A: It means you're not watching Ann Althouse and Slate's Emily Bazelon's Blogginheads conversation about Who Will Replace Souter.
Just. Shut. Up. I'm all for Jon Stewart destroying cable news shoutfests--the only problem is that so far he's stopped at one--but the larger issue, which began about the time he entered grade school, isn't the frivolous treatment of public affairs, it's the mentality behind it--ever since the large-scale contagion of Happy Talk news in the early 70s, news gathering has been mostly indistinguishable from a twice-divorced rate adjuster in his mid 40s with a paunch and an obvious combover sucking in his gut at Happy Hour. It was one of those things, like an omelette, herpes, or Mark Burnett, which was impossible to stop once it got started.
I've said it many times, but that's not gonna stop me. First you had kowtowing to the Nixon-psychopathy-inspired/ Safir(e)-penned attack on the Press, fittingly delivered by a small-beer grifter named Spiro Something. Two weeks later, Sally Quinn was a journalist and Barbara Walters was a network anchor, which led inevitably to Tom Brokaw. And of course from there it's a straight line to Matt Drudge.
And direct from there to the New York Times calling an online section The Blogs, and including a regular exchange of lo-cal paragraphs between Gail Collins and David Brooks. The nattering nabobs of positivity. Now, I have no way of knowing for sure, but I suspect that no one out there has suffered more telling wounds from the Internets' daily, hourly, demonstration that there are 10,000 people in this country who write better and think more clearly than the punditasters of the Times and elsewhere, and hundreds of thousands more who're more interesting, even without Sources. So, naturally, the Times responds like the Nabisco board in an old Jay Leno routine, back when he was funny (yes, Virginia!):
Chairman: Keebler is killing us with these soft cookies! We need to do something fast! Ideas?
Wobbly Voice from the Back Somewhere: Sir? I was thinking...maybe we could...bake fresh daily and use only the finest ingredients...
Chairman: How the hell did he get in here? Security! Security!
Honestly. Each of you has nine-hundred fucking words in the Newspaper of Record still to go this week, if you really feel you must broach the earth-shaking developments of David Souter's pending retirement.
And, seriously. Don't.
Look, no amount of shrinkage of the public "career" of professional bow-tie model Tucker "I Had To Choose Between Food And Health Insurance, With Only An Enormous Family Fortune As A Safety Net" Carlson is going to do the trick. It is simply not believable that two pundits chattering about "Should He Nominate A Woman?" would be unaware that the very act of doing so constitutes a (loaded) answer to the question. This is the equivalent of a pair of sportscasters being unaware that praising the "natural ability" of a black quarterback is racist. It may have been a legitimate question when Bush was replacing Sandra Day "The Barbara Walters of Jurisprudence" O'Connor, or when he was replacing Harriet Miers, for obvious reasons. But it is not an issue now, any more than "Should Bush Appoint a Conservative?" was one then. Just. Shut. Up. Barack Obama was elected President. Addressing the White Male bias on the Court is a legitimate matter of public concern, not just a "Democratic" "issue". Grousing about "affirmative action" or "political correctness" are small-town carnival peep shows. Not to mention Republican. Can't we at least keep our powder dry until something actually happens?
Not, apparently, with the perpetually smirking Brooks around:
Third, I’m guessing, with a high degree of confidence the nominee will not be up front about abortion. I for one, like this. I am desperate to preserve the distinction between the job of a judge and the job of a legislator. It’s like the difference between a reporter and a columnist. One exists to live up to the impartial standards of the profession, while the other is just about personal views.
It's like I keep tellin' ya: this is what happens when an entire end of the political spectrum sits in its room talking to itself for a quarter of a century. Trans-global Rhetorical Atrophy Syndrome. One awaits the day when Brooks, or any of the other Burke-besotted Originalists he pals around with weekends, denounces the most egregious example of legislating from the bench in the history of Constitutional law, the specious inclusion of corporations under the Fourteenth Amendment while a century passed with the intended beneficiaries being pointedly excluded. I ought to mention that one waits for this without holding one's breath.
That’s why I hated Obama’s empathy talk. It’s not central to interpreting the Constitution.
Neither is "Fuck you, you half-educated corporate shill". But I'm within my rights to say so. And not just Constitutionally.