Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Liberal Would Be An Understatement

I thought about just editing my previous post, but this deserves a new (albeit quick) entry of its own. As I noted earlier, Steve Nicholas is going to run for the WV House of Delegates. William Stewart went a step further and found the platform that Nicholas will be running on. Among his causes of choice: the end of the PATRIOT Act, the abolition of the electoral college, the end of the Iraq war, ending "the doctrine of pre-emption," and the removal of the Star Wars missile defense program.

First of all, if he clears the primary, I will honestly be shocked. He would have trouble getting elected pretty much anywhere except New England, and even there, he would have no guarantees. The man is just too liberal for public consumption in most parts of the country, especially West Virginia. He's also fairly young (mid-20s), and he suffers from what I'll refer to as Dukakis Syndrome. In other words, he's very short for a political candidate. Height and age won't be as important in a state government election as it would be at the national level, but it will still make a difference.

Another thing: Why is it that every hardcore liberal wants to see the electoral college abolished? The biggest problem with this idea is that the way candidates campaign caters entirely to the system we have in place. Going to a popular vote-based system would completely change how they get their voters. I think you would see less attention being paid to individual states and much more focusing on national TV spots and ads. Here's a question to think about: Since there would no longer be battleground states, would candidates start competing for airtime on cable channels (such as MTV) that draw certain demographics? And for that matter, who gets commercials during Desperate Housewives? Just something to think about.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Can Byrd Be Flipped?

Much as I said a month before the official announcement, Sen. Robert C. Byrd will run for a record ninth term in 2006. What I didn't get to tell you was the final decision of Rep. Shelley Moore Capito. It's old news, but still worth reporting. Capito will not challenge Byrd for his seat, which is a shame because she was the only real competition he had. So do we go ahead and pencil the King of Pork's name in for his seat, or will a worthy opponent step forward?

From what I've seen so far, the competition doesn't look too promising. The biggest potential adversary is former WVU basketball coach Gale Catlett, but he left under the cloud of an NCAA investigation and (to the best of my knowledge) has no prior political experience. He would literally be running on his popularity and espoused viewpoints, which is not encouraging because his popularity took a hit when he left and his viewpoints are unknown. The GOP is high on him, but I think it's because he's better than some of the other potential candidates.

Hiram Lewis is going to run, and although he has experience, he's nothing special. However, one guy I've heard a lot about, George Johnson, doesn't have a prayer. His website emphasizes his stance on property rights, but word is he wants to see the Constitution (and therefore the entire law) reset to its original format. Yes, that would include the removal of judicial review and the return to a gold economy. He's actually saying this stuff. I don't know if he'd like to see every amendment after the 10th removed too, but I'm sure that would make for a fun debate question. Fun like a train wreck, but fun.

So what will Capito do now? Obviously, she'll try to hold on to her seat in the House, which I figure she will win easily. Whispers are creeping around that she could be a contender for the 2008 presidential bid, but barring some kind of political miracle to boost her over Giuliani, McCain, George Allen, and a hypothetical Condi, that's not going to happen.

But aside from Capito and Byrd's non-contests, at least one of the state's elections could be a real trip. Remember Steve Nicholas, former VP of WVU Young Democrats and a DA writer so ideological that I didn't even bother to dissect his columns? He's going to run for the state House of Delegates in 2006. God help us all. I'd like to think that the conservative Dems that make up the party base in West Virginia wouldn't go near this guy, but stranger things have happened.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

A Very Special Announcement

I would like to take a second to thank those of you who have been reading. October 1st marked the first anniversary of the blog's creation. At the time, I was blogging into a void and promoting myself like crazy in hopes that it would catch on. (Let me tell you what, it's hard to promote yourself when you can't tell anyone who you are!) Over 5,000 hits and 120 posts later, this ship is still on course and ready to navigate through the turbulent waters of tomorrow. I have some administrative fixes coming to the Blogroll and CBA, and thanks to new and improved blogging techniques, I will finally be posting with some kind of regularity. Grades come first, so I'll try to let you know when I run into an exam week.

Part of why my posts have been lagging lately was a serious flaw in how I organized my browser's bookmarks. I was concerned that friends of mine would notice if I left the administrative stuff out in the open within my Internet browser. To hide it all, I made a folder, labeled it "Homework", and put my most important blogging links in there. A month later, I looked at the folder and was shocked to discover that I was subconsciously considering this to really be homework. I hate doing homework. So I wasn't touching the folder. I promptly renamed it with something that sounded more fun, and now I'm back with one of the most hilarious excuses for not blogging in the history of blogs. Good stuff.

Dusting Off The Cobwebs

After recovering from a severe case of blogstipation and placing my hand into a lot of different projects, I'm drawn back today by the incredible amount of controversy generated by the nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court. Many strong conservatives have expressed outrage at President Bush's pick, particularly because of fears that she will be too liberal. This near-contagious fear of getting another David Souter (the stealth liberal that Bush Sr. nominated and got confirmed) has some on the Right, particularly religious conservatives, absolutely terrified. Democrats are mostly witholding judgment, although I can't imagine them not opposing something that Bush is trying to do out of principle alone. The issue came to the forefront in yesterday's issue of the DA, where College Republicans president Jason Gray and Young Democrats president LJ Ulrich both weighed in with opinion columns on the subject.

(Two quick notes before I go any further. First of all, kudos to the DA for attempting to finally balance the editorial page out. It's now much more representative of the campus as a whole, and except for The Musket, it remains the main venue for political thought at WVU. The other note is for Ulrich, who I don't think has any idea what a neoconservative really is. He used the term throughout his column to describe what he perceives as radical conservatives, but that's not exactly what a neocon is. Loosely speaking, neoconservatives are often converted liberals with a hawkish stance on national security. Some, however, consider Jewish conservatives such as Paul Wolfowitz to be the rightful owners of the title. It was originally coined as a slightly derogatory term, but the word has adopted multiple meanings. I can understand how Ulrich would use it to attack opponents, because it is often used as a negative descriptor by liberal commentators; however, people who call themselves neocons do not share the liberal usage of the term, so that use is disputed. For more on this, check this National Review article and this Wikipedia entry. Also stop by the Wikipedia article's talk page; you'll learn a lot about objectivity while finding out just how much people mess around with this word.)

When talking about Miers, Ulrich and Gray both seemed to be against her confirmation. Ulrich's opposition is about as surprising as the sunrise, but Gray got me thinking about the reasons why a large chunk of the conservative base is against her. I'm beginning to suspect that many conservatives have become so impassioned about their causes - especially religious conservatives - that they want judges who will act decisively to accomplish certain goals, namely the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Guess what? That's called "judicial activism," and it's the embodiment of everything that a true conservative stands against. We need to spend more time looking for constructionists who will uphold the US Constitution. If Roe v. Wade isn't constitutional, then it needs to die; if it is, it needs to survive. I know many on the Right are passionately pro-life, but passions for any issue should not hold sway upon the bench. That's one of the reasons why I like John Roberts so much; he decides with the law in mind first, which is how it should be. We are not electing Congressmen to represent our views. We are pushing for fair-minded judges, and we need to leave it at that.

That said, I think the White House could have done a much better job of promoting this choice. When Bush replied to skepticism with a simple "trust me", it was hard for me to believe it. I'm a pretty big fan of W, but you can only put so much blind faith in somebody. I have a feeling he knows what he's picking better than we do, but the least he could have done was given us some more details about her. The fact is, she's almost unproven. She appears to be very pro-life (and worries about her past donations to Dems have been tempered by her subsequent conversion to the Republican party), but that bears nothing on how she would handle the Constitution. Objections to her have nothing to do with what Laura Bush called "sexism"; that's a loaded word that usually gets used by upset liberals and should never have left her mouth. Anyone with half a brain knows that no one on the Right would have been upset to see Janice Rogers Brown, a lady who I have great respect for, nominated instead. I have a feeling that Miers was the best option left for Bush after others in the running (possibly including Brown) opted not to be considered because of how vitriolic the scrutiny was becoming. She could be a slightly more conservative answer to Ruth Bader Ginsburg; then again, she could be the Left's worst nightmare. With as little as we know right now, we'll just have to wait and see. Rebelling against Bush's choice too quickly will play directly into the Democrats' hands.