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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Anti-Ivy Revolt Now!

Conservatives are picking around Elena Kagan’s bio and record to find some reason to oppose her. One of the more ingenious efforts is by David Brooks, the New York Times columnist whose usual MO is to fly around every contemporary issue from a lofty height and find some reason to land near the talking points of the Republican Party. So, too, with Kagan, where Brooks says a lot of things about her careful avoidance of confirmation-threatening controversies, and then drops this little bomb:

What we have is a person whose career has dovetailed with the incentives presented by the confirmation system, a system that punishes creativity and rewards caginess. Arguments are already being made for and against her nomination, but most of this is speculation because she has been too careful to let her actual positions leak out.
There’s about to be a backlash against the Ivy League lock on the court. I have to confess my first impression of Kagan is a lot like my first impression of many Organization Kids. She seems to be smart, impressive and honest — and in her willingness to suppress so much of her mind for the sake of her career, kind of disturbing.

So on a Court that currently sports nine Ivy League law school graduates–five appointed by Republican presidents–Kagan is the one who is likely to spur a backlash against Ivyism!
Where was this anti-Ivyism when conservatives blocked the nomination of Harriet Miers–a graduate of SMU Law School–to the Court?
Hard to say. Brooks isn’t coming right out and opposing Kagan, but he is lending aid to the invidious argument that all sorts of things about the political status quo should somehow be attributed to the Obama administration and its appointees.

2 comments on “Anti-Ivy Revolt Now!

  1. Joe Corso on

    Obama’s slow and gradual — but relentless – advance of his moderate progressive agenda is increasingly leaving in its wake a trail of shell-shocked “I’m the only true moderate, located precisely midway between the extremes of left and right” political bullshit artists and snake-oil salesmen who suddenly find their shallow intellectual juggling act colapsing because reality does not match their repetitive, “paint by the numbers” “we are the forgotten moderates” commentary .
    They should all get together and form a political party – Mark Penn, David Brooks, David Kuhn and all the other “sensible centrists” who are actually neither of the two.
    And they better hurry up. Before long, all they’ll be able to get as a group gig is a casting call for a “dawn of the dead moderate center that no one listens to any more in the age of Obama” zombie flick.

  2. ducdebrabant on

    Any Democrat who thought that by walking softly, speaking thoughtfully, accumulating a gilt-edged resume, staying away from the extremes, he/she could avoid a faux-genteel ambush by David Brooks does not know David Brooks.


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