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Thursday, August 04, 2005

John Roberts Again

If it emerged that Roberts had healed fifteen dying people by laying hands on them (if you aren't southern, you probably won't get it!), half the press would probably report it as Roberts molesting innocent sick people.

He's already under suspicion for adopting two white kids from South America. Now it turns out that John Roberts did some pro bono work to help the lawyers who argued the Romer V. Evans case, in which the Supreme Court struck down a Colorado constitutional amendment that said that homosexuals could not be a protected class under the Colorado constitution. No Oil For Pacifists, Ann Althouse and Volokh are all following the story.

I am a bit confused about why people seem to feel this is such an issue. My guess is that Roberts was interested in the legal issues in the case and also quite willing to help the lawyers make the most effective case they could. As Carl writes, it's just further proof that the man will be an excellent Supreme Court justice. WaPo seems to think that it could raise dire doubts in the conservatives. Heh. Indeed. Didn't Bush endorse civil unions in the last election? Didn't Kerry himself say that there was no difference between his position and Bush's on the issue? Is the Washington press corps really so idiotic that it believes Howard Dean's "guns, God and gays" crack?

Even Lindgren writing at Volokh is showing his ignorance by writing this:
This is another example that very well educated conservatives rarely fit the public stereotypes assigned to them. While very high educations tend to make liberals more consistently liberal, very high educations tend to make conservatives less consistently conservative (and thus less extreme) on social issues. For this reason, those presidential nominees targeted as "outside the mainstream" are very probably not extreme at all. While they would be likely to be conservative on some issues, on some other issues they would be likely to take the liberal side of things.

This is a bit like highly educated bloggers: while supposedly "conservative" bloggers might support Bush's court nomineees and the War on Terror, such "conservatives" often take the liberal side on some issues, such as perhaps abortion rights, gay rights, assisted suicide, and stem-cell research, and they might also believe in evolution, oppose mandatory school prayer, or favor the right to burn flags. Such a diversity of views among the highly educated left is much more rare.
It's not that he's wrong, it's that he's wrong in singling out "very well educated conservatives" as a different group. In my experience, at this point in time the vague American coalition called "conservative" is rather moderate as a whole, and this is even more true for the less educated members of the coalition. You'll always have some extremists in any country, but believe me, the southern fundamentalists are not worrying about civil unions. They are worrying about war, jobs, the price of gas and their families.

They do worry about the hostility to religion, but when you have consistent attacks against religious freedom and anyone who believes in God that's not irrational. This segment of the population really, really dislikes the small segment of the gays and hets that hate all committed Christians because Christians think wildly promiscuous sex is a sin, and goes to church with the vast majority of the gays and hets who don't!

SC&A had it right:
Live and let live is the skeletal ideology and morality of this country, and that is anathema to the agenda based persons who need to lie and deceive. The last thing they want are tolerant Americans. Tolerant Americans are their real enemy. Their agenda, whatever it may be, cannot survive tolerant Americans.
News flash. No one really cares what different people do. They only care if other people try to interfere with their choices unreasonably. The vast majority of the American public really doesn't believe that people should experience job discrimination, etc, because of their sexual orientation. Why should they? It makes no sense. Oh - and WaPo also seems to think that Roberts working to get people welfare benefits is a disqualifier. Do they really believe that most conservatives want poor kids to die of starvation? If so, they are living in a country that only exists in their own imaginations.

This furor over this Supreme Court nomination is highlighting how terribly silly our political flacks have become and how incredibly out of touch they are with the average American.

(Just for the record, I do believe that wildly promiscuous sex is a sin, because it means that you stand a good chance of spreading disease and hurting other people. It's the same as drunk driving - you don't mean to hurt anyone, but you very well might, therefore a responsible person should not do it. I don't think sex between consenting adults should be a crime because criminalizing such behavior generally causes more trouble than it prevents.)

Both sides do this, but they don't want to admit that the majority of the conservative movement isn't extreme. As long as they continue to profess that it makes it possible to dismiss them with "he's a conservative" and obviously not worth discussing further. It is kind of funny though to watch them scream that he shouldn't be appointed because he's too extreme, then when they find out maybe he isn't, that he shouldn't have been appointed because he's not extreme enough to suit those that appointed him.
Or maybe they are just twisting in the wind and making no sense at all? I think the whole story just points out that the political types don't understand what it means to be a judge. It's not about your personal opinions. It's about the law.

I think you are right about both sides spinning like this, but I don't think the political spinners convince many people any more.
What you said is true- the spinners, in the end, do not change a whole lot of opinion.

The damage these spinners do is usurp the energy out of us, by forcing a debate that is not a real debate and thus precluding us from demanding better government fromm branches.

If they demanded from Congress better governance with the same energy as they do their agenda based issues, we'd all be a lot better off.
What they do is take up time, because you have to at least read it to learn what is being spun and how. If it didn't exist there would be a lot less to sort through.
Yes - it's all pointless distraction.
Or, to avoid all the wasted time spent on the spin by the media, one could just look to the officials and the candidates themselves, and forget about media spin. Quit watching CNN or Fox News for political news, and watch C-SPAN instead. Quit reading Op-Eds on politics, and read the actual statements of the officals/candidates, or the actual court opinions, or the actual documentary evidence.

In many ways, the political media is a shortcut, a way for the average voter to get some degree of political "news" in a brief burst, without putting forth the effort to become educated on the issues through his own work. It's the path of least resistance, and short paths often trample over important issues in complex situations.
Boomr, I think the internet is really feeding the strategy you name.

People are far more apt to go to original sources on the internet than they are to read the papers. The circulation numbers bear that out.

When I was a kid the newspaper reporting was far more factual than it is now. That's doubly so for anything political. Party platforms and the like used to be printed in the papers.

I think it made for a better public debate.
I agree.

In some ways, the highly-vaunted "free press" that we have has always been corrupted, ever since the first printer charged a fee for the first newspaper. Once profits and circulation rates become important, mere factual reporting disappears.
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