Single issue voters and bad presidents

I presented my daughter with the following scenario:

Imagine that the president you elected has been in the White House for one term.  During that time, everything that indicates the health of the country is worse than when your man came into office.  Whether one looks at the economy, national security, relations with other countries, law and order, or a national sense of well-being, everything is worse.  But this president is a reliable supporter for a single issue that you hold near and dear, whether that issue is abortion, gun rights, medical care, or something else.  Do vote for him again?

My daughter’s response was quick.  “No.”  When I asked her why not, she got a little muddled, but it boiled down to this:  it would be selfish to keep a bad president in office simply to preserve a single issue.

With this answer in mind, I then went about confusing her:  Two of the biggest issues that grab voters are (1) gun rights, which is in the Constitution, and (2) abortion, which is a penumbra of a non-enunciated “privacy” right under the Constitution.  Would the issue’s constitutional standing change whether your favorite single issue would be enough for you to keep an otherwise bad president in office?  That is, if a bad president was the only thing that stood between you and losing your Second Amendment right to carry guns, or if that bad president was the only thing that stood between you and your penumbra right to an abortion, would that change your feelings?

“That’s not a fair question, Mom.  A made-up Constitutional right is really stupid.”

As it is, my sense is that you can risk booting “your” guy out of office if the Constitution is at your back, because there are, in theory, other forces that existing to protect an explicit Constitutional right.  The president isn’t the last bulwark.  However, you’re on shakier ground if the “right” your president protects is an adjunct constitutional right that has a more gossamer foundation than the Constitution itself.

What do you think?

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  • Charles Martel

    When Roe v. Wade first came down from Sinai, I was impressed with both the depth and intellectual acumen of our Supreme Court justices’ colons. It was my first encounter with a penumbric emanation—and also my first inkling that perhaps our country had foolishly delivered itself into the hands of a black-robed priesthood.

  • Allen

    You know, I have always thought the 10th Amendment has been given short shrift. If I were looking for a penumbra it would be there. I have always taken the 10th to mean, in part, the state has no interest in certain matters unless expressly given to it by the people. I could also argue on that basis that a majority of the people cannot expressly forbid an individual certain actions that pertain to something so personal as reproduction.

    Be that as it may, has anyone ever even come close to getting Roe v Wade overturned? And, secondly, do people honestly think if it happened states would rush in to make abortion illegal? I kind of doubt it.

  • Charles Martel

    Allen, I think the resentment over Roe v. Wade was that the federal government usurped what was a state function. As things were going at the time, the states were beginnig to pass their own laws without the need to have federal jurists manufacture a non-existent right to privacy.

    Your 10th Amendment argument makes sense. I think Roe v. Wade eventually will be dismantled because it was a terrible, almost incoherent decision that needlessly divided the country and pissed on federalism. Would states rush to criminalize abortion if it were struck down? Some might, but I think most would allow it, although with varying degrees of restrictions and controls.

  • Michael Adams

    Hell, no wonder the poor baby has a headache!

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    One of the judges that ruled to make Roe v Wade the law of the land, had a daughter that wanted to get an abortion. If he passed the law, things would look good for her. If he didn’t…

    Basic human corruption is behind most of the problems of this nation.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    I think your analysis of Leftist strategy is on the mark. They do tend to protect certain territorial acquisitions like a just landed incoming invader full of self-righteous fury at the native threat.

  • MacG

    “I think your analysis of Leftist strategy is on the mark. They do tend to protect certain territorial acquisitions like a just landed incoming invader full of self-righteous fury at the native threat.”
    But they cannot understand when Israel does this to protect the lives of their nation.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    The attribute to being self-righteous is that they only believe they can be right, nobody else.