The Corner

Pro-Mitt Argument of the Day

… comes from our loyal reader and commenter, Colonel Travis. In response to my post last evening on the Obamacare “tax or penalty” issue, he writes:

Like a lot of others, I suspect if Obamacare is declared unconstitutional it will be a 5-4 decision. But I have to say I’ll be really disappointed if it is 5-4 because of the absolutely ridiculous amount of power those 4 idiots will have said Congress could have over the citizenry. There’s gotta be at least one moron leftist judge who says – this is simply too much.

This is why I can’t stand things like Santorum who said electing Romney will be like electing Obama again. What an idiot. There is no way Romney would nominate a legal doofus like Sotomayor. If we lose the presidency I don’t think people really understand how royally *bleeped*-up America will be if three more Sotomayors get on the Supreme Court.

Now Rick Santorum is very far from being an idiot, but what he said in this instance was idiocy of near Etch A Sketch dimensions. We are going to have our issues with Mitt. He and his campaign are gaffe-prone — although I’m pretty sure he knows the difference between a corpsman and a corpse-man. More to the point, he will often have to be pushed in a more conservative direction — Dan Henninger diagnosed this with characteristic brilliance several months ago, Rush has pointed out that the primary campaign appears to have had exactly this effect, and to hear Governor Romney speak after he won Illinois the other night was to conclude that this all is to the good. 

But whatever you think of Romney, whatever understandable suspicions you have about his conservative bona fides, we can’t lose our perspective here: He is so much better than President Obama that it is like comparing last year’s Green Bay Packers (a playoff team with some glaring flaws) to the ’76 Tampa Bay Bucs (an unmitigated disaster). At times when the intensity and sleepless nights of a tough campaign prevent Rick from seeing that, he needs to lie down and get a grip. 

Mitt is not the ideal candidate (no one in the GOP field is), but he’s got Bob Bork advising him on judges and John Bolton advising him on foreign policy. You think you’re gonna get originalist judges and Bolton grit from Obama? And I’m as worried as anyone about whether Romney and the GOP establishment are committed to do something consequential about what could be our death-spiral of spending and debt; but I also think the Bush years are over — thanks to the Tea Party and other conservative leaders, the right is no longer going to roll over for a Republican president inclined to do Progressive-Lite. I think Jonah is right that “a President Romney would be on a very short leash.” 

I’ve said here a number of times since I foolishly played the primary endorsement game in 2008 that I don’t think it’s worth it — not for NR and not for writers of any ideological bent who try to write objectively about the campaign. But if Mitt wins the nomination, as seems very likely, I will enthusiastically support his candidacy.

For my friends who have hesitation on that score, I’d just ask you to keep four things in mind: Justice Scalia just turned 78, Justice Kennedy will turn 78 later this year, Justice Breyer will be 76 in August, and Justice Ginsburg turned 81 about a week ago. We wish them all well, of course, but the brute fact is that whoever we elect as president in November is almost certainly going to choose at least one and maybe more new members of the Supreme Court — in addition to hundreds of other life-tenured federal judges, all of whom will be making momentous decisions about our lives for decades to come. If you don’t think it matters whether the guy making those calls is Mitt Romney or Barack Obama, I think you’re smokin’ something funky.

Which brings us back to Colonel Travis’s point. The Supremes are about to hear the huge health-care case. How worried would you be about it if we had a Supreme Court whose last two justices, instead of being Sotomayor and Kagan, had been chosen by a guy getting advice from Bob Bork — by a guy beholden to the same conservatives whose near-mutiny forced President Bush to appoint Justice Sam Alito?


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