Sunday, May 16, 2010
And This Is All I'll Have To Say About That (Yeah, right...)
The Kagan Thing has got the whole Lefty Blogosphere into a frenzy, some of it -- well, a good deal of it -- stirred up by "Glennzilla". Elena Kagan has been ritualistically smeared on the premise that she is such an unknown quantity that she will move the Supreme Court to the Right, which will be disastrous for the Nation (and the Blessed Constitution) for thirty or forty years to come (she's only 50 after all, and SCOTUS justices live forever, don't they?) and we can't have that.
So the so-called Left on the Intertubes has been denouncing and struggling against her and all her slim volume of works, vying with one another to come up with the most outrageous accusation against her short but sturdy self.
(Side note, and digression: I made an offhand comment at one point in the Kagan Struggles about short, aggressive women I have known and how they have demonstrated their brass gonads.
There have been several, but I was thinking of one in particular when I wrote that. Her name was Linda, and she and I worked together (many) years ago in New York and Florida. She was just under five feet tall, sturdy, with a round open face much like Kagan's, and when I first heard Kagan talk, she sounded just like Linda. Linda was known for her forcefulness, and for her refusal to take shit from anyone, most especially not from anyone who professed to claim authority when they were in the wrong. She was known for vicious putdowns, delivered not only with a smile, but sometimes with a sly veil of politeness that their victim wouldn't recognize as a put down at all for days -- though everyone else knew. Linda made friends very easily, knew her own business very well, she was kind and generous to a fault, and she was loyal without compromising her own principles. She was very ambitious, and for the most part very successful. I lost touch with her when I decided I'd had enough of the gypsy life I'd been living, much of it east of the Mississippi, and returned to California. [Digression on the digression: I Googled Linda up a little while ago to see what she's up to, and well. How very interesting. Last I knew, she'd just taken a job at Boston University, was preparing to move from her Brooklyn flat, very excited and all. Some 20+ years ago. Now she's apparently at the University of Chicago (!), in a completely different though arguably tangential field, got her doctorate, and she is pimping her research into the arcana of a very narrow aspect of computer animation. She has hundreds of papers and research projects she's completed, alone and with others, and I'm just stunned. My doG, what has she become? Good going, Linda!] But I never forgot her, and if Kagan is anything like her, I have no doubt she'll have a considerable and potentially very positive impact on the Court, if only by not yielding to the bullshit put out by those like Scalia and Thomas... [/digression])
What I saw happening reminded me of other episodes on the Internets, for example, when Barbara Boxer expressed her support for Lieberman in the Connecticut Senate primary all those years ago, FDL exploded with denunciations, the most original of them being that Boxer "is a cloth-coat Republican!" for supporting Lieberman. Oh. Kay. Indeed, the attacks on Boxer were so over the top, and such an anti-Boxer mob was formed over there, that I spoke out against it, in my most Atticus Finch mode, and got my tit run through the wringer more than a couple of times for my trouble. My point was that Boxer was one of the very few actual Progressives in the Senate, and smearing her -- because of her expressed support for her colleague Senator Lieberman -- while ignoring her contributions, indeed often denouncing her Progressive contributions, was simply stupid and was not going to advance The Supposed Progressive Cause that FDL was ostensibly promoting. Many people at FDL took offense and some still harbor grudges about it. I was accused of trying to "deny them the right" to denounce whoever they wanted for whatever reason they thought appropriate. Um. Sure.
It's not about the "right" to do this or that -- or to get as crazy as you want to. It's about critical thinking. And understanding the difference between allies and enemies. It's about listening. It's about rational consideration. And it's about respect.
I defended Hillary when anti-Hillary-mobs were cruising the Internets denouncing her and accusing her of all manner of perfidy during the 2008 primaries, digging up every conceivable accusation from the Clinton White House Era, and making up some new ones, and parading it all around as Gospel Truth Revealed. I pointed out that Hillary was actually running to the Left of Obama, for one thing, and that he was even more of a corporate, imperialist warmonger than they were accusing her of being. So I was (hilariously) accused of being a "Hillarybot, a shill! Burrrrn him!"
There have been other, similar, incidents. And when I saw the same sort of outrageous mob action to smear Kagan forming at Glenn's instigation, I made some remarks about it. To say the least.
I don't buy the premise that Kagan will "move" the Court to the Right, for the simple reason that it is already far, far to the Right. She can't "move" it rightwards, any more than Stevens could move it Left. The notion is absurd on its face. The Court IS a Rightist, corrupt abomination. She can join it. She can't move it.
So right out of the gate, the initial premise for attacking her is simply false.
Along that line, to my somewhat jaundiced way of looking at things, Kagan simply cannot make much of a difference at all in how this Court functions nor in its Rightist rulings on behalf of Power and Money. She can dissent if she wants, she can concur. It won't make a difference. The majority will still be a Rightist, corrupt cabal, quite possibly religiously insane, for whom the concept of Justice is alien. And they will continue to rule in their accustomed manner. Regardless.
And then there is this: 12/12/2000.
That's the date the Supreme Court of the United States, after a long period of decline, gave up any pretense of institutional integrity, by its lawless interference and decision in the election. Bush v Gore marked the end of the Court's institutional standing as upholder of the law and the Constitution. The Court has made many errors in its long history, but this one was fundamental, as serious a category error as it is possible for the Court to make. And that gross error was promptly compounded by a series of errors -- Al Gore's concession, the Senate going along with the Court's ruling, and Bush accepting the Presidency.
It was not a "slow-motion coup." It was very fast, and from the moment the Court rendered its Bush v Gore decision, the Court's legitimacy collapsed. That would be followed by the collapse of the legitimacy of Congress which accepted the ruling. Al Gore's political legitimacy faltered when he conceded the election based on the Supreme Court's ruling, and he lost it completely when he told the Congressional Black Caucus to -- in essence -- sit down and shut up and stop objecting. And then the Presidency lost its legitimacy when Bush bustled into the office without a backward glance at how he had got there.
We've been living amid the wreckage of a now defunct Constitutional Republic ever since, while the Governing Class (Our Rulers, as it were) have been busy putting together an anti-Constitutional Imperial State, getting closer and closer to arbitrary rule by Decree from the Throne every day. Kagan's presence or absence from the Court will make not a bit of difference in that enterprise, but she wouldn't have been chosen if she had any serious objection to it. Nor would Obama been able to ascend to the Throne if HE had any serious objection. And so on.
Given that context, all this anti-Kagan crap is so much bullshit, more rearranging of the deck chairs, if you will.
Lots of people are still holding on to the shreds and tatters of What Used to Be, of course. It's human nature. I do it myself. But the fact is, we don't have a "legitimate government" in a Constitutional sense, we haven't had one for a decade, and it's not coming back. That game's been over for quite a while now.
What we're playing now is the Mitigation Game. For example, by putting a Good Emperor on the Throne, things are supposed to be "better." Yet we see the Imperium doesn't change back into a Republic; if anything, consolidation of the Imperial State is accelerated. Yet by being less crazy than McPalin, of course the Obama Reign is "better." It's self evident, yes?
Congress has shown itself to be a hopelessly corrupt body, essentially unable to function on behalf of the People it is supposed to represent. And the courts and the so-called "Justice" Department as a whole are just as corrupt and anti-Constitutional as the Imperial Executive, and for all intents and purposes, the most critical outrages of the Bush/Cheney Regime abide unmolested.
So what do you do? Work yourself into a spit-spewing frenzy over... Elena Kagan?
The Problem is so much greater than her. Really.