July 25, 2005

Mark Steyn on the Impending Roberts Confirmation "Fight"

Another great Mark Steyn column:

Thoughtful Democrats — the rarest birds on the endangered species list — might want to ponder this: "Another hanging chad has dropped. His name is John G. Roberts Jr., and he undoubtedly will turn out to be opposed to abortion rights, affirmative action, an expansive view of federal powers and a reading of the Constitution that takes a properly suspicious view of the state's embrace of religion. In these and other matters — the death penalty, for instance — he is expected to substantially reflect the views of George W. Bush, the man who nominated him to the Supreme Court, because that was what the election of 2000 and its sequel were all about. You hang enough chads, and you get to change the Supreme Court." That's not moveon.org, or the wilder shores of the Internet. That's Richard Cohen, big-time columnist in that bastion of mainstream media, the Washington Post. And his first thought, on learning the name of President Bush's Supreme Court nominee, is of hanging chadsLeave aside Cohen's careless assumption that the 2004 election was "all about" the Supreme Court: I happen to be writing this in a taxicab stuck in traffic in Central London, where bombs are going off, and it seems to me last November was a little about all that loud exploding stuff, too. If the Democrats hadn't been so hung up on chads and the court, they might have had something to say about that. Leave aside, too, that it was the Democrats who were trying to "hang enough chads." The Republicans were happy to have the election decided on — what's the word? — "votes." It was the Democrats who introduced us to the Four Chads — Swinging Chad, Dangling Chad, Hanging Chad and Dimpled Chad — at a time when, to most Republicans, the Four Chads were that vocal group who'd headlined the party's A-list $3.95-a-plate celebrity fund-raiser. It was the Dems who demanded the election be decided by chad diviners interpreting the subtle, indeed undetectable indentation of the dimple as a decisive vote for Al Gore. America has chads in its politics because Democrat lawyers put them there.... For four years, Democrats drove around with bumper stickers mocking ever more stridently the "selected President." Yet, pace Justice Stevens, the Dems' faith in the selection process — in judges as the true parliament of this great Republic — restored itself within weeks, at least when it comes to selecting gay marriage, abortion, affirmative action, etc. In the words of leading Democratic thinker Nancy Pelosi, "It is a decision of the Supreme Court — so this is almost as if G-d has spoken." She was talking about "eminent domain" not Bush vs. Gore, but you can't have it both ways: It can't be the Word of G-d one day and merely "Bush's daddy's pals" the next. The Democrats never recovered from the 2000 election. They became obsessed with the "illegitimate" Bush, and carried on obsessing no matter what lively distractions intervened: In time the Twin Towers tumbled, the Taliban crumbled, they're only here today, but hung chads are here to stay. Michael Moore couldn't make a movie about 9/11 and Iraq without a 20-minute chad-dangling opening. Even the chad-free election of 2004 — the "sequel," as Richard Cohen coyly puts it — only momentarily dented the party's imperviousness to reality: If you can't get Bush, get Tom Delay, or Karl Rove, or John Bolton, or some other guy nobody's heard of. Now it's Roberts' turn. Barely had the president finished announcing the nomination when the Dems rushed Sen. Chuck Schumer on air, hunched and five-o'clock-shadowed and looking like a bus-&-truck one-man Nixon revue. Schumer's line was that, as a judge, Roberts had too thin a paper trail. His message seemed to be: Look, we Dems have the finest oppo-research boys in the business and, if we can't get any dirt on this guy, that must mean it's buried real deep and is real bad; the very fact that we can't get anything on him is in itself suspicious. Etc., etc.

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