Thursday, July 21, 2005

A Competent Conservative :: NYT

And a third C, a Catholic.

David Brooks writes of the culture war:
I love thee also, Roberts nomination, because now we probably won't have to endure another bitter and vulgarized chapter of the culture war.

Confirmation battles have come to seem of late like occasions for bitterly divided Catholics to turn political battles into holy war Armageddons. Most of the main Democrats on the Judiciary Committee are Catholics who are liberal or moderate (Kennedy, Biden, Durbin, Leahy), and many of the most controversial judges or nominees are Catholics who are conservative (Scalia, Thomas, Pryor). When they face off, you get this brutal and elemental conflict over the role morality should play in public life.

Roberts is indeed a Catholic (if he's confirmed, there will be four on the court, three Protestants and two Jews), but he's not the sort to spark the sort of debate that leads to bitter Catholic vs. Catholic meshugas. He's not a holy warrior, and his wife is active in the culturally heterodox Feminists for Life.

The Robertses are evidently the sort of people, like most Americans, who confound culture war categories.
And of pinning the tail on the donkey:
Anybody who is brilliant during Supreme Court grillings, as Roberts is, will be impressive at confirmation hearings. He is modest and likeable, and has done pro bono work on behalf of the environment, parental rights and minorities.

But the Democratic elites no longer run the party. The outside interest groups and the donors do, and they need this fight. It's why they exist.

Hillary Clinton and the other Democratic hopefuls will have to choose between the militant wing of the party, important in the primary season, and the nation's mainstream center, which the party needs if it is to regain its majority status.

1 comment:

Scott of Hybla said...

After some reflection, I share Brooks' sentiment that we will be spared an episode of the culture war. It seems almost a forgone conclusion that a lock-step Republican Senate will peel off enough moderate Dems to confirm. Roberts almost seems like someone Bush would turn to after his typical in-your-face ideologue withdrew (or won after nuclear option and giving Dem's campaign issue)

I agree with 1/2 his view on control of the Democratic party:

"But the Democratic elites no longer run the party. The outside interest groups and the donors do..."

I agree the elites don't control the party, but not sure outside interests control it either. Didn't Will Rogers say something about the Democrats not being an organized political party anyway?
Then again, he might be a comfortable fit to Dems with strong corporate support. Joe Biden comes to mind.

The vote may end up a conundrum for some Senators, like the Iraq War.

Dems might be wise to to set aside some of the canned questions and simply encourage Roberts to share his story so we can get to know him (we don't), he'll be around a long time.