One Republican whom the Reagan White House didn’t hornswoggle was the late John Paul Stevens. In Linda Greenhouse’s obituary, I learned that Stevens understood with his usual alacrity how the Justice Department smothered the promise of the Fourteenth Amendment. Ed Meese he regarded with disdain. Continue reading
For as along as I was alive, the Supreme Court was John Paul Stevens’ court. The justice with a devastating interlocutory style and one of the last to write the first draft of his own opinions well into his eighties, nominated by the most conservative American president since Calvin Coolidge, ended up well to Gerald Ford’s left by the time William Rehnquist replaced Warren Burger as chief justice; and very well to Antonin Scalia’s right after the latter replaced Rehnquist as associate justice, and Anthony Kennedy replaced Lewis Powell. Ronald Reagan nominated them all, and it’s amazing to think of Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch as scalphunters. Continue reading
I haven’t written much about Pride for uncomplicated reasons, but one of the reasons for which I’m glad, in the era of casual experimentation, that we gays still carve a month out of the year is to anger twerps like Sohrab Ahmari, for whom drag queens reading books to children in Sacramento libraries is analogous to the Fall of Constantinople. At the end of last week the New York Post editorial page editor decided he had had enough with this sewage called contemporary culture; his answer: “[Brett] Kavanaugh snapped something in me.”
Trying to make sense of this pathology, Lawyers, Guns & Money’s Paul Campos theorized that for many on the right, especially those who posture on Twitter, what Kavanaugh allegedly did was no big deal:
OK, it was “technically” sexual assault/attempted rape, but “nothing happened.” Again, this ties in to deep anxieties about Metoo. I mean if that’s sexual assault, who hasn’t committed at least a little light sexual assault, especially if you went to high school in the 1970s or 1980s, with girls and alcohol both present and everything?
I’m obviously speculating here, but I further suspect that these attitudes are closely related to the general paranoia about the loosening of sexual mores throughout the culture, reflected in Ahmari and Co.’s manifesto linked above. All these left wingers are simultaneously trying to turn America into a non-stop polyamorous transgender cuckolding orgy, while at the same time trying to destroy upright conservative white men for engaging in a little hanky panky in the long-ago haze of their inebriated youth (“I like beer.”).
One of the president’s shrewder moves during the Kavanaugh hearings last October was using social media to remind his followers that slatterns and scolds pushed by the left could impugn the reputations of their fathers, sons, and nephews; and, at any rate, 1981 was a long time ago, and how dare Democrats get highhanded when Ted Chappakennedy has only been dead a decade? This explains Lindsey Graham’s epic meltdown at the end of the first day: the thought that this SCOTUS nominee, harvested since the Reagan era in an authoritarian lab, would have to pay for his alleged crimes. As Campos points out, conservatives can’t rejoice when they win because, like Sith lords or tropical storms in the Gulf of Mexico, they gather energy from their own motion — from the projections, innuendo, and disgust that Democrats and the left inspire. Then the political press, in its cynicism and stupidity, cries uncle by claiming BOTH SIDES DO IT.
Finally, A comment on the thread had a response to what has changed and what hasn’t since the alleged incident between Christine Blasey Ford and Kavanaugh:
Kavanaugh is about ten years older than I am, and at that time the culture was different. It should not have been but it was. People thought there was such a thing as “playing hard to get” or whatever. If the accusation was that Kavanaugh and Blasey-Ford were making out in the back seat of a Buick, and she told him to stop but he didn’t, he would be not less guilty of rape, but I would at least understand this business of “we can’t punish him for something he did as a kid” and “who doesn’t have an incident like that in their past?” and “Me Too has gone too far!”
But that’s not the accusation. There were two guys. One locked the door while the other turned up the stereo so nobody could hear her scream. You don’t exactly need Third Wave Feminism and date rape awareness training to know that if you are locking the victim in the room and trying to mask the evidence, she’s not into it. The guy’s not just a rapist by the standards of 2019, or by the standards of 1991. He was a rapist by the standards of 1980.
The spectacle Kavanaugh made of himself in his testimony was the abjectness of a man realizing other people whom he hadn’t thought about for almost forty years were not only seeking justice but implicitly destroying his pathetic belief system. Ford kept her composure as she explained why her life was ruined; Kavanaugh lost his when he joined immortality on the Supreme Court,” I wrote at the time. “Every GOP senator apologized to Kavanaugh for what Democrats had done to him; every one of them hid behind a female sex crimes prosecutor and said nothing to Ford.”
Cue Adam Serwer: the cruelty is the point. In a story that deserves a Netflix series, the estranged daughter of Thomas B. Hofeller sifted through her dead parent’s USBs and external hard drives and found a curious document: a study concluding that a citizenship question on the 2020 census would make gerrymandered districts ever more impregnable. He also wrote the DOJ letter stressing that the question would — get this — enforce the Voting Rights Act. Continue reading
Here’s an incomplete list of the books I read from January to yesterday. Continue reading