MONDAY, MAY 9, 2022
...but our skills are extremely limited: Will the Supreme Court overturn the Roe decision at the end of its current term?
We can't answer that question. That said, it's very possible that they will—and with that daunting prospect in sight, our highly self-impressed liberal tribe is gearing up for a fight.
The Washington Post's E. J. Dionne has long been one of our tribe's sanest journalistic observers. In his new column, he describes the state of play in the wake of the release of the Justice Alito's draft opinion:
DIONNE (5/9/22): The backlash against Alito’s approach is certainly a case of democracy in action. One of the unintended consequences of a ruling along the lines he proposes would be the mobilization of pro-choice voters outraged by a sudden shift in the legal status of abortion.
If the Court reverses Roe, will that result in "the mobilization of pro-choice voters outraged by a sudden shift in the legal status of abortion?"
To some unknown extent, it almost surely will. Indeed, in this news report from this morning's Post, one liberal leader describes what may be coming:
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), who has been among the many Democrats to call for the filibuster to be eliminated to pass abortion rights legislation with only 50 votes, called it “the biggest fight of a generation.”
A very big fight may be on the way. With regret, we pose this question:
Is our highly self-impressed liberal tribe smart enough to win that fight? Do we have the requisite skills to produce a decent outcome?
At this point, we make a confession. We see no sign that our liberal tribe possesses the requisite skills.
Alas! Everywhere President Roosevelt looked, he saw "one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished." (The year was 1937.) Everywhere we look today, we see a tribal leadership which is deeply lacking in political wisdom, smarts and skill.
This remarkable lack of wisdom and political smarts is one of the ways we got ourselves into this mess in the first place. How did our tribe get into this mess? In part, through the way our journalistic leaders conducted themselves during past White House campaigns.
In Campaign 2000, a lingering anger at President Clinton turned into a routinely ridiculous twenty-month journalistic war directed at Candidate Gore.
In Campaign 2016, that generational war extended itself in the way liberal organs covered Candidate Hillary Clinton—for example, in the upper-end press corps' gigantic over-emphasis on the nothingburger known as Emailgate.
(As we noted in real time, our favorite stars on corporate cable refused to push back against this.)
As a result of those journalistic campaigns, George W. Bush and Donald J. Trump managed to squeeze their way into the White House. Once there, they named four of the five Supreme Court Justices whose opinions we now deplore.
In those beginnings was this end—and the beginning involved the nomination of Justice Alito by George W. Bush.
In this morning's Washington Post, Margaret Sullivan rails against the way the current Supreme Court is behaving—but in her previous role at the Buffalo News, Sullivan played a key role in the unfortunate outcome of Campaign 2000.
In that beginning was this end! In our view, Sullivan was deeply unwise back then, remains unwise today.
Our liberal tribe has always prided itself on being the smarter, better, wiser, more moral, more honest tribal group. We've long been given to praising ourselves, and to loathing The Others.
This self-flattery has always been a deception. It threatens to doom us now.
We know that these are gloomy thoughts—but we think these thoughts are accurate. The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but we're an unimpressive aggregation with deeply unimpressive tribal leadership groups.
Everyone can see this but us. For better or worse, we will be exploring these themes throughout the course of the week.
Our liberal tribe must proceed with wisdom and skill. Will we know how to do that?
The history of the past thirty years says that we quite likely won't.
A note on time: Our energy level is better, but we still don't have full control of our time. For thar reason, we expect to do fairly short postings this week.
That said, we envy President Roosevelt! What he saw in 1937 was (largely) fixable. It isn't clear that this is true of our flailing blue tribe's hubris, which helped get us into this mess.