On May 9, 2008, liberal CNN legal analyst Sunny Hostin touted Kagan as an Obama pick: "She was counsel to President Clinton and clerked for Thurgood Marshall. So she would be an excellent choice." Despite these liberal associations, Kagan was not ideological at all, while John McCain would ruin the magic, since he would have picked "a very conservative type of judge." The Republicans are always picking an ultraconservative. The Democrats just have a great eye for quality.
Even back on March 5, 2004, a New York Times op-ed by Chris Sprigman argued that John Kerry should nominate a "shadow cabinet" to show voters how much more moderate and established his team would be. Kagan could have been prematurely declared Kerry's attorney general: "Elena Kagan, the first female dean of Harvard Law School and a former counsel to President Bill Clinton, could be shadow attorney general and draw attention to the worst excesses of John Ashcroft."
Kagan's complete lack of judicial experience would set the stage for controversy if the president were Republican. Remember Harriet Miers? Not even her real moderation helped in their eyes. The media blasted her, insisting there was more cronyism than qualifications there. But on some measures of the real world of lawyering, Miers had more experience than Kagan.
But the media don't question the qualifications of liberals. Anyone who's chosen the liberal side has already proven her intelligence. Anyone who's named dean of the Harvard Law School is "eminently qualified" to tell the rest of America what to think. And anyone who circulated in all the same Ivy League and Upper West Side "progressive" circles can't possibly be controversial.
The entire media jury pool on the matter of Kagan's ideology is galloping in the streets with their own liberal blinders firmly attached, like the New Yorker film critic Pauline Kael, who infamously expressed the thought in 1972 that Richard Nixon couldn't possibly be elected, since "No one I know voted for Nixon."
And then they have the audacity to maintain they are the uniquely "open-minded" ones.