There they go again. The Democrats, that is. All Mitch McConnell had to do was threaten to wave his arms and intone his mantra of "Activist Judges!" and they flinched like a red-headed stepchild in goal at the NHL Stanley Cup Finals.
On the other hand, when Republicans pick a Supreme Court nominee in the throes of a majority swagger, they shoot the moon choosing an ideologue to the right of Stalin. But the donkeys are as skitterish as a bunny in a tent full of cleat-wearing elephants and inevitably try to slide through leaving no visible ripples in the pond of midterm bipartisanship.
Glorying in his chance to replace John Paul Stevens' doctor as the most important liberal in America, President Obama nominated moderate Elena Kagan to walk in the 90-year-old's comfortable shoes. If confirmed, she'll become the third woman and fourth Supreme Court Justice from New York City: Scalia from Queens, Sotomayor from the Bronx, Ginsburg from Brooklyn and now Kagan from Manhattan. Don't you love the new diversity? Be surprised if someone isn't compiling a short list of qualified nominees from Staten Island. Who went to Harvard.
Kagan attended Princeton, Oxford and Harvard, a potential sixth sitting justice to wear the Crimson. Delivering another crippling blow to we state-schoolies. And the fact that I'm using "schoolies" might be part of the problem. Recent trends report the less we know of a candidate, the better their chance of slaloming through the chain-link fence of character assassination known as the Senate Confirmation Hearings.
Thus, we know more about Martian quantum physics than we do Ms. Kagan. Besides being former dean of Harvard Law and the current solicitor general of the United States, which must mean she's proved herself to be a pretty good solicitor. And a general. So she's got that going for her.
She wrote her senior thesis on "socialism in the early 20th century," raising a red flag to conservatives who consider socialism contagious; even though she only studied it, she is open to accusations of being a carrier. Typhoid Elena. Her major sticking point is a lack of judicial experience, and to say her paper trail is scant is like intimating that BP is unlikely to be named winner of the Shrimp Fishers of America Good Citizen of the Year Award.
Prepared to put on the last robe she'll ever wear, Kagan has taken blank slate to a whole new schoolhouse. And because of her track record vacuum, her sexuality, or lack thereof, has begun sidling center stage. The question: Is she gay? And if so, is she out? And if not, who cares? Eliott Spitzer, a Harvard classmate, says she went out on dates with men, but not with him. Because when it comes to sex, Spitzer apparently is our go-to guy.
Granted, she is 50 and unmarried, and was photographed playing softball and wearing flannel, setting most of Middle America's gaydar a-tingling. What's the old joke: we don't know if Elena Kagan is a lesbian, but her hair is.
However, unless photos of her in bed with the Indigo Girls surface in the Enquirer, gay, straight or Gary, the first Monday in October, the Supreme Court will consist of six Catholics and three Jews. Sounds like the dance card at a KKK lawn-burning jamboree. We certainly have come a long way, Baby.
Then again, who better to decide questions of innocence than members of the planet's two most guilt-consumed faiths?
Will Durst is a San Francisco-based political comic who writes. This being a dazzling example. He has performed around the world, and is a familiar pundit on television and radio. E-mail Will at firstname.lastname@example.org.