Wednesday, January 11, 2006

BlogProps and thoughts on Alito


I'm tempted not to even try excerpting this from Billy Beck, because it hangs together in a way that rewards cleaning your plate. But yeah, I think a teaser is necessary:

We'll get tapped again. For sure. However, I also do not -- cannot -- believe that everything this government is cranking up will be worth the payoff in terms of identifying and/or neutralizing the threat[s]. More and more, these people will not be able to get out of their own way -- all while they're killing everything in the essential spirit of Americans which is necessary to keeping them in the fight. ... I am convinced that we are at the final turning point. Liberty really is finally being traded for security, and I can never endorse that. Not under any circumstances.

Which is pretty much the bottom line as I understand it, too. We can carp all day long about motives and sentiments -- but when the sun goes down, it's gonna get dark whether the people spinning us toward night thought they were doing so for good reasons or whether they were just a gang of punks.

Now, to Alito -- because I've had a couple of notes asking why I haven't weighed in on him yet, and because the link above is a pretty good signpost for where I'm going.

I haven't watched the hearings, I'm not following them closely, and I don't feel any need to. Any real raw meat coming out of the Alito nomination will have little to do with Alito himself. This isn't about "judicial philosophy" or anything of the sort. That's window-dressing. It's about Republicans and Democrats trying to make each other look like assholes. And it's working.

I've told you before why Supreme Court nominations aren't as important as they're made out to be: There's just no reliable predictor for how a justice will rule once appointed. After all the hearings are done, they could just as well have drawn a name out of a hat and notified payroll. But if recent history is any guide -- and I think it is -- then the one statement I can make with total certainty is that all nine political hacks in black dresses have us, and rejoice in having us, and will continue to have us for as long as possible, by both balls; they're squeezing, and I'm more resigned to the fact that they're going to continue squeezing than worried about which testicle will pop first.

Now, Beck thinks I'm a weasel -- which is fine, I don't require his good opinion -- but I think that he might agree with me (given that he reminded me of it himself above) that what's been missing here for a long time is anything resembling the philosophy that made America. They can wave the "judicial philosophy" wand around all day long, but it's just stage magic -- flash powder, misdirection, sleight-of-mind. They -- and I include not just Alito and his probable future associates on the court, but also the president and the Senate -- aren't applying any coherent set of ideas to their actions at all, let alone good ones. They're just cannibals scrapping over the carcass of a great nation -- even if some of them really, truly believe they're doing CPR -- and any ideas involved are nothing more than ribs plucked from that carcass for use as cudgels.

Goddammit, Beck, you've got me all depressed now.

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