Explaining the Obvious Logical Rules on Replacing a Dead Justice

Alternate title: The correct yet totally hypocritical party stance of replacing Scalia.


Photo Credit: Creative Commons/Shawn Calhoun

Justice Antonin Scalia died in his sleep on a hunting trip, leaving a vacancy on the Supreme Court which now raises a bunch of questions regarding which party gets to nominate someone to fill that vacancy.

The rules on replacing a retiring or life-retired (read: dead) Justice are: The President nominates a person for the vacancy and the Senate Judiciary Committee (Senators who are part of a kind of “judge pickers club”) publicly interviews them with questions and then the Senate votes on whether or not to confirm the nominee as a Judge on the Supreme Court. Right now the White House is filled by a Leftist Democrat and the Senate (and its judiciary committee) is controlled by center-Right Republicans. So who gets to fill this seat?

In an interesting plot twist: both Republicans and Democrats are factually correct (in different areas) and yet total hypocrites on the issue.

Specifically, Democrats claim President Obama should obviously be appointing the new judge for a speedy confirmation by the Senate and Republicans say since President Obama has less than 1 year left as President, the new one that takes office in January 2017 should be the one to make the nomination (which they hope will be a Republican).

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) may be a total partisan hack who peddles easily debunked talking points from her hippie base on the regular, but she’s right in her comments on this subject…

“Senator McConnell is right that the American people should have a voice in the selection of the next Supreme Court justice. In fact, they did — when President Obama won the 2012 election by five million votes,” Ms. Warren, a former Harvard Law School professor, said in a statement.

“Article II Section 2 of the Constitution says the President of the United States nominates justices to the Supreme Court, with the advice and consent of the Senate,” she wrote. “I can’t find a clause that says ‘…except when there’s a year left in the term of a Democratic President.’”

She added: “Senate Republicans took an oath just like Senate Democrats did. Abandoning the duties they swore to uphold would threaten both the Constitution and our democracy itself. It would also prove that all the Republican talk about loving the Constitution is just that — empty talk.”

That’s all true in the most “duh” of fashions. Unfortunately for Warren though, the same Constitution they all took an oath to uphold, applies to the other party as well, and the unmistakable fact of the matter at hand is that of course Congress can deny Obama this appointment.

Consent means the Senate is under no obligation whatsoever even to hold a vote on any presidential appointment. The Senate’s obligation is to do what the Senate wants, and only what the Senate wants. Those are the rules. To try to hold senators to a different rule is to try to change the rules on them–and people tend to resent that. Everyone is free to disagree with the positions individual senators or the Senate as a whole take on individual nominations or prospective nominations. But there is no question that senators individually or collectively can deny their consent to any actual or prospective nomination for any reason–just as the American people can vote for whomever they want, for whatever reason they want.

Indeed, President Obama isn’t even entitled to nominate a replacement for Justice Scalia–or at least, Congress can deny him that right. The Constitution gives Congress the power to decide how many seats there are on the Supreme Court. In 1789, there were only six. Given sufficient congressional support (i.e., veto-proof majorities in both chambers), Congress could reduce the number of Supreme Court justices from the current nine to eight. McConnell, Cruz, and Rubio could propose doing so right now. It seems strange to criticize senators who are merely expressing in what circumstances they will withhold their consent when Congress has the power to deny the president the ability to fill this vacancy entirely by itself eliminating this vacancy.

At the same time Democrats turn a blind eye to President Obama repeatedly ignoring constitutional limits on his power, they claim Republicans would dishonor the Constitution if they use powers the Constitution clearly grants them. That is unlikely to dissuade Senate Republicans from delaying a vote on Scalia’s successor until 2017. Nor should it.

So now that it is established that it is both an easily verifiable “duh” that yes, the President can go forward with this process as usual but yes, the Senate can halt this process as usual – the real question is what *should* happen logically, morally, and reasonably.

Here’s where the derpiness starts…

Seems to me that the timing of an election should play no role in judicial appointments and claiming otherwise is just playing politics in the kind of loophole bullcrap ways everyone hates about politics.

As a historical precedent, however…

There is ample precedent for rejecting lame duck Supreme Court nominees.

[T]he Senate does have an obligation to fulfill its “advice and consent” obligation. Says the Constitution, the president “shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court…” A preemptive rejection of any possible Supreme Court appointment is self-evidently in conflict with that obligation. The phrase “do not let it become about whoever Obama names” makes that explicit.

A man as versed in the Constitution as Senator Cruz should be embarrassed to posit that the nation could owe a debt to Scalia, that a “debt” to a dead man should play any role in a process governed by the Constitution, or that a sitting president’s nominee should be preemptively rejected before his or her identity is known. There is no agreed upon standard of what legitimate advice and consent entails. But any standard that rejects a nomination before it is even made fails the laugh test.

James Madison’s Constitution is not a living, breathing document that changes in meaning as an election approaches. A president is no less legitimate as a lame duck. The Framers intended for the Senate to give up-or-down votes based on a nominee’s merit, however it’s defined. The timing of an election should play no role.

The precedent of the Senate halting a nomination process was upheld by some pretty key Senators in pretty recent history, however. Mainly: New York Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer. And former Senator Joseph Biden. And former Senator Barack Obama. – i.e. – the current sitting President and Vice President who are now arguing the opposite position on account of being total hypocrites in regards to Senate rules applying to a Presidency.

In Bidens case, it’s especially egregious because his argument was made in the absence of a vacancy. He was just pre-emptively making the case that “in case this happens, the president should be advised that this is the normal way of doing things and it would be wrong to do it any different way”… Oops…

Sorry Hippies: Welders do make more money than Philosophers

In the 4th debate for the Republican nomination to be the contender for President that faces off against the Democrat (see: “Hillary Clinton“) in the 2016 election, a question was posed about about whether the government should force employers to pay their least important and profitable employees a higher amount (instead of allowing the labor market to dictate pay based on the value and demand of the work a position holds). Amidst the candidates comments supporting freedom of choice over government meddling in the private decisions workers and businesses make for their own lives, Florida senator Marco Rubio cut to one of the causes of the question by noting the useless degrees many students choose to go into debt over more prudent vocational education.

“Here’s the best way to raise wages: Make America the best place in the world to start a business or expand an existing business, tax reform and regulatory reform, bring our debt under control, fully utilize our energy resources … repeal and replace ObamaCare, and make higher education faster and easier to access.”

He added:  “For the life of me, I don’t know why we have stigmatized vocational education. Welders make more money than philosophers. We need more welders and less philosophers.”

His closer of “You’re going to make people more expensive than a machine. We need more welders and less philosophers” was noted that proper grammar in such a context is “fewer philosophers”, not “less”. Others had more aggressive criticism of the comment in what seems to me to be merely a transparent attempt at finding something to attack more than anything resembling an actual legitimate point of contention.

While the points that people shouldn’t make themselves less valuable to employers than machines and that they should instead should go to school for an actual reason and not just to burn money and waste valuable years on completely non-beneficial titles for fields they don’t get employed in seems pretty unassailable – it was heavily assailed non-the-less. The reasons why are obvious, even though the point itself is an obvious one: aside from the academic industry not wanting dilution of its brand, there are a lot of people who have already wasted their time and money on useless degrees and want to feel better about that waste by continuing to laud them, not to mention opportunists who are merely looking for an excuse to take down Rubio’s rising star.

Evidently, Rubio was so sterling in his debate performance that this Welders vs Philosopher salary thing was the biggest trending story of the whole debate in articles and social media afterward.

The refrain in most of the reaction was in claiming that Rubio’s statement is wrong and that Philosophers actually make much more than welders.

Except they don’t, and here is how Rubio’s critics are making the false attack:

TEACHERS ARE NOT SYNONYMOUS WITH DOERS
CNN notes that “Most critics cited the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which lists the median annual salary for welders at $37,420. For philosophy teachers, the wage is significantly higher: $63,630.” The obvious answer to this should be a resounding “so what?” as this means nothing.

A welding teacher is not necessarily a welder so why would anyone accept the bogus premise that a philosophy teacher is a philosopher? This is a fallacy of changing the goal posts since it is using imbalanced criteria to make a point. You either compare welding teachers to philosophy teachers (i.e: teachers compared to teachers) or you compare welders to philosophers (i.e: people gainfully employed doing the act of welding vs people who philosophize as their profession) but you can’t claim to un-make Rubio’s accurate point by keeping only half of his statement and changing the other half.

LEARNING IS NOT THE SAME AS WORKING
The other dubious debunking of Rubio’s claim rests on changing the context of his comment. The Washington Post headlined “Sorry Rubio. Philosophy majors actually make more than welders”. But why would Rubio a “sorry, but…” statement about yet another irrelevancy to his point? Again, the criticism requires changing the comments of the criticized, which in turn doesn’t go on to debunk a point but rather just goes into an irrelevant tangent that uses some of the same words in the original point.

Someone with a degree in Philosophy is just “someone with a degree in Philosophy”. You don’t become a lawyer by studying law in college – you become a lawyer by becoming a lawyer. Likewise, you don’t become a welder by studying welding – you study welding to become a welder.

Rubio didn’t say “those who study Philosophy” in his comparison, so what are his critics so afraid of that they can’t just respond to what he actually said? Probably because the context of his remarks make it clear that he was just using shorthand for “useless liberal arts major” in the context of minimum wage workers and as I noted earlier – that is impossible to argue against. But his critics couldn’t just let him go and make such an obvious and accurate point like that without appearing to counter it, so they engage in all this nonsense to obfuscate the truth.

But even playing the game of literalness these critics are using, the numbers and logic just don’t support the claims against the comment. To accurately fact check the legitimacy of Rubio’s point about “welders making more than philosophers”, one has to look at the number of people who studied philosophy and used that study to become employed as a philosopher vs those who learned welding and made a living from being a welder. Sorry, Philip Bump, who wrote that WashPo article, but what you study isn’t the same as what you do for a living. By Bumps metric, he’s conceivably including the hypothetical person who majors in philosophy in college and then went on to become a welder. But replace “welder” with anything and you’ve got the same non-point. A doctor, lawyer, scientist, politician, entrepreneur or other business professional might very well have majored in philosophy but they’re not “Philosophers” and it ain’t their philosophizing that earns them a higher salary than a welder.

(INTENTIONALLY?) MISSING THE POINT
The most bizarre criticism is from the people butthurt about an alleged attack on Philosophizing as a profession. You would think someone learned in the art of using logic and reason to understand reality would… do any of that… and then realize that making an obvious statement regarding advice about career trajectories is not an attack or statement that having a skill used in that career is useless.

I’m regarded as pretty self absorbed and I can’t imagine feeling similarly about such an obvious statement on the fields that apply to me. I’m an improvisational actor and would agree with a candidate saying we need more welders than improv performers. I also think improv should be taught in high schools, business schools, and elsewhere because of its inherent skill while at the same time telling everyone who will listen to absolutely not count on it as a career and instead learn an actual skill that actually builds things. Pretty simple to see the non-competition within those points, if you ask me, but others had trouble with Rubio’s comment as if he made some kind of condemnation on knowing anything about philosophy.

BY THE (SUPER OBVIOUS) NUMBERS
By using the intellectually dishonest metrics of “philosophy teachers” and “philosophy majors” to be synonymous with what a “philosopher” is, Rubio’s point is ignored, not fact-checked or even rebutted.

To revisit: Rubio’s point was about the responsibility of government and the individual. He said the responsibility of government is to make America the best place to start or grow business and that the responsibility of individuals is to train themselves for preparation in such a business climate by learning necessary skills for their career goals. He didn’t say anything against majoring in philosophy, one assumes (if they are to honestly appraise the argument he’s making) for a reason: such a major could very well fit into a larger career goal. His comment made an observation about preparation for success in the workplace and it was accurate: On average – welders earn more money than philosophers, so choose your education spending wisely and with a plan in mind.

There are a lot of welding jobs and there are very few philosopher jobs. There are essentially no philosophy jobs outside of entrepreneurially creating your own business or website, advice column, book, or becoming a thought leader that can command hefty speaking fees.

But even going off of the pre-mentioned fallacy about Philosophy teachers being “Philosophers” instead of what they actually are (“teachers”), the numbers don’t add up since the number of people who have risen to the title of tenured professors in philosophy is far smaller than the number of employed welders. Likewise, majoring in philosophy (or any other liberal art) that is not a requirement or aid to your intended profession is a waste, even if such major holders go on to make a good living outside of the field they majored in.

There is just no possible honest angle that makes Rubio’s comment incorrect.

Sorry Hippies, but the fact remains that most liberal arts majors made bad decisions with that choice and their inability to use those majors in the workforce illustrates it.

Marco Rubio gets the most important question right

On the eve of the 3rd GOP Primary debate, the campaign for Florida Sen Marco Rubio released this nifty lightning-round style question session of the candidate titled “15 Questions Marco Won’t Be Asked at the Debate”. It’s a good social media spot that highlights the Senators natural demeanor and quickness that subliminally contrasts him with the Democratic frontrunner, a slowly calculating robot named Hillary.

Thank friggin goodness he got the most important question right. When asked who would win in a fight between my 2 favorite SuperHeroes since childhood – Spiderman or Batman – Marco answers perfectly.

Rubio answers every question quickly and concisely with minimal deliberation but one from the bunch causes the candidate to pause in consideration. He starts to deliver what to the layman seems like the obvious answer by starting the “SSS” of “Spiderman” but then, thoughtful analyst that he is, takes a moment to really weigh the opponents. He confirms with the off-camera questioner, his choices: “Spiderman or Batman?” and pauses with a “hm” and a look to the side as he accesses the logical areas of his brain to retrieve the relevant and necessary fact points and then delivers the correct answer: “Probably Batman”.

It’s actually not just the correct answer, but the perfect answer, for the following reasons:

THE DELIBERATION IS NECESSARY
Spiderman vs Batman is a matchup that requires a moment of thought. An immediate answer doesn’t reveal accuracy but rather reveals which character you simply like better and would root for to win. If such a question is to be taken seriously, at least a moment of analysis is required before blurting out an answer as the heroes are not so obvious in the outcome of their strengths and vulnerabilities could suggest.

Rubio showed himself to be a serious and thoughtful servant of the public in taking his time to reflect on the choice posed to him before blurting out an irresponsible answer.

THE FINAL ANSWER IS CORRECT
Surveying the fighters: Spiderman has meta-human strength & agility, tactile gadgets, unparalleled acrobatic ability and a super sense that alerts him to surprise attacks while Batman has “the peak of what the human body is capable of without chemical or meta enhancement” and an array of gadgets.

After analyzing the data in detail, an objective mind puts the odds on the bet that Batman would win against most comic book foes, Spiderman included, which is initially counterintuitive until one explores the reasons this is so. Fully understanding why Batman is such a formidable foe despite constantly being out-gunned and out-powered by rivals is something I’ve explained at length before but to summarize: Batman has the stealth power of superior strategy. In combat, the only thing that matters is strategy and if your superior strategizing can blindside your opponent then you are more likely to successfully defeat them. Batman is both routinely over-prepared and massively underestimated, allowing him to pull dark-horse victories against extremely deadly meta-humans, monsters, machines, armies, aliens, and fellow heroes.

THE “PROBABLY” IS WHAT MAKES IT A PERFECT ANSWER
Some hypothetical battles can be predicted with certainty and most are various degrees of likelihood. A Batman vs Spiderman battle isn’t obvious, and there are certainly a number of ways the Wall Crawler could defeat the Dark Knight (those are both nicknames for Spiderman & Batman, in case i’m losing you there), but the right answer is in fact “probably Batman”.

You cannot be President of anything important or hold any office of any consequence whatsoever without getting this question right and Sen Rubio hit it out of the park.

Miserable Congressman Sings “Meet the Mets” After Losing Bet

This is an occurrence of a light story, notable not only for the humorous premise but the comedic timing of the Congressman.

Hat tip to Tina Nguyen at Vanity Fair, whose post used the perfect headline that I doubled for this as well as the following additions:

The performance fulfilled the terms of a bet struck on October 1 between Schiff, a Los Angeles Dodgers fan, and Rep. Steve Israel, a Long Island congressman loyal to the New York Mets. Since the Mets beat the Dodgers in the playoff series, going on to clinch the National League series and a shot at the World Series, poor Schiff had to give a one-minute speech about how he lost a bet, with a Mets logo taped to his tie. “Mr. Speaker, please tell me my time is expired,” he begged at the end, before recovering with a well-placed, always-appropriate ding against the Yankees.

Rep. Schiff’s song continues a long tradition of congressmen awkwardly singing under forced conditions.

Republican jerks endlessly heckling former Congressman Anthony Weiner

Former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner currently holds no public office, is not a written or television pundit anywhere and is generally out of political life outside of merely commenting on it as a civilian. So why are some Republican outlets still hecktoring him years after he was a threat to them? Have you people no decency?

Fine. Potential poor choice of words since decency is what gave Weiner his scarlet letter in the first place but that doesn’t excuse the surrounding details of his situation: mainly the fact that he isn’t in a position in power or influence anymore, so making him the object of ridicule is punching-down in a distasteful way in my opinion.

For those of you who forgot or never knew: Congressman Weiner accidentally publicly tweeted a picture of an erection visible through his underwear when he meant to send it privately to a girl he was e-flirty with via sexy pics and messages. He denied it at first and then came clean about it when that strategy failed and blah blah blah. Okay – fine. We get it. It’s funny cuz of his name, cuz it’s definitely a skeezy thing to do while married and usually a skeezy thing to do even if not and all that jazz – okay. He resigned. A couple years afterward he ran for mayor of NYC and didn’t win the primary.

Yet for the past several years that he has been out of office I will randomly see hit pieces on the former congressman in Conservative media and they are always 100% gratuitous and bizarre.

Today it’s gotten so bad that they’re even hassling him over tweeting about traffic in NYC.

Sounds like fair and rationale criticism to me. Also sounds like a guy tweeting about traffic… So under what circumstances are you the cool guy in an exchange where someone says “well THIS sure seems to be a dumb use of public resources that is inconveniencing the citizens of the city” and you respond with “oh yea? REMEMBER WHEN YOU SEND DICKPICS TO GIRLS ON THE INTERNET? BURN!”

Wtf, people…

Worse is the adoption of this one photo of Weiner scowling that has become the go-to clipart in hit pieces on him, similar to the Bill O’Reilly cry-face.

I admit that I always liked Congressman Weiner so maybe i’m being blind to what is fair dialog and treatment of a public figure in such circumstances but I think it’s gratuitous to randomly keep recycling a sexting scandal when the dude talks about anything as non-related as unnecessary street closures.

Pick your battles, Republicans. Save your fire for the bullies, not the Weiners.

Dumb people think that “Jews” is a swear word or something

Leave it to dumb hippies and the people they’ve brainwashed to turn a conservative woman’s criticism of Republicans into something anti-Jewish.

Ann Coulter correctly pointed out that the CNN Republican primary debate at the Reagan Library exhibited way too much time wasted pandering to the 70% of Americans who support Israel, as Coulter does. I made the same observation in especially the following moment Ann articulated in this tweet:

She followed that observation up with the question it begs:

I chuckled when someone told me of this tweet and agreed with the sentiment only to find out the next day that I was allegedly supporting some kind of hateful anti-semitism. Huh? Even disregarding that Coulter agrees with the candidates in their support for Israel – How could making a statement about time-allocation on debate issues be hateful? Not how *is* it, but how *could* it even? This is nuts, I thought to myself. More dumb hippies just looking for excuses to try and smear people they disagree with. But then I heard other Israel supporters I respect, like Michael Medved and Dennis Prager, both criticize the Tweet as horrible and I was further confused. I still am, as I continue to try and see the critical perspective by replacing the components with other issues or demographics. Take any issue that under 10% of the population cares passionately about while over 70% of the population supports and over 80% of Republicans support – and how can one justify such repeated and blatant pandering to that issue over and over even in contexts that have nothing to do with it?

Evidently its the phrase “f—ing Jews” that is what dense people claim makes this comment ugly – but why?

What if the candidates constantly pandered to Lutherans or stock traders in every other debate answer, whether Lutheranism or the stock market was even mentioned?

“How many f—ing Lutherans do these people think there are in the United States?”
“How many f—ing Stock Brokers do these people think there are in the United States?”

Offensive and hateful towards Lutherans and stock brokers? How could anyone possibly conclude anything near such a thing?

The only possible explanation is hypersensitivity brainwash + ignorance along the same lines as people being offended by the phrase “God damn it” because they think it damns God and thus is a disrespect to their Creator when it is clearly a call for God to do the damning upon something if you’d just take 2 seconds to think critically and use 2nd Grade English skills to deconstruct the phrase. Likewise, I assume people just hear “f—-ing Jews” and have a Pavlovian response to some kind of hate.

How sad that it’s come to this.

5 Reasons a Biden vs Romney 2016 Election is the best matchup for both sides

As I’ve said before, I like Joe Biden and would like him to run for President.

But, in the interest of fair disclosure: I also would like Joe to run because I want Mitt Romney to run and a Biden vs Romney election would give me peace about the country since both men pass the authenticity and decency tests I filter political picks through.

Non-dangerous candidates running against each other with mostly the same end-goals who just differ on policies arriving at those goals takes the terror out of the election but I like the matchup as a matter of interest in the news as well since it levels the star-power playing field, forcing a discussion on actual substance.

Substance hasn’t been at issue in national elections for decades. 2008’s McCain vs Obama was all about the star power of Obama and McCains VP pick Sarah Palin for their “first” status and rockstar appeal and Obama vs Romney similarly focused the race the perceived personalities of the two candidates instead of Obamas record and Romneys ideology.

Romney vs Biden is a race between two rich white guys in their 70s.
Biden – a career politician whose first run for the presidency was in the 80s, then again in the 2007 Democrat primary Barack Obama won and current sitting Vice President at the time of the election
vs
Romney – a private sector businessman who has been flirting with politics since the 90s, having unsuccessfully run against Ted Kennedy for senate and later serving 1 term as Governor of Massachusetts, running for president in the 2007 primary and again in 2012, becoming the Presidential nominee but losing to the Obama/Biden ticket.

This match-up creates a dynamic where issues and ideology can take the spotlight in place of the identity-politics of the previous examples. It also raises several interesting points…

 


1-  IT’S THE REMATCH AMERICA DESERVES

Democrats, Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, and Republican Mitt Romney all ran for president in 2008 and failed to get their parties nomination for the race that elected Barack Obama to the presidency.

A Hillary Clinton vs Mitt Romney race would mean 2 candidates who both ran directly against Barack Obama (Clinton in 08, Romney in ’12) and lost so it’s more of a story about candidates getting another bite at the apple (Hillary to win the nomination and Romney to win the presidency after the nomination). While Hillary served for 1 term in the Obama administration as secretary of state and thus would not only put on electoral trial the administration of her husband but also that of Obama’s, her lack of any actual life accomplishments or significant role in history other than “being around men making history” is a problem.

There is a better matchup…

Joe Biden vs Mitt Romney would be a rematch of the Obama Administration vs a potential Romney administration. This is a much more interesting divide than “Republican ideals of smaller government vs ‘first woman president'”.

Barack Obama was the first president to win reelection with less states and less votes than he was initially elected into office with and he largely won through demonizing his opponent and sliding by unchallenged by a sympathetic media to some majorly false promises, predictions, and attacks. America deserves to revisit these attacks straight against the VP of an administration that scored debate points on things like “the sequester will not happen” (it did, after Obamas reelection), or that Romney’s regard of Russia as a geopolitical foe was ridiculous “cold war (ie: backwards/outdated)” thinking only to then, after safely being re-elected, have to face Russia as – oops – a geopolitical foe in a list of troublesome ways.

Not that anyone besides insiders and nerds like me even remember any of those moments today and are hungry for a straightening of the public record – but rather because everyone following the election remembered them at the time and then forgot them. That’s kindov cheating, don’t you think? When you get positive buzz that translates to more support which translates to more votes that translate to a victory and then later the roots of it all not only turn out to be false but turn out to reveal that your opponent was right… that’s some shady ass sh*t, bruh. A Romney vs Obamas-2nd-in-command race would force some record setting and give the VP an opportunity to defend his boss and party’s terrible judgement and let the people decide.

Advantage: Romney

 

2- IT’S A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD

For the Democrats, a Romney nomination kills the starpower momentum on the Republican side. At the time of this writing, the top Republican primary candidates are Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, and Marco Rubio. In the same order: A celebrity billionaire, a black neurosurgeon, a former tech CEO, and a 1 term cuban-American senator from Florida. In any of those matchups except Trump (whom everyone knows will not be the nominee), the Democrats are at a “personal story” disadvantage because all of those top contenders are non-career politicians and have compelling personal stories while the Democrats current top candidates – Hillary Clinton and the as-yet-undeclared Vice President Biden are both life long politicians, gray haired and white as mountain snow.

Hillary faces a disadvantage among all of those candidates because they are all fresh faces with earnestness in their character while Hillary is an old face (politically) with the words “dishonest’ and “liar” most commonly associated with her and her “first woman president” story is undermined by Rubio being Cuban-American, and Carsons “first black president” credential (succeeding the nations first half-black/darker skinned president, Barack Obama).

All that makes Biden a better choice since the choice would be between 2 lifetime politician older white candidates – better to go with the one with actual accomplishments in his record and who has authenticity and honesty attached to his name than an accomplishment-less candidate thought to be serially dishonest.

For the Republicans, however, those names I mentioned win the scorecard on personal story and fresh face charisma, but lose on experience, which can be easily exploited by a Biden campaign. Their solution ought to be to run one of those candidates or one like them as their Vice Presidential nominee and one most-like them but without their baggage in their top slot. The only option that ticks all those boxes is one Mitt Romney. A candidate who has already been vetted, is popular among donors, is not a career politician, and is a good debater.

Advantage: Biden

 

3- BOTH MEN WOULD SURELY PICK NON-WHITE MALE RUNNING MATES

It would be both mens 3rd run at the Presidency and I highly suspect both would choose non-white-male running mates which would be great for political engagement and general dialog.

Advantage: Draw

 

4- IT IS BOTH MENS LAST CHANCE AT THIS WHOLE ‘PRESIDENT’ THING

They are both too old and have gone around the block too many times. 2 runs for president is generally the maximum. Reagan and Nixon are the only ones to successfully run 3 times and only Nixon ran as the losing nominee (to JFK), coming back to run again and win the nomination and the presidency years later. For both Romney and Biden, this is their back to back #3. Biden is still living on the White House grounds, for gosh sake, and Romney was the GOP nominee for the last election that Biden won his VP reelection in. They’re both too old to ever make their 3rd try after 2016. This is it. Both men want the job. Both men have tried for it. Both men have this one and only last chance bid for the position… That’s exciting. That’s a story. That’s some Reality Show level stakes. And frankly, both men deserve to make their case on why they should lead this country before its too late.

Advantage: Draw
5- IT WOULD “END” ARGUMENTS ON BOTH SIDES

End is of course in quotations because obviously no political argument ever truly “ends” regardless of the amount of facts involved. But for all intents and purposes, both sides would be able to make various claims about a victory in this unique matchup alone that don’t work for other match-ups.

Democrats – Think that Romney really is the evil corporate uncaring monster the Obama 2012 campaign claimed? Lets see if America still thinks so…

Republicans – Think the Obama administration really is an America ruining pestilence across the land that the American people were bamboozled into? Lets put its VP up for the job and see if America really thinks so…

The victor of these divides come with more than a victorious election, but with a history proving set of “see I told you so”s under their belt that raises the stakes for both sides.

Advantage: Draw

 

But whatever – that aspect of this isn’t important. The thesis here is that Joe Biden is presidential material, a mountain among midgets, and deserves a national spotlight as a nominee for the nations highest office. Mitt Romney, likewise, was the best nominee either party has seen in decades and got cheated out of a victory he objectively deserved by metrics regarding the ideology of the electorate and the number of key campaign arguments the winning side made that later turned out to be false.

This is the matchup that America may not want or care for, but it’s the race the country needs and deserves.

Why I hope Joe Biden runs for President (and why you should too)

The country and the world would be in such better shape under a Biden, instead of Obama presidency.

Joe Biden ran for president in 2008, but his experience and policies didn’t make for appealing enough figureheads as having that center-left view come from a mouth that was attached to either a woman or a brown skinned guy so Biden was iced out and America missed out.

Any number of VP choices in a Biden administration in 2008 would have worked fine but I actually think a Biden/Obama administration would have done immense good for the country because while the frank speaking non-phony competent negotiator knowledgable elder statesman who actually likes working in politics was in the top position, the political neophyte that doesn’t like actually working in politics

Instead, the appropriate positions are reversed and the country has had 7-ish years of a petulant manchild president who doesn’t negotiate, doesn’t compromise, doesn’t care what his constituents actually want, is easily butthurt, wastes time, wastes money, and a completely wasted Vice President doing little outside of make an occasional gaffe or other screw-up. What a tragic waste of truly great potential.

Now, the country might get a 3rd chance to reject Joe Biden (he ran for president in the 80s as well as 08 and would face an uphill climb promoting what would be perceived to be a 3rd term to an unpopular Obama administration full of unpopular policies, minus the only thing about the administration that *is* consistently popular – Barack Obama).

I hope Biden runs even though I will feel bad for him losing. He’s the only potential 2016 candidate on the Democratic side besides Jim Webb (the fact that you just said “who?” says all it needs to in that regard) who isn’t either a phony (sorry, Hillary fans – Update: sorry x2) or fruitcake (sorry Bernie fans) and would add sanity and honesty to an otherwise circus style primary and general election that no one needs this year in particular.

Update: Poll: While Clinton struggles with ‘liar’ tag, voters find Biden ‘honest’

Loser Ted Cruz chides Romney for losing.

And dumb Conservatives cheer him on like dummies…

Here’s what happened… President Obama is proposing a uniquely and aggressively horrible deal with Iran that would give it – the most anti-American regime currently in existence – hundreds of billions of dollars, for nothing in return. Nothing. Just says “here you go. you use this responsibly though, okay?”. And just like with the lifting of the blocks between the U.S. and Cuba – Obama’s getting the country he represents nothing in the deal. The argument in favor of this ridiculous Iran deal is that it somehow delays instead of hastens Iran getting a nuclear bomb by 15 years, a concept that is wholly unfounded according to the details of the actual agreement signed by the Government of the United States.

In response to this awfulness, senator Ted Cruz, who is running for the 2016 presidential nomination, noted that this makes the Obama administration a financial facilitator of Islamic terrorism, saying:

“If this deal is consummated, it will make the Obama administration the world’s leading financier of radical Islamic terrorism,” Cruz said during a round table Tuesday. “Billions of dollars under control of this administration will flow into the hands of jihadists who will use that money to murder Americans, to murder Israelis, to murder Europeans.”

It’s true that the money Iran will get will likely be used to murder people and it’s true that Iran wouldn’t have this money if not for the Obama administrations agreement and it’s true that this was not a helpful thing for Cruz to say.

Mitt Romney, noted as such.

Which is the most sensible commentary a rational mind can have on the topic. Cruz’s comment isn’t wrong but the way it’s stated is so clunky that it hands Obama supporters a gift to turn a bad Obama policy into an opportunity to make Ted Cruz and Republicans the target of scorn. That is friggin horrible strategy but Cruz is notorious for being non-strategical. Which is cool if you want to drum up angst from your base but super horrible if your intention is to win elections. Romney helped his party by voicing his opposition to the deal while also noting that it most obviously hurts that oppositional cause for people like Cruz to be simplifying the dot-connections the way he did.

Cruz replied to Romneys criticism in typical Cruzian fashion (read: terribly):

Cruz, 2016 presidential candidate, fired back at Romney in a Thursday radio interview with KFYO’s Chad Hasty.

“So Mitt Romney’s tweet today said, ‘Gosh, this rhetoric is not helpful,'” Cruz said. “John Adams famously said, ‘Facts are stubborn things.’ Describing the actual facts is not using rhetoric; it is called speaking the truth.”

The senator recalled what he described as a critical moment during the 2012 presidential race: A back-and-forth over that year’s attack on a diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya.

“Part of the reason that Mitt Romney got clobbered by Barack Obama is because we all remember that third debate where Barack Obama turned to Mitt and said, ‘I said the Benghazi attack was terrorism and no one is more upset by Benghazi than I am.’ And Mitt, I guess listening to his own advice, said, ‘Well gosh, I don’t want to use any rhetoric. So OK, never mind. I’ll just kind of rearrange the pencil on the podium here,'” Cruz said.

He added that the 2016 presidential candidates need to speak up or they will fail like Romney.

I’ll get to why Cruz doesn’t know what he’s talking about here later in this post, but first a factual correction: Cruz’s claim never actually happened. As I’ve shown before, Romney expertly trapped President Obama on the Benghazi issue in the 2nd debate by going 3 rounds on the subject and giving Obama every inch of rope he needed to hang himself on the issue. Romney noted that Obama not only did not treat the terrorist attacks in Benghazi as such, but actually took great lengths to deceive the American people about the nature of the attacks, instead blaming a Youtube video for them. Obama, knowing that he was getting trapped in having to either lie by claiming he did something he did not do or obfuscate the question merely said “check the transcript” of his rose garden speech on the subject, in where he knew he could point to the word “terrorism” being present and then spin that as having taken responsibility for the attacks as being terrorism (successfully avoiding the messy explanation of the ensuing phony claims about a Youtube video instigation). In an unprecedented move, the debate moderator Candy Crowley stepped in and falsely claimed that Obama was correct in his claim about labeling the act terrorism and even though she walked it back later and the truth was verified by fact checkers, the damage had been done on live tv. To blame Romney for not attacking the issue he actually attacked in the most perfect of strategic ways is nonsense.

However – Republicans are just not smart enough to understand this and many agree with Cruz that Romney’s reason-for-loss was that he wasn’t tough enough on the President.

Here is how Rush Limbaugh summarized the positions of both men:

“Both Obama and Romney have called Cruz’s remarks inappropriate.” What has Cruz done? He’s “maintained that [Obama] would become a leading state-sponsor of terror if the agreement it struck with Iran makes it past Congress. He and others have argued that Iran would use a windfall from sanctions relief to finance terror abroad.” He has said on that basis alone this deal ought not get done! And then Romney piped up and said in a tweet (paraphrased): “Gosh, this rhetoric isn’t helpful. Gosh, this rhetoric isn’t helpful!”

Cruz fired back: “You’re telling me what’s not helpful? You got clobbered by Obama for a reason! You got clobbered because you backed off. You got clobbered because you didn’t have the guts to keep going.” So this is… I like this, folks. Whatever Trump’s responsible for it or not.

 

The truth is that both Cruz and Romney lost competitions to Obama but in very different ways…

In 2012 Mitt Romney ran for president against Barack Obama and lost.

In 2013 Ted Cruz led a strategy from the Senate against Barack Obama’s signature legislation “Obamacare” and lost.

Romney’s strategy was verifiably better at every level. Victory was in sight – the numbers just didn’t add up at the end since his side was fractured from a year of in-fighting and bad press while Obama’s side was boosted and mobilized during that time (and as I’ve pointed out before: the key to winning elections is to fracture the OTHER side and unite yours).

Cruz’s strategy in the senate was verifiably guaranteed to fail at every level as there was literally just no path to victory outside of President Obama just deciding to become a Republican overnight one day.

Cruz’s tactic of denying funding to Obamacare that caused a deadlock with the Democrats who refused to negotiate on the matter, resulting in a government shutdown that ultimately got Cruz absolutely nothing but scorn from the media and public at large.

So both men lost in their matches with President Obama, but one fought valiantly and one  fought irresponsibly with literally no strategy to actually win.

Alternate headline: Defeated-by-Democrats-TedCruz lectures Defeated-by-Democrats-MittRomney on why the GOP gets defeated by Democrats.

Doesn’t sound like such bold talk when you put it that way now does it. Yet that’s exactly the case.

The only difference is that Romney actually had a chance of winning.

Reminder: Holocaust victims weren’t killed in ovens…

I hate to go and ruin the fun in historical acts of genocide, but this seemingly minor detail of a myth is one worth straightening out: victims of the Nazi’s weren’t killed in ovens.

This historical correction comes on the heels of a quote getting buzz by critics of Mike Huckabee who, in a condemnation of the Obama administrations nuclear deal with Iran (a nation dedicated to “wiping Israel off the map” in one way or another).

The actual quote isn’t anything remarkable, but got a lot of coverage because of the specific holocaust reference he used.

“This president’s foreign policy is the most feckless in American history. It is so naive that he would trust the Iranians. By doing so, he will take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven. This is the most idiotic thing, this Iran deal. It should be rejected by both Democrats and Republicans in Congress and by the American people. I read the whole deal. We gave away the whole store. It’s got to be stopped.”

As a political story, this doesn’t interest me because there’s no reason it should. The Left tried to exploit it as a big deal. It was misconstrued as every Nazi-related analogy is. Other 2016 Primary Republicans had to play the “agree or disagree with what the Left says is a big deal” game (Rick Santorum said right-onJeb Bush said tone it down). Huckabee doubled down on the sentiment. blah blah blah.

But what no one is mentioning in any of the coverage is the misleading history in the comment. Jews weren’t “marched to the ovens” in the holocaust. Ovens weren’t a method of slaughter.

It’s an easy mix-up to make since the holocaust is known for mass killing and mass body burning, so skipping over the part where the bodies were dead and mashing it with the part where people were murdered in unconventional methods is a common jumble. I used to be one of the mixer-uppers. Around 2008 when I was baking a pizza and I opened the lid, causing the wave of heat to hit me in the face, I had an immediate empathic PTSD-style flashback of how holocaust victims had to have felt dying this way. Everyones worst way to die is burning, and even if you’re not claustrophobic – the addition of being in a casket sized space is a tremendous horror. Everyone who has had a loved one cremated has had their mind go to the morbid “what if” thought of their own death being misdiagnosed somehow and waking up just as they were being put into the crematory oven. *shudder*


Survivors of the Dachau concentration camp demonstrate the operation of the crematorium by preparing a corpse to be placed into one of the ovens. Dachau, Germany, April 29-May 10, 1945. Credit.

But if there’s a bright side to horrific senseless mass murder, there is the comfort that this didn’t happen in the concentration camps of the holocaust. Back when I had my pizza vision, I looked up how many people died this way and could only find one or two instances of a prisoner being put into a crematorium oven alive as a special punishment.

I blame for this myth, the intentionally-offensive joke regarding exactly this connection between the best thing on earth (pizza) and the worst thing on earth (burning alive) that goes “Q: What’s the difference between a Jew and a pizza? A: the pizza doesn’t scream when you put it in the oven.” Womp womp. But you’ll be shocked to find out that the normally reliable factually rigorous nature of anti-semitism has, in this instance, failed on accuracy. Idk about you, but I did Nazi that coming.

But for real, guys: Victims murdered by the Nazi’s were shot or gassed to death en masse. Their bodies were carried to crematoriums afterward. Yet a lot of people, evidently a 2016 Presidential candidate included, seem to think mass oven killing went on in the holocaust.

While Huckabee didn’t explicitly state the historical inaccuracy, it’s implied in the term “marching to the door” and he continued the implication that people were murdered by ovens when commenting on the comment afterward:

“When I talked about the oven door, I have stood at that oven door,” he said. “I know exactly what it looks like, 1.1 million people killed. For 6,000 years, Jews have been chased and hunted and killed all over this Earth, and when someone in a government says we’re going to kill them, I think, by gosh, we better take that seriously.”

It’s the Iranians who used the word Holocaust first, Huckabee said, and refused during the negotiations to recognize Israel’s right to exist.”

“They refused to tone down their rhetoric and said the Holocaust did not exist and that they’re going to wipe Israel off the map,” he said. “When people in a government position continue to say they’re going to kill you, I think somebody ought to wake up and take that seriously.”

Not withstanding dopiness of his Appeal to Authority fallacy in saying he saw the ovens in person (and I saw them on a Bing search alongside disturbing juxtapositions of actual ovens. So what?)…

 

-the rest of what he said is at least accurate. Iran brought up the holocaust first so if someone thinks the Obama deal with Iran empowers the enemy-state (as it does) then it’s not a wildly off base comment – just in-artfully stated (he should have said that it potentially makes such a march, not that it does).