Freeping The Court
I watched the Roberts hearings and couldn't help being impressed by the guy even though I knew he was way too conservative for me. He was obviously intelligent, confident and smooth and I ended up thinking that anybody who was smart enough to keep a good distance between himself and the Federalist Society might just be smart enough to see through their more ridiculous theories. That's probably wishful thinking, but still.
By contrast, I just had a chance to see Alito's opening statement and I have to say that I think he came off as an asshole:
And after I graduated from high school, I went a full 12 miles down the road, but really to a different world when I entered Princeton University. A generation earlier, I think that somebody from my background probably would not have felt fully comfortable at a college like Princeton. But, by the time I graduated from high school, things had changed.
And this was a time of great intellectual excitement for me. Both college and law school opened up new worlds of ideas. But this was back in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
It was a time of turmoil at colleges and universities. And I saw some very smart people and very privileged people behaving irresponsibly. And I couldn't help making a contrast between some of the worst of what I saw on the campus and the good sense and the decency of the people back in my own community.
This is the same guy who wanted to keep women out of Princeton. Presumably, they wouldn't have "felt comfortable" there. But that's not what made that statement so revealing. It's this notion of smart and privileged people "behaving irresponsibly."
I think it's fairly certain that he's not talking about branding frat boys' asses or getting drunk and stealing Christmas Trees. He's talking about anti-war protestors, feminists etc. And like so many campus conservatives of that era, he sounds like he's still carrying around a boatload of resentment toward them.
Roberts apparently came out of all that unscathed. Confident in his own abilities and social prowess, he didn't appear to have this puny, pinched view of liberalism as a threat to decency and morality. (He may have it, but it didn't show --- or he was smart enough to hide it in his hearings.) Alito is one of those other guys. You know the ones:
The only political aspirants among those three groups who failed to meet the test of their generation were the chickenhawks. And our problem today is that they are the ones in charge of the government as we face a national security threat. These unfulfilled men still have something to prove.
And, I suspect because their leadership of the "conservative" movement has infected the new generation, we are seeing much of the same pathology among younger warhawks as well. This is why we hear the shrill war cries of inchoate bloodlust from these quarters every time the terrorists strike. It's a primal scream of inner confusion and self-loathing. These are people whose highest aspirations and deepest longings are wrapped up in their masculinity, and yet they are flaccid failures. They are in a state of arrested development, never having faced their fears, never becoming men, remaining boys standing in the corner of the darkened hallway watching Bill Clinton emerge from a co-ed's dorm room to lead a rousing all night strategy session --- and sitting in the bus station on the way home for Christmas vacation as Chuck Hagel and John Kerry in uniform, looking stalwart and strong, clap each other on the back in brotherly solidarity and prepare to see what they are really made of. They have never been part of anything but an effete political movement in which the stakes go no higher than repeal of the death tax.
In other words, he's a freeper. I say filibuster the creep.