Sunstein's Dangerous Advice to Obama

Some folks are beginning to notice that Cass Sunstein is no defender of the rule of law. Via Glenn Greenwald, Ari Melber writes:

Cass Sunstein, an adviser to Barack Obama from the University of Chicago Law School, cautioned against prosecuting criminal conduct from the current Administration. Prosecuting government officials risks a "cycle" of criminalizing public service, he argued, and Democrats should avoid replicating retributive efforts like the impeachment of President Clinton--or even the "slight appearance" of it.

What people do not realize is Cass Sunstein has been defending the Bush Administration's illegal actions and the Bush Administration's preposterous claims for many many years now. This is who he is. I think that any connection he has to Barack Obama is extremely troubling.

By Big Tent Democrat, speaking for me only

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    You know, (5.00 / 6) (#1)
    by andgarden on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 09:54:24 AM EST
    if W had an affair with Monica Lewinsky, I would object to prosecuting him for that.

    LOL, me too. (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by Maria Garcia on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 10:04:58 AM EST
    But What If (none / 0) (#49)
    by squeaky on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 11:57:26 AM EST
    He had an affair with Jeff Gannon/Guckert, and the pillow talk went over the line.

    Ick on so many levels <nt> (none / 0) (#70)
    by cmugirl on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 12:51:48 PM EST
    2 links don't seem to work (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Molly Bloom on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 09:57:02 AM EST
    Glenn and Ari.

    Fixed (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 10:05:17 AM EST

    This (5.00 / 9) (#3)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 09:57:24 AM EST
    is the kind of stuff that makes me not trust Obama. He's still largely undefined and has a very slim record to judge him on.

    Sunstein makes the whole "you must vote for Obama because of SCOTUS or judges" argument pretty pointless imo.

    The SCOTUS (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by Radiowalla on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 10:11:03 AM EST
    argument is certainly not pointless.  The next president is going to have one or two key seats to fill and I'd rather they be filled by Obama than by McCain.  

    I agree (5.00 / 3) (#9)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 10:21:14 AM EST
    I also would strenuously object to Sunstein being named to the SCOTUS.

    That's your epitaph old chum. (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by Salo on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 10:27:28 AM EST
    Cause that's the plan.

    It may very well be. (none / 0) (#16)
    by lilburro on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 10:40:06 AM EST
    Though Bush will probably just pardon everyone anyway, so...

    And if he does, this will just be a moment to remember if/when Sunstein is nominated for the Supreme Court...hopefully by then the Obama-is-right-all-the-time contingent will have decreased in number.


    That was my next question. Sunstein (5.00 / 2) (#34)
    by oculus on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 11:32:42 AM EST
    on SCOTUS tinkering with Roe v. Wade.  No thanks.  Hope Obama has other legal advisors and SCOTUS candidates.  

    From what I've read from Obama supporters, (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by MO Blue on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 12:14:31 PM EST
    Sunstein is at the top of the list for an Obama nomination to the SCOTUS. A phrase that was used was that you could take it to the bank that he would be the one selected to fill the first available slot.

    And if O gets in, (none / 0) (#60)
    by brodie on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 12:27:51 PM EST
    and Ginsburg, the only woman on the Ct, retires, O is going to replace the only female with a white male?

    Sorry, it won't happen.  

    As for the rumors and scuttlebutt about Sunstein, they are mostly overblown, imo.

    I think O would have a bolder, more dynamic pick the first time or two he gets to nominate.  Not (as I noted below) Yet Another White Male Justice and one who famously wants to move only in tiny incremental legal steps.


    Ginsberg (none / 0) (#62)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 12:38:19 PM EST
    is not going to retire before Stevens don't you think? Sunstein will be nominated to replace Stevens.

    Last I checked, Ginsburg (none / 0) (#74)
    by brodie on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 01:03:10 PM EST
    though younger than Stevens, has had a recent bout or two of a serious cancer.  She's in her mid70s (iirc) too.

    For sure, Stevens is the very elderly one, but he might be in better shape even at his advancing age than Ginsburg.

    Again, don't count on Sunstein being the first or even the second one nominated.

    I expect if O is elected, he'll have possibly 3 picks, perhaps just in his first term.

    The white male minimalist, I predict, will have to wait his turn.


    I've heard Carlos Moreno's name (none / 0) (#64)
    by oculus on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 12:45:52 PM EST
    mentioned.  Latino justice on Cal Supreme.  But, he voted to invalidate the marriage-between-a-man-and-a -woman statue on CA constitutional grounds.  What effect on Obama when it comes time to select nominees?  

    Lots of speculation you have there! (none / 0) (#68)
    by hairspray on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 12:50:18 PM EST
    I understand (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 12:35:35 PM EST
    that some people think a person with a D beside their name will always appoint better judges than someone with an R. Frankly, this isn't always true. Souter was appointed by Bush Sr.

    The balance of the court has already been altered to the point of where it won't matter if a D appoints judges because the conservatives will control the court for years.

    The Dems blew the whole scotus argument back when Roberts came up for nomination imo.


    I think, at this point in time, (none / 0) (#100)
    by Grace on Sun Jul 20, 2008 at 02:18:20 AM EST
    our best chance to overturn the court is to make sure that Cheney and Scalia get invited on a lot of duck hunts together.  In fact, it would be preferable if they were the only ones hunting together.  

    They might like bigger game too.  I really don't know much about their hunting habits except that I know Scalia likes to hunt with Cheney and Cheney isn't the best shot.  

    Cheney will be retired soon, so he'll be able to go hunting A LOT!!  


    Does it? Willful Blindness. (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Molly Bloom on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 10:26:57 AM EST
    I don't find this logical at all.

    What we know. McCain has promised more Scalias and Alitos.

    What does this mean? More anti civil rights, workers rights and anti-choice decisions.

    Obama is a MOR Democrat. Highly unlikely to appoint Scalias and Alitos. None of Obama's stated positions indicate he wants to put anti civil rights, workers rights and anti-choice justices on the bench. Do I think he will appoint liberals, like Warren, Douglas, Marshall or Brennan? Unfortunately probably not or at least not consistently. However, the more opportunities Democrats get at appointing justices, the better. Remember in the last 40 years, Nixon appointed 4; Ford, 1; Reagan 3 (not counting the elevation of Rhenquist); Bush the elder, 2;President Clinton 2; Bush the younger, 2.

    Score: 12-2. Of the 12 only 2, Stevens and Souter can be described as true moderates. President Clinton appointed 2 moderates for a total of 4. Its going to take years of control of the executive branch to correct this imbalance.

    The other point to remember, is that, since Bush the elder, the trend has been for the GOP to appoint young justices, so they will be there a long time. Odds of impeaching any justice is slim as a practical matter. So death and old age resignations are the only way there are going to be vacancies.

    We are going to need to take every presidential election we can for awhile to reverse this.

    If you can't figure out why voting for Obama is important for the sake of SCOTUS or judges, then you are being willfully blind.

    (BTW for all his faults, Sunsteen does not support overturning Roe v. Wade. He doesn't like Blackmun's reasoning (and more than a few scholars on both sides don't), but Sunsteen has clearly stated he doesn't want to overturn Roe v. Wade).


    i think everyone still thinks we are (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by hellothere on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 10:46:12 AM EST
    talking about the democratic party. we have been told there is a "new" democratic party and they are doing their best to show just that by their actions. so those assuming that holding their noses and voting is the best thing i am afraid will be deeply disappointed.

    Not responsive (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Molly Bloom on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 10:56:27 AM EST
    to the facts presented and not persuasive.

    the facts are the democrats have (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by hellothere on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 11:01:48 AM EST
    involved themselves in a primary that discounts 18 million voters. they are using the tactics that the repubs did. that is reality. if you actually believe this is the old democratic party of johnson, jfk and fdr, then i have some bridges in brooklyn for you.

    What Does All This Have To Do (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by daring grace on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 11:56:02 AM EST
    with Cass Sunstein?

    I'd say it has to do (5.00 / 1) (#97)
    by tree on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 10:40:13 PM EST
    with Sunstein because he is not the kind of justice that the old Democratic party would consider as a leading candidate for the Supreme Court. He is not the kind of advisor that an old-values Democrat would have.

    A Mighty Stretch (none / 0) (#105)
    by daring grace on Sun Jul 20, 2008 at 09:26:38 AM EST
    But okay, given that approach it's silly to imagine that the Democratic party today, or in the glory days of the Clinton administration for those who feel it's sullied today, has the exact same values as it did 45 years ago under JFK or 70 years ago under FDR. Reproductive freedoms? same sex marriage? Many Dems from those eras might look at the party today and lament it isn't the old party they believed in either. But today it is  comfortably on a continuum that stretches back through decades of change to those two iconic Dems.

    Even so, Sunstein isn't beyond the pale for the kind of advisers a 'real' Dem candidate would reasonably have.

    And all of this about the SCOTUS is just speculation, a diverting parlor game until we see who gets elected and there's a vacancy on the court and we see who the nominee will be.


    SCOTUS (none / 0) (#108)
    by tree on Sun Jul 20, 2008 at 01:00:50 PM EST
    is being used as more than a parlor game this election season. It is being used as a fear-tactic and a bludgeon against those who are hesitant to vote for Obama. This is why Sunstein as a possible SC nominee is relevant to a discussion of this election, and relevant to a discussion of what Obama's nominations to the SC will be.  Personally, I'm not convinced that Obama's nominations will be all that much better than McCain's. And I am convinced that McCain's nominations will at least receive scrutiny from an overwhelmingly Democratic Congress, whereas Obama's will not.

    Speculation About SCOTUS Nominees (none / 0) (#109)
    by daring grace on Sun Jul 20, 2008 at 01:23:04 PM EST
    before the election--heck, before the convention--is the parlor game.

    Not the nominating process to the court, itself.


    If that is truly what you believe (none / 0) (#111)
    by tree on Sun Jul 20, 2008 at 07:09:53 PM EST
     then please pass that sentiment on to those who seek to bludgeon others with the SC nominees and Roe v. Wade.  

    okay then (5.00 / 5) (#24)
    by Salo on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 11:02:05 AM EST
    unstein can't tell the difference between a war crime and a pecadillo.

    That's not good jurisprudence.


    That is not related to my overall point (none / 0) (#33)
    by Molly Bloom on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 11:31:28 AM EST
    But you know I don't think I would hire Cass for political strategy. I lean towards BTD's position on Cass on the court, but I don't claim to have studied Cass's record intensely. Overall, I think his basic idea of judicial minimalism has some merit. That doesn't mean Cass therefore should be elevated to the court.

    I think Sunstein was also influential as (5.00 / 2) (#38)
    by oculus on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 11:36:29 AM EST
    to Obama's voting for the FISA bill.  He has Obama's  attention, for sure.

    He's on the short list (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by Salo on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 11:40:11 AM EST
    for a seat. Obama's likely to want a croney with long term ties to himself.

    My view is that Sunstein, (none / 0) (#57)
    by brodie on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 12:24:13 PM EST
    being a white male and a quirky centrist minimalist is for these reasons not likely to be picked -- at least not for the first 2 openings, which are almost certainly going to come up in his first term (Ginsburg, Stevens).

    I think O will be thinking woman and Hispanic and/or political geography, not white male from his home base.  

    Sunstein might be O's 3d pick.  Maybe.


    A normal Democrat, (5.00 / 1) (#99)
    by Grace on Sun Jul 20, 2008 at 02:12:33 AM EST
    not the "new politics" Democrat that Obama is, might pick a woman or a Hispanic -- because that would be "old politics" (ie. "appointing an affirmative action candidate").

    Obama doesn't have those constraints.  He's "new politics."  Appointing a white male conservative would certainly show that he's a "new kind of Democrat."  He'd be appointing the exact type of person that no one would expect him to appoint.  


    Given the number of judges (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by Salo on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 11:07:51 AM EST
    that the GOP have appointed it is a wonder that the Dems get any play at all on any issue put before the court.

    The SCOTUS is a political given, rather than a selling point for Obama. Those voters who care about it as an overriding issue will vote accordingly.


    in my county the repub judges are (none / 0) (#29)
    by hellothere on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 11:12:05 AM EST
    definitely in control. i don't look for that to change. one repub judge who is a friend of a family member tells us they expect senator obama to have one term if he wins not because of them but because of the way the democratic party is making a number of mistakes in stragedy.

    stragedy (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by sj on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 12:04:30 PM EST
    Intentional or unintentional play on words?  Accurate any which way.

    local strategy or national? (none / 0) (#35)
    by Molly Bloom on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 11:33:23 AM EST
    what specific mistakes? Advancing socialism?!!!

    geez where to begin. (5.00 / 5) (#39)
    by hellothere on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 11:37:18 AM EST
    do you in all honesty believe the democrats have not make countless mistakes in the last decade and in this primary? fisa is a good beginning. disenfranchising voters in michigan and floria. ignoring the dissing of women in the campaign. that means nothing to you. the comments and actions of brazile and dean mean nothing to you? the democrats haven't found an issue they don't cave in on to the republicans since i can remember. please! there are many others than jeralyn and btd have have countless diaries about on here.

    Where to begin indeed! (3.00 / 3) (#75)
    by Molly Bloom on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 01:12:39 PM EST
    Republicans worried about FISA? LOL.

    By all accounts Obama has led, and leads in Michigan. Disenfranchisement did you say?

    Florida, depends on the poll you read.

    Democrats dissed women? Or did some Obama blowhards dismiss woman?

    All of this leads your local republicans to say Democrats have a bad long term strategy?  You think these items are the  Democrats long term strategy?!!  



    Let me help you here... (none / 0) (#101)
    by Grace on Sun Jul 20, 2008 at 02:28:46 AM EST
    You need to go back to 2000.  This is not a recent turn of events.  Look back to when we elected a Democratic majority in Congress, and they refused to do anything even though they were brought in for "change."    

    Yes, it's a Democratic stragedy.  I don't think he mispelled the word.  

    It's strategic and it's a tragedy -- and it's a stragedy.  (Good word!  By the way, for whoever coined it!)    


    I do not iunderstand Sunstein's logic on Roe (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 11:48:51 AM EST
    Me neither (none / 0) (#76)
    by Molly Bloom on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 01:17:09 PM EST
    but he has stated he does not think Roe should be overturned.

    I not opposed to the idea of judicial minimalism, but that does not mean Cass should be placed on the court.


    Completely accurate (none / 0) (#22)
    by Demi Moaned on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 11:00:52 AM EST
    In fact, in regards to the current Administration, the argument applies to the civil service as well.

    As important as all this stuff is, it has become a pretty minimal argument in favor of Democratic governance. Without making any attempt to move public opinion, the new government will have a very limited mandate for change.

    What's to prevent the Republican-controlled Congress (as in effect we still have and are still likely to have) from blocking judicial appointments that are not right-wingers?


    the democrats think short term and (5.00 / 2) (#26)
    by hellothere on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 11:06:04 AM EST
    really aren't doing that very well. they makes countless mistakes and are only still winning because the repubs are in meltdown. the repubs however are a disciplined group and can and will most probably make a comeback in the mid terms if the democrats keep acting the way they are. what has congress done for the american people in the last decade? there is a reason why their poll numbers are lower than bush.

    Politically you can block (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by Molly Bloom on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 11:36:15 AM EST
    1 or 2 appointments to the supreme court. You cannot block all appointments and keep the court short a seat for years- the voters would not stand for it. Lower court judges are a different story.

    How do we know the voters won't stand (5.00 / 3) (#40)
    by oculus on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 11:37:51 AM EST
    for it?  Is there a history of an understaffed SCOTUS?

    Brinkmanship (5.00 / 2) (#43)
    by Demi Moaned on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 11:42:18 AM EST
    That's point A. And point B is, if it comes to a showdown, whom do you expect to back down?

    If your answer is the Republicans, I'd like to know what evidence supports this.


    truth be told the republicans ran (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by hellothere on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 11:48:59 AM EST
    circles around the democrats in congress this past session. we expected them to stand up on fisa, iraq, and numerous other things. they didn't. their poll numbers are very low and for good reason. i will continue to point that out on here.

    Limitations of the Big Tent (5.00 / 3) (#50)
    by Demi Moaned on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 11:57:53 AM EST
    The Republicans still have a functional majority in both houses of Congress and that is unlikely to change no matter how many seats the Democrats gain. The House Blue Dogs have been absolutely insolent recently in publicizing how little inclined they are to follow the party leadership on any controversial issue.

    The only thing the Republicans can't do is appoint committee chairs.


    The evidence is this (none / 0) (#80)
    by Molly Bloom on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 01:43:15 PM EST
    on issues which the public cares about, the GOP backs down. See Social Security. The public wants the government to work. See Newt/Clinton wars of the 1990's.

    I think the public might care about a prolonged vacancy on the highest court.

    My political judgment is that filibustering 1 or 2 SCOTUS picks short term works. Long term, no.

    You may feel otherwise.  


    Ok I admit (none / 0) (#79)
    by Molly Bloom on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 01:21:45 PM EST
    that is conjecture on my part. I think I am right, however, (exercising my "Colbert gut").

    Voters did stand for it (5.00 / 3) (#77)
    by standingup on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 01:19:39 PM EST
    during the Clinton administration as Republicans blocked many lower court appointees.  They may not be able to block all but they can block more than enough if they choose to act in the future as they have in the past.  Courtesy of Media Matters piece debunking Republican filibuster myths:  

    And these are merely instances when Republicans filibustered Democratic presidents' judicial nominees. The Republican-controlled Senate blocked approximately 60 Clinton nominees through other means. This included strict enforcement under Clinton of the "blue slip" policy, which at the time allowed a senator from a nominee's home state to block a nominee simply by failing to turn in the blue-colored approval papers required for the nomination process. While Judiciary Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) strictly adhered to the "blue slip" policy to allow Republicans to block Clinton nominees, he relaxed the policy nearly to the point of elimination in his efforts to push through Bush's nominees.

    the democrats did absolutely NOTHING (none / 0) (#42)
    by hellothere on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 11:40:30 AM EST
    for the american people in their caving on judicial appointments. i only told the story of a local judge simply for information purposes.

    and so when and if they gain substantial power in the wh and congress, do you believe that based on their past actions they will put the american people or corporations first, i think the fisa cavein should tell you something. ignore these actions at our own peril.


    Its a zero sum game with only 4 choices (5.00 / 2) (#81)
    by Molly Bloom on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 01:46:11 PM EST
    You either vote Dem, hope for the best; vote GOP and get the worst, or vote 3rd party or  don't vote at all... and allow the GOP to win and get the worst.

    sorry but i can't agree with your thinking. (5.00 / 1) (#90)
    by hellothere on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 05:58:15 PM EST
    i cannot hold my nose and vote. i'll vote down ticket for democrats who deserve support. trouble starts when you cave and vote thinking there is no recourse. there always is but giving the democrats a green light will not say to them watch your step.

    I don't care whether you agree or not (5.00 / 2) (#91)
    by Molly Bloom on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 06:31:29 PM EST
    You have yet to present a practical alternative that addresses the issue of what happens when Republicans are elected or how to avoid that outcome.  

    You don't have to hold your nose and vote as you put it, but don't pretend there are no consequences or that somehow the consequences are less worse than voting for a less than perfect Democrat.


    care or don't care! you DON'T HAVE TO (none / 0) (#92)
    by hellothere on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 08:27:14 PM EST
    HOLD YOUR NOSE AND VOTE! i don't have to justify my thinking or vote to you. there are consequences for voting and not holding your candidate's feet to the fire as well.

    And which consequences are worse? (3.50 / 2) (#94)
    by Molly Bloom on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 09:46:48 PM EST
    You don't have to justify anything to me. I didn't ask you to. I merely said don't pretend there are no consequences to your position.

    As for your position, I weighed the consequences and made a decision. No candidate is perfect. In the end, I prefer a MOR Democrat to giving four more years to GOP misrule, because I judge that to be a worse consequence.

    You have to live with your choice, and I mine. From the way you responded, I suspect I sleep better at night.


    with all due respect, the way i sleep (5.00 / 3) (#95)
    by hellothere on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 10:32:18 PM EST
    is my concern. the way the democrats have behaved in recent years is all our concern and should be yours. i have recommeded holding their feet to the fire and not blind acceptance. gee, i am sure sorry you have a problem with that.

    No one will ever truly know (5.00 / 2) (#96)
    by tree on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 10:33:41 PM EST
    which consequences are worse. If Obama wins, no matter how bad things are, I'm sure that some will console themselves with how much worse it would have been with McCain. And if McCain wins, no matter what the situation is like, I'm sure that some will convince themselves that it would be so much better if Obama had won. And of course, there will be others(mostly Republicans) who will take the opposite views. We can't run parallel futures so no one can say for sure which future will be worse or better.

      So in the end we all just have to go with our beliefs and our principles, and for some that will mean voting for the "lesser of two evils" and for others not. And its up to candidate A or candidate B to convince more people to vote for him. No one is to "blame" for a candidate's failure to get enough votes to win than the candidate himself.

      And, IMO, supposing that you sleep better at night is just that, a suppostion. And its probably not the best way to judge whether you are voting your principles or not.  


    But It's Always That Way (none / 0) (#106)
    by daring grace on Sun Jul 20, 2008 at 09:36:04 AM EST
    Consoling yourself a candidate you supported or even one you voted for as the lesser of two evils is better (no matter how bad) than the other one.

    I've been faced with this choice my entire voting life and now, even as I feel greater enthusiasm for Obama than I've EVER felt for another prez candidate don't think for a minute I think he's going to be this magical transformer of everything I hate in our current gov't. I've been around this block too many times to ever fall for that in any candidate.

    I do know eight years of Republicans running the executive branch is enough for me. McCain has not convinced me he will be so different than the current crowd. In fact, the rather inept way his campaign operates makes me nervous about his executive management skills, frankly, even apart from his politics.

    I know Obama, as bad as he may be, will be better. Maybe only incrementally so, but at this point ANY better is better enough for me.


    I never said it hasn't (5.00 / 1) (#107)
    by tree on Sun Jul 20, 2008 at 11:37:47 AM EST
    always been that way. I agree that this election year is no different in that respect. What is different is that already, before the convention even, we have too many people trying to guilt other people into voting a certain way with arguments about who's "fault" it will be if the election doesn't go the way they want, or who's going to "sleep better" because of their vote. Enough.  

    I understand and respect that you feel greater enthusiam for Obama than you have for any previous Democratic candidate. Given that, its totally understandable that you would vote for Obama. I have much, much less enthusiasm than I have had for any previous candidate, and quite a bit less for Democrats overall than I had previously. This DOESN'T mean I have more enthusiasm for Republicans. While the election may be zero-sum, politics itself is not. One can legitimately be worried about the path we take no matter who wins the election. There is enough that worries me about Obama, including both his apparent political positions and his political methods, that I cannot support him. I feel likewise about McCain's positions. When I don't sleep well at night because of politics (which is not often) it has to do with the knowledge that we will be stuck with one or the other come January, and it is not because any perceived "guilt" about voting "no" to both of them.   I respect that others will come to their own conclusions, whatever those may be. You can try to persuade me but don't try to guilt me because it doesn't work and only convinces me that you have nothing but guilt as a means of persuasion. (DG, I'm not accusing you personally of doing this as I don't think that you are. I am simply expanding on my previous remark so as to explain myself.)



    Back At You (none / 0) (#110)
    by daring grace on Sun Jul 20, 2008 at 01:33:10 PM EST
    I understand and respect how it feels to have people tell you: Where else you going to go (to vote for a decent candidate for president)? Esp. when the presumptive (or even the actual) candidate is someone you can't get behind.

    So I want to be really clear.

    It's none of my business who anyone votes for and I will not waste my time (and theirs) persuading people to vote for Obama or even NOT to vote for McCain. Even though I disagree with a lot of what people repeat about Obama around here, it's their vote, their mind to make up and change (if they decide to).

    I appreciate the chance to share at least this piece of common ground with you.


    A really bold move would be (none / 0) (#72)
    by hairspray on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 01:00:53 PM EST
    to increase the number of SC's to 11 as has been done in the past.  Or should a Scalia or Thomas leave the court, reduce the number.  Would Obama do that?

    His own party won't block him. (none / 0) (#102)
    by Grace on Sun Jul 20, 2008 at 02:32:09 AM EST
    If Obama gets in and the Dems hold a majority, whoever he picks will get in.  They will not stop that from happening no matter how bad the choice seems.  

    They'll try to minimalize it and try to make "us" feel like we are out of touch but they will not block his choices -- period.

    This is a risk you run if you vote for Obama and he's elected.  For sure, the Senate and Congress are going to be Democrats and they WILL NOT BLOCK ANYTHING.    


    The problem (none / 0) (#63)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 12:44:14 PM EST
    is that Sunstein largely agrees with Alito. Sunstein believes that Roe. V. Wade was wrongly decided.

    McCain told the Citizens for McCain group that he would appoint judges in the mold of Sandra Day O'Connor. He also said "no litmus test".

    I have no proof that Obama won't cave in to the GOP when it comes time for judges. Or he'll pick a bad one that the Dems feel like they have to vote for.


    I like this! (5.00 / 1) (#103)
    by Grace on Sun Jul 20, 2008 at 02:51:31 AM EST
    McCain told the Citizens for McCain group that he would appoint judges in the mold of Sandra Day O'Connor. He also said "no litmus test".

    I could deal with that.  I'd hope that he would appoint moderates.  If he wants to appeal to Hillary voters, he's going to have to promise to do that.  


    Sunstein sd. he wouldn't have based (none / 0) (#65)
    by oculus on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 12:48:46 PM EST
    Roe v. Wade on penumbra of U.S. Constitution and non-enumerated right of privacy.  Instead, he would have used equal protection as basis.  

    I've heard that argument , but (none / 0) (#73)
    by hairspray on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 01:02:56 PM EST
    there were problems with that as well.  Can't remember now what they were, not being a legal mind and all.

    So BJs and war crimes... (5.00 / 9) (#6)
    by Marco21 on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 10:08:31 AM EST
    are now comparable?

    Did someone pour crazy in my coffee this morning?

    Well not in ...... (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by Maria Garcia on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 10:12:50 AM EST
    your coffee, maybe. But Republicans have been drinking the crazy brew for ages.

    A wonderful way to put it (5.00 / 4) (#13)
    by Salo on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 10:29:05 AM EST
    war crimes are the same a sexual pecadilloe.

    tells you everything you need to know about the Law faculty at UofC.


    An echo of Harold Ford (5.00 / 3) (#11)
    by Demi Moaned on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 10:27:06 AM EST
    The overriding message is: electoral losses are the only appropriate consequences of lawbreaking.

    Kind of like diplomatic immunity? (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by Fabian on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 10:33:58 AM EST
    Political immunity?

    Break the law while serving in an elected office and you won't be prosecuted?  We may as well give every elected official a blanket pardon after they are sworn in.


    This is who Obama is (5.00 / 6) (#15)
    by pluege on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 10:37:30 AM EST
    any connection he has to Barack Obama is extremely troubling.

    an elitist pol who is very comfortable with the notion that politicians and their lackeys are beyond the reach of the law.

    Obamafans really need to stop projecting their values onto Obama - he does not share them. (It would save all the annoying obnoxious hand-wringing and hanki-flailing from Obamafans every time Obama shows who he really is instead of being their darling fantasy superhero.)

    when you allow wholesale breaking of (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by hellothere on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 10:48:17 AM EST
    the law by leaders then what you are saying to the youth of this country is "break the law and there are no consequences". good luck with that!

    Sunstein's advice is the kind that (5.00 / 12) (#19)
    by Anne on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 10:53:23 AM EST
    really ticks me off, but it seems perfect for Obama, whose distaste for "unpleasantness" and conflict has reached almost phobic proportions.

    So, the window on impeachment - the one option that would have established clearer boundaries on executive power - is all but closed.  Investigation after investigation, on issues like the US Attorney firings, Blackwater, torture, warrantless wiretapping, no-bid contracting, will die with a pitiful whimper.  Not only will we never know the truth, but no one will suffer any legal consequences for their actions.

    So, the message will be: public service is a great way to exercise your desire to break the law with impunity.  As long as you are a Republican, because we know - heck, my dog knows - that Republicans do not live by the Sunstein theory when it is Democrats involved.  Oh, no.  So, if Obama is elected, they will be gunning for as many Democratic appointees as possible - and Obama will be the name at the top of their list.  He will be puzzled by this - after all the "reaching out" he has done, but will still refuse to take the offensive and go after the corruption and illegality of the Bush years.

    The spinelessness will go on.


    One of the Biggest Reservations (5.00 / 4) (#54)
    by The Maven on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 12:05:46 PM EST
    I've always had regarding Obama has been his seeming uninterest in holding the Bush Administration to account.  As I wrote in a comment the other day,
    If there are still people out there who genuinely think that a President Obama would aggressively pursue investigations that could lead to criminal prosecutions of Bush Administration wrongdoing, I'd like to disabuse them of their political naïveté.  Any such investigation would be dogged from the get-go by the GOP as an irredeemably partisan vengeance operation, and would thus shut down any possibility of "reaching across the aisle", which is Obama's fondest hope for his post-partisan vision of America.  Obama is far too calculating and compromising to go down that path.
    I wouldn't necessarily have a problem with his message of bringing everyone together -- but not in this presidential election cycle.  2012 or 2016 would be more appropriate.  But a failure to investigate and/or prosecute in 2009 will merely give the Republicans an elevated (or lowered, if you will) platform from which to launch their next cycle of depredations.

    Politically-motivated investigations and prosecutions are what have occurred over the past seven-plus years; simply restoring our system to a non-politicized basis -- and recreating the trust among Americans that people are charged with crimes for what they have actually done, not their partisan affiliations -- will require a close examination of the past and ensuring that those responsible for wrongdoing are indeed punished for it.  Sadly, I see no signs that Obama has the stomach -- or even the desire -- to see this phase through in his eagerness to turn the page and begin "a new chapter" in the American story.


    Update (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by cmugirl on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 11:14:58 AM EST
    Apparently there was an update to the Ari Melber story (although I think it's weak).

    "Sunstein emailed to emphasize that he also said and believes that "egregious crimes should not be ignored."


    That Update Is Reassuring... (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by santarita on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 11:33:47 AM EST
    although "egregious crimes" would need definition.  And retribution isn't the only reason to prosecute "egregious crimes".  Isn't there a deterrent purpose to prosecution as well?  And didn't anything positive come out of the Nuremberg Trials?  I care less about retribution and more about learning what happened so that we can attempt to fix the holes in our System that allowed the perversions of the last eight years.

    I'd like to see Patrick Fitzgerald discuss the subject of the kind of "egregious crimes" in government that merit prosecution.

     Actually I'd like Pres. Obama to appoint Fitzgerald as Independent Counsel to investigate possible egregious crimes in connection with the run-up to the Iraq War and the prosecution of the occupation.


    Cleansing (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by koshembos on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 11:25:25 AM EST
    The advise make a lot of sense when the crime committed are criminal acts. Cycles of adminstration prosecutions should be avoided.

    In the Bush case, however, we deal with war crimes and crimes against humanity. The best solution is for the UN or International Court to investigate Bush and make a decision whether they want to put him on trial.

    Thus, Sunshine's advise is shallow and fails to consider the details of the case.

    there are racists in all sections (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by hellothere on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 11:51:13 AM EST
     of society. i offer rev wright here. you injected that into the discussion. please don't.

    You know what troubles me? (5.00 / 3) (#55)
    by OxyCon on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 12:07:45 PM EST
    Obama is surrounded by way too many people who hail from the decrepit sphincter of Chicago politics and academia. Obama often rails against Washington politics, but Chicago politics is light years ahead of Washington for corruption, back room deals, criminal behavior, election theft, you name it. And Obama is a product of all of this and he is surrounded by it on all sides.
    Is that "Judgment to Lead"?
    Good judgment would be to not have anything to do with Chicago politics, not wallow in it.

    Chicago. Irony is dead. (5.00 / 4) (#58)
    by oldpro on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 12:26:13 PM EST
    To anyone who lived through the '68 campaign and the convention in Daleytown, few things are more ironic than seeing the current Democratic peaceniks hand the Party over to the current Daley machine.

    And some of them (in both groups!) are the same people who ought to remember '68.

    Hopeless.  We never learn.


    Hayden. Yes indeed. (none / 0) (#67)
    by oculus on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 12:49:41 PM EST
    Let's not act surprised by this! (5.00 / 1) (#87)
    by CDN Ctzn on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 03:20:51 PM EST
    Anyone who was paying attention at the time could tell that Obama would never take action against Bushco. The signs were all there; from vague generalities to the lure of executive privilidge. If the midterms were a vote against Bush, why wouldn' Obama the opportunist campaign on holding Bushco accountable considering that it's what most voters wanted only 2 short years ago.
    Instead, this thread gets hijacked into an endless and pointless debate over the SCOTUS instead of focusing on yet another revelation of Obama's poor judgement and questionable ties.

    Hard to believe CRIMINAL conduct by Bushies (5.00 / 1) (#93)
    by downtownted on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 08:34:19 PM EST
    will not only go unpunished, it will go uninvestigated. It will not be investigated by a tough hard nosed prosecutor. Democratic Congressional investigations will continue down their straight path to ineffectiveness. No punishment for those evil men who have damaged our beloved county. I wrote earlier and I still believe;
    "This Administration especially (but Repubs in general) look at the Democrats as prosecutorial wimps. And they acted based on their assumptions that they would get off scott free. No matter what the crime. No matter what the damage to the future of America. Hope i am wrong. Fearful I am not."

    "much ado about nothing" it seems. (none / 0) (#98)
    by hellothere on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 11:40:52 PM EST
    the really sad, pathetic aspect of this (none / 0) (#21)
    by hellothere on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 10:59:49 AM EST
    to me and also the irony is going to be that the repubs will come thundering back with impeachment when and if the new administration makes mistakes and tries to justify it. they will use it to retake power. the democrats might win for not being bush and they will most probably lose that power because they never learned their lesson. their arrogance and hubris leaves me breathless.

    Whats with the U. of Chicago (none / 0) (#88)
    by jondee on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 04:20:01 PM EST

    Have they been carrying on Olin/Richardson/Scaife/ Bradley etc funded research to genetically engineer some sort of right wing intellectual master race ala Plato's Republic? It seems like it sometimes.


    Francis A. Boyle's (5.00 / 1) (#89)
    by jondee on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 04:37:06 PM EST
    Counterpunch article on the intellectual legacy of the U. Of Chicago is a fairly instructive piece.

    This isn't a new opinion for Obama (none / 0) (#112)
    by tlkextra on Sun Jul 20, 2008 at 11:30:58 PM EST