NY Times 5/8/08
On a day when Mr. Obama won a decisive victory in North Carolina and
Mrs. Clinton eked out a win in Indiana, Mr. McCain spoke about his
judicial philosophy.*** He is determined to move a far too
conservative and far too activist Supreme Court and federal judiciary
even further and more actively to the right.***
Mr. McCain predictably criticized liberal judges, vowed strict
adherence to the Founders’ views and promised to appoint more judges
in the mold of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito.
That is just what the country does not need.
Since President Bush chose Justices Roberts and Alito, the Court has
*ordered Seattle and Louisville to scrap voluntary school
protected employers who illegally mistreat their workers,
* and constrained women’s right to choose and voters’ right to vote.
Mr. McCain did not mention, of course, how the Roberts-led Court
blithely overruled Congress by nullifying a key part of the
McCain-Feingold campaign finance law. He did wax nostalgic about what
“the basic right of property” has meant “since the founding of
***(He did not mention that in 1789 many women could not own property
and African-Americans were property, but he did criticize the idea
that values evolve over time.)***
There was a moment when we were briefly cheered. Mr. McCain declared
that “all the powers of the American presidency must serve the
Constitution and thereby protect the people and their liberties.” We
hoped that would be the start of a serious critique of how
***President Bush has violated cherished civil liberties: endorsing
torture, ordering unlawful domestic spying and depriving detainees of
the most basic right of habeas corpus.***
Mr. McCain himself has eloquently criticized Mr. Bush’s policies on
some of these issues, but he did not raise any of them on Tuesday.
Which brings us back to the Democratic primaries. Unless Mrs. Clinton
decides to quit the race — and she certainly did not sound on Tuesday
like that was her plan — it is going to be up to the superdelegates to
settle this contest. There has already been a lot of discussion about
how they should do so. Choose the candidate who won his or her state
primary or caucus? Or the one with the most delegates? Or the most
votes overall? Or the one who won the biggest states?
Mr. McCain’s speech suggests an additional metric:
*** the candidate best able to explain to voters in coming days what
is truly at stake in this election and why the country cannot, for
example, afford another president committed to packing the courts with
activist, right wing judges.***
There are few policy differences between Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama.
But there is a vast gulf between Mr. McCain and the two Democrats —
*** and far too little difference between Mr. McCain and President
Instead of sparring, pointlessly, about who first opposed Nafta or
which of these Ivy League-educated lawyers has a more common touch,
Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton should explain what they will do to
*** restore the balance of power and protect civil liberties.***
They need to talk a lot more about addressing th***health care
and the ***mortgage crisis***
and how they would
*** bring American troops home and contain the chaos in Iraq.***
Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama can continue to tear each other up and
fight over each superdelegate, or they can debate the issues — for the
sake of the voters.