We All Lost, ...

Monday, October 08, 2018

... but the More Important Battle Was Won

The good news and the bad news is that Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court over the weekend. The very bad news is that the change in the composition of the court puts in danger continued federal protection of women's reproductive rights.

The worst news is that the Democrats, who (I thought) favor continuing protecting those rights, abandoned the moral high ground that came with that position. Instead of articulating this concern and making a solid case to their Republican colleagues and the American people in favor of the right to an abortion, they chose the desperate tactics of character assassination and delay. As Robert Tracinski of The Federalist argued, this created a situation in which the hearings became about something even more fundamental than our government's inconsistent protection of all individual rights:

Based on reason and evidence alone, you would have to conclude that we have gotten no farther in the case and are not likely to get any farther. What is an FBI investigation supposed to so, other than to serve as a delaying tactic? Federal investigators would simply go out and interview all the same people who have already testified or given sworn statements. Given that the claim against Kavanaugh remains uncorroborated, I think the Senate has no choice but to confirm him. Not to do so would eliminate any standard of evidence and invite politically motivated false accusations against future nominees. [bold added]
This reminds me of the remarks Senator Susan Collins of Maine made -- a Republican who might have been persuaded to vote against Kavanaugh -- regarding her decision to cast a vote for confirmation. At least the GOP had enough backbone to not allow that very dangerous precedent to be set.

That said, the Democrats not only made a major contribution to the serious recent deterioration of our political discourse, they even further set their own cause back with this display.
What went missing when we needed it most. (Image via Pixabay.)
When a setback to a just cause appears inevitable -- as when a Republican President gets to replace a more secular judge with a more religious one -- it is time to make a moral case for that cause in as clear a manner as possible. (Within the hearings opportunities to do this might be limited, but they aren't nonexistent.) This makes it clear to voters and any persuadable politicians that what is about to happen is wrong, and could perhaps cause defections. At worst, it makes it easier to appeal to voters, say in future elections, why they should not vote for theocrats. Or it can help build support for what we really need, which is a change in the law to make abortion legal. This was a very serious issue, and what did we get instead? Nonstop dissection of a frat boy's high school antics and a grasping-at-straws that was obvious to anyone on the other side of the nomination debate and, more important, to anyone who was undecided for any reason.

I usually find myself appalled by the GOP's cowardice in standing up for those issues they should be proudly supporting, rather than trying to sneak in or even only pretending to support in order to get votes at election time. But this takes the cake. The Democrats' vicious attacks on Kavanaugh were simultaneously dangerous attacks on the very foundation of our republic -- and at a time when they should have been standing up for a woman's ownership of her own body. That the latter is now collateral damage of the first really says something.

-- CAV


Blair said...


Yet another cogent thought and comment by you. Thank you. This recent debacle exposes the Left as extreme nihilists and that they only parade as defenders of women and minorities. Using both as tools to gain power, and nothing more.

Gus Van Horn said...

They also acted as if all was lost if Kavanaugh joined the court, and as if persuasion has no role in future elections. Kavanaugh may be a setback, but the fight for legalized abortion doesn't end now.

Dinwar said...

I think that part of the problem is the obsession with identity politics that the Left has had for the past few generations. They think in terms of bins of people--white males, women, women of color, LGBTQ, etc. It's not the individual that is good or bad; worth (be it moral, social, or merit) is determined by which bin you fit into.

When Leftists encounter someone who advocates a policy they dislike, they default to trying to fit them into some bin that allows them to dismiss that person. That's what we saw in this "debate". There was very, very little discussion of policy (none that I saw in social media--even discussion of Trump were more nuanced!); everything was about which bin to put the nominee in. These debates don't even rise to the level of character assassination; at least that would require consideration of the individual!

The underlying premise is consistent with what the Left has been saying since Woodstock: the individual is nothing, only the group matters. Policy is irrelevant; real results are irrelevant; logic and reason are irrelevant. All that matters is that members of the right groups get into power. And that the Left gets to decide what group you belong to.

SteveD said...

'The very bad news is that the change in the composition of the court puts in danger continued federal protection of women's reproductive rights.'

Now I may be mistaken but I believe that Kavanaugh supports stare decisis, and has on multiple occasions said he would not vote to overthrow Roe vs. Wade (including as an answer to a question directed at him by Susan Collins; otherwise as she said herself, she would not have voted for him). This was also suggested as one reason Trump did not nominate Amy Barrett who probably would have voted to overthrow Roe vs. Wade and would not have garnered enough votes to be confirmed.

Kyle Haight said...

I'm actually doubtful that any significant shift on abortion will occur with the current court composition. While there is an anti-abortion majority among the justices I'm not sure they have the stomach for overturning such a significant ruling. Roberts, in particular, is a so-called judicial minimalist with a strong preference for narrowly-tailored rulings over sweeping changes. We will probably see some chipping away of abortion rights at the margins, which is not good, but I don't except a wholesale repeal.

Now, if Trump appoints replacements for Ginsburg and/or Breyer, so that Roberts' vote is no longer required, then a straight-up overturning of Roe v. Wade becomes more likely. Sadly, I expect that those confirmation fights (should they happen) will be even more dirty and vicious than the one we just witnessed. The Democrats seem to think that they failed because they didn't fling enough mud and assault enough people who disagreed with them. Rational persuasion is no longer on their menu.

Longer term, it looks like the political mainstream is trending towards a choice between religious pro-white racists and mob rule anti-white racists. Sigh.

Gus Van Horn said...


That is definitely a big part of the problem.


I have heard that, too, but seen arguments taking that into account that he would still find a way to weaken or overturn Roe vs.Wade. I guess we get to find out, now.


True, and certain prominent Democrats are arguably guilty of incitement, which is a fine thing to have going on when so few people on either side understand the nature or merit of free speech.


Steve D said...

'Longer term, it looks like the political mainstream is trending towards a choice between religious pro-white racists and mob rule anti-white racists.'

That sounds a lot like the D (disintegration) vs M (mis-integration) battle that Peikoff predicted in the DIM hypothesis. He tentatively predicted a victory by M.

Gus Van Horn said...

It is. I highly recommend that book.