Sunday, May 31, 2009


Charles Krauthammer gets it right, of course. I have to admit that he might be smarter than I am. Well, that's going a bit overboard. Let's just say he's perhaps as bright as me. Yes, I think that may be fair. But he did point something out that I doubt I would have thought of. I'm being so modest because I'm a tad chagrined. Because it's obvious, but overlooked, and Krauthammer saw it and I did not.

It's easy to talk about being gracious. We shouldn't attack Sotomayor as a person -- only call her on the errors, as we see it, of her judgment. Lots to be noticed there. No need for bomb throwing. So Peggy Noonan is right but obvious in her summons to civility. I excuse myself from that onus, often, because I don't matter. This is my silly obscure blog where I can play the fool. But writers with a serious readership have to guard themselves, and their cause. Name-calling in the public square is undignified and disreputable and is likely to damage one's own standing. Civility is a good tactic, surpassed only by effective cunning -- at which the Republicans suck.

All that is true, of course. We have to be civil, and obey the rules. We have to do that. Regardless of what they do. Of course, if there are no actual rules, then all that matters is winning. Winning, without sacrificing the dignity that makes winning honorable. Because we understand something about honor. Nothing more need be said about it.

The thing that Krauthammer got, though, that I would have missed, is this. What should principled conservatives do regarding Sotomayor's confirmation? "Make the case for individual vs. group rights, for justice vs. empathy. Then vote to confirm Sotomayor solely on the grounds -- consistently violated by the Democrats, including Sen. Obama -- that a president is entitled to deference on his Supreme Court nominees, particularly one who so thoroughly reflects the mainstream views of the winning party. Elections have consequences."

Yes. Yes. We don't like it. We don't like her, in her policies. But it is Obama's right. She is not unfit, it seems, for the office. We just don't agree with her. But confirming her is not the same as affirming her. We confirm her right to the seat to which Obama would appoint her. She is not disqualified, that we know of. This is enough. Disagreement is not enough to disqualify her.

Do I like that fact? Well, since our side urges ethical conduct, whereas the left gave us bork as a verb, I'm not too pleased. But that the other side has no honor is not enough for me to become a pig. They, after all, sacrifice babies. We must not be like them. No, I don't like the fact that the Left has no dignity, no honor, no sense of proportion. I don't like being bound by rules that they don't play by. Especially since they won't learn from what we do. They'll just cheat more. But this is a game about rules. Law.

If we care about law, we have to care about the Constitution, and that means we have to look at what the Senate is called to do -- advise and consent. Consent about what? Fitness. What is fitness? It's explained by what unfitness is, under the clause dealing with impeachment. Obviously this is too limited a view. Common sense must play a role. Some nominees are good people, but not fit for that office. Is that the case here? Much though we dislike the idea, it is a fact that the left with its loose-construction, its living-breathing-panting-moaning Constitution is a sort of mainstream view. Holding such positions is not a disqualifier. I mean, these people think it's good to kill babies. We should be dismayed by anything less?

So Krauthammer is correct. When we finally get back into power, after another long long stay in the wilderness because Republicans are so stupid, we cannot expect civility or moderation from the left. So be it. We have to trust that the power of correct ideas, competently expressed, will be sufficient to convince reasonable minds as to the rightness of our positions.

Conservatives scoff at the term, entitlement. You are entitled to what you earn, and to what common sense urges, and to what you are assured by natural law. It is a concept corrupted beyond recognition, nowadays, but that doesn't mean there is no such thing as entitlement. Obama, somehow, somehow, was elevated to the presidency. Somehow this happened. He is entitled, now, if he can, to cause the government he controls to reflect his views and lawful policies. We don't like this, but we'd better respect it, because principle is one of the few things that separates humans from beasts.



chuck e. boy said...

"We don't like it but we'd better respect it"

Maybe it's just me but I've never understood that concept; that I have to respect the fact that he, somehow, won the presidency.

No, I don't. I don't respect the manner in which it was "won" and I therefore cannot respect the fact that he currently holds the position. I cannot and will not use the qualifier "president" when referring to the current occupant of the White House.

Concerning Sotomayer, I also disagree with your's and Mr. Krauthammer's suggestion that the Republicans criticize but confirm her.

If the criticisms are not trivial, they should be valid reasons for disqualification. If they are trivial, they should not be made in the first place.

Jack H said...

It's like the military -- you salute the uniform, not the man. Sometimes the man, but the uniform always.

I don't mean "respect" in an emotional sense. It has to do with ritual. This is the way things are done. First, we acknowledge the fact that he won. We acknowledge that he has power and influence. We opposite him with integrity and civility. This is respect for reality and for our system. It is possible to respect what we do not like.

I do think Obama won. I seem to think he won it fair and square. No recounts, no well-known voter fraud. I could be wrong, but he did cream McCain, so he won. Fair? I don't see slime as unfair. I see it as unethical. If it's not against the rules, it's technically fair.

My dismay, the "somehow, somehow" is over the American people. Here's where real respect comes into it, and my encroaching inclination toward disrespect, toward a population that would elect a snake-oil charmer to a position of such power. But I expect too much. Half of everybody is below average, and the country is now controlled by the children of the Worst Generation. This is the end, my friend. Maybe.

Re Sotomayor, voting to confirm her is voting to confirm Obama's right to appoint qualified individuals. It's a matter of conscience, and we know how that goes. Are abortionists qualified? That's the issue some, many, myself, might seize upon to vote against her. But mere disagreement is not sufficient. It's not a vote on policy. It's a vote on qualification.

The criticism on S is, what, 8 years old? It's serious, very, but she will explain it away, and most will buy it. It's not a point we can win on. It's a point we can use to teach logic.

chuck e. boy said...

Well, the teaching point, at least, I can agree on, although to hope to teach logic to a generation that has consistently exhibited the inability to process such things...

The soil, I fear, can no longer nourish the seed.

Jack H said...

I think it's the seed that's a problem, but let's think of this as a fallow season, or a time of drought, and learn frugality and industry from it, that the future might hold blessings for those who deserve it.