So after yesterday’s post and its idealistic rhetoric, let’s talk politics. Religion aside there is a whole other conversation going on; although the conversation about her being Jewish seems pretty loud. Generally speaking you hear lots of grumbling from conservatives if there is a liberal paper trail, or at least one they can interpret as even marginally liberal. And sometimes you hear grumbling from conservatives when, as now, there is virtually no paper trail, although that is not particularly common. What is unusual, as far as I can tell (and I am not an historian of these sorts of things so feel free to correct me), is that liberals are now grumbling because there is no paper trail.
There are whispered rumors that she is secretly much more conservative than we lefties would like, hiring so-called conservatives onto the faculty at harvard and allegedly adopting Bush-Cheney ideals in memos about Guantanamo. National Public Radio tonight quoted a memo tonight that Kagan wrote when she was in the Clinton White House recommending that Clinton approve or support legislation banning partial birth abortion with exceptions only for rape, incest and the life of the mother, an obviously controversial position depending on your vantage point. That, for sure, is a discussion for another time but what is clear is that everyone is scared of Kagan because nobody really knows where she stands.
BUT… do we really believe that Obama or his crew have not asked her some of these questions? Do we really believe that Obama is nominating her with absolutely no clue of her position on important issues, or at least her inclinations? I find that mind bogglingly naive. As I wrote yesterday, we have seen many appointees change considerably in their views from where we thought they started as their years of service progressed. Nevertheless, knowing very well the judicial temperature on the current Supreme Court, and knowing very well whose chair he is filling, it seems impossible to me that there have not been some very serious, very intense and very private conversations between the President and Kagan.
So anti-semitism aside, religious, racial or gender “majorities” aside, the politics have to be in play. That’s what we in America are all about. So ideally we expect the scholar, the thinker, the ultimate lawyer, but can you have that and your ideological favority too? Don’t know, stay tuned.