Campaign finance reform is, after this week’s Supreme Court decision equating corporate political spending with first-amendment protected political speech, essentially dead, and the most recent Republican candidate for president has decided that he’s not happy about that. John McCain, who was initially a bit guarded about his reaction, suggested to Bob Schieffer on Face the Nation this morning that the decision, which he says leaves us without recourse against corporate influence on the political process, stemmed from lack of political sophistication on the part of Justices Alito, Scalia, and Roberts. Also, he doesn’t much like their attitudes.
I went over to observe the oral arguments. It was clear that Justice Roberts, Alito and Scalia, by their very skeptical and even sarcastic comments, were very much opposed to it…
I think that it was interesting that they have had no experience in the political arena I was reminded of the story of Lyndon Johnson, when he was vice president, was told about President Kennedy’s appointments of all these brilliant people, and he said, ‘You know, I wish one of them had run for county sheriff.’
And that’s your political evolution right there.
Because, you see, back in the day, John McCain was a really big fan of those particular justices.
In 2008, McCain was reported, by John Fund of the Wall Street Journal, to be enthusiastic about Roberts, but maybe not so enthusiastic about Alito. And the right wing blogosphere went nuts.
McCain, who was competing with politicians who were actually to the right of him (as well as Mitt Romney, whose record was significantly to the left of McCain’s, but who certain people at the National Review were really enthusiastic about) lost no time in completely disclaiming Fund’s story. McCain said, in a speech at Wake Forest University (pdf), that Alito and Roberts were his kind of justices.
I have my own standards of judicial ability, experience, philosophy, and temperament. And Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito meet those standards in every respect. They would serve as the model for my own nominees if that responsibility falls to me.
Later, McCain expanded his criteria for spotlight judges to include Scalia.
So either John McCain doesn’t have a really deep insight into the people he wants to be deciding on the law for the next thirty or forty years, or he might have been just the tiniest bit disingenuous when he was running for office.
In related news, Cindy and Meghan McCain are appearing in a campaign supporting gay marriage in California. To quote the platform of the nominee both fervently supported in the 2008 campaign,
Unbelievably, the Democratic Party has now pledged to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, which would subject every state to the redefinition of marriage by a judge without ever allowing the people to vote on the matter. We also urge Congress to use its Article III, Section 2 power to prevent activist federal judges from imposing upon the rest of the nation the judicial activism in Massachusetts and California. We also encourage states to review their marriage and divorce laws in order to strengthen marriage.
But really, it’s kind of unsophisticated to take what people say when they run for office as though they actually believe it, don’t you think?