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January 12, 2006

Weeping Wives

John Cole on the crying Mrs. Alito:

Did the Democrats say some stupid and offensive things yesterday? Sure they did. I don’t remember Sen. Kennedy claiming Alito had a black baby, and I don’t remember Sen. Schumer testifying that Alito snapped under pressure in a Vietnamese POW camp and sold out America, and I don’t remember Sen. Feinstein stating that Alito shot himself to get out of the VietNam war, but did they say some nasty things? Sure. And I said so.

But the way Drudge portrayed events was patently dishonest, and I stick to that.

There's also the larger point of personality politics here. Which got more media attention: Alito's opinions on executive power or his wife's case of the vapors? Or, on the other side, which got more press: Alito's assertion that one man (or woman) genuinely does deserve one vote, or his wife's sudden need for smelling salts?

What we're supposed to be having is a conversation about judicial philosophy and constitutional law. What the media is covering, or trying to cover, is a soap opera. But with the outcome preordained, there's no public service in keeping score, the only possible utility for televised analysis of the hearings is to better educate Americans on what their future Supreme Court justice believes. Weepy wives should have no part in it. Particularly considering, as others have pointed out, that Judge Alito's many decisions against women, minorities, and individual plaintiffs have certainly caused more tears and pain than any partially comprehensible question by Ted Kennedy ever could.

January 12, 2006 | Permalink

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Comments

Wait a second, I thought Lindsay Graham made her cry. Anyway, that's how Millbank described it this morning...

Posted by: Jeff | Jan 12, 2006 5:32:01 PM

Breaking News: Vapors Outbreak in Capitol.

Snark is about all I could muster. Although Creature from State of the Day kindly collected my vaguely more reasoned thoughts from various comments threads throughout the day here, since I was too lazy to do it myself.

Posted by: Shakespeare's Sister | Jan 12, 2006 6:14:26 PM

I think snark is the *only* appropriate response. This guy's a conservative whacko who lies in his job interviews, which *USED* to be a capital offense to the Senate before Bush started replacing them with horses (or horses' asses, or leaving horseheads in their beds; I'm not sure which is most apt), and when a Republican senator who helped Alito prepare for his hearings (shades of George Will helping Reagan do debate prep then praise his performance in 1980) leads Alito's wife to tears, the media blames Democrats for it, then I'm pretty sure that the conventional rules of the game, and any attempts to follow them, are worse than worthless.

Posted by: Chris | Jan 12, 2006 6:26:19 PM

Atrios points with approval to Peter Daou's superb summation of the flacidity of the Democratic performance on the Alito hearings.

Daou didn't say it, but the triangle of effectiveness he speaks of is not a triangle at all, just a short line segment of liberal/progressive blogs unconnected to anything resembling power or leadership in the Democratic ranks, and a supine media.

Bush and the Republican machine's massive win on Alito presages a new US Constitution worthy of comparison to the old Soviet constitution. Words, unreflective of any reality in controlling a totalitarian state to be.

I think history will judge this moment (Bush as Unitary Executive, Iraq, NSA, Alito, Congress for sale) as the time when the American republic truly ceased to be - the tipping point toward an empire ruled by the few at the service of a few.

Posted by: JimPortandOR | Jan 12, 2006 7:25:52 PM

Shorter Jim: "The sky is falling, the sky is falling!"

Posted by: Fred Jones | Jan 12, 2006 7:59:32 PM

Shorter Fred:

"I can believe a.) what anyone with a brain can see, or b.) what KarlCo told me to see.

I'm going with b."

Posted by: Davis X. Machina | Jan 12, 2006 10:14:18 PM

His wife might have been upset because a perfectly honorable man is being accused of racism and sexism, with no evidence, by character assasins owned by left wing special interests.

The Democratic party is repugnant. Compare the treatment of RB Ginsburg by the Republicans and the treatment of Alito by the Dems and you'll understand a difference between the parties. And Alito is a lot more in line with mainstream America's thinking than RB Ginsburg.

Alito showed Kennedy, Schumer, Feinstein, Leahy, etc. for the dolts they are.

Better hurry up and get your abortions ladys!

Posted by: Captain Toke | Jan 12, 2006 10:57:34 PM

The Democratic party is repugnant. Compare the treatment of RB Ginsburg by the Republicans and the treatment of Alito by the Dems and you'll understand a difference between the parties.

Good point. Clinton nominated Ginsburg because Orrin Hatch, the Republican leader, recommended her as someone who would be acceptable to Republicans. Clinton wanted a nominee who was more to the left, Bruce Babbitt, but chose Ginsburg because the Republicans found her acceptable.

Bush nominated Alito without consulting Senate Democrats at all, and did so because the right wing of his party wanted someone who wouldn't be acceptable to the opposition party.

So there's the difference: Clinton, a patriot, wanted a nominee who would be acceptable to both sides. Bush, who cares about his party and not about his country, picked a nominee who only appeals to the 51% of the country that voted for him.

Democrats are patriots. Republicans are party hacks. And there's your difference.

Posted by: M.A. | Jan 12, 2006 11:51:27 PM

I have seen the double meme that 1)it was a Republican who made her cry and 2) that it isn't 'news' floating around a lot. Frankly, both those points are innaccurate.

I think it patently obvious why she became emotional during the hearings. Anyone who had been teased or had a difficult time in other ways is probably familiar with being able to stoically bear the abuse until someone offers you comfort and then all the pain flows out. Saying that the person offering comfort, rather that those doing the abuse, caused the tears is just stupid. The Democrats line of questioning, which I think is offensive whether or not it made her cry, was the cause of these tears.

As to whether something is 'news' or not, a good rule of thumb is probably anything that a lot of people loudly claim isn't news is, in fact, news. Often it is very important 'news.' Alito's fate depends upon two things (and pretty much has since his nomination) if Democrats will muster the political will to filibuster this nomination and if Republicans will muster the political will to change the Senate rules in response. Public perception of Alito, and perception of the two parties plays a huge role in those calculations. Alito's wifes tears (and the relevant question for the masses as you call them of what caused her to cry) matter a lot in that respect. If the Democrats opposition and tactics is seen as illigitimate, then a filibuster will not be supported. If they are seen as legitimate and Alito is perceived as 'out of the mainstream' than Democrats would gain a huge amount of support in blocking the nomination.

That is news.

Lastly, it is a rather novel view of justice that we should count the tears that a decision is going to cause to determine what is right. One must suppose with that theory that corporations and groups should always prevail over individuals, and the larger numbers mean we would get more tears from them if they lose.

Posted by: Dave Justus | Jan 13, 2006 8:12:56 AM

"Better hurry up and get your abortions ladys!"

Comments like that are the reason why this country is so divided. It made me sad and angry just to read that and think there are people in this world who actually believe that women are lining up for the fun of abortion like it was a limited edition toy at McDonalds or something. What a complete jackass.

Anyway, I think Alito's wife allowed herself to become a story in something she should have never been involved in. She lost control in a situation in which she should have been stoic. The media is playing on the lowest common denominator (emotion) to get ratings and its working. The whole thing is a complete non-issue to actual confirmation of a Supreme Court justice. If I was her, I'd be ashamed of myself, not mad at the Democrats.

Posted by: Katinula | Jan 13, 2006 9:35:02 AM

There will be many readings of the hearings, many anaylizaions, complaining, but in the end, Alito will be the new Supreme Court Justice. Much of the caterwalling is simply frustration from the opposition party. In the end, it's a done deal.
Hey, wanna nominate wacko-left justices? Win elections.

Posted by: Fred Jones | Jan 13, 2006 10:22:20 AM

fred: haha what

Posted by: perianwyr | Jan 13, 2006 11:00:30 AM

"Comments like that are the reason why this country is so divided. It made me sad and angry just to read that and think there are people in this world who actually believe that women are lining up for the fun of abortion like it was a limited edition toy at McDonalds or something. What a complete jackass."

It is your side that wants absolutly no restrictions on abortion. The left encourages abortions for all, anytime, anywhere. The left considers abortion birth control!?! Birth control is a rubber or the pill. Most people think of birth control that way, birth control is not ripping a life out of a woman, killing that life on the way out.

Roe V Wade is bad law. There is no right to an abortion in the constitution. When Roe is overturned, it will be up to the state wheather abortion is legal. If you live in a blue state, you will probably be in luck. If you live in a red state and want an unrestricted abortion, well, you will probably have to drive to a blue state.

Posted by: Captain Toke | Jan 13, 2006 11:13:37 AM

It is your side that wants absolutly no restrictions on abortion. The left encourages abortions for all, anytime, anywhere.

Dude, there already are restrictions on abortion. And the current Supreme Court has established that there can be still more if the restriction includes a "health exception." Conservatives don't want to include the health exception because conservatives are paranoid freaks who think that the term "health exception" will cause evil abortionists to declare any late-term abortion necessary for health.

In other words, it's not liberals who are blocking reasonable restrictions on abortion; it's conservatives who are blocking restrictions.

Posted by: M.A. | Jan 13, 2006 11:27:58 AM

It is your side that wants absolutly no restrictions on abortion. The left encourages abortions for all, anytime, anywhere.

Dude, there already are restrictions on abortion. And the current Supreme Court has established that there can be still more if the restriction includes a "health exception." Conservatives don't want to include the health exception because conservatives are paranoid freaks who think that the term "health exception" will cause evil abortionists to declare any late-term abortion necessary for health.

In other words, it's not liberals who are blocking reasonable restrictions on abortion; it's conservatives who are blocking restrictions.

Posted by: M.A. | Jan 13, 2006 11:28:42 AM

"In other words, it's not liberals who are blocking reasonable restrictions on abortion; it's conservatives who are blocking restrictions."

Dude, why is Alito being opposed by NARAL? What is the main case that bothers them? It is the case where he said it is not unreasonable for a woman to notify her husband she is having an abortion, with a exclusion if the woman can demonstrate she will be in danger by notifying her spouse.

Face it, when ever restrictions to abortion are proposed, NARAL, NOW, Planned Parenthood, etc. oppose any restrictions on abortion.

Get your head out of your ass before you make your next arguement.

Posted by: Captain Toke | Jan 13, 2006 11:45:07 AM

Regarding the Alito fight, to Americans that don't follow politics closely, the fight by the Democrats is currently not displaying Alito as the cancer to the justice system that he really will be. My brother, a liberal by anyone's measurements, said to me last night, "They're really laying into this guy, huh?" He has no idea why, who or what is really going on. When I told him some of his positions he was shocked.

But take out of this that all he really saw by the news was that Democrat politicians were giving him a hard time. NOT that they trying to expose who this man really is. That, my friends, is why Dems are viewed solely as obstructionists, right or wrong.

Posted by: Adrock | Jan 13, 2006 11:52:17 AM

"NOT that they trying to expose who this man really is."

Why don't you expose him for who he really is. Please provide proof that hasn't been given by the Democratic senators, because, as we all have seen, they have had their ass handed to them, with the "evidence" they provided.

If the Democrats had anything on Alito, they would be able to mount a filibuster, but guess what? They know they will look foolish and be slapped down if they try.

The fact is that Alito has more character, intelligence and integrity than all the Democratic senators combined, and he has proven that in the hearings.

Posted by: Captain Toke | Jan 13, 2006 12:05:52 PM

Wondering how exactly you encourage abortion. Does the left support putting notices on pregnancy tests that say "Pregnant? Go get an abortion". Do they stalk ob/gyn offices looking for pregnant women who they can try and convince to abort a baby.
Insisting on the freedom of choice is not encouragement. Just because you have the freedom to do something doesn't mean that everyone is going to rush out and do it. It not really that hard a concept to grasp.

Posted by: Katinula | Jan 13, 2006 12:12:31 PM

You guys hear something? I could swore something was babbling incoherent nonsense, but I just wasn't paying attention.

Posted by: Adrock | Jan 13, 2006 12:45:54 PM

It is my understanding that Alito's wife wept because some Republican Senator said he was an unstanding individual. To say it was a Dem Senator that made him cry is ludicrous. These were tears of joy and admiration, akin to the tears a mother gets when her child graduates from college or gets married.

Posted by: Adrock | Jan 13, 2006 1:19:47 PM

"It is my understanding that Alito's wife wept because some Republican Senator said he was an unstanding individual. To say it was a Dem Senator that made him cry is ludicrous. These were tears of joy and admiration, akin to the tears a mother gets when her child graduates from college or gets married."

adrock, you are an idiot. I watched the entire hearings and here is what happened.

Kennedy and Schumer accused Alito of being a racist, sexist, liar and extremist with no proof. Alito's wife had to endure her husband, a man of outstanding character, she had to endure her husband being besmirched in the worst way. When Lindsey Graham apologised to his family (Graham got emotional himself), Alito's wife got emotional.

Why do you think the Dem senators thanked his family from then on every time they questioned him? Because they knew America seen them for what they are, a bunch of flailing, vile, partisans who can't stand they are out of power.

Liberals are children throwing a tantrum.

Better hurry up and get them abortions ladys. The party is almost over.

Posted by: Captain Toke | Jan 13, 2006 1:44:58 PM

Actually, they were accusing him of touting his membership in a racist, sexist organization. Which is true.

Because conservatives are touchy-feely types, they can't distinguish between "personal attacks" and attacks on someone's beliefs or values. Alito isn't a racist, personally. But as a conservative, he joined a group that had racist goals; advocates policies that have racist effects; and seems unconcerned about racism as a social problem. Conservatives don't want to deal with that because they're a bunch of whiny babies who consider an attack on their philosophy to be an attack on them as people.

Better hurry up and get them abortions ladys. The party is almost over.

You should know, since if you or any other "pro-lifer" knocked a girl up you'd send her straight to the abortion clinic.

Posted by: M.A. | Jan 13, 2006 2:00:59 PM

Please show proof that CAP is racist or sexist. And quotes from The Prospect (CAP's paper) don't count because the paper has a disclaimer saying letters to the editor, columns and satire may not be the view of CAP members.

CAP's two main causes: Get the ROTC back on Priceton campus and to make sure Princeton didn't lower it's standards to bring in more minorities and women. If women or minorities could meet Princeton's standards, CAP had no problem with their admission. If you think keeping standards high are racist, then you are a bigot because you don't think minorities can measure up to white people. Why don't you think blacks and other minorities can't measure up? It is pretty insulting to minorities.

Try again.

"You should know, since if you or any other "pro-lifer" knocked a girl up you'd send her straight to the abortion clinic."

Another difference between liberals and conservatives: conservatives are more likely to take responsibility for our actions (ie. knocking a girl up). Abortion is not only about life, but also personal accountability.

Posted by: Captain Toke | Jan 13, 2006 2:24:59 PM

Captain Toke...please read here (http://obsidianwings.blogs.com/obsidian_wings/2005/11/alito_and_cap.html) and educate yourself please about CAP before spouting off about them only being opposed to Princeton lowering its standards.
To paraphrase:

"CAP supported a quota system to ensure that the vast majority of students would continue to be men. Asa Bushnell, then chairman of CAP, told the New York Times in 1974 that “Many Princeton graduates are unhappy over the fact that the administration has seen fit to abrogate the virtual guarantee that 800 [out of roughly 1,100] would continue to be the number of males in each freshman class.”"

That the chairman and thats a quota.

and...


"Another article published that same year bemoaned the fact that "the makeup of the Princeton student body has changed drastically for the worse" in recent years--Princeton had begun admitting women in 1969--and wondered aloud what might happen if the university adopted a "sex-blind" policy "removing limits on the number of women." In an unsuccessful effort to forestall this frightening development, the executive committee of CAP published a statement in December 1973 that affirmed unequivocally, "Concerned Alumni of Princeton opposes adoption of a sex-blind admission policy.""

Sex blind would NOT be affirmative action. So please, as you so eloquently put it...try again.

Posted by: Katinula | Jan 13, 2006 3:29:59 PM

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