Morbid curiosity overwhelmed my self-imposed prohibition on the cable news channels this morning, compelling me to switch on the least noxious of the three majors, MSNBC, in order to survey how aggressively the ideological battle lines are being formed in response to Sandra Day O'Connor's resignation from the SCOTUS. I was treated to a numbing three-way exchange of talking points, moderated by Ron Reagan, Jr., where, with great effort, I keenly separated the conservative from the liberal and the moderate based on the former's smirking, conceited appearance alone. Once the former Clinton official finished rattling off his wish list of potential, "gentlemanly", never-gonna-happen nominees, the conservative, Jack Something-Or-Other (just another indistinguishable member of the right wing Borg punditocracy; and, no, I'm not lumping ever conservative in with these jackasses any more than I expect to be broad-brushed with the Michael Moores of the left), leapt gleefully into the fray, heralding the end of Roe v. Wade and the glorious advent of a faith-based jurisprudence that should frighten even a quaint-in-comparison, hard line originalist like Scalia. It was a mendacious performance on a couple of levels: 1) his theses were shot through with hyperbole, and 2) I got the vague sense, as is often the case with these guys, that they barely believe their own arguments. They just dig the paycheck and the high of mass-media exposure.
But it's good to know that the shrill are only gettin' shriller as we slog into the swelter of the summer. I'm sure Howard Dean will soon be lobbing rhetorical grenades in response, as reason and composure have been anathema to our national discourse since Clinton's impeachment.
Have a happy July 4th weekend!