Posted on | April 2, 2012 | 14 Comments
Everybody knows that E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post is a liberal Democrat — both a partisan and an ideologue — a “social justice” Catholic from Massachusetts whose political beau ideal is Ted Kennedy. (Ah, “compassionate liberalism“! Mary Jo Kopechne could not be reached for comment.)
Only a person of such impeccably ironclad progressive credentials — author of the 1996 book, They Only Look Dead: Why Progressives Will Dominate the Next Political Era — could ever have been employed as political reporter (!) for the New York Times and the Washington Post before being promoted to the op-ed pages, the faculty of Georgetown University, et cetera.
So we know who Dionne is, what his qualifications are, and we recognize him as a special pleader for the Democratic Party and in particular its most left-wing elements. Yet it is apparently Dionne’s belief that his mental superiority is so vast as to endow him with omniscience, and it is this belief in his own clairvoyance — E.J., the All-Knowing! — which is on display in Dionne’s latest op-ed expedition:
Right before our eyes, American conservatism is becoming something very different from what it once was. Yet this transformation is happening by stealth because moderates are too afraid to acknowledge what all their senses tell them. …
Thus he begins, and thus he ends:
If our nation’s voters want to move government policy far to the right, they are entirely free to do so. But those who regard themselves as centrist have a moral obligation to make clear what the stakes are in the current debate. If supposed moderates refuse to call out the new conservatism for the radical creed it has become, their timidity will make them complicit in an intellectual coup they could have prevented.
You see how Dionne, unquestionably himself a man of the Left, here presumes to discern the intentions of the Right — a stealthy “transformation” of this “new conservatism” into a “radical creed” — even as his mind-reading powers enable him to see that it is the “timidity” of moderates which stops them from preventing “an intellectual coup.”
We presume that Dionne can only have known these things by mystical processes, because no one has ever accused E.J. of speaking two words to any genuine right-winger, and his idea of a “moderate” almost certainly includes half the Democrats in the Senate.
But wait: What is it that has inspired E.J. the All Knowing to this extraordinary exertion of his psychic powers? It was last week’s oral arguments in the Supreme Court about the constitutionality of ObamaCare. You will recall the Left’s panicked reaction at the skeptical SCOTUS questioning and the obvious inability of Obama’s solicitor general to refute the doubts raised by the justices:
Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. should be grateful to the Supreme Court for refusing to allow cameras in the courtroom, because his defense of Obamacare on Tuesday may go down as one of the most spectacular flameouts in the history of the court.
That’s from Adam Serwer in Mother Jones, for crying out loud! If even such a deep-dyed Bolshevik sees it like this — Serwer’s March 27 item was headlined, “Obamacare’s Supreme Court Disaster” — we can expect, at a minimum, that a 5-4 majority of the court will find ObamaCare at least partly unconstitutional.
That was what prompted Dionne’s March 28 denunciation of “judicial activism” by the court’s conservatives, merely for the tone of their questions, without waiting to learn what their actual ruling might be:
Three days of Supreme Court arguments over the health-care law demonstrated for all to see that conservative justices are prepared to act as an alternative legislature, diving deeply into policy details as if they were members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
Right: And the Supreme Court never touched “policy details” in Brown v. Board, Roe v. Wade, Lawrence v. Texas or any other landmark ruling of which E.J. the All-Knowing approves. I remain convinced that the final verdict on the ObamaCare debacle was not written by a Georgetown professor, but by a blogger named Jimmie Bise Jr.:
“They could have been honest with us. They could have come to us as men and women and talked with us, sought our counsel. They could have tried to convince us that the good of their ideas was worth all we would have to give up to get it. They did not. They lied and lied and lied some more. They called us ignorant and vicious and heartless and stupid. They pushed a bill none of them had read in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve. They fudged numbers so badly they ended up counting whole piles of money twice. They accused anyone who disagreed with them of wanting to kill old people and innocent children. They built a law their own lawyers can not ably defend.”
Any rational, well-informed and intelligent observer could see that Nancy Pelosi’s frantic ram-it-through-in-the-middle-of-the-night trainwreck of a bill would turn out badly, and when even the Solicitor General — for whom no task is more important than protecting his boss’s signature legislation — can’t defend its constitutionality, we can only conclude that it is constitutionally indefensible.
So we return to today’s column by E.J. the All-Knowing. Donald Douglas says Dionne is pining for the days of Eisenhower, and William Jacobson is impressed with the awesome success Dionne ascribes to the Right: “Are We Really Doing That Well?”
What’s E.J. really up to? And who the hell does he think he’s fooling? What Dionne is clearly trying to do is to drive a wedge between the four conservatives — Roberts, Alito, Thomas and Scalia — and the court’s only true “swing” vote, Justice Anthony Kennedy.
If Dionne were honest, he would admit that he wet his pants when Kennedy declared during oral argument that ObamaCare’s individual mandate “changes the relationship of the federal government to the individual in a very fundamental way.”
Instead of doing that, however, Dionne pretends to discern a “stealth” radicalism among conservatives (i.e., Chief Justice Roberts & Co.) and accuses moderates (i.e., Justice Kennedy) of “timidity” in refusing to prevent an “intellectual coup.”
The wonder of it all is that E.J. the All-Knowing thinks that we — including Justice Kennedy — are too stupid to see what he’s doing.