Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Rudy and the Second Amendment

Near the end of my second year finals this last spring, I read the recently released D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals case of Parker v. District of Columbia. My Constitutional Law class hadn’t covered the second amendment and so it was intriguing to me. Judge Silberman does an extensive treatment of the text of the 2nd Amendment, parsing through its tangle of clauses. Notably there is little Supreme Court precedent on the subject. Judge Silberman concludes:

[T]he Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms. That right existed prior to the formation of the new government under the Constitution and was premised on the private use of arms for activities such as hunting and self-defense, the latter being understood as resistance to either private lawlessness or the depredations of a tyrannical government (or a threat from abroad).
Parker v. District of Columbia, 478 F.3d 370, 395 (D.C. Cir. 2007). In Rudy’s speech to the NRA (as reported by Marc Ambinder), Rudy refers to Parker v. District of Columbia as a source of persuasion in finding more utility for an individual right to bear arms. Yet, Rudy does some subtle hedging on his conversion:
"Your right to bear arms is based on a reasonable degree of safety," he said.

He indicated that he would oppose new efforts to tighten national gun laws.

"I believe that law enforcement should focus on enforcing the laws that exist on the books as opposed to passing new extensions of laws," he said.
Rudy concludes that the right to bear arms is, interestingly enough, not based on a constitutional provision, but on a reasonable degree of safety. When you think about it, that’s a pretty remarkable shift. Not based on independent (and constitutional) principles, Rudy believes that your right to bear arms is relative to your safety. That’s like saying your right to free speech is relative to your viewpoint.

Rudy also references that he would oppose any new laws restricting gun ownership, not because those laws are wrong, but because there are enough laws on the books as it is. Is this really a rationale that we are comfortable with? Nor does Rudy say that he would deregulate guns in anyway. Indeed, Rudy’s stance has not truly changed, but he has reframed his issues around policy judgments like safety and enforceability, not constitutional principles, making gun-owner rights still relative to his judgments.


A defining Moment

Mitt's op-ed over at NRO about Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad:
The world is looking to our leaders to meet the challenge of a rogue nation, bent on obtaining nuclear weapons. Failure to do so would diminish the legacy of those who fought and died in World War II and of all victims of genocide and terror. We are long past the time for political correctness and accommodation of Ahmadinejad’s outrageous rhetoric. It is time to speak clearly and frankly, to strengthen alliances and build new ones, and to act with unity and decisiveness against a ruler who threatens to reintroduced the world to the horrors of nuclear devastation and holocaust.


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Dobson's Checklist: Not to Fred

As Justin Hart reported over at MyManMitt, James Dobson will not be endorsing Fred. Independently, this may be not so earth shattering. Fred has not given any reason for voters to vote for him. His appeal largely stems from fortuitous similarities to the most beloved conservative leader of the century. Actor? Check. Political career? Check. Yet, the prima facie similarities end there, which is what Dobson is pointing out (even going to the extreme of using the dreaded exclamation point at the end of his last sentence).

The interesting part, at least to us Mitt supporters, is this: Dobson has ruled out every other first tier candidate except Mitt. As the New York Times story states:

Earlier this year, Dobson said he wouldn't back John McCain because of the Arizona senator's opposition to a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

Later, Dobson wrote on a conservative news Web site that he wouldn't support former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani should he win the Republican nomination. Dobson called Giuliani an ''unapologetic supporter of abortion on demand'' and criticized him for signing a bill in 1997 creating domestic-partnership benefits in New York City.
Some are speculating an endorsement of Mike Huckabee, but Huckabee's longshot status means Dobson will be support almost a sure loser. Such an endorsement would mean diminish Dobson's political power with the potential nominee. But there's still another option. Could it be that Dobson is going to put theological differences aside and endorse Mitt? Consider this from back in May:

Transcript from above audio:

Laura Ingraham: Any thoughts on Romney? He's now winning in Iowa and looks like he's winning in some polls in New Hampshire.

Dr. Dobson: Since I talked to you, I've spent an hour and a half with him and I liked him. He's very presidential and he's got the right answers to many, many things. I haven't made a decision yet, but let's just say he's still on the list.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A change...

...would do you good, to quote the talented, but politically misguided Sheryl Crow. Only replace "you" with "Republicans" and "good" with......... uh............"good". You get the idea.


Thursday, September 13, 2007

Romney's Master Plan

This opinion piece from David Broder sums up nicely some of the great challenges that Governor Romney will face as the endless election drags on. It introduces nothing new, but is a nice summary of Romney's larger challenges nonetheless. It specifically mentions his flip-flopping and charges that he will say or do anything to win. I am curious to see how Romney's campaign will respond once the attack ads run regarding his flip-flopping because I have no idea how or if such ads will be countered.

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