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Anthony Kennedy Is the Bulwark Against a Conservative Counterrevolution


Anthony Kennedy Is the Bulwark Against a Conservative Counterrevolution

Andrew Cohen

It is the last Monday in June and I don’t know if Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy is going to resign. Neither do you. This is yet another one of these insipid inside-Washington stories where the few people who know aren't talking and the many people who are talking don't know.


Reid & Pelosi should have done more during O’s last year…why didn’t they (and dem’s) pull some of the R’s “dirty” tricks? Seems to me that they just threw up their hands and waited for hillary to be president.


Maybe they just waited either or? Why didn’t the Dems do more than just whine when the Repubs stalled on Obama’s nomination for SCOTUS? You are probably right that they just waited for Hillary but at some point…they raised the bet (by going against the will of the people who clearly wanted Bernie not Hillary) and by the end of the poker game, the Dems had lost the farm!

Unfortunately, their waiting gave us a Supreme Court that will plague the next generation with oligarchic conservative attitudes and partisan decisions. Of all the things that Trump is doing, his nominating so young a person to the high court is so very anti-democracy. He makes America go conservative over the long haul by disregarding how the public views things. Democracy be damned - oligarchy rules!

It is very sad for the future. We grow mediocre by behaving this way. Instead of choosing our best, we choose according to other standards.


Democrats are institutionalists, to some extent, we on the Left all are. We turn ourselves in knots over fairness and process. JoanRobinson pointed out how I focus on bill language etc. when we were going back and forth over California’s single payer bill–she’s not wrong. As a progressive, I want to know how we get from point “A” to “B” and be up front about the financing it takes to get there. I don’t think it was smart to put a placeholder in a bill, absent a report, then say “here you go assembly, figure out the taxes.” It’s at heart, a fairness issue and concern over coalition building on a complicated bill. It might be misguided though.

The right doesn’t have those concerns. It’s power and the exercise of it. That said, we are also witnessing the turnaround on that. If McConnell can’t keep his Senate coalition together, his bill may be doomed. I’ve called my senators and asked them to support every effort to make coalition building hard for him, that’s for sure.


Interesting post KC. I particularly liked your points about fairness and process. I have been thinking about that a lot while reading people’s posts. So many comments are complaints about the way things ought to be and the way politicians should do their job (fairness and process or rather proper process). Meanwhile the right smirks at fairness and then tells whatever lies seem to work. They do not worry about fairness nor about nonpartisanship or an ideal bicamerality of representation. The right has decided ethics, even truthfulness is for nonwinners (not losers) while they always want to win no matter what or at least keep the left from winning.

Liberals, progressives and lefties were not able to pull together last election and the rifts were exploited by the right from the beginning. It always seems that excessive ‘purity politics’ is a disease among the left. Maybe because prior to the last election, the left didn’t ever expect to win. The Dems seem capable of only running a Near Republican as their choice. Hillary was one as was her husband. Obama’s biggest accomplishment was in restoring the Repubs to power afterBush/Cheney. Oh and for providing continuity for Goldman Sachs in government. That too. Those are Dems in name only but Bernie had fired up the public and that changed the game.

Then suddenly, Bernie was the political ringer! He looked to be able to capture the bipartisan vote from the Dems, from the Indies and even a goodly number of Republicans who were sick of business as usual and would throw in with a reformer that they actually trusted! The Dems sabotaged him of course and fought the left to foist Hillary into the fray and in the process they rehabilitated the ridiculous Clown Car of the Repubs (bringing a pseudo outsider con artist to make similar reform promises which he never had any intention of keeping.) There lies the rub ( in two parts).

Trump despite massive reservations about him among voters was able to unify the right’s vote because the right did not concern themselves with nitpicking details like the left does. The right didn’t vote for Trump, it voted en masse against the liberal left!

Meanwhile the left was backbiting, backstabbing, unduly criticizing, nit picking, playing separation politics (vote Green anyway even if they can’t win because it will show the Dems that we mean business for the future etc) and attacking the front runner (Bernie) with old guard corruption! It soon realized that it actually opposed democracy because the choice of the voting public was not the choice of the DNC and the entrenched old guard.

Divided - we conquered ourselves!

The right barely even knew what Trump stood for at all. The right cheered and hooted while being totally united in voting against the left. What else was necessary?


What you are saying is exactly why older rightwingers used the term “do-gooders” to describe progressives. We focus on getting things right, fair for everyone, etc. When things don’t go our way, we seek the fairer and righter way. Pretty soon, we are standing in our different corners pointing fingers about it, while they exercise power. It’s a conundrum.

On the positive front, there is real progress that I see. I feel like even conservative Democrats in congress see the blatant unfairness of the Republican agenda and are responding. None are joining the Ryan-McConnell healthcare demolition or helping advance Ryan’s budget. Fifteen years ago, there’d be a few who’d give bipartisan cover. So even amidst our finger pointing, there seems to be a political reality kicking in among the more conservative members of the left where they are seeing some of the real unfairness in our system.


I see it too. The Repubs went too far and in effect ‘blew their cover’ i.e. letting their blatant greed show through (more tax cuts for the wealthy) while putting Medicaid on the chopping block. Too arrogant by half - Trump made arrogance look too easy. So the Repubs tried being creepy behind closed doors and shutting out democracy in the public’s mind. Apparently the word among Repubs was to close ranks and hold it all together so as to weather the storm! It started to work but the public backlash was so severe and the stuff the Repubs were doing (plus keeping it secret) finally scared the reelection out of a few Repubs. Even though few Repubs are facing an election contest this year, the next election cycle will likely bust the Republican Party like Bush/Cheney did IF the Dems can pull themselves together and rely on their working class base this time. Usually the old guard Dems are reluctant to even acknowledge their base in favor of the big money donations. This time however, even the Dems realize how angry the public is and will give the working class the nod.

So a few Republicans are facing facts that the Republican Party is fostering hatred among the voters and have decided that they should be going it alone. My guess is that the leadership expects people to forget who did what and gerrymandering will take care of the rest. I hope the bastards are wrong because looking at how America has fared under the Republicans (Bush/Cheney busted us), we won’t be able to compete for long except as a declining power importing its own technology! The Repubs are good at greed but profligate when it comes to tax cuts and spending on the military at the expense infrastructure and the tax payers!

Something has got to give! I think their creepy health plan will bring them down.


Agree fully and I hope you are right. I wouldn’t be surprised either if the new Congress, assuming what you are saying holds true, is more to the left than any congress since the 70s. It just feels like all the momentum is that direction. Unfortunately, there will be president Trump to contend with and a rightwing Supreme Court. Here’s to hoping though.


The public has awakened to the truth about the conservatives. What they are doing is actually kind of bizarre but maybe the Supreme Court they install will fight for them. They just don’t care about America being a democracy.

A lack of empathy for…

… their fellow Americans!

Ain’t that something?

But people are seeing it. It has taken a lot to wake people up to fight for their rights and way of life. The Repubs make it dog eat dog but Americans used to have a tradition of the barn raising where everyone pitched in together!

Two different outlooks. When you are rich, dog eat dog is fine. When you are just regular people, the Commons and helping each other is better!


Unfortunately the rebubs have been stacking the lower courts for years…


I needed a break…maybe you do too
I miss George’s insight