So many on the Left are so blind to reality of the modern Republican Party that whenever they encounter a Republican who does not fit their stereotype of the narrow-minded Bible thumper or greedy tycoon, they have to inform us that the radical right controls the GOP. Many of these people claim that they know more about a party whose meetings they have never attended and with whose leaders and activists they have never conversed. But, they know more about the party than those who have actually been involved and so insist that our party’s leaders enforce a strict right-wing ideology and brook no dissent.
With today’s party-line Senate Judiciary Committee vote on the confirmation of Judge Samuel Alito to the U.S. Supreme Court, it seems that the party which enforces a strict ideology is not the Republican Party, but the Democrat – and the ideology is not a right-wing one set by greedy industrialists and intolerant theologians, but a left-wing one set by a variety of D.C.-based interest groups and angry bloggers.
And while Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats voted en masse against a qualified conservative jurist (tapped to replace the court’s “swing” vote), Senate Republicans, members of the party supposedly in thrall to the radical right, did not so vote against Ruth Bader Ginsburg when President Clinton tapped this one-time American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) attorney to replace a retiring conservative jurist nearly thirteen years ago.
My state’s senior Senator, the normally sensible Dianne Feinstein said that things had changed since the Senate voted on Ginsburg and Clinton’s other nominee Stephen Breyer, claiming that “There was not the polarization within America that is there today, and not the defined move to take this court in a singular direction” (via Powerline). While she’s right that there was not such polarization at that time, she fails to acknowledge that her party which has polarized the process. As John Hinderaker puts it:
Republicans didn’t try to defeat judicial nominees on a purely political, partisan basis, but rather voted for qualified nominees of the President’s party and judicial philosophy. But over the last five years, time after time, the Democrats have been willing to trash our institutions and traditions for the sake of political gain.
And we’ve seen this before. Democrats level accusations while their ideological confreres hurl insults – at qualified conservatives, merely to tarnish their names and so make them less palatable to the American public.
As Polipundit puts is, the Democrats have created “a new and unprecedented standard” for Supreme Court nominees. And Arizona Senator John Kyl seems to agree with Polipundit’s recommendation that “Republicans should return the favor if a Democrat becomes president:”
Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., warned that Republicans would remember a party-line Alito vote in future Supreme Court nominations, considering several Republicans voted for Justices Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who were nominated by President Clinton.
“It is simply unrealistic to think that one party would put itself at a disadvantage by eschewing political considerations while the other party almost unanimously applies such considerations,” Kyl said. “So I say to my Democratic friends: Think carefully about what is being done today. Its impact will be felt well beyond this particular nominee.”
So beholden are Democrats to left-wing interest groups and so afraid are they of being savaged by the Bush-hating bloggers that they are likely not even considering the consequences to the political process of their unified opposition to a nominee whom even they acknowledge is qualified, a nominee whom the American Bar Association has given its highest rating while many of the judges with whom he has served on the Third Circuit – including those appointed by Democratic presidents – favor his confirmation.
As the united opposition of Senate Democrats (at least those on the Judiciary Committee) show that they are in thrall to the far left, it provides several opportunities for the GOP. First and foremost, it shows how far out of the mainstream these Democrats must go in order to oppose a nominee who has won high marks by those following the confirmation process. After the hearings, a poll showed that 54% of Americans favor his confirmation while only 30% oppose it.
Not only that. The united Democratic opposition makes clear the contrast between their party and ours, thus serving to further rally a GOP base which had, until recently, been growing despondent. If a nominee so upsets the Left that Senate Democrats will vote in unison against him, it should make conservatives realize that, in appointing him, the president has done something right. As a result, Republicans may be more willing to work harder for their candidates this fall – and at the very least get off their duffs and vote on Election Day.
Just by scanning the comments to this blog, you can find a number of angry leftists who refuse to understand how gay men could join a party they believe to be controlled by right-wing zealots. They ignore our arguments and refuse to acknowledge our experiences in this supposedly-intolerant party. So eager are they to define Republicans as mind-numbed robots who would sacrifice their own freedom to a narrow-minded ideology that not only do they fail to see the GOP as it is, but they fail as well to see how an ever more elected Democrats are compromising their principles to placate increasingly powerful interest groups and increasingly vocal (and quite angry) activists and bloggers.
Perhaps, my grad school classmate was right when he said last night that when you want to know what’s going on in the left, just listen to their insults of Republicans. Because they’re not so much talking about us as they are describing things on their own side.
-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com