On Friday, the New York Times took Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid to task for comments he made last Sunday about future Supreme Court nominations on NBC-TV’s “Meet the Press.” Trouble is, the NYT gave Mr. Reid a pass over his patronizing treatment of Justice Clarence Thomas. The Nevada Democrat belittled Justice Thomas’ record on the court as an “embarrassment,” without providing a single substantive example of his supposed malfeasance. Moderator Tim Russert uncharacteristically let him get away with it.
The NYT had nothing negative to say about Mr. Reid’s demeaning treatment of Justice Thomas, so we presume that it doesn’t bother their editorial-page staff very much. But the newspaper complained that he didn’t try to caricature Justice Antonin Scalia as well. Mr. Reid described Justice Scalia as “one smart guy” that he might be able to support. This was unacceptable to the liberal party-line apparatchiks who run the NYT editorial page, so Mr. Reid needed to be put in his place. By failing to denounce Justice Scalia’s “ultraextreme record,” the paper solemnly intoned, Mr. Reid has “stepped on his first hornet’s nest as leader.” The paper expressed hope that Mr. Reid has been re-educated by orthodox Senate liberals, and that he now realizes “that flashes of brilliance hardly justify Mr. Scalia’s retrogressive record on constitutional law.”
But hope reigns eternal, the NYT opined, because Sen. Charles Schumer is there to save the day and make sure that Mr. Reid sticks to the approved propaganda line, and promises not to support judicial nominees who “are out of the mainstream” like Justice Scalia.
What is most striking about the comments Mr. Reid made about Justice Thomas and the NYT made about Justice Scalia is how glibly they describe their targets as an “embarassment,” or “retrogressive” or “ultraextreme” without providing any evidence to substantiate their attacks. Their attitude is one of supreme arrogance: Mr. Reid and the NYT are liberals, they are smarter than the rest of us, they are morally superior to the rest of us, and they don’t have to lower themselves to explain why conservatives are inferior and backward. Is it any wonder that people who behave this way lose election after election?