The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):

  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”

Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Mike Huckabee is unfit to be president. Here's why

Once more, Mike Huckabee is acting in a way that shows his unfitness for the Presidency. In a column entitled Huckabee Takes Aim at Court Activism on Gay Marriage dated May 28, 2015 by Andrew Desiderio on the Real Clear Politics site, we read:

With a Supreme Court decision expected next month on constitutional protections for same-sex marriage, one presidential candidate is not mincing words when criticizing what he sees as judicial overreach.

Specifically, the court is expected to rule on whether the 14th Amendment requires states to authorize same-sex marriages, as well as recognize those already carried out in other states. For Mike Huckabee, this is a clear case of the justices acting beyond the authority granted to them.

“Many of our politicians have surrendered to the false god of judicial supremacy, which would allow black-robed and unelected justices the power to make law as well as enforce it,” the former Arkansas governor said during his May 5 campaign launch.

That was hardly his first comment on the issue. “I respect the courts, but the Supreme Court is only that – the supreme of the court,” he said at the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference in April, as the high court was holding oral arguments on the gay marriage case. “It is not the supreme being. It cannot overrule God.”

It is Huckabee's seeming willingness to make the United States a theocracy that I find appalling. The Supreme Court is not trying to “overrule God”; it is merely interpreting the Constitution. And God is irrelevant. What God believes is unknown to us — I as a Jew of course differ from Gov. Huckabee, an evangelical Protestant, in our beliefs as to what God's laws are; and others of different religious tendencies would have yet other ideas in this direction, but the Supreme Court is supposed to ignore this question. The Court is bound only by the Constitution. If it does violate God's will, God will punish the Justices. Gov. Huckabee has no more right to speak for God than do I or does any individual in the Supreme Court.

Desiderio continues:

Marbury v. Madison, an 1803 landmark case, created the process of judicial review, by which Supreme Court justices are given the power to determine the constitutionality of laws passed by Congress and signed by the president. It allows the judiciary branch to serve as a “check” on the legislative and executive branches. But many conservatives claim the courts have inched into the realm of judicial activism.

Huckabee, the 2008 winner of the Iowa caucuses, reiterated his criticisms during a “Fox News Sunday” interview last weekend. “The notion that the Supreme Court comes up with a ruling, and that automatically subjects the two other branches to following it, defies everything there is about the three equal branches of government,” he told host Chris Wallace.

The President and the Congress are sworn to uphold the Constitution. The role of the Court is to provide a definitive interpretation of the Constitution. Gov. Huckabee seems to imply that he would be free, if he were President, to interpret his oath to support the Constitution as one to write his own doctrine of what is constitutional. Since 1803, the nation has accepted Court decisions as the last word on constitutionality. Gov. Huckabee's ideas fly in the face of this agreement. This is hardly a conservative position.

Desiderio's column continues:

Wallace pressed his onetime Fox News colleague further, asking whether he would have approved of Arkansas Gov. Orval Faubus’s 1957 defiance of the high court’s ruling on school desegregation.

Huckabee called that comparison a false equivalency, noting that both the legislative and executive branches agreed with the court on desegregation. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Huckabee said, was therefore right in sending the 101st Airborne Division to enforce and carry out the law at Little Rock Central High School.

Huckabee then presented a hypothetical of his own in criticizing those who “bow down” to court rulings that are not backed by the legislature: “What if the Supreme Court ruled that they were going to make the decision as to who was going to be the next president, and save the taxpayers and the voters from all the expense and trouble of voting, and they’ll just pick a president?”

Of course, nobody really believes that the Supreme Court would do such a thing. Even the Gore enthusiasts who would say that the Court came close to such a ruling in the 2000 Bush v. Gore decision have to admit that the Court never eliminated the election, but merely terminated the recount process. So Huckabee's hypothetical is of a piece with “What if the President said the Constitution was henceforth null and void, and his decisions, on all issues, were to have the force of supreme law?”

Huckabee spokeswoman Alice Stewart declined a request to comment on whether a President Huckabee would take any type of executive action if the court deemed all state bans on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, saying there is “not more to add.”

Both declared GOP candidate Carly Fiorina and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who is expected to enter the presidential race soon, have said they would not fight a SCOTUS ruling in favor of same-sex marriage, while Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker have signaled their support for a constitutional amendment that would prohibit courts from interfering with existing or future state bans on same-sex marriage. It is unclear whether Huckabee supports such a step.

The column then concludes with a summary of other opinions on Huckabee's position, including the two biggest organizations that are concerned with the issue:

But there’s plenty of opposition to this conservative stance. The Human Rights Campaign, a liberal organization that has been pushing for LGBT rights since 1980, says Huckabee’s comments prompt the question of whether Florida Sen. Marco Rubio or former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who are at the top of the RealClearPolitics polling average among Republicans, are on the same page as their rival.

“Another day, another attempt from Mike Huckabee to test-drive a desperate and absurd rationale for denying marriage equality to everyone at a time when more than six in 10 voters support marriage equality and nearly half the country knows an LGBT couple that has gotten married or is in a committed relationship,” JoDee Winterhof, HRC’s vice president for policy and political affairs, told RealClearPolitics.

(Rubio and Bush aides declined to comment on whether either would employ a strategy of denouncing activist courts, but Rubio has said in the past that he does not want the judiciary to “impose” gay marriage on certain states. Bush does not believe the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage.)

Meanwhile, the Family Research Council, a prominent social conservative group, did not return a request to comment on whether it would embrace a strategy of running against the courts in an effort to enshrine traditional marriage. The group’s president, Tony Perkins, said during oral arguments before the court that it should not “impose” same-sex marriage on states where bans have been upheld.

One can scarcely think that either the HRC or the FRC would take a position any different from what it has, of course. And the final piece of Desiderio's column continues:

Huckabee has insisted that his appeal is not exclusive to evangelical voters, who are more likely to share his views, and has said he is also vying for the support of working-class Americans.

But will the Republican nominee – whoever that turns out to be – feel pushed to run against the courts in the general election? And prior to that, will any of the primary contenders make this issue a cornerstone of his or her campaign? Those will be tough choices to make, as recent polls show the tide is turning on social ideology nationally, with increasing support for same-sex marriage and marijuana legalization.

While social conservatives remain a powerful part of the Republican Party electorate in most early primary and caucus states, the GOP establishment has signaled it does not want to alienate younger voters, who overwhelmingly support gay marriage, by embracing unpopular positions during a general election.

The big problem is that any Republican who makes “social conservatism” the cornerstone of his campaign is going to make the Republican Party a laughingstock and throw away the votes of millions of people who usually vote Republican because it is the party of freedom, by making it instead the party of bigotry.

No comments: