10 May 2010

Kagan. Obama's Pragmatism Betrays Liberals Again!

We are hearing way too much about President Obama's pragmatism as an explanation for his appointments, decisions, positions, and other moves that cause heartburn among his liberal supporters. You'll see what we mean as, we promise you, the talking heads and prognosticators will, over coming days  and weeks, pick the low-hanging fruit about his selection of Elena Kagan to replace Justice Stephens on the Supreme Court as an example of his pragmatism; as she is not exactly liberal and not exactly conservative, but an excellent builder of consensus.

We will not tie into her qualifications and records except to say that in some ways she certainly has the capacity to serve as a Justice and to bring to it a valued ability to craft consensus.  And, despite some entrenched Republican opposition, she ought to sail through the confirmation hearings. And, we think that is a problem.

Remember Thomas, Alito, and Roberts and their selection process and confirmation hearing?  We sure do.  They were filled with left-wing rancor and liberal outrage and progressive dudgeon. Without exception, these three have lived up to their advance billing as right-wing reactionaries who would bring conservative judicial activism to the Supreme Court in ways never before seen.

I will make another promise...while the right will make some clatter and noise about this selection, there will be no thunder and lightening, no filibuster attempts, no startling revelations or accusations.  She will be easily confirmed, and the right will be predictably annoyed, but it will end with that.

And that should be a matter of concern for liberals and the left.  The very absence of a mounted campaign of resistance and discredit from the right is a signal that conservatives are not too concerned with her selection.  They feel no fear, anger or outrage at this appointment.  If they are not upset, we on the left should be.  We would have preferred to watch the conservatives choke on their own bile and choler.  Their extreme discomfort would be a source of comfort to us.

Instead, pragmatism wins again. Which is to say simply, once again we are seeing demonstrated just how far to the right the country has been dragged over the past three decades.  Kagan is centrist right and chosen to be the "consensus builder" on a court that already tilts to the far right.  She will not be the justice that will return the court to its previous liberal base.  The court will continue to decide from the right to the right and its decisions, while not appearing to be extreme right will remain far right of center!

As to the president?  Well, from where we are sitting, it once again appears that we've elected another Clintonesque, country-club Democrat more comfortable in a Chamber-of-Commerce meeting that a union rally and better fitted for suburban wine-and-cheese parties than bare knuckle politics.

We regard that as a damned shame.

No comments: