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Friday, January 04, 2008 

It's Been Fun

I know that I've got a sizable collection of posts that start "I know I've been gone for a while," but I thought that I could squeeze one more into the pack. I know I've been gone for a while, but forces much stronger than Blogger.com are to blame. The past month and a half has been eaten up mostly by what I will just call professional developments. When combined with my current day job, holiday and family stuff, and the random things that tend to come up, I haven't had any time to write anything. Honestly, I haven't even had time to keep up with my normal blog reading schedule. It's strange that I had the most free time to blog while I was in the middle of law school (since that takes absolutely no time commitment at all, right?).

Anyway, this is my last post for the foreseeable future. This isn't going to be a hiatus like I've done in the past. This is me quitting. I guess I should address the Why? question. Beyond the aforementioned time issues, I've lost my zeal for blogging. I just don't have the drive to spend hours reading, researching, and posting. It's become too much work and just not as fulfilling as it once was. I'm not ruling out a return eventually. Stranger things have happened. But as of right now, I don't plan on it. Like I said, something might happen to change my mind... a big Court case might energize me, new found free time might draw me back to the keyboard, or I might just miss it after a long enough break. The blog itself won't go anywhere. I'm not deleting it. I'm just not posting anything on it.

For the hell of it, I thought I'd include a little (very little) substance in this post. If you haven't noticed, there's an election going on this year. It's kind of an important one too. If you're a Supreme Court fan, it's a very important one. If you're a right of center Supreme Court fan, it's like the Battle of Stalingrad. The Court has (in general terms) four conservative votes, four liberal votes, and one idiosyncratic Justice Kennedy. Kennedy tends to be more conservative than liberal, but there is still no solid majority on the Court.

It is likely that the next president will appoint at least one new Justice. Justice Stevens is 87 years old. Justice Ginsburg is a not-to-spry 74. A retirement is likely between now and 2012. If the retiring Justice is a liberal (as are the two previously mentioned Justices), than something very important could happen. Either a Republican president can appoint a conservative Justice, swaying the Court to a solidly conservative majority. Or a Democratic president can appoint a liberal Justice, holding that seat on the Court in liberal hands for the next two decades. (Of course, there is a third option: the president appoints a moderate and not much changes. I think that any president of either party will work strenuously to not let this happen. That seat is too important).

So what is one to do? I don't particularly support any of the presidential candidates. There's just no one that really grabbed my attention. I decided that my best bet is to analyze (and I use that term loosely) each of the Republican nominees and see what I think at the end...

Rudy Giuliani - I like him personally. He revitalized NYC, he's run a large government, and he gets the terrorism issue. However, he's a bit of a nanny stater and authoritarian. I don't like his record on Second Amendment issues. He has made it clear that the judges issue is important to him, and I believe him. He's got a great legal advisor group around him. I really don't care much about his personal life, but I know that the guy has more skeletons in his closet than a haunted house. Is that good for a candidate, especially when there is a long campaign ahead? I doubt it.

Mike Huckabee - A snake oil salesman who wears his religion on both sleeves, his lapel, and on a sign taped to his back (just in case you forgot that he was a Christian minister). Pro-big government, naive national security views, and the biggest nanny stater this side of the right/left divide. What's not to not like? I'd stay home in November before I voted for him.

Duncan Hunter
- Who?

John McCain - Strong on national security issues and terrorism. Most importantly, he's tough. He could survive the long and dirty campaign that is going to come. He would also be the strongest in the general election, if you believe the polls. Partially to blame for the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law (which I think is an unconstitutional abridgement of the First Amendment) and other domestic policy blunders. Also, part of the Gang of 14. Can he be trusted on the issue of judges?

Ron Paul - I agree with him on a lot of domestic issues, but I think that his foreign policy is dangerous, naive, and archaic. My complaints about Paul are the same complaints that I have about the Libertarian Party. I'm glad that his small government message is out there and gaining traction, though. It's something that the other Republicans need to remember.

Mitt Romney - I think that I have a genetic disposition against politicians from Massachusetts. I can't think of a single one that I like. It's hard to really know where Romney stands on the issues when he's changed his mind so much. There's nothing wrong with changing ones mind. It just seems odd that all of the changes have been fairly recent and would make him more appealing to Republicans nationwide. Coincidence? Comes across as way too polished and rehearsed. Spectacular hair.

Fred Thompson - I think that I agree with Thompson more on policy than I do with any of the other candidates. My concern is his ability to wage the kind of campaign necessary to win. He's been very slow to start. With all the hype that he had pre-candidacy, he should've been able to steamroll his way to the front of the pack. He's been low key, the anti-candidate. Unfortunately, that doesn't translate well in a world where campaigns live or die by the sound bite. The pundits talk him down, the media covers him less, and his support dwindles. If he can hang on, stay viable through Super Tuesday, and get the people who support him to actually vote for him, he's got a shot at the nomination.
So here I am, on the raggedy edge, looking to make my jump to one of the candidates, pledge my support and probably some cash, and ride things out to the bitter end. Right now, I'm backing Thompson. He needs to stay alive through January, though. And I'm not sure that's in the cards. He needs strong showings to, as he said (paraphrased), get the ticket to the next dance. If Thompson craps out, I'm throwing my support behind McCain. Yes, McCain. I have serious disagreements with the man, but I think he's strong enough to win the general election. I don't need 100% agreement to vote for someone. I didn't agree with President Bush on everything, but I voted for him twice. Hell, I'd probably vote for him again.

Believe me, I'm not happy about this election situation. I've never felt so underwhelmed and depressed by an election or a slate of candidates. If I had my choice, my presidential ticket would be Mark Sanford and Sarah Palin, governors of South Carolina and Alaska respectively. Unfortunately, they are nowhere to be found (actually, you can find them in South Carolina and Alaska). I'm stuck with what I've got, and I'm not very optimistic about the outcome. I have a bad feeling that a Democrat will be sworn in and replacing Justice Stevens in a little more than a year. So it goes, as Vonnegut would say.

Well, that's it. Last post. I'll keep up with the comments here, in case anyone wants to call me stupid for my picks. Thank you for reading all these years. I've really had a good time.

I'll check back from time to time. Just in case. I enjoy your writing and learning is always enjoyable. I wish you the best....

Like I said, you never know. So checking back might be worth the effort. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Nice assessment of the candidates.

I've enjoyed reading the blog from time to time; always came from a refreshingly observant, grounded, with-it perspective on legal and political matters.

Best of luck moving forward!

I'm interested to see if all this post-debate, positive Thompson talk translates into a bump in the polls. I think he has to at least make a big impact in SC to stay in the race.

I'm glad you've enjoyed reading; I've enjoyed writing. I think that there is a need, especially among the Wisconsin blogs, for legal commentary. There are only a few of us that focus most of our energy on legal issues. I think that Rick Esenberg is best commentator in this regard. I hope that others spend more time talking about the law, the courts, and the Constitution. It's important stuff.

And things are looking very, very good in the moving forward department for me right now. Perhaps more on that in a future comment...

I've enjoyed your blog as you well know. I guess I'll have to turn to some other source for my law updates. Maybe I'll venture back to reading Volokh regularly. If you feel the need to vent any future incites, you know my email.

Nick,

I'll send you an e-mail in the near future concerning my "professional developments." I don't know if you've heard through the pipeline yet.

Since I am riding off into the sunset, I'm going to give a few law blog endorsements...

Volokh is still the best place to go for tons of substantive analysis.

How Appealing is the best place to go for all the news and links about anything remotely to do with the law.

Confirm Them is the place to go for appeals court nomination news. Even the comments sections are full of great info on the courts and judges.

SCOTUS has the most comprehensive Supreme Court coverage.

Rick Esenberg usually has the best coverage of WI legal issues.

Read these and be informed.

Just found this blog . . . sorry to see it is shut down.

Spectra Energy: using eminent domain to trample private property rights

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I wish you the best in your new undertaking. I wish this blog didn't come to an end. However, I'll check this from time to time just in case you decided to go back to writing here.

Shane McHale, tampa corporate attorney

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About me

  • I'm Steve
  • From Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States
  • "There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." P.J. O'Rourke
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