I'm sure everyone here took American history. Here are three "easy" questions:
1. Which 20th century president had the most consistent track record in picking conservative judges? How did he do it?
2. What defining political crisis for Ronald Reagan, and his handling of it, was almost identical to the defining political moment for Calvin Coolidge?
3. What basic Republican policy alienated Southerners and farmers for 100 years, until Reagan rose to power?
1. Trick question because it gives Reagan credit for "picking" Bork and the "good Ginsburg" instead of Anthony Kennedy.
2. Firing essential public employees for participating in an illegal strike. Coolidge got the vice presidential nomination in 1920 as a result of his popular statement, "There is no right to strike against the public safety by anybody, anywhere, anytime."
3. If you are referring to the tariff, I disagree with your analysis. The process of replacing tariffs with income taxes, as the primary source of federal revenues, was Democrat policy for most of the 20th century. Reagan had nothing to do with it.
The person most responsible for eliminating this "basic Republican policy" was Cordell Hull, who was one of the most important liberal Democrats of the 20th Century. As a member of the House Ways & Means Committee, Hull was the principal author of the federal income tax (1913) and federal estate tax (1916), both of which were signed by Wilson and greatly expanded by Roosevelt.
Cordell Hull was a lifelong proponent of world government. As early as World War I, Hull was trying to put the U.S. in a world trade organization. Later he was Roosevelt's longest-serving cabinet member, Secretary of State for 12 years. As such he was called the father of the United Nations and for that reason received the Nobel Peace Prize.
Unlike many of today's conservatives, Hull understood that so-called free trade requires world government financed by income taxes.
Q.1 asked which 20th century president made the most consistently conservative Supreme Court picks. Reagan is NOT the correct answer. He picked one conservative (Scalia) and but two only occasional conservatives (Kennedy, O'Connor).
John's answer about Coolidge and Reagan is superb. John's answer about tariffs is interesting, but the Republican Party stood for PROTECTIVE tariffs until Reagan. Its purpose wasn't just to finance the federal government.
The bankruptcy bill in Congress, 5 years in the making, has just been killed over the abortion issue. This may be a sign that the abortion issue is completely taking over all national politics, as the slavery issue ultimately did. If Bush (Karl Rove) thinks he can switch sides with a liberal Supreme Court pick like Gonzales and survive, he's mistaken.
Saw Gore on TV today. I thought he looked terrible, and sounded desperate in suggesting he'd pick Lieberman or Hillary as VP. Now I think that the Dems will nominate Lieberman as their candidate instead of Gore in 2004. Lieberman cleverly beat a very popular incumbent Senator, and if Bush alienates his base then we could have a real race.
Plus Bork and Doug Ginsburg. Plus 200-300 judges on the lower federal courts, who were actively screened for their conservatism.
Economists distinguish between "protective" tariffs from "revenue" tariffs for purposes of analysis, but that's just abstract theory. In fact, ALL tariffs have two purposes - to produce revenue and to protect domestic industry - and BOTH purposes are beneficial.
Before Cordell Hull, nearly all federal revenue came from tariffs. Now it's about 1 percent. I know of no basis to think that Reagan made a major change of direction in the Republican party's traditional position on trade. Reagan took several "protective" actions as president.
The abortion issue did not and could not defeat the bankruptcy bill by itself. Check the vote (Roll Call 478). The bill was defeated by an unusual coalition of 87 mostly anti-abortion Republicans combined with 155 mostly pro-abortion liberal Democrats. I don't see that coalition forming on the next Supreme Court nominee.
Gore has come out in favor of single-payer health care. Since the Republican Congress never delivered the health care reforms they promised in 1994, an opening is created.
It's dawned on me: Gore is a casualty of Election 2002. He's a scapegoat for the Democratic debacle. Moreover, the shock left Dems in no mood to accept the status quo of a Gore rerun.
Reagan's record on judges is 2nd best for the century, and maybe the best. The other contender for best is Harry Truman, who put 4 judicial conservatives on the Supreme Court. His picks were so good that 2 of them invalidated his own order to seize the steel mills! Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer (1952). Moreover, Truman picked 'em amid a sea of socialist and communist intellectuals of the time.
John wrote, "The abortion issue did not and could not defeat the bankruptcy bill by itself. Check the vote (Roll Call 478). The bill was defeated by an unusual coalition of 87 mostly anti-abortion Republicans combined with 155 mostly pro-abortion liberal Democrats. I don't see that coalition forming on the next Supreme Court nominee."
Abortion has risen to the dominance of slavery 140 years ago. That 87 House members would repudiate their leadership and vote against their constituency (bankers) because of a tangential abortion issue is probably greater than the effect of slavery on voting. Note that all 50 Democratic Senators refuse to vote for the new bill because of abortion. The abortion issue has become a tsunami.
You're right that the same coalition won't form next summer in reviewing GWB's nominee, but the issue will be even bigger then. If GWB picks a pro-choicer like Gonzales, then GWB's constituency revolts; if he picks a pro-lifer, then the Senate liberals may filibuster. This is politics comparable only to the mood of the late 1850s.
John wrote, "I know of no basis to think that Reagan made a major change of direction in the Republican party's traditional position on trade. Reagan took several "protective" actions as president."
Nothing significant that I can think of. Reagan's embrace of "free trade" represented his repudiation of protective tariffs, on which the Republican Party was based for 100+ years. ("Free trade" does not mean trading with illegitimate governments.) It helped Republicans capture the South for, I think, the first time as a challenger for the Presidency. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the South's opposition to the Republican Party for 100+ years had as much to do with this tariff issue as with racial issues.