They're stuck in the '70s also on the matter of Supreme Court nominations. The early 1970s saw the first defeats of Supreme Court nominees since 1930, of Clement Haynsworth (some of whose opponents later admitted was a worthy nominee) and of Harrold Carswell (who was not). The pattern of aggressive and sometimes extravagant attacks by Democratic senators was set, to be taken up again by the opponents of Robert Bork in 1987.
We were told that the nominees would return us to the days of segregated schools and, in Bork's case, coat-hanger abortions. (Almost no one imagined when Haynsworth and Carswell were defeated that the Supreme Court would overturn all abortion laws.) Now we have the absurd spectacle of Sen. John Kerry calling for a filibuster against Judge Samuel Alito from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Stuck in the '70s, and to no good political purpose. For the press and partisan attacks on NSA surveillance of suspected terrorists' calls to the United States has not convinced most Americans that their rights are in peril. To the contrary, they have raised a political issue that helps George W. Bush and the Republicans. And the fiery attacks on Alito have a tired, going-through-the-motions sound and have failed to convince something like three-quarters of voters that he should be rejected.
We can learn from history, and each decade has something to teach us. But we can't repeat history, because so many things change. Not many Americans, if they could vote for a decade to go back to, would vote for the 1970s. But for many in the mainstream press and for many Democratic politicians, it's always sometime between 1970 and 1980, and they're forever young.
The public isn't buying it. Enough with the bellbottom pants and the disco music, most Americans seem to be saying.
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