Lehrer Wins Debate.
I went out with Jake to watch the debate friday (because we’re both crazy/broke hippies who don’t own televisions). Result? We’re voting for the moderator.
I could do a play-by-play, but it comes down to a very few things. They both sucked. Not terribly, but this was the big chance and all they did was spout the same talking points, and not even look very interested in doing so. I do want to thank Obama for finally pointing out that even cutting every single earmark out of the federal budget would amount to basically nothing (in fact, less than one hundredth of one percent of the budget).
Let’s set aside my politics junkie for a minute, though. The debate didn’t matter. There are two things that so overpower everything else in importance as to decide my vote alone.
One: Sarah Palin. What is it the Vice President does? First and foremost – becomes the President if the President dies. The idea of someone so woefully unprepared becoming President is [even more] terrifying [than that of McCain]. I am more convinced every day that she is, in fact, about as capable of it as i am – did i mention terrifying? (Aside: Am i the only one who remembers that in 2000 George Bush had “foreign policy experience” by virtue of governing a state next to Mexico? Let’s do that again.)
Two: Supreme Court.
First, have some oversimplified background info on the current court. It is typically evenly divided on contentious issues. On the liberal side: Ruth Bader Ginsburg (75), Stephen Breyer (70), David Souter (69), and John Paul Stevens (88). On the conservative side: Chief Justice John Roberts (53), Antonin Scalia (72), Clarence Thomas (60), and Samuel Alito (58). Justice Anthony Kennedy (68) tends to be the swing vote.
Notice anything? Like how the youngest liberal justice is only three years younger than the oldest conservative one? This means that it is nearly guaranteed that Justice Stevens will retire during the next Presidency (he’ll be 92 by the time there is yet another); it is considered quite likely that Ginsburg will also retire, as she is the second oldest on the court; and Souter, though the youngest of the liberals, is said to not have ever wanted to serve a full lifetime term on the court.
The next president is likely to appoint between one and three people (likely all on the liberal side) to the Supreme Court. McCain will certainly tip the balance of the Court to the conservative side. It seems unlikely that he will be able to appoint anyone as conservative as the Bush appointees with a Democratic congress, but something as simple as another Kennedy would unbalance the Court.
The conservatives of the Supreme Court support jailing people without trial. This, to me, is the most important issue, as it seems to be in clear opposition to our Constitution – which is what the Supreme Court is supposed to uphold. Then there is everything else: rights to privacy, abortion rights, discrimination and segregation cases, etc.
And, finally, these decisions are likely to affect the makeup of the Court for the next 20-odd years.
Oh, and 2.5: all those other Appeals Courts, who hear all the cases that don’t (or do) make it to the top court. McCain would have the opportunity to make those nearly 75% Republican-appointed; Obama would bring it to somewhere in the mid-50-percent Democrat-appointed.
So, don’t forget to register to vote! The deadline to do so in time for the election is coming up soon (though it’s different by state). Check out your registration/voting info, or register at: http://www.voteforchange.com (it’s by the Obama campaign, but it’s also a really cool everything-in-one-place setup)