« Pirke Avot chapter two, verse five: wisdom and business | Main | Music Monday on Wednesday: John Henry »

Betrayed! Betrayed by centrism! No Justice, no peace!

I feel as if I should post something about Judge Sotomayor; this used to be one of those pundit blogs that commented on politics all the time. And also because I remain ambivalent about Left Blogovia generally. On the one hand, there is a certain pride that my neighborhood tends to be both independent and rational. On the other, there’s a certain disappointment that we don’t immediately start hollering about betrayal and wishy-washy centrism.

Here’s the situation as I see it: The Big Blogs of Left Blogovia (let’s say Kos, TPM, Eschaton, for a Big Three) are viewed as pushing from the Left. From a strictly evidence-based point of view, this is preposterous, but that’s the Story, and that’s how it goes. If all three set up a howl immediately after the announcement that the Left had been abandoned by that moderate-in-sheep’s-clothing that we call Our Only President, and that he had passed over some handful of preposterous and underqualified socialists in order to appease the mushy middle, that would be a Story. And that’s a Story that the Press tends to eat right up. It would make it even more difficult for the Right to howl that Judge Sotomayor was an unreconstructed liberal activist, which for the sake of clarity I would like to point out she is not, by any evidence-based point of view, not that it matters. Well, it wouldn’t make it more difficult for the Right to howl that, but it would make that particular Story less appealing; the story that Our Only President has once again smoothly sailed between the hard place and the proverbial is a proven seller, and they surely do like proven sellers.

Instead, what to they do? They try to outline her positives and negatives, point out that she is extremely well-qualified by the criteria that have been in use recently, and declare themselves satisfied. And then MoveOn sends out an email passing along the White House’s talking points! I mean, really. These people seem more interested in honest discussion than in gaming the system to score political points.

And the thing is, I’m half serious. Well, not half. A third. A fifth. Something like that. Because, after all, the political points can (even if our Senators sometimes forget this) be cashed in for actual legislative achievements that make actual changes for actual people. Or to get some bottoms on the bench that will improve actual people’s actual lives.

Of course, if the Big Three (plus MoveOn, LGM, Pandagon, Crooks and Liars, ThinkProgress and a handful of others) were to take on the role of the talk radio conservatives, I for one would stop reading them. So there’s that.

As for me? Well, the Judge appears to be fully qualified, and although she is far from my ideal candidate, I would say she looks likely to be an improvement over Justice Souter, who was a pretty good Justice. The main drawback, as has been discussed, is what seems to be a tendency to defer to the executive branch and law enforcement, and a squishy view of freedom of speech. Still. Mainstream jurisprudence, solid on women’s rights and reasonable on labor, and of course personally inspiring. I’m afraid I support Our Only President in his wishy-washy moderation, here. But where’s the political capital in that?

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,


I just reread then-Senator Obama's statements in 2005 when he voted against Roberts but also excoriated those on the left who were extremely critical of Senator Leahy for voting for Roberts. Obama wants a modern social justice version of the Warren court, and Sotomayor seems like a good pick for that. I'm more interested in restoring economic justice, criminal justice, and a balance of powers. But social justice would be a good start towards some of that.

Oh, and I feel hideously betrayed! I'll never trust Obama again! Sotomayor is an Alito of the uncaring middle, a Thomas with a voice! Also, with apologies to Seth and Amy: Really? Six Catholic justices? Was five not enough? Really?! Are they going to start their next session with a prayer or a full Mass? Really! I mean, four more and you have a Catholic minyan!

Comments are closed for this entry. Usually if I close comments for an entry it's because that entry gets a disproportionate amount of spam. If you want to contact me about this entry, feel free to send me email.