Several of my Republican friends—who are reasonable types, not Tea Party nuts—tell me that but for one fact, they would not mind seeing President Obama reelected. These Republicans think that President Obama has been an excellent commander-in-chief, who has handled our foreign affairs extremely well. Domestically, they acknowledge that he inherited a terrible economy, but praise him for allowing business and finance to do their thing successfully, and without excessive regulation. In their eyes, moreover, Obama’s spending—notwithstanding the Tea Party’s shouting—is sound, and they find his economic policies to be generally excellent. Privately, and off-the-record, they will concede that he is a very able president.
Their only real problem with Obama’s re-election is that if there were to be an opening on the U.S. Supreme Court during a second Obama term, which they now believe is highly possible, they know that President Obama would deny conservatives a chance to take solid control of the top of the Judicial Branch—which is their fondest dream.
For them, this prospect makes the risk of having any Democrat in the White House far too great. Now, when Republicans are so close to fully controlling the Supreme Court, they feel that they simply cannot afford a second Obama term.
The GOP High Court Dream
This High Court dream is largely fostered by the advanced age, and somewhat tenuous health, of Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who was born on March 15, 1933. She is the oldest member of the Supreme Court. She is also one of its most consistently progressive members.
It has not been lost on Republicans that Justice Ginsburg is approaching her eighties. That is not particularly old for High Court justices, but given the additional fact that she has had some health issues, her advancing age has caused many (if not most) Republicans to believe that they must have a GOP president residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue if, and when, she leaves the Court. Replacing Justice Ginsburg with a conservative would give conservatives the one vote they need to capture a solid majority of the Court.
Notwithstanding the morbid, if not unrealistic, nature of this speculation, I can assure you that this GOP dream of controlling the Court is real. In fact, many of my Republican friends who are unhappy with ALL the likely presidential nominees will vote against President Obama for this reason alone, not because of Republican loyalty. To my amazement, the prospect of capturing the Court would, for them, even trump the high cost of having a numbskull in the Oval Office. (In any event, they believe, perhaps too optimistically, that the numbskulls will be removed during the primaries.)
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