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As Long as We Remember...

June 1, 2009

Not about Judge Sonia Sotomayor

Steven R. Berryman

Today you will be happy to note that I did not fill this space with the abundant fodder falling out from the nomination of 2nd Circuit Judge Sonia Sotomayor for the upcoming vacancy on the United States Supreme Court.


Without prior knowledge, I’ll bet you, though, that my colleague Rick Weldon’s column today will make mention of President Barack Obama’s choice for the bench.


But I’m sure you’ve heard it all by now, such a meaty subject.


As I’m not writing about Judge Sotomayor today, I hope that Rick mentions that there is more than a little connection between Sotomayor’s philosophies and politics, and those of the president himself. Upon close scrutiny, I’m sure it’s more of a case of coincidence than one of conspiracy. After all, President Obama was going to be “everyone’s president,” and he has continued to tell us all that he is living proof that a post racial world is now upon us!


But why not choose an Italian ancestor, or a Russian one? Surely these choices could be validated based on proportionality in population or similar grounds.


This nomination could never have been politically motivated, I am certain, and if I were to comment on this all, I would probably say that the overriding methodology in selecting Judge Sotomayor for such high office was done purely by evaluating her color-blind record, and history of successfully upholding and interpreting our Forefathers ideals in the Constitution.


Well…I leave that to others at this point.


I’m still stuck on the other news of the day, much of which is being buried in our zero-sum news cycle, with every possible moment of your time taken up by other worthy “stuff.”


Like… squandering your money on bailing out American automakers in the most politically savvy of ways, for example.


A safe assumption should and could have been that we just could not support – and did not need – three giant American car companies making inefficient “me-too” products.


One should have been allowed to fail!


Either combination of the two remaining survivors, after a fair fight, would have been more than enough to keep America supplied, and keep up on any potential war-time production concerns.


These automotive products were just not competitive on the world market, as forced union labor scales and “legacy costs” of funding retirement and healthcare added thousands to each and every frame coming off the production lines…


So, what did we do?


Instead of letting one of the Big Three automakers fail on their own, we threw money at the weakest two, preserving a system rife with overcapacity, inefficiency, and poor productivity.


If, say, Chrysler had gone down first, an orderly sell-off of viable assets would have consolidated and saved that which was worth saving. Counterproductive and leaching unions could have been tossed out and unfavorable labor contracts renegotiated.


And the campaign contributions from auto unions have made all the difference in the end-game. It got political, and became a poor use of your money in service of the Democratic Party power consolidation.


And, not that we even know how your borrowed “rescue money” was spent with any specificity; but, why not rescue the construction industry with the same zeal as we have seen in Detroit?


Sure, some cash will go to roads and the asphalt guys; but that’s about one-20th of the breadth of an industry broad enough to include plumbers, painters, mechanical and HVAC guys, drywall and acoustical companies, steel framers, roofers, and on and on and on.


Almost seems like the picking of the winners and the losers in our triage process has political origins.


But further… even those projects for roads needed to be “shovel-ready” to be considered, leaving out Interstate 270 between Frederick and Washington, as even environmental impact studies for improvement there are not complete.


When highway programs are approved for the special make-work spending, will only union-shop contractors be considered in the bidding process? It wouldn’t surprise me that this gets political, too.


Also, thus far the projects receiving the free federal funding for roads and highways have gone to states able to pay out matching-funds…and this certainly leaves out Michigan and California, just to name two broke states. They are in the worst of dire straights fiscally, yet theoretically most deserving and needy.


And, also, as others dwell on the Sotomayor absurdities, other items being crowded off of the front pages and out of your view.


A bailout of the print news industry is under consideration, thanks to a proposition by Sen. John Kerry (D., MA). As Frederick News-Post columnist Don Kornreich pointed out Saturday, losing the journalistic independence of our news services by giving them unique tax status could take the teeth out of the First Amendments purpose.


If the above subjects are not worthy of commanding your attention, then be on the lookout for all of the preliminary legislation and trial balloons concerning Healthcare Reform (I call it “all doctors left behind”), and, of course, the upcoming unconditional amnesty for all illegal immigrants!


But I am certain that political concerns will not trump the greater good for our nation in the above items.


And that’s why I left the tempting political commentary out of my column today…


..even with Sonia Sotomayor and all.


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