent debater. … P.P.S.: I’m not a Cruz supporter. He oozes untrustworthy ambition. I’m just saying he’s well-positioned in the  current GOP field. …

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** — The exception is Santorum, but he has his own problems, as York’s Point #7 notes (in addition to being a not-new face). … For Walker’s wildly unconvincing, incomplete attempt to walk back his pro-amnesty (and pro-open-bordersish) comments, see this Breitbart piece.