Let’s assume that Hillary Clinton appoints at least one new net liberal to the Supreme Court during her term in office. In that scenario, the minimal composition would be five center left jurists, one idiosyncratic moderate conservative, one corporate conservative who has a fascination with “sovereign dignitude” and a pair of justices who think Lochner should be good law. The following scenario also works if any of the last four is replaced by another center left judge.
Let us assume that to get to that point it is fairly like that the Senate will go nuclear and abolish the filibuster as McCain indicated (and since walked back) that the Republicans consider a left of center Supreme Court majority to be fundamentally illegitimate even if it resulted from Democrats winning a lot of presidential elections in a generation or more.
Let us assume that at some point in the future there is a GOP trifecta. Let us also assume that a significant chunk of the future GOP’s base will be made up of people who strongly desire either an economically or culturally reactionary court.
With those assumptions, the following prediction is very easy to make.
When there is a GOP trifecta in Washington and a liberal leaning Supreme Court, the Supreme Court will see an increased number of justices equal to the difference between liberal and reactionary justices plus one.
You might be right, Mayhew, which is why we have to be vigilant and defeat those muthaphuckas. ????
Didn’t FDR try this, because of Supreme Court opposition to the New Deal, and have to walk it back?
McCain’s comment confirms what I’ve been thinking for a few months now: that the GOP would conclude that it would rather have a court hung up on 4:4 splits than one that resolves disputes among the circuits in a non-conservative way. Since the 11th and the 5th Circuits – where the GOP base is now – remain conservative, they can get the version of federal law they want in those circuits’ states without any messy precedent-setting by a centrist/liberal court.
@Taylor: FDR could be shamed.
I think relying on circuit splits to get/maintain the laws they want isn’t sustainable. But we’ll see. And, yes, as soon as they can, they will shamelessly pack the court, while swearing up and down that, somehow, Dems did it first. It’s what they do.
i wonder if a deal will be struck to guarantee a garland vote in exchange for not nuking the filibuster. although the way the norms are all being broken, i don’t know if you could trust it and certainly the gop will kill the filibuster once they get a chance to pack the court.
FDR backed off from packing the court, but the court got the hint that they could not continue to use quack legal theories to undermine a government with overwhelming popular support.
Given the burdens on the court one could reasonably expand the court to 13 or more justices.
They’ve effectively unpacked the Court by forcing them to have eight justices. They would not hesitate to add to the numbers. Nor should we, if it comes to it.
Setting ideology aside, I thnk that dramatically increasing the size of the Court would be a good idea. The Court’s docket has increased by over 50% since 1988, but it hears arguments in fewer than half the number of cases it did back then. There are many more areas of the law with persistent circuit splits (or erroneous, but uniform interpretations) than 25 years ago. (References to “circuit splits” and the like in Court of Appeals opinions have risen three-fold since 1988.) Our obsession with the justices’ health is morbid but driven by the low number of seats. The solution to all of these problems would be to increase the bench to 15 or so, allow the Court to hear most cases in panels of 5 or 7 justices, with an en banc review option as in the Courts of Appeals for the most important cases. Let Justices take senior status, freeing up their seat for an appointment, while permitting them to remain on the court in a reduced capacity. The Supreme Court press and bar (and most of the justices, it seems) just doesn’t understand how poorly the Court functions as a court.
@Baud: Exactly. Of course, President Hillary Clinton should stack the court with liberal/progressive Justices. That’s what we are electing her to do.
The fact that even Roosevelt couldn’t do this suggests that it won’t happen in the future. I find it pretty strange that we’re entertaining these fantasies of Republicans as the Borg. The Bush II admin was terrible, but they did have control of all three branches of government at the same time and the world didn’t end.
Bush didn’t need to mess with the Court. And the GOP has become even more radicalized since then. Not saying they’ll definitely succeed. But I don’t think we can put anything past them.
@Marc: The world ended for tens of thousands of people, and in some parts of the world and country the damage has been irreversible.
I am certain that any efforts to fill vacancies and bring the number up to nine will be described as “court-packing”. They already did that with the DC Circuit.
@Xenos: The republicans did not, however, decide to appoint ten additional people to the supreme court, repeal Social Security, or do the sort of Emperor Palpatine fantasies that we see claimed for Republican control. They face the same veto points that Democrats do, and it’s worth remembering that.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but Obama has ordered the killings of people in military actions too.
Now I do think that Republican administrations are harmful, but they’re harmful in the way that the real administrations of that kind in the past were harmful. They’re not going to set up a dictatorship.
I believe the court has had up to 11 justices on it. But no matter the GOP outrage, they are threatened by a rising tide and the constant denial only delays the reckoning. Perhaps that is the point: maybe the GOP as it currently exists cares only enough that the future does not intrude on them.
@Marc: I’m sorry, but after what we’ve seen in this presidential election, there is no excuse for this kind of naivete.
During the Bush/Cheney administration, torture became official US policy, and plans were drawn up (enshrined in legislation) for military control of our cities if it was found necessary.
And we came this close to dropping tactical nuclear weapons on Iran (without provocation, beyond suspicion that they were developing fissile materials).
Your first assumption is sound, it’s your second I have problems with. The GOP, as it is currently made up, will have decreasing influence in the future. It has to change if it wants to remain relevant. I have no idea what those changes will be. One thing I am certain of is that a significant # of the big money guys will be looking to the Dems where in the past they were solidly GOP.
I doubt very much if business likes the idea of a crazy wacko nut job at the top, no matter what kind of tax giveaway he promises them. (and the idea that the GOP could restrain Trump’s worst impulses has been shot dead with a bazooka and cremated with a flame thrower) What good will that be to them if he blows up the world economy in a repeat of 1929 or worse?
Trump is what the GOP base gave the big money guys.
“The world didn’t end” is a low bar indeed. It wasn’t for lack of effort from the Cheney administration: Two wars, an economic collapse…
@Marc: The hardline Republican reactionaries are desperate and cornered. The trend of populace opinions and numbers or people who agree with them are very unfavorable but they seem unable to accept that they are just wrong and should not have their way with the rest of us. After the demographics change enough, gerrymandering and other tricks won’t work. I do not see the country as a whole reversing trends on things like homosexuals, and civil rights to equality for women and blacks. Bush was a fool and allowed torture but he clearly didn’t hate most Americans. This mob of lowlifes supporting Trump really do. If they got elected, yes I do think they would do things that haven’t been done before, at least since Andrew Jackson disregarded the Supreme Court. That is actually being mentioned by some campaigning Republicans-saying before elections that they may not obey the SC if they don’t agree strikes me as treasonous and it should cause an automatic disqualification but isn’t. Succession being mentioned to gain in electability is also really bad. I honestly thought that aspect of Palin was one of the things that should have disqualified her and that gov. in Texas too (Perry?).
Remember we did actually have a civil war once. That is part of our history too, so it can happen here. The dead enders can cause problems if they get elected. If they are just people doing violence, we can handle them, if they are elected and have authority in our system, thats more of a problem. right now, some of them can still get elected.
@OzarkHillbilly: This. A GOP trifecta (or non-Democratic trifecta, anyway), is a certainty on a long enough timeline. But if it takes 16 or 20 years to happen, I don’t think the party that achieves it will meaningfully resemble the last vestiges of the Nixon/Reagan coalition that makes up today’s GOP.
What is so grand about the Republican party, anyway? Neither are they the oldest party, although they are a party of oldsters. I dislike this acronym for the geezer party.
You lost me
Interesting ideas, but unless you force the Court to take more cases, it won’t take more cases. The reason the Court hears fewer cases is that it consciously chooses to take fewer cases, a trend that’s been evident for a while. Changing the number of justices or creating panels doesn’t necessarily change that dynamic.
@Taylor: He had to walk it back because: 1) the recession of 1937 knocked both his popularity and the popularity of New Deal (ironically since the recession was caused in part by FDR embracing austerity after his reelection in 1936; 2) that unpopularity emboldened Conservative Anti-New Deal Southern Democrats to unite with Conservative Republicans and block the proposal in the Senate; and 3) the Supreme Court’s decision upholding Washington State’s minimum wage law and repudiating Lockner and progeny, thereby taking most of the popular steam out of Roosevelt’s proposal (the Switch in time Saves Nine). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Coast_Hotel_Co._v._Parrish. Well, we will have to see. I do worry about HIllary and the temptation she is going to have to “solve Syria” and drive Russia out. Nothing will do more to split the Democratic Party then prolonged, intractable foreign intervention, carried out against the will of the majority of Democrats. This foreign entanglement and/or a poorly timed recession before 2020 will be her biggest barrier to reelection.
Gin & Tonic
Barely related, but for the tech-oriented folks: someone took a look at the Trump Organization’s e-mail servers, based on publicly accessible data. They are running Windows Server 2003 with IIS 6.0 and Exchange 2003. Nothing but the best!
For lay-persons, this means dangerously out-of-date software that has long since ceased being maintained or security-patched by Microsoft. I would be shocked if those systems have not already been pwned.
Trivia time (and likely a much smaller number than many would come up with).
Total number of people who have served as Supreme Court justices since the ratification of the Constitution: 112.
Hasn’t Obama appointed a lot of judges farther down the line? Wikiville says 56 appointments are awaiting confirmation which would bring the total to 385 were they all to be confirmed.
Hillary will be able to make judicial appointments even if they try to block the SCOTUS nomination process. Those lower-level judges will help shape the decisions that reach the SCOTUS.
It’s a long process, but even if the GOP (as it’s currently constructed) somehow manages to win the House, Senate and POTUS again, it doesn’t mean that we’re doomed.
@Ben’s comment sounds sensible to me, but I think there are a lot of things that the SCOTUS could do to be more efficient and more effective if it wants. Roberts seems to love incremental decisions that twist the Ship of State in his preferred direction. If we had a sensible majority again, things like Citizens United and the PPACA decisions wouldn’t have gone the way they did, and they wouldn’t “need” to be revisited every year (by design)…
@gvg: I find the demonization of others to be the worst feature of the Trump-era GOP. I don’t want us to adopt mirror tactics, where we treat them all as monsters and assign them the worst possible motives.
We need to work as hard as we can to defeat Trump for obvious reasons. If he is defeated decisively enough, then the Republicans have a chance to re-assess, and if history is any guide they will. Parties don’t lose multiple elections in a row without changing. People like Kasich – who I disagree with, but who is a part of the normal system – still exist on the other side. That isn’t being naive.
peach flavored shampoo
@Gin & Tonic: Anything better costs money, which Trump then cannot put in his bank account. See also: not running ads in many swing states.
Enhanced Voting Techniques
Bush II admins were filled with people who actually believed in the US and the Constitution. Now were looking at a endless line of Trump like candidates; self funded rich who barely thought about politics until they decided the Presidency was a toy they wanted.
@Bobby Thomson: also, Owen Roberts became more liberal, hence the saying “a switch in time saves nine”
@Marc: no, but it did get exponentially more fucked up. The Middle East alone is ruined for at least a generation directly due to the bush administration’s actions.
@Taylor: not to mention that we killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis for no discernible purpose other than seizing control of their oil.
Comparing recent two termers, roughly the same number as Dubya, a few dozen fewer than either Reagan or Clinton.
@Enhanced Voting Techniques: I think Trump will prove to be the exception. The vast majority of rich will prefer to continue buying their own personal politician to do their bidding while the are off sailing in the Caymans.
@Marc: Kasich was and remains a right wing crank. If he’s the best example you’ve got you prove the point that the GOP is hopelessly unreasonable.
@Enhanced Voting Techniques: and GWB actually said the constitution was “just a piece of paper”
@randy khan: True. I don’t have any data to back this up, but I suspect that the reason for the low cert grant rate in recent years has to do with the age of the bench and the difficulty the justices have in predicting the outcome when they decide whether to grant cert or not. (The current term’s very low cert grant rate is no doubt due to Scalia’s unfilled seat.) Again without any data, I believe that a large bench with cert petitions reviewed in random panels would tend to result in more cases heard, just because each individual justice would want to hear (and, therefore affect) a fair number of cases.
A nitpick that does not change the ongoing argument: If we invaded for oil, we did the world’s shittiest job of taking it. I’d say we invaded because of Bush’s dreams of being a war hero and Cheney’s (on record) fantasy that the entire Middle East would turn into pro-American democracies if we just show them how tough we are.
Bill E Pilgrim
@Marc: Citing “Kasich exists” as hopeful evidence that Republicans haven’t all become a bunch of right-wing extremists is one of the loopier ideas I’ve ever seen here.
Bill E Pilgrim
@Honus: No kidding.
Marc is trying to shomi something.
@Marc: Their own mouths demonize them. “Lock her up”” I’ll have to go all patriotic” etc. “I just grab em by the pussy” etc. It’s not just Trump. His followers, other politicians (McCain saying they promise to obstruct all Hillary’s SC appointments). Mexicans are rapists….I can’t count the ways and times its gone further than I would have believed lately.
Trump and his followers are amazingly ignorant of how the government works. Aside from not actually caring, Trump and anyone he appointed is quite capable of just smashing though normal safe guards just because they don’t even know they aren’t supposed to do that. And the army CIA etc is full of ordinary people. the institutions aren’t set up to get an endless stream of orders that are illegal in reasonable sounding ways. They may resist orders they know are illegal, but they won’t catch them all when ignorant bosses just keep saying whatever comes into their heads. I speculate that they will all assume they have more authority than the law says and then give orders at cross purposes.
For years we have tried to avoid going godwin over every small infraction, but now we have this guy…..I can’t even keep track of all his unlawful ideas. they aren’t demons, but they are really bad and immoral.
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This can’t possibly be right. I have been assured by countless NPR listeners and people with MBAs that he’s a sane and reasonable person who, while you might disagree with him, is nonetheless respectable.
The world came damn close. And the Republicans have degenerated much further since then.
@Major Major Major Major: If Trump is the stick by which you measure….
While we’re reforming the courts, can we split the 9th Circuit? It’s way bigger than any other Circuit to the point of extreme unwieldiness. California is big enough to justify its own circuit- the California Circuit would still be the largest by population- with the remainder either as a single large circuit or two smaller ones (probably divided as inland states and Pacific states and territories).
@Major Major Major Major: The issue is that Goldwater-style “reasonable conservatives” do not have a significant voting constituency, and have not had one for at least half a century. We can mythologize them all we want, but “reasonable conservatives” do not exist as a meaningful electoral force because they do not win office.
A wee bit of hyperbole.
What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?
I really don’t think the GOP can survive in its current configuration. It took Paul Ryan less than a year to be the guy who could bridge the gap between the crazoids and the not completely crazy wing of the GOP to a RINO. They are the Peoples Front of Judea vs. the People’s Judean Front with potentially other splinter factions (the Popular Front of Judea?). They couldn’t cooperate amongst themselves under Boehner, they can’t under Ryan, and Trump is only making the situation worse. A unified GOP lead government seems a looong way off given the current rifts in the party. By that time maybe they get some sanity. You can’t win a POTUS election with obvious insanity…they tried that this cycle and it’s going to be an epic fail. But, given the lack of empiricism I don’t think they’ll learn anything from this election or are capable of becoming more sane. Maybe they can pull it together but it doesn’t seem probable.
The fact that the GOP did not switch to congressional district Electoral voters, in those Blue states where they controlled government, is a slightly positive sign that they can be shamed on occasion.
Ohio, VA, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Florida, PA could have all done this. None are doing it.
Some of those NOW have Democratic governors (VA. PA)
@What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?: SPLITTER!!!!
Even when Bush won his “mandate” in his second term, he wasn’t able to pass the GOP and Wall Street’s holy grail, the privatization of Social Security. There are certain third rails that will never go away regardless of the pitchfork brigades. So while the GOP and president Little Marco could seriously f**k up a number of things, there are limits to the damage they can do. And as evidenced by the crash and subsequent election of “That One”, they are eventually punished. I know it takes forever to repair the damage they do during these periods of control, but the backlash does come. The judiciary is where the damage is longest lasting, given that these are lifetime appointments, which is why McCain made the classic DC gaffe, saying in public what everyone knows to be true but lies about it.
The Federal Courts
@Roger Moore: Makes sense to me. The split of the old 5th Circuit certainly was undertaken for less cause.
Once again, we need some Democrats to take a firm stand against drinking bleach. “Scientists say guzzling bleach will kill you!”
@OzarkHillbilly: How so? I had an encounter with a historian who is traveling around, getting oral history of the Great Depression before these people are gone. And SHE thought we came within a whisker of repeating that; and its cascade of serious issues, like the Nazis, WWII, Stalin, Cold War…
The Republicans almost did it AGAIN in 2008.
Major Major Major Major
@What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?: this is a fair point. The current freedom caucus/vaguely sane greedy people split in the congressional GOP caucus makes the Dixiecrat issue look like… a tea party.
It’s court packing when a democrat does it, it’s an impeachable offense when a democratic president exercises executive authority, it’s an abuse of authority when Federal Agencies regulate they entities they are required to regulate. I think we can surmise that it’s simply unconstitutional for democrats to govern period.
@peach flavored shampoo:
It’s so funny that this “self funding billionaire” is spending $ 66 K in Arizona down the stretch, while Hillary who was supposed to have no shot in the state just sent $ 2 million for the final push.
And yet, even with all that, the world did not end. It just kept on turning and turning with people living, people dying. Your historian engaged in hyperbole too, and being a historian she should know better.
The world changes, countries change, people change, everything changes. Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse, but just because things change that does not mean they end.
The bleach fraud was started by the Chinese, who are determined to put Clorox out of business!
I think we invaded because there was something for everyone. Military adventurists got a military adventure, which was also very profitable for the MIC. Political schemers like Rove got something to beat the Democrats with. Christianists got a crusade in the Middle East. Neocons got a chance to try imposing democracy. And the oil companies didn’t get to seize the Iraqi oil, but they did get a big cut to Iraqi oil production, which drove prices from relatively low levels at the beginning of the Shrub administration to historic highs by the end.
@OzarkHillbilly: “People stayed alive” is a very very low bar.
I only like judicial activism when Republican judges do it. But I like huffing gas all the time!
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@Roger Moore: and Bush got to avenge his dad or something.
@srv: Scalia is still dead, if that was your point.
@Marc: I mean, after all, the Garland nomination shows us we have no reason to worry about Republicans violating long-standing norms around the judicial branch, right?
@WereBear: Here’s a story about a woman to give you some hope:
And she is succeeding, to at least some extent. It’s a good read, not too long.
Snarki, child of Loki
Funny how Dubya gave speech after speech after speech, all billed as explaining ‘why we are in Iraq’, and never wound up with any coherent explanation of ‘why we are in Iraq’.
We’re still speculating about it! Sheesh!
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Worked great in 2008 and 2012.
Snarki, child of Loki
@Major Major Major Major:
@What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?:
I think it’s closer than you do. The thing that’s really tearing the Republicans apart right now is questions of strategy on how to deal with being unable to force through their agenda. The establishment faction wants to continue the normal business of government and use the positions they hold as negotiating leverage to try to get some policy concessions. The hopelessly crazy faction wants to blow shit up and is pissed off that the establishment faction has blocked them.
The key is that the sticking point is how to deal with the Democrats having some policy power. If the Republicans controlled the presidency and both houses of Congress, those arguments would fall by the wayside. They’d be free to implement terrible policies without Democratic interference.
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Wait, so which one is John McCain?
@Major Major Major Major:
Those don’t count, the blah people rose up as one and elected him with the help of brown people and white people suffering from white guilt. Will not happen again.
@hovercraft: Uh….hmmm…..how many ad(s?) does $66K buy someone? Seriously, dont TV ads in primetime cost tens of thousands?
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@hovercraft: oh, ok. Will Hillary count or does she have too many lady parts?
@Bill: Do I have to relate all the history that followed too? Things are far far far far better now than they were before the great depression. War is at historic lows. Murders are at rates we have not seen in a long time. Income inequality while on the rise is nothing compared to then. Pollution? Even with the climate change deniers we aren’t going back to the days of pumping poisons directly into our riverways.
Are there problems? OF COURSE THERE ARE. There will always be problems. Some of them will be serious problems. Get used to it. But please don’t give me any chicken little “the sky is falling the sky is falling” doom and gloom. It’s not, and if the GOP wins, it won’t.
We’ll just have to work harder.
They won’t block SCOTUS. It’s just election red meat BS.
@Snarki, child of Loki: Dubya? Coherent? Might as well wait for a dry rain.
Pest Bog Mummy, Frakensteinbeck
That only happened at the very end, because of the economic crash. Certainly not an intended result of government policy. Heaven knows Cheney loved throwing goodies to his energy company buddies, but of the many reasons for invading Iraq those deranged jackasses had, oil doesn’t seem to have gotten any effort from them. Even if it was on the list, it was way down it and that defies the ‘blood for oil’ narrative.
@Frankensteinbeck: The @Roger Moore: Their turn isn’t all that far off – Just one significant recession and the thugs will get the presidency. Very likely to happen while Hillary is President so it becomes a double win for the thugs – they run against her and the sooner or later economic down turn that they blame on her. Even get the Senate back if they lose it this time.
@Roger Moore: Their problem is their ever shrinking base. Pissed off white men are useful but you can’t win elections with them alone. But broadening their base means alienating those pissed off white men. I’m not sure how they do that w/o spending a few seasons in the wilderness. I’m not sure when it will happen but it will happen. Maybe after a 2nd Hillary term, if we get that lucky.
This, right here, is the issue. There will be serious problems in a GOP controlled government. Serious problems that will make life considerably worse for the majority of Americans. Brushing that off as “chicken little” hyperbole fails to take in to account the many people for whom the negative consequences could – in fact – be life ending.
And that doesn’t even take in to account that the Republican nominee could actually make the type of decisions that end all life on earth.
So yeah, I’m unlikely to die under a Republican government. But there’s a bunch of people who live 10 blocks east of me who don’t have that same luxury.
@Major Major Major Major:
I think McCain is an establishment guy clumsily pandering to the crazies. That’s why he walked back his statements when confronted rather than doubling down.
@OzarkHillbilly: That’s part about not pumping poison will be dead wrong if the EPA is trash heaped by a GOPPER prez.
@Major Major Major Major:
1932,36,40,44,48 5 elections.
OTOH wasn’t GOP dominance in the 1800’s after 1865 pretty solid also? 1868, 1872, 1876,1880
ETA: yes, I know it was Marc that wrote it.
He’s not running a campaign anymore, he’s stockpiling his campaign money to siphon it off to his own coffers. I don’t think you can even call what he’s doing in the states calling it in at this point.
Well, I’m glad we settled that.
@Major Major Major Major:
Between the lady parts and the fact that she only won because she ran against Trump, who is not a True Conservative, of course she didn’t really win. If she had run against anyone else she would have been trounced. The media will back up this claim and tell us that she’s the most flawed, unpopular, and least trusted person ever elected, so she has no mandate and is therefore not entitled to carry out her agenda.
@Snarki, child of Loki:
He actually had something like 27 different explanations. Oh, you said coherent? Never mind.
Not only that, but how can she be crowned Queen when she only gots 350 Electorial Votes? I mean, there are something like 400 million voters in the U S of A, and 350 Lie-beral voters get to decide? Talk about vote rigging!
Strong letter to follow!
[And I bet there are more than a few wingnuts out there who would buy that argument, if they haven’t already made it themselves.]
@Major Major Major Major: The Dems changed after losing 80, 84, 88 – with Clinton, who had a very different approach. History suggests that Repubs will be in a similar position after losing 08, 12, 16. World War II and the Depression were exceptional circumstances – but the postwar Republican party was, again, very different from that of Hoover.
Basically, I’m saying that we should stop thinking that this is year zero and we should put things into some context. Because that way we’re prepared for things that will otherwise surprise us – and we should be thinking about how to respond to the ways that the Republican party could reinvent itself.
Yes, we have already noted the changes the Republican party is undergoing. They are not changes for the better.
@SFAW: This is just a repeat of the greatest hits from Obama’s 2 terms. Go back and look at that if you want to know what happens moving forward. It’s just more of the same. Repubs are persistent but not creative.
@SFAW: There is nothing to see. This is just a repeat of the greatest hits from Obama’s 2 terms. Go back and look at that if you want to know what happens moving forward. It’s just more of the same. Repubs are persistent but not creative.
@Pest Bog Mummy, Frakensteinbeck:
Not really. When I said “historic highs” I meant more that it was at a level well above its historical value, not that it was at an all-time high. If you look at oil prices over time, they’ve generally been fairly low. For most of the time between WWII and the OPEC shock in 1973, they were between about $20-25 (inflation adjusted). The 1973 embargo pushed prices up to $50-60 (inflation adjusted) and the Iranian revolution pushed them all the way up to a high of about $115. They gradually declined from there back to about $60 in 1985 before crashing back into the $20s in 1986.
With the exception of a temporary spike during the first war with Iraq, they stayed in the roughly $20-40 range until Shrub’s Excellent Adventure. After that, they started rapidly increasing. From about $40/barrel- at the high end of their long-term price trend- in early 2003, they went over $60 (i.e. higher than during the first embargo) by the end of 2004, over $70 by the end of 2005, and over $80 during 2006. It was over $100 by the end of 2007 (i.e. higher than any time since the height of the Iranian revolution) and spiked to over $150 (all time high) right before the financial crisis hit.
And while the price dipped temporarily in the worst part of the crisis, it was still higher than it had been on the eve of the invasion. After the crisis was over but we were still in deep recession, it spiked right back up to over $80 and hovered around $100 until the fracking boom really started hurting oil prices in 2014. Even today, it’s still above the price before the invasion. So the oil companies got at least a decade of above trend prices, much of the time at levels that had only been previously seen during serious crises. It seems like they did awfully well out of the war.
Case in point, Pat Buchanan’s latest screed .
Last I checked the constitution that he’s searching for signs of how powerful the judiciary should be does clearly state that there is no state religion. freedom of the press, free speech, and allows us the right to vote in or out anyone, as long as they get 50 + 1 %. So the fact that those elected people are enacting legislation and policies that he doesn’t agree with is not rigging it’s the American system. Convince more people to your way of thinking or seeing things, and if you can’t then STFU, the grown ups are trying to run a multicultural country over hear. And fyi, all of us have bled for this country.
Major Major Major Major
@hovercraft: plus she stole the election what with the media and the Jews and whatnot.
yeah, it’s not like there’s any history of the GOP blocking a dem president’s nominee from getting a hearing.
@Marc: To re-invent themselves the Rs would need two things: politicians to frame and lead the changes, and a constituency that would support both changes and those politicians. I think the GOP voters would support change, though those changes would not be in a positive direction either for working with Democrats or for the country. I don’t see the politicians, though. AFAICT, most of the elected Rs are willing to say or do pretty much anything to retain their seats. Do you see different?
Major Major Major Major
@hovercraft: still sounding better in the original German, I see.
this argument is predicated on the idea that the GOP is, by and large, a group of rational, forward-thinking people.
I agree that the GOP will need to, try to make changes after this election, assuming they lose. The difference is that at least half of their party is insane. We didn’t have the right wing media when we went through changes after the Reagan revolution. Rush and FOX and their ilk have been feeding bs to these people for over twenty years, they have been indoctrinated to believe that they are still the silent majority, even though they have never been silent. The only way they ever lose is because of election fraud, even with the evidence provided by independent studies and the Bush Justice Dept. the supposedly sane ones still believe that voter fraud is a big problem. Steve Schmidt this morning in the face of 31 possible instances of voter fraud out of a billion votes cast since 2000, still insisted that vote fraud is a thing. With evidence not denting beliefs, even with the sane ones, how do the change and rebuild? You can’t beat these drums for forty years and then turn on a dime, and say we never meant it. There were more seasoned scammers running this year, but the base voted for the purest form of crazy, they were done with subtlety they wanted their feelings out in the open, no more couching things in polite language, they wanted the foghorn.
How do you persuade someone who’s come out of the closet to go back in? I’m not sure you can.
Gin & Tonic
@OzarkHillbilly: You think that story supports a sense of hope? I am glad those people are brave enough to do it but that intimidation should not be happening in the first place.
I wonder what would happen if it became customary to include the age and the full name of the Republican official who was being discussed. [edited to fix a typo]
“73-year-old Newton Leroy (‘Newt’) Gingrich says…”;
“74-year-old Addison Mitchell (‘Mitch’) McConnell, Jr., says…”
“77-year-old Patrick Joseph (‘Pat’) Buchanan says…”;
“80-year-old John Sidney McCain says…”
@OzarkHillbilly: the problems are mental not physical. All the stats you mention about economics and crime rates are true but these people exist anyway and are dangerous. Why? Well they have been lied to for so long they don’t know they are ignorant and nuts. We who aren’t, can’t seem to solve them. Listing all the reasons that things aren’t so terrible misses the point. Mind you I have no idea how to reach them either, but I consider it a problem when I think that every politician whose positions I approve of, might be shot. Its a problem when my family can’t put up signs or bumper stickers because we think our property might be damaged, someone might attack us and there might be problems with a job. This problem did not used to be there since the 60’s. It is there now. So there is a problem and it is serious. But solving it tends to be like discussing fog. You can’t get hold of or do a good job of analysis on crazy.
When I hear them talk about how terrible Obama’s Presidency has been or how bad Obamacare is……stated as if its obvious, well we have a problem. Panicking or getting depressed won’t help, but neither will denying it. All I can think of is somehow the non fact based news on Fox has to be changed.
We can’t. It’s too soon. Yes they are headed for some sort of split and reform, but the number of possibilities is too high and seem wildly variable. I don’t see good modals in history that are that like now. I would not have predicted Trumps rise, I expected him to be laughed off the stage at the beginning. I find the acceptance of him by the claim to be religious to be totally boggling. The business wing seems to be dead. The direction they take is probably going to depend on which leaders make themselves and so far I don’t see any. Trump himself is not any good at organizing beyond himself and a few friends so he is going to lose control soon.
All we can do is try to protect people and institutions. Once something starts to form, we can figure a response. right now if we try to precounter something it’s more likely to cause that to happen. we must avoid getting caught trying to manipulate them now because their fanatics hate liberals so much. the best way not to get caught is not to do it. Frankly we don’t understand them well and trying right now is likely to go as well as the CIA trying to control Latin America……or Russia trying to manipulate our elections with Wiki Leaks.
Your response doesn’t really address, nor say, anything substantive. As others have pointed out, Merrick Garland is only the latest example. Had Harry Reid not cut back on the filibuster, it seems likely that the Rethugs would have obstructed even more than they already have. Had Norm Coleman dragged out the recount for another six months, there’s no guarantee that we’d have Obamacare today. And that was before they went Trump-level insane.
But I’m sure that, once that Hillary gets inaugurated (knock on wood), the Rethugs will have a stunning about-face, remember that they all worked well with her when she was a Senator, realize the American people have spoken, and get back to the business of governing, rather than stonewalling.
Boy, I crack myself up sometimes.
Before that last line, I was getting ready to pitch a bridge I have for sale in Brooklyn to you.
Paul in KY
@efgoldman: It did hurt him with congress. He had a much tougher time passing any New Deal legislation, post court-packing scheme.
This is Trump level stupid. “How bad could it be? What do you have to lose?”
Bush gave us the insanity of Iraq and a foreign policy based on the triumph of evil will.
Bush gave us a domestic and international financial meltdown.
Bush gave us a rise in religious based irrationality.
Bush gave us a rise in governmental incompetence.
Bush gave us a sharp rise in income inequality.
Bush was a new low in functional democracy. It is amazing to know that the GOP wants more of the same.
And as bad as Bush was, Trump promises to be even worse. Bush at least was comfortable in his own skin and I don’t think he was hateful. Even in his post presidential appearances, he comes across as a genial dummy.
Trump promises to be ignorant, incompetent, vindictive, bigoted, spiteful and paranoid. His supporters confuse his insecure egotistical drive with intelligence. His refusal to ever admit error is already at the same level as the last years of Adolf and the Reich.
Trump promises more of the civil war between rational based democracy and right wing foolishness brought to new heights by Bush. He must be defeated.
Not every circuit split needs to be resolved immediately. Good lawyers know how to advise around them.
Paul in KY
@Enhanced Voting Techniques: Some of those Bush II admin guys, in very high positions, had novel ideas about what the constitution really meant & should be interpreted.
Paul in KY
@Frankensteinbeck: That wasn’t it, from Cheney’s perspective (IMO). Cheney thought the invasion would seal Dubya’s re-election, would mess up Iraq for the neo-cons, and would be a bonanza for all right-wing companies, who would then flood GOP with campaign contributions, etc.
@Taylor: “And we came this close to dropping tactical nuclear weapons on Iran (without provocation, beyond suspicion that they were developing fissile materials).”
I hadn’t heard that. Your evidence please? Thanks
Paul in KY
@Roger Moore: Neocons (IMO) didn’t give a shit about ‘democracy’ in an Arab nation. They wanted Iraq removed as a functioning nation. No strongman to threaten Israel. They deliberately worked it so it would be fucked up.
Unfortunate metaphor there, I think.
You might have gone for how hard it is to get the genie back in the bottle.
But I take your larger point. The Tea Party may have had phony origins, but they became a real force which pushed the GOP towards angry negative populism and into the arms of Trump. I have no clue as to how the Republicans will try to recover from Trump. But their angry base will still be there. And so far, a GOP which tried to convince Americans that Obama was a foreign devil is poised to repeat a variation of the same nonsense with Hillary.
@Roger Moore: “War is the health of the state” – Bourne (not Jason)
What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?
@Roger Moore: I think Trump’s candidacy has exposed a rift in the GOP policy agenda. Their base is anti free trade. The GOP’s policy elite has been pro free trade for decades. Trump’s supporters are anti immigration. The corporatist GOP loves illegal immigrants because they work for next to nothing and can be fired on a whim because they’re here illegally and can’t avail themselves of any sort of legal protection. I don’t even think, though Trump has supported such a plan, that his voters care much for tax cuts for the rich. They’re pretty much ignoring those because they want that wall.
Maybe the politer elements of the GOP and sucker them into supporting free trade and tax cuts for the rich again but I’m beginning to think they ain’t having that stuff anymore. The Koch bros agenda is diametrically opposed to the Trump voter agenda. Maybe the Trump voters would rather support a Koch-sucker than a Democrat, but maybe they’re just done supporting Koch-suckers like Paul Ryan. If that’s the case, winning a presidential election becomes impossible because you either have another Trumpster fire of a candidate, or a Koch sucker with no enthusiastic support from the base.
@burnspbesq: Of course Circuit splits are going to arise and it may be useful to let things sort out a bit in the circuits before the Supreme Court steps in. What I’ve seen in 20+ years of practice, though, is that they are more numerous and persist longer. They become entrenched to the point where litigants stop trying to raise the issue in the Court of Appeals and so can never seek cert on them. As for “Good lawyers know how to advise around them” – huh? Suppose you represent a criminal defendant in the 11th Circuit, which has adopted an inimical interpretation of a provision of the Sentencing Guidelines that varies from that of the 7th and 2nd Circuits. How do you propose “advising around” the adverse circuit precedent – tell them to go back in time and commit the crime somewhere else?
It may be the cases that are coming before the court as well. If they agree with the case they don’t have to hear it.
@H.E.Wolf: List of all wives should also be included. Additional notes, like: “Newt married his high school geometry teacher” would also be sweet.
As for SCOTUS, my models are Notorious RBG, Thurgood Marshall and David Souter. I don’t care whether the justice is certified liberal.
But Hillary may have problems getting any of her judicial nominees confirmed, Supreme Court and lower level. Obama will leave office with many appointments left languishing.
And would the GOP be so brazen as to let the Supreme Court dwindle to seven members?
How stupid do you think I am?? I already bought it — three months ago. Guy that sold it to me is someone really trustworthy, too — I mean, the tiny fingers, orange skin, and really fucked-up combover are kind of off-putting, but he promised me that it’s THE BEST investment, and it’s fully guaranteed by the former owner of the Atlantic City Taj Mahal.
So peddle your scams somewhere else.
Why wouldn’t they, especially if RBG were the one who goes? Of course, if Sockpuppet retires, the Rethugs would be more than happy to cut a deal, PDQ.
@OzarkHillbilly: I think it’s literally a “wee bit of hyperbole,” as in not much. Although I disagreed with the actions taken after the bank bailouts (too big to fail is too big to exist, and we should have started a structured breakup), if Congress decides to Let It Burn and we get no bank bailout, no auto bailout, no stimulus… 2008 would have been to 1929 what WW2 was to WW1.
The metaphor was deliberate. They were closet racists, and misogynists, and all the rest, they hid it from the world because they were afraid of not being accepted, or that they would face persecution for their attitudes. Just as the gay rights movement had Harvey Milk and activists of that era to say we need to come out and show everyone that we are hear and this is who we are, we are your brothers and sisters and teachers and nurses, we are part of society. These people have Trump saying the same thing, we are all having these conversations with people we know in the real world, people we liked and admired are turning out to be closeted bigots and xenophobes. The gay rights movement liberated the LGBT community, the people who support Trump believe that he has liberated them from a society where they had to be politically correct and hide their true beliefs.
Obviously there are major differences, the liberation of the LGBT community was and is a good thing, it is a step towards that more perfect union we’ve been working towards. The “liberation” of these Trump supporters is only positive in that we can now all see that we have this major problem in our country. We have an opportunity to lance the boil. I’m not naive enough to believe that you can change who people are, but perhaps now that they are out in the open we can demonstrate to them that we as a country are better than them. Yesterday or the day before there was a post about the founder of StormFront’s kid going off to college, and the exposure to multiculturism led him to reject the white nationalism he had been raised to believe in. Economic hardship and anxiety has always been the most fertile ground for fascism, but having it out in the open where we can see it gives us the opportunity to stop it.
@Brachiator: That’s a complete and utter misreading of what I said. The OP was making an assertion about what all Republicans would do in the future, not what Trump would do, and that sort of breathless exaggeration doesn’t do us any good. Yup, I want to see Trump defeated too, and yup I thought that Bush was awful. He was not awful in the ways presented in the OP, and the difference is relevant.
@What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?:
Some great points. I think it comes down to this. Trump supporters, like BREXIT supporters, see a tangible threat in immigrants taking their jobs away, and soaking up government services and welfare. So they have big time expectations that Trump will deliver on his promise to get rid of immigrants and build a wall. They watched the GOP waffle on this and cater to corporate and chamber of commerce interests. This helps explain why all the mainstream candidates got dusted in the GOP primary.
This group doesn’t care if the rich get a fat tax cut, as long as they get a little something, especially if it comes at the expense of the “undeserving” poor. Also, this demographic dreams of being rich one day and even admire a guy who was able to use a billion dollar loss to save for years and years on federal taxes.
It’s funny, but I have seen that this is actually one of the Trump voter’s motivations, voting for him because we think we’re better than them. There is also a lot of “we make your food” — even though they don’t for the most part. I come from a farming family, and 1 out of 20 of the cousins are involved in growing food. I’m pretty sure that on my father’s side of the family that nobody is even farming any of the the family farms. My grandmother’s farm was fallow last time I was there, but it has been a while.
@Marc: I think your assessment of the Bush administration is incorrect and your historical perspective inaccurate.
Paul in KY
@Brachiator: This is the ‘I’ll be fine with my pigeon on a coathanger, as long as the browns have no pigeon or coathanger’. There are alot of those idiots who think that way.
I think the scenario at the top is perfectly reasonable. And it only takes control of the Senate and the presidency. The republicans are no longer burdened with anyone that would stop them form doing this, unlike the democrats. The republicans have seen that they can skewer a SCOTUS nominee with virtually no price paid.
@hovercraft: OK. I see what you are saying, but you step on your own metaphor when you admit that you want these people to change, not go back into hiding. The comparison of being in the closet for “good” vs “bad” reasons was interesting, though.
Being better is not always sufficient. Good people get run over all the time.
These people are out in the open because they think they see in Trump an opportunity to get what they always wanted. I’m not sure what may happen if they are disappointed.
BTW. If the main topics of the next debate are immigration and the Supreme Court, this will be a last opportunity for Trump to build on one of the main pillars of his candidacy. If he can discipline himself and soft pedal the bigotry behind his immigration proposals, he might find a way to move up in the polls.
@Brachiator: Back at you. The boy who cried wolf is a parable with a point.
The we think we’re better than them is a big theme this year ‘Hillbilly Elegy” and it’s embrace by the liberal media and “elites” was the first harbinger of the apologia, David Wong’s piece at Cracked was more in a similar vein. This morning on Morning Joe they were also telling us that the coastal elites still haven’t gotten the message that the Trump supporters are trying to send, that it’s the sneering attitudes of the coastal elites that they resent. Our insistence that they adapt to our norms and mores, and secularism, and open borders,and for all their real grievances they get called racists, these are the the things driving them. When a writer from the NY Times pointed out that the same changes have occurred everywhere, and yet you don’t see black and brown people getting angry at the government in the same way, wanting to burn the whole thing down, wanting to blame everyone else for their troubles. Joe gave the real reason for the anger and frustration, white men lost the most because they had the most, so their sense of loss is bigger than anyone else’s. They controlled the levers of power and now they are not in a position above everyone else, so they feel vulnerable and are lashing out. Globalization is changing life everywhere, and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop it.
You are correct, I want them to change, but I don’t expect them to. It is possible to change but rare for people to give up true beliefs, they may mask them, but truly changing hearts and minds is very difficult. I referenced the StormFront kid more as a hopeful sign for the next generation. For most Trumpsters that ship has sailed, they are set in their ways and will not change.
Major Major Major Major
@hovercraft: This is about right. You saw the exact same dynamic in Brexit. And that Vox piece from the other day about listening to what Trump voters are actually saying.
ETA: The only reason America will avoid the Brexit fate (president trump) is because we have a lower percentage of white people.
Do you really want to go on the record as saying that if Trump wins, it won’t be that bad?
@Marc: This “crying wolf” claim is nonsense BS. Don’t tell us that we are “crying wolf” when we say Romney, Kasich, Rubio et al. are hard-right conservatives who would devastate the country with their policies; it’s not our fault that the Republicans decided to nominate a dangerous moron who thinks NATO would work better as a protection racket and might just do away with it altogether. WW3 is not “crying wolf” in a post-NATO world, and if you don’t think WW3 justifies some hysterics, you’ve fully lost the plot.
Similarly, we can criticize Trump today as the most dangerously unfit major-party candidate in American history without feeling any sort of responsibility for hyperbole when the GOP decides to send up David Duke or Alex Jones in 2020. Their escalating insanity is not an implied restriction on our ability to criticize them. You’re proposing some sort of bizarre Overton Window corollary, where the right’s ability to unhinge themselves is somehow constrained by the amount of moderation the left uses in critiquing them. That’s absurd.
@Prescott Cactus: “List of all wives should also be included.”
Good thought. :) And the wives’ ages, compared to their husband’s at time of marriage, might be… informative… as well.
@Gin & Tonic:
If I am not mistaken, NONE of this was on Hillary Clinton’s email server. It was either in Podesta’s hacked email, or on DNC servers.
The FBI does apparently have all the emails from Hillary’s server, that they recovered via forensics.
If anyone has more authoritative info, I would be interested to hear it.
BooMan makes a good case that Ryan is doomed and the GOP will fracture next year (assuming they keep the House).
It’s a good read, and makes a lot of sense.
Here’s hoping that his prognostications don’t come to pass that way, though, and instead (as he also discusses) Team D takes the House.
Interesting. Obama refuses to whine, no matter the situation. Merrick Garland comes to mind.
Can We Call It?
by Nancy LeTourneau
The Rothenberg Gonzalez Report currently has a very conservative outlook for a democratic takeover, but says:
Republicans have a 247-188 majority. Democrats need a net gain of 30 seats for a majority. Democrats likely to pick up 7-12 seats but greater gains are certainly possible.
So there’s still hope that the wave is coming. Charlie Cook says the last two waves didn’t show until the last two to three weeks before the election.
Obama refuses to whine,
no matter the situation.
Merrick Garland comes to mind.
Packing the court has already been established as unconstitutional. More than anything else the Supreme court defends it’s status as the supreme power of the law. I see others here have beaten me to this.
No we should not. And i was planning on writing you in because I thought you believed in ethics.
You keep saying reasonable things.stop it. Others may read little srv’s comments and assume there is reason in it.