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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Friday, June 27, 2008

"Not a dime's worth of difference"

George Corley Wallace based his 1968 presidential campaign on the slogan that there's "not a dime's worth of difference" between Democrat Hubert Humphrey and Republican Richard Nixon.

And of course eight years ago, the race-baiting Ralph Nader told us the same thing about Al Gore and George H.W. Bush.

The result? Two of the most venal presidents to live in the White House.

Today, we hear from diehard Hillary Clinton backers that John McCain is a better option than Barack Obama, that noted sexist.

Maybe we should give thanks for the Supreme Court's decision yesterday to overturn the District of Columbia's gun ban.

The narrow 5-4 decision isn't that bad in its own right. I know I have personally never questioned the right of ownership. Hunters don't phase me at all -- although I would hope they at least consume their prey. I'm just looking for a rational plan that can be used to regulate weapons of minimal destruction. If that can be done by the states, fine.

But the decision brings into stark focus yet again that the composition of the Supreme Court is the great undiscussed issue of the 2008 elections. The next president will nominate a potential justice who will shape the balance of the court for at least another generation.

The Bush twins of Chief Justice John Roberts and Samuel Alito have been marching in lockstep with Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas to strip away long-held liberal values. Reagan appointee Anthony Kennedy holds the balance.

The two justices most likely to retire or pass away are stalwarts of the liberal bloc -- John Paul Stevens and Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Hardly a comforting thought.

John McCain has kissed the ring of the "strict constructionist" camp and promised more justices in the mold of GOP appointments.

And the precedent most likely to fall under a McCain Supreme Court? Roe v. Wade, the decision that gives women the right to control their own bodies.

Still think there's not a dime's worth of difference between McCain and Obama?

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