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Going from no nukes, to union power, to baby seals, to open borders, to trans-sexual marriage, to whatever is next, it can be hard to pin down an underlying system of ethics for modern progressives. Their lack of any apparent overriding ideology offers flexibility in dealing with the matters of the day according to what is convenient at the time, but it can also result in such a remarkable lack of consistency that they can lose the support of even their more ardent supporters from time to time. But there is one central issue upon which progressives have maintained absolute consistency over the past several decades: abortion.
Whenever a Republican runs for Congress or nominates someone for a position as a judge, the Democrat rallying cry is nearly always, “This Republican wants to take away your abortion rights!” Why they chose abortion as their rallying cry, I can’t imagine. Only around 30 percent of American women support abortion. Even though abortion support is higher among men, it would never pass in a general election, and Democrats know it. Why is it so important to them? I just don’t understand.
Since they know that voting on a law creating a Constitutional right for abortion would be political suicide for a lot of Democrat Congresspeople who live more than 50 miles from an ocean or a major city, they had to pass that law via the Supreme Court, in Roe v. Wade. That worked fine, except now they find themselves entirely dependent on the Supreme Court to maintain the most vital policy to their party. Since Supreme Court justices are nominated by the President, this made presidential elections important to Democrats as well. Vitally important.
Abortion is their central priority but they do have other priorities, which can get in the way of their central mission. For example, when they argue that the right to bear arms is not a Constitutional right, that can weaken their argument that abortion is a Constitutional right, since the right to bear arms is in the Second Amendment and abortion is not mentioned in the Constitution. Their lack of an overriding ideology makes Democrats flexible in such matters, but some voters lack such flexibility.
All of this means that the Supreme Court is extremely important to the Democratic Party. Everyone knew that whomever Trump nominated to replace Justice Kennedy would be accused of horrible things by the Democrats. When the Republicans did not want to put Merrick Garland on the Supreme Court at the end of Obama’s term, they played some political hardball to avoid that, using Robert Byrd/Harry Reid style procedural techniques to get what they wanted. They did not personally destroy Merrick Garland or accuse him of being a sexual deviant. They used Senate rules to try to get an outcome they wanted, and in that case, it worked.
Democrats also use procedural shenanigans, of course, generally even more ruthlessly. They invented many of these tricks. But they also use the politics of personal destruction. Clarence Thomas was accused of sexual deviancy (not sexual assault or rape, like Bill Clinton), despite the testimony of many women who had worked with him for years, saying that such accusations were ridiculous. When Democrats say that we should believe women in matters of sexual assault, they don’t mean women who defend Republicans.
Kavanaugh, I’m sure, knew this was coming. Democrats will tend to use accusations of sexual deviancy against Republican nominees, because:
- They can’t accuse them of murder (that involves actual evidence, like a dead body).
- The daily stream of various salacious sexual stories will be widely covered in the press because it’s good for ratings.
- Republicans tend to be socially conservative, so accusations of sexual deviancy fit perfectly for Democrats’ goals, such as:
- Showing that Republicans shouldn’t be judgmental, because we’re all freaks.
- Showing that Republicans are hypocrites. Hypocrisy is the left’s cardinal sin.
- Showing that Republicans are evil, and thus any effort to defeat them is laudable, no matter how unethical it may appear at the time.
I find the hypocrisy angle to be the most fascinating here. Why would a group of people with no apparent system of ethics find hypocrisy to be so egregious? Conservatives are bothered by hypocrisy as well, but most of us understand the fallen nature of all people, and we tend to admire the effort to live an ethical life, understanding that we will all fail to one degree or another. But progressives, in general, are much less forgiving of hypocrisy for some reason. I have a few theories on this, which is probably best left to another post. But again, I find this absolutely fascinating.
Anyway, there’s a great thread going on right now, with 350 comments or something, started by EJ Hill (Where’s Your Hill?). He asks if the Kavanaugh nomination is a hill you’d be willing to die on. Is this really worth the trouble?
As a conservative, I don’t view government as central to my existence, so it can be hard for me to get worked up about procedural stuff such as this.
But progressives take a different view. For good reason. The Supreme Court is vital to the maintenance of the central plank of the Democrat party platform: abortion. And since so many Democrat policies are unpopular with the American people, it’s much easier to institute such policies through the unelected judiciary than through to popularly elected legislative branch.
So the Democrats find the Kavanaugh nomination to be of absolutely vital importance.
Therefore, I agree.
Let the battle continue. It matters, so it’s worth it. And if you think this is bad, just wait until Justice Ginsberg wanders off and Trump nominates a replacement. Oh, my goodness. That will be brutal. This should be easier.
Right now, the Republicans have the votes. And they had better use them. If the Republican party can’t pull this off, that would be an enormous victory for the progressive movement. And it would clearly demonstrate, to the American voter, the benefits of electing Republicans to Congress.
Or lack thereof.