Earlier today we opined on how progressives' ultimate goals are often hazy - consistent with their being jealously guarded by an elite that chafes at debating their long-term merits:
The reasoning process here is of the same variety that the left has used on virtually every topic it deems 'progressive'. (Progressive towards what?, one might ask. 'Progressive' in whose world view? But that's post for another day)... There are, in the minds of a set of liberal mandarins 'rights' that only they can fully appreciate. We must not question.In a related vein, we note this post by John Hinderaker of Powerline, linking to his recent piece in the Daily Standard:
When liberals talk about a "living Constitution," what they really mean is a leftward-marching Constitution. Liberals--especially those of an age to be senators--have spent most of their lives secure in the conviction that history was moving their way. History meant progress, and progress meant progressive politics. In judicial terms, that implied a one-way ratchet: "conservative" precedents can and should be overturned, while decisions that embody liberal principles are sacrosanct.I find it amusing that liberal angst surrounding the inevitable generations-long ebb and flow of political sentiment ignores the fact that what would have been seen as liberal in 1960 (i.e., with JFK) is now seen as utterly reactionary - by his brother. I thought he knew more about tides.
Many liberals actually believe that the job of a Supreme Court justice is to be "part of the whole movement of the continued march towards progress." That is to say, to impose liberal philosophies by fiat when Americans won't vote for them.
UPDATE I: Sigmund, Carl & Alfred has a nice factual send-up of Ted Kennedy's judicial 'logic' here, referencing Michelle Malkin's inspired live-blogging of TK's self-immolation Monday ("I am watching Sen. Ted Kennedy on C-SPAN unraveling before my eyes. He is screaming. The face is fire-engine red. The fists are waving furiously.") We also note the following, buried deep down in yesterday's NYTimes article on the groundwork Reagan and others laid for the latest Supreme Court picks to become viable:
...the last gasp of resistance came in a Democratic caucus meeting on Wednesday when Senator Edward M. Kennedy, joined by Senator John Kerry, both of Massachusetts, unsuccessfully tried to persuade the party to organize a filibuster. No one defended Judge Alito or argued that he did not warrant opposition, Mr. Kennedy said in an interview. Instead, opponents of the filibuster argued about the political cost of being accused of obstructionism by conservatives. [emphasis added]It's worth noting that in a party that once prided itself on grassroots diversity and principle, the dynamic of the Democratic caucus had nothing to do with the nominee's qualifications. Not a single voice could be found to take a contrarian position, to say "wait a minute, what might we gain if we were gracious in defeat just this once?" Not one. Democrats have become homogeneous in opinion, unquestioning of internal authority, and utterly self-serving in their objectives. Sadly, we may be witnessing not just the meltdown of Teddy Kennedy (oft reported, never fulfilled), but the nadir of his party (if it even survives a host of other crises plaguing it).
UPDATE II: Re-reading the Chappaquiddick story in all of its telling moment-by-moment detail Monday night, it struck us that the desperate, last-stand behavior of Teddy Kennedy in the Alito nomination has little to do with rational political calculus and a great deal to do with attempting to extract meaning from a life and a Senatorial career overshadowed by deep feelings of guilt and inadequacy.
That's neither a new insight nor an excuse. But it explains a lot.
Teddy Kennedy the political buffoon is still Teddy Kennedy the grieving, guilt-ridden younger brother. He knows now beyond the shadow of a doubt that he will never redeem the legacy of Bobby and Jack. That a man much like his brother sits in the oval office only grinds salt into that wound. It forces Teddy to confront ever more clearly how far he has moved away from his brothers' expansive ideals and (even more painfully) how his own reprehensibly irresponsible behavior and its result (the death of a young woman) one night half a life ago cost him the chance of ever sitting there himself.