Battles On The Left Over Kagan

While I’m not exactly excited by the nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court, I do not see this decision as worth the amount of controversy on the left as it has been receiving. The two major sources attacking the nomination have been Jane Hamsher and Glenn Greenwald. After the health care debate I’ve given up reading anything coming from Hamsher after seeing how she engages in exactly the same type of distortions as Glenn Beck and other right wing pundits. Greenwald has done enough worthwhile work for me to continue to take him seriously, and much of his criticism of Obama is valid, even if he sometimes loses perspective. He does lose me when he breaks into nonsense comparing Obama to Bush. Both have some things in common, including both being featherless bipeds, but it is their major differences which are far more significant.

Glenn Greenwald and Lawrence Lessig are engaged in quite a dispute over the Kagan nomination and each other’s integrity. The links on each of their name presents their side of the dispute while McJoan at Daily Kos has a play by play analysis. Personally I think that the fine points of this debate will soon be forgotten as we are faced with the various arguments coming from the right wing noise machine as to why Kagan is the most liberal person to have ever been nominated to the Supreme Court. I agree with Steve M. on this:

Part of my frustration with Firebagging in general is that progressives simply lack the muscle to drag not just the administration but Congress and the country all that far to the left by sheer force of will, and Firebaggers don’t seem to understand that. Unlike the teabaggers, we don’t have a multimedia news organization at our disposal that’s endlessly fed money by hit Hollywood movies. We haven’t had a Wurlitzer in operation for thirty years persuading the mainstream press that attention must be paid to us because we’re the really really authentic Americans. Our propagandists don’t dominate AM radio on every square mile of U.S. territory. We haven’t even begun the work of persuading — not hectoring, but persuading — heartland swing voters that our ideas aren’t scary, aren’t hostile to American values, and in fact are in sync with their values. We certainly haven’t persuaded enough to heartland voters to make heartland members of the House and Senate sit up and take notice, the way they carefully notice whether they’re protecting their right flanks.

We’ve got a lot of work to do to get our message across. We’re not going to get there by regularly joining right-wingers in Obama pile-ons.

So yeah, regarding the administration, I’ll keep grumbling. But I’m not going to support any move that dilutes what little power we have (and I’m not joking when I say “little power,” because even with huge congressional majorities and the White House, too much of the country is still under a Reagan/Limbaugh/Murdoch spell, and too many congressional Democrats are cowardly as a result). If you know how to get big leftward shifts to happen, really, go for it. If all you know how to do is demand them, I might take your point, but I’m going to object that you don’t have a plan.

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