Welcome to this month’s column of odds and ends. To say that the political landscape has been hot, very hot would be too much of a cliché. But with the upcoming Presidential elections and with the recent US Supreme Court rulings, the Spanish word ‘caliente‘ (or hot) would be an understatement.
With the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primaries months away, much of the media focus has been on Donald Trump. Some polls have Trump leading or running second. Mr. Trump is a successful businessman and very opinionated. His recent comments regarding Mexicans and his fight against NBC and Univision has kept him in the media cycle, much to the dismay and frustration of other GOP candidates.
The thing that surprises most pundits is that Trump has the finger on the American voter’s frustration. What we are seeing is a type of political class warfare. You have elite or the Gucci class on one side. On the other side the middle class or the average voter. The Gucci class is only interested in one thing-themselves. They put their interest ahead of the country. To paraphrase Justice Scalia’s dissent in the King case- the Supreme Court will declare what is constitutional because it feels like it. The Gucci class is the same way-“We are the elites, we will do what we want to do, regardless of the Constitution. You will live with the consequences because we sure won’t.” That attitude reflects the average American’s frustration with our government. So when Trump goes after the media, a lot of conservatives admire that, because someone is hitting back and hitting hard.
Maybe the remaining candidate should take a page out Trump’s book.-Punch back harder. When the media asks them a question regarding Mr. Trump, ignore the question and ask the reporter why are they not focusing on the other issues affecting our country. Right now, I anticipate that when Trump goes on the candidate forum, he will face not only a tough limelight, but he will be going up against 12 other candidates looking to make a name for themselves.
Speaking of the nomination, it appears that Hillary Clinton did not learn from her mistakes in 2008. With Senator Bernie Sanders and former Virginia Senator Jim Webb entering the race, Mrs. Clinton might be placing herself in a difficult position. It does not appear that she is adjusting her campaign to the new challengers. It looks like she is running her campaign as she did when Sen. Barack Obama was running against her. With Sen. Sanders she would need to run to farther to the left than what she is comfortable in doing. But if she does that, Webb might be able to get votes from the blue dog Democrats that still remain in the party, while the liberal wing split their votes between Sen. Sanders and Mrs. Clinton. It is a shame that the media is too fixated on Trump. This might be an interesting race as well. I do realize that former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley and former Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chaffee is running as well, but can explain their platform?
I really do not have much to say on the US Supreme Court’s decision in King regarding the Affordable Care Act. I am reminded of a quote that Justice Scalia once gave to New York magazine. He said that he wished that he could have a stamp that read-“Stupid, but Constitutional.” Although he dissented with the majority’s opinion, my hunch is that Justice Roberts may have said that.-“Stupid, but Constitutional.” With premium prices expected to spike, I do not think it was wise for the White House to have a press conference celebrating the decision. It was hubris on the Administration’s part to celebrate the decision, while consumers are now facing an increasing cost of their insurance premiums. The one good thing that came out of this decision is the fact that Republicans need to put up or shut up and come up with a reasonable alternative to this act.
Finally, as all are aware, the US Supreme Court also reviewed the issue of whether or not same sex marriage is a constitutional right in Obergefell. Because the Supreme Court has ruled that same sex marriage is a constitutional right, the Court has either intentionally or unintentionally created a clash between an “implicit” right versus an “explicit” right-primarily the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.
As I have explained on various postings, this clash was bound to happen. See here, here, and here. The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries issued a fine of $135,000 Dollars against the Kleins for refusing to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple. The penalties included among other things mental distress and the loss of comfort, which is another way of saying that the refusal to bake the cake was so awful that the memory of that moment does not allow them to have sex. It is a shame that the state of Oregon will not investigate this decision.
This decision was malicious. To say that the OBLI official who awarded this amount was “dumb as a rock” would require me to apologize to each and every geological formation in this planet. At this stage of my life, I do not have the time to do that, which is why I am refraining to call this individual an idiot or every other word that is a synonym for incompetence. It is my hope that states that were pressured into not passing a version of the religious freedom restoration act a couple of months ago, revisit this again and pass such a statute. It is decisions like these that force state legislatures to take valuable time from their legislative schedule to address these matters, instead of other pressing matters.