Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 12, 2010

KRISTOL'S IDEA OF AN ENDORSEMENT.... The panel on "Fox News Sunday," not surprisingly, explored the upcoming nomination of a new Supreme Court justice, prompting some odd observations from Bill Kristol.

His analysis started out sounding fairly reasonable. Kristol said President Obama would likely choose a nominee "who's got high, you know, very hard-to-challenge credentials, and I think that'll be Solicitor General Kagan."

He then proceeded to urge Republicans to challenge the hard-to-challenge prospective nominee.

"...I think, for example, Kagan would be a very respectable choice. But nonetheless, I think most Republicans would oppose her and, honestly, should oppose her, with respect and with deference to her, you know, impressive academic credentials, because she will be a reliable liberal vote, and I think Republicans should want to have a serious debate on the Constitution."

Soon after, Kristol concluded, "I endorse Elena Kagan."

I see. So, to review, Kristol thinks Solicitor General Elena Kagan has "very hard-to-challenge credentials" and would be a "very respectable choice" for the high court. He also thinks Senate Republicans should fight against her, if she's nominated, because she isn't conservative enough.

And then to top it off, Kristol "endorsed" Kagan's nomination.

It's a good thing we have conservative pundits like Kristol to help sort through complex political dynamics; otherwise, things might get confusing.

Steve Benen 8:40 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (24)

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Well, I suppose that should be enough information to hope that Obama selects somebody else.

Posted by: WindyCityCat on April 12, 2010 at 8:48 AM | PERMALINK

Kristol comments can only be explained if we assume he is trying to serve two masters. He is trying to spread the Fox obstructionist message. The question is what other master is he serving by endorsing Kagen? Inquiring minds want to know.

Posted by: Ron Byers on April 12, 2010 at 8:48 AM | PERMALINK

I think Kristol is now trying "reasonable" because "unreasonable" has turned out to be tactically counter-productive. He's a hack with no actual thoughts in his head besides how to push his foot in front of yours.

Posted by: MattF on April 12, 2010 at 8:54 AM | PERMALINK

Kristol's hot air expands to fill the time. Nature abhors a vacuum.

Posted by: JoeW on April 12, 2010 at 9:08 AM | PERMALINK

This observation and the one about MTP that preceded it are good examples of why I no longer watch the shows on Sunday morning.

It used to be a ritual to read, enjoy breakfast and watch the shows, but not anymore.

I guess the info I get from Steve is just far superior to the junk on the teevee, and a lot quicker to digest.

Posted by: MikeBoyScout on April 12, 2010 at 9:09 AM | PERMALINK

Kristol is no different than any Concern Troll who posts at this site. They are as believeable as O'Arrongantone when he gushes about how much he wants there to be a viable two party system in America.

Posted by: berttheclock on April 12, 2010 at 9:16 AM | PERMALINK

Given that Kristol has a stunning record of being flamingly wrong just about all the time, his endorsement of Kagan should be the death knell for her chances of being nominated.

Like Gingrich, Kristol pops up on TV all the time without any justification. And without Murdoch's sinecure he is nothing, and has never been anything but a political operative with a soft reasonable sounding voice, but a poisonous tongue.

The sight of him turns my stomach.

Posted by: rrk1 on April 12, 2010 at 9:18 AM | PERMALINK

This is just stupid (unsurprisingly), Obama hasn't even acknowledged Justice Stevens' announcement and both sides of the political penny are pretentiously slicing and dicing presumed candidates. Stupid, just stupid.

Fuck the Repubics.

Obama and the Senate have what it takes to appoint the most Pissed-Off Pistol-Packing Progressive out there - preferably a Reservation First American activist atheist lesbian who practices Zen and a highly aggressive discipline of Kung Fu, rides a Yamaha and likes to drink beer and smoke weed.

Posted by: Ten Bears on April 12, 2010 at 9:22 AM | PERMALINK

The mere fact that Billy Kristol (pre-)endorsed Elena Kagan tells me they already have dirt on her.

Posted by: Stetson Kennedy on April 12, 2010 at 9:24 AM | PERMALINK
"who's got high, you know, very hard-to-challenge credentials" . . . "with respect and with deference to her, you know, impressive academic credentials"
Nice Caroline Kennedy impersonation.

Posted by: navamske on April 12, 2010 at 9:36 AM | PERMALINK

That maybe tells us, Kagan wouldn't be such a good choice after all? And, if Obama picks her ... ?
As a segue off that reflection, I worry about some of Obama's done moves. For example, a few weeks ago he recess-appointed a Monsanto flack, Islam A. Siddiqui, to
Why didn't he use those powers to get someone good in? (And no brownie points just for showing off getting an presumptive Muslim, so what?) This isn't right. Yeah, still better than Bush but choices like that are awful enough to challenge and complain about. That isn't pickiness or whining or whatever Bushkulte-style defensiveness some may want to play it as. REM also this is not a difficult struggle against a legislative tangle, it is Obama's own direct personal choice.

Posted by: Neil B on April 12, 2010 at 9:49 AM | PERMALINK

Not that Kristol ever displays brilliant insight, but this comment is particularly stupid and nearly incoherent. He "endorses" Kagan but believes that Republicans in the Senate should oppose her? Why? So that they can have a debate on the Constitution.

That's stupid on so many fronts. First, why is it appropriate to have a debate on Constitutional issues in connection with the confirmation of an individual who, in all probability, won't be revealing much, if anything, about her views on specific issues?

Second, as we have seen time and again, debates on these sorts of issues in the Senate aren't really debates--they consist of a series of Senators standing up and posturing and reciting bumper sticker statements about complicated constitutional issues. Is anyone well served by having Republican Senators bloviate about "activist" judges?

Third, let's be honest--the average American (and I include members of the Senate in this) knows very little about what the Constitution actually says and even less about the body of Constitutional jurisprudence that has been built up over 2 plus centuries. This is complicated, and often technical, stuff that is difficult to master and fully understand. Cases come to the Supreme Court in the first instance because they are difficult. Most citizens view Supreme Court decisions only in terms of the result, not the legal principles used to reach the result, although the principles are what really matter.

All of this is a long way of saying that a public debate as envisioned by Kristol is not really desirable or even appropriate. It's a little like asking the public to debate the merits of evolution vs. intelligent design. You really need a specific knowledge base and, frankly, a minimum level of intelligence, to engage in this debate and to understand it.

What Kristol is suggesting would politicize the Supreme Court in the worst possible way.

Posted by: DRF on April 12, 2010 at 9:56 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, left out some of that paste:
"...to the position of Chief Agricultural Negotiator, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

Siddiqui is a pesticide lobbyist and Vice President for Science and Regulatory Affairs at CropLife America, an agribusiness lobbying group that represents Monsanto.

Following is a letter sent by 98 organizations to U.S. Senators in opposition to Siddiqui's appointment, and a fact sheet about him. ..."

Posted by: Neil B. on April 12, 2010 at 9:59 AM | PERMALINK

If Kagan is appointed to the Supreme Court, will there be any Christians on the court or just Catholics and Jews?

Posted by: RepublicanPointOfView on April 12, 2010 at 10:13 AM | PERMALINK

EVERY nominee's beliefs about the Constitution should be challenged in the hearing process. That's what it's for.

Posted by: J on April 12, 2010 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

Kristol's remark about the Constitution might be a signal about the GOP's strategy leading up to November: use the nomination hearings as a way of challenging the legality of HCR, which in turns whips up the "states' rights" constituency for the midterms. What with the flap over Virginia's Confederate History Month, this is looking increasingly like the 1860s.

Posted by: davidp on April 12, 2010 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

If Kagan is appointed to the Supreme Court, will there be any Christians on the court or just Catholics and Jews?

Wait...Catholics aren't Christians?

Posted by: Stetson Kennedy on April 12, 2010 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

Damn, if Kristol endorses Kagen, well, that's just the kiss of Death. Consider how Kristol has been wrong on literally almost everything. EVERYTHING !!

I would like to see Elizabeth Warren nominated.

Posted by: Darsan 54 on April 12, 2010 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

If Kagan is appointed to the Supreme Court, will there be any Christians on the court or just Catholics and Jews?

Wait...Catholics aren't Christians?

I guess he means Protestants or Protestant evangelicals.

Posted by: pol on April 12, 2010 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

To Stetson Kennedy...

Pat Robertson and my Baptist minister have definitely declared that Catholics are not Christians; nor are Methodists or Presbyterians or Espiscopalians.

Posted by: ChristianPointOfView on April 12, 2010 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

Even for words from William The Bloody, That's pretty stupid.
No,,, i's just plain bum-fuck stupid.

Posted by: cwolf on April 12, 2010 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

I'm getting confused...two of my trusted news sources are giving me conflicting news about Kagan. One says she's a Conservative and the other a good Liberal. The mind boggles.

@ "Catholics aren't Christians" question: I too have come across this belief by some Christian sects. Evangelicals (Sarah Palin types) in particular.

Posted by: JWK on April 12, 2010 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

No, cwolf, it's parody. There are some evangelical groups who believe that, however.

Posted by: T-Rex on April 12, 2010 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

President Obama should nominate Harriet Miers.

Posted by: josef on April 12, 2010 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK
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