Here's a chart that the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza says reminded him "for the billionth time, that assuming the average person follows the back and forth of Washington as closely as we do is a major mistake."
Cillizza goes on to write:
So, yeah. A majority of people don’t know the name of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. More frightening? Eight percent named Thurgood Marshall, who not only was never the Chief Justice but also died in 1993. And let’s not even talk about the four percent who think Harry Reid, a Senator not a member of the Supreme Court, is the Chief Justice.
Yes, the data is from the summer of 2010, which is almost two years ago now. And yes, with the Court more front and center in the news — Citizens United, health care — of late, it’s possible those able to name John Roberts as the Chief Justice may be slightly higher today. But, only slightly.
What the above chart proves is that analysis about how what the Court does — whether it’s what they have already done on Citizens United or what they might do with the Affordable Care Act — will impact the political landscape amounts to something close to a guessing game.
Regular people are simply not engaged — they don’t know or care — about the intricacies of the government in a way that people who live inside the Beltway and spend their lives in politics are.
Here's a great post you MUST read if, like me, you think the Supreme Court's recent decision about corporate "persons'" free speech is pure idiocy.
From Political Irony:
corporations are people, and slavery is illegal, then buying and
selling of corporate shares is slavery and must be abolished!
A fascinating story on Alternet
makes an interesting point. The 13th Amendment abolished slavery, so it
is illegal to own a person. And yet, if corporations are people with
human rights like speech, as the Supreme Court recently ruled, then
these corporate persons cannot be bought or sold, so all buying and
selling of stocks is unconstitutional. Therefore, the stock exchanges
are slave markets and they must be shut down immediately.
Since corporations cannot exist without buying and selling stock, then corporations will cease to exist.
And if that doesn’t work, then we should just reinstitute the draft, and start drafting corporations.
In a wonderfully ironic twist on the recent Supreme Court ruling,
an actual corporation has announced it is running for Congress. Why
not? If corporations have all the rights of people, why can’t they run
for public office? Murray Hill even have an “official” campaign website, so it must be real! Watch their campaign video:
Apparently, the REAL buzz in Washington today isn't about Obama's State of the Union message itself but about the amazing breach of protocol committed during the speech by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.
Here's interesting commentary on why Alito's conduct Thursday night was so much worse than Rep. Joe Wilson's "You lie" outburst during Obama's September speech on health care.
It will be another couple of days before I emerge from under this pile of work. (I'll come out of my burrow only a few days ahead of Punxsutawney Phil.) But I am inpatient about not having the time to spout off about the Supreme Courts' decision last week. So, let me steer you to the best thing I have read yet on this awful decision. See this piece in the Washington Post by E.J. Dionne, in which he calls the decision "an astonishing display of judicial arrogance, overreach and unjustified activism."
Turning its back on a century of practice and decades of precedent, a narrow right-wing majority on the court decided to change the American political system by tilting it decisively in favor of corporate interests.
And Dionne goes on to say:
The only proper response to this distortion of our political system by ideologically driven justices is a popular revolt. It would be a revolt of a sort deeply rooted in the American political tradition. The most vibrant reform alliances in our history have involved coalitions between populists (who stand up for the interests and values of average citizens) and progressives (who fight against corruption in government and for institutional changes to improve the workings of our democracy). It's time for a new populist-progressive alliance.
Well said. See? You're better off when I let someone else do the talking. Less rant; more reason.
Addendum I: See this article in this morning's New York Times about the edginess and frustration that have become apparent in the recent opinions and dissents of Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens. Adam Liptak writes:
A theme ran through these recent opinions: that the Supreme Court had lost touch with fundamental notions of fair play. . . .
The concluding sentence of what may be his last major dissent could not have been clearer.
"While American democracy is imperfect," he wrote, "few outside the majority of this court would have thought its flaws included a dearth of corporate money in politics."
Addendum II: See the column by David Brooks in Tuesday's New York Times about why "the populist addiction" is a mistake. Maybe. That's why Dionne's prescription to blend populism and progressivism seems like the right choice