Michael Barone and John Leo, two writers I greatly admire , noticed as I did the contempt the Democratic elite displayed for Judge Alito, who, it seemed to me, is the very sort of person who until the 1960's represented the party's base.
Barone notes that divide is most evident at our most intellectually corrupt institutions——the universities. He thus, confirms the disconnect Judge Alito felt when he traveled the 12 miles from home to Princeton :
Our universities today have become our most intellectually corrupt institutions. University administrators must lie and deny that they use racial quotas and preferences in admissions, when they devote much of their energy to doing just that. They must pledge allegiance to diversity, when their campuses are among the least politically diverse parts of our society, with speech codes that penalize dissent and sometimes violent suppression of conservative opinion. You can go door—to—door in Hamilton Township and find people feeling free to voice every opinion across the political spectrum. At Princeton, you will not find many feeling free to dissent from the Bush—equals—Hitler orthodoxy.
It's interesting that Sen. Edward Kennedy tried to charge Alito with racism and sexism because he once belonged to an alumni group critical of Princeton. Evidently in Kennedy's mind, dissent from campus orthodoxy is prima facie evidence of bigotry.
Judge Alito, I think, is a better example of the things that American universities before his time stood for: intellectual excellence, free inquiry, civility in the face of disagreement, commitment to patriotism.
Yes, you can still find those things at Princeton and other great universities, here and there —— in the scholarship of Princeton Professors Sean Wilentz and Robert George, for example. But, to paraphrase William F. Buckley, I think we're better off seeking guidance from the first 100 names in the Hamilton Township phone book than from a random sample of the Princeton faculty. It's comforting that Judge Alito evidently thinks so, too.
John Leo observes the party's contempt for what used to be its base:
As columnist David Brooks wrote last week in the New York Times:
'The liberals had 'Question Authority' bumper stickers; the ethnics had been taught in school to respect authority...Alito wanted to learn; the richer liberals wanted to strike. He wanted to join R.O.T.C.; the liberal Princetonians expelled it from campus.'
The values gap was opening wide and Alito was on track to leave the Democratic party. Or more accurately, the party was about to leave him and millions of future 'Reagan Democrats.' In the summer after Alito graduated, the McGovern revolution transformed the Democratic party. On the theory that the old New Deal coalition was dying, the party made a fateful and conscious decision to come down on the side of the anti—traditionalists, abandoning the white ethnics, union members, southerners, Catholics, and as it later turned out, a huge percentage of married and Protestant voters. To replace the Roosevelt coalition, the party turned to young people, the peace movement, educated suburbanites, feminists and blacks. The deep cultural fissure that resulted did indeed show up at the Alito hearing, still powerful after more than 30 years.
As Brooks noted, Ted Kennedy took the party's conventional post—60s stance against law enforcement, accusing the government of 'Gestapo—like' tactics in counterterrorism programs. Republican Lindsey Graham expressed alarm at the threat of terror. Democrats Patrick Leahy and Russell Feingold sounded alarmed by counterterrorism. We had some racial rhetoric, as well. Since the 60s white ethnics have usually been denounced as crude and racist by the Democratic elites. This showed up in the rumor that Alito had made up a story about his father combating racism. The story was true. The rumor was false. Kennedy sounded the note of racism too, charging (falsely) that Alito had never written a decision on behalf of an African—American. He has written at least seven decisions supporting racial bias claims by blacks.
Senator Feinstein whose face, twisted in agony behind her hand, told the story — that her party really went too far in these hearings — says an attempted filibuster against his confirmation would be a mistake.Still, she announced she'll vote against him. The elites who support her would have it no other way.
I suppose in November they'll be flying around again in private planes alighting only to tell us how they're going to "fight" for us.
Clarice Feldman 1 16 06