Monday, July 13, 2009

Looking in the mirror, seeing some hypocrisy....

I've noticed a change in some of my attitudes to federal politics as the Democrats take charge and the Republicans fester in minority status. Clearest example is in presidential appointments - my current attitude is the president should be allowed to appoint any reasonably competent person he wants on his team, and let subsequent elections decide whether the president was right. That wasn't my attitude though when Alberto Gonzalez was up for the Department of Justice.

So, what to do. In retrospect, Gonzalez doesn't satisfy the reasonably competent test, but we didn't quite know that back then (or I didn't, anyway), so I can't wiggle my way out with that excuse. I think I'm right now and was wrong back then. Let's hope I can keep my principles when a Republican finally becomes President, hopefully not sooner than 12-16 years from now.

Judicial appointments are another matter - they're for life and they're not part of any president's team, so Congress should carefully vet them. I don't see any way to eliminate the politicization of the judiciary though. Obama has tried to reduce politicization and introduced an element of chance by not expressly asking Sotomayor her opinion on abortion laws, although he can make a fairly decent guess. But on judicial appointments I'm happy to see politics carried out, in part because there's no real alternative.

Filibusters are the other potential hypocrisy for me, where I'm now happy to see the Democrats threaten ways to get around the 60 vote requirement. In my defense, Republicans have nearly doubled the number of filibusters and used loopholes themselves when they were in charge. Maybe I'm not completely guilty here (but probably not entirely innocent of my own accusation).

(Edited for clarity.)

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