I am sitting in the waiting room of the Cook County Circuit Court. I wait to see if my number is called. I may well spend the next few days determining if a podiatrist is culpable for the minor limp of a 78 year old Cicero resident or perhaps deciding whether a construction company owes its sewer subcontractor for installing 72 extra manhole covers. Oh, I hope not. I want to go hunting in Wisconsin.
I would much prefer to be in my tree stand listening for the slightest sound indicating Bambi’s papa is about to appear. We want venison brats. Yet, if my number is called, I will do my duty for the one branch of government designed to protect the little guy.
I start a blog entry; I promised Nathan that I would. Being in a court, I consider composing an article on the possible effect of November’s election on the Supreme Court. Fortuitously, as I am about to hit that first key, my equally bored neighbor returns a copy of The Economist to the magazine rack which Rahm Emanuel so thoughtfully provided for the distraction of bored potential jurors.
Wait a minute; screw the Supreme Court idea. James Carville brilliantly said in the 1992 Presidential campaign, “It’s the economy, stupid.” And sitting before me is the October 6th-12th issue of a highly respected magazine devoted to economics, and within its covers are the results of a poll in which “hundreds of professional academic and business economists” were queried as to “who would do a better job” on ten issues of the upcoming campaign.
As an Obama supporter, it was with great trepidation that I perused the tabulations. We are constantly bombarded with the theorem that Romney has the edge when it comes to economic expertise. Well folks, here are the results:
WHO WOULD DO BETTER? (note: percentages do not add up to 100%; evidently lots of economists can’t make up their minds )
On the deficit – Romney (42-38)
On health care – Obama (47-36)
On education – Obama (46-30)
On immigration – Obama (44-35)
On the environment – Obama(46-25)
On foreign policy – Obama (45-35)
On defence (The Economist has British roots) – Obama (40-39)
On crime – Obama (34-30)
On abortion – Obama (48-32)
And finally (actually, they listed this category first, but I like suspense):
ON THE ECONOMY (Obama 43 -41)
For me, these results are mind-boggling. It is not staggering that “socialist” candidate Obama would be more concerned than Bain Capitalist Romney regarding health care, education, immigration and tree hugging. An economist rating him stronger on crime and defense is moderately surprising, but rating Obama preferable on the economy, is flat out astounding.
To be fair, The Economist points out that a disproportionate number of academic economists are Democrats; this is less so among business economists. When the pollsters separated out these two groups, the latter rated Romney slightly higher on handling the economy than Obama. Why are academic economists more likely Democrats and business economists more apt to be Republicans? I leave that to another blog.
Whatever your political leanings, I think one can conclude that these respected professional economists are pretty mixed on who is more likely to repair and strengthen our country’s economy. So folks, when it comes to voting for either one of these men, and you make your choice based on one area…choosing the economy is simply STUPID.
Economies are incredibly complex. Global events beyond any President’s control affect the economy. Presidents are greatly impeded or aided by his or her Congress. Economic strategies can and do change with the times. Simply put, Presidents get the credit and blame for results that they have limited control over. So friends, forget the economy…neither candidate is likely to have the panacea.
Thus, sitting in the waiting room of the Cook County Circuit Court, I conclude that the area of our government, and indirectly our lives most impacted by this consequential election will be another court, The Supreme Court.
Justices are likely to serve more than a quarter century.
The average age of the present justice is a bit over 67.
Four of the nine justices are over the age of 74.
Four of the nine have surpassed the life expectancy at the year of their birth.
If Romney serves two terms, it is likely he would appoint a minimum of 4 justices.
If Obama is re-elected and Hillary follows, they would likely appoint a minimum 6 justices.
The Supreme Court is the ultimate safeguard of our government. Its job: preventing a tyranny of the majority over the minority.
The Supreme Court is the ultimate safeguard of excess from the other two branches.
It protects and preserves the most basic tenets of our government.
Only one justice has been denied confirmation in modern times, and a mere twelve were blocked since our country’s founding. Presidents get their candidates confirmed.
A sampling of policies and freedoms that are likely to be affected by future Supreme Court decisions:
Freedom of Choice
Gay Marriage and Gay Rights
Voter Suppression and Voter Protection
Regulation of Financial Institutions
Vouchers for Religious Schools
Separation of Church and State
Rights of the Accused
Freedom of Speech
Possible expansion of the 2nd Amendment
Conclusion: It’s the Supreme Court, Stupid.
Oops… They just called my number: “Panel 16 Dismissed”. I’m going home; watch out Bambi’s pop.
Current average ratings.