Thanks again, Protein Wisdom via Michelle Malkin, for reminding me to check the transcript. Last night on Fox News - I think it was Brit Hume's part of the evening, as I was laboring mightily on my Total Gym Pro Plus 2000 Xtreme or whatever the thing's called with my toddler cracking up laughing as he climbed on my chest - I heard one tiny snippet of Senate-speak. The tagline was something like, "From some senators we heard sound..." [cut to soundbyte of Kerry holding forth in sonorous tones, looking nice and tan from Davos - cheap shot, but what the heck - about how Alito's nomination was the result of a revolt on the Right to which the White House responded by predictably caving and putting up an ideological conservative. Imagine!] "...and fury..." [cut to Kennedy looking ready to pop a vein in his forehead, actually pounding on the podium as he declared, "He failed to demonstrate before this Judiciary Committee that he was committed to the continued march for progress!!?!" - thanks again to Michelle Malkin, as I've reproduced her quote rather than relying on my memory].
In the moment, I thought, "My, that's not exactly a passion-inspiring soundbyte there; how'd he get so het up?" There was a serious disconnect between the words and the body language.
So - the link again is here - Michelle Malkin filled in the blanks for me. Go read the transcript on her blog. It includes such nuggets as:
[...][T]hey [the Supreme Court] are the ones who changed this country inevitably with what we call the march to progress. The march towards knocking down the walls of discrimination that permitted us to pass the 1964 Civil Rights Act and public accomodations so people who's skin was not white who could go into restaurants and hotels. Public accomodations[sic]. The '65 act for voting. Voting rights. The '68 act. The public accomodations[sic]. The 1973 act that said that women are going to treated equally. The Americans with Disabilities Act that said that the disabled are going to be part of the American family.
All of that is part of the march for progress.
And my friends, the one organization, the one institution that protects it is THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES!!!
She adds at the end of that paragraph, "(Screaming at the top of his lungs.)"
You know when you're, say, serving dinner at your house to a group of people you don't know all that well, you're thinking, "OK, this is fine, everyone's getting along well," and you ask, "So, Bev, what do you do for a living?" and it turns out that she sells mail-order herbal supplements to cleanse your body of all the toxins that accumulate in your fat cells from the hormones in meat and milk and the pesticide residues on vegetables? And she goes on at some length about how everyone who actually cares about their health should only eat organic foods, and especially eschew engineered foods because who knows what you're taking in when you eat, say, a genetically altered tomato? And, remember, you made this dinner, and if there was something organic in it, it was in the chemistry sense of "carbon-based" rather than the new-age sense of "grown through the gentle ministrations of Mother Gaia and nothing else, except maybe some manure from free-range cattle"?
Awkward pause... and someone makes a valiant but doomed effort to segue out of the danger zone, and eventually someone else drops all pretense and just flatly changes the subject.
That's the sense of it. Kennedy, a senior Senator, the (gulp) eminence grise of the Democratic Party, going completely wild in defense of a competing branch of government - more: giving them sole credit for every advancement he perceives in American life - right in the middle of a bunch of other Senators. Add to that the implicit - no, explicit assumption that the "march for progress" is the goal of American governance. And, of course, the implicit (this time it actually is implicit) acknowledgment that the courts are the last refuge of the Democratic Party, or at any rate his ideological companions.
I just can't figure out whether Jeff Goldstein is trying to create a segue out of thin air or baldly changing the subject. All I know is that my eyes are unwaveringly on my plate.