FIGHTING WORDS (ALITO EDITION)

Nathan Newman: “So subtract the Supreme Court and democratic reapportionment of the states might never have happened. And the anti-democratic rightwing recognized this and was prepared to make almost any deal to override the Supreme Court through a Constitutional Amendment, including cutting a deal with the labor movement.”

Robert Gordon: “The argument that he was just saying whatever it was convenient for him to say in order to get a job doesn’t sound too good coming from somebody who is now trying to get another job. There is something really slippery, or at least less than forthright, about his approach to his own record of actions and opinions.”

The Nation: “When in 1969-70 President Nixon nominated and lost both Clement Haynsworth and Harrold Carswell, the result was not “someone worse” but the pragmatic, humane Judge Harry Blackmun, who later wrote Roe v. Wade; when Bork was Borked, his replacement was Anthony Kennedy, who in 1992 joined fellow Reagan nominee O’Connor to reaffirm Roe.”

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The Nation is coming under well-deserved criticism for its cartoon on the controversy over Lincoln’s sexuality. Simply put, The Nation, unlike, say, the Weekly Standard, should know better. The problem with the cartoon has nothing to do with Lincoln and everything to do with the stupidity and irresponsibility of reinforcing stereotypes as gay men as (depending on one’s reading of the cartoon) effeminite, transvestite, or transgendered – and vice versa. Using a dress as visual short-hand for a gay man is as defensible as using a big nose as visual short-hand for a Jew. Come on. As Doug Ireland writes:

The brief paragraph from the mag’s editors introducing the letters and Grossman’s reply, as originally posted, read: “We regret it if the cartoon demeaned homosexuals, transgender people or even Log Cabin Republicans. –The Editors” (Ah, that cowardly and Clintonesque “if”…) Then, it was changed to read: “We regret if anyone was unintentionally offended. –The Editors” I can’t quite figure out what that change means in their little heads, unless it’s to excise any hint of an admission that the ‘toon “demeaned homosexuals”, as the first version put it. (Moreover, the second version is illiterate–it reads as if there are queers running around who are feeling offended without meaning to be, instead of what I suppose was meant, that the mag’s editors did not intend to offend anyone. But nobody thinks the mag’s editors sat around intentionally trying to think up ways to offend gay people, so this non-apology is puerile and avoids the real issue–one of attitude, and of judgment).