- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 27, 2010

LADY KAGA

It’s not just Kaganville. Or Kagantown. Brace for a Kagan-centric world as Senate Judiciary hearings begin for Supreme Court nominee Elena Kaganon Monday, staged before 12 Democrats and seven Republican lawmakers who have their own agenda. Broadcasters have promised gavel-to-gavel coverage, riddled with their own experts from all sides of the political spectrum. The Associated Press has deemed the process a “nationally televised job interview.”

It’s more than that, though. Ms. Kagan has become “Lady Kaga,” a kind of media-fueled, pop-cultural, larger-than-life figure whose legal prowess, personal life, sartorial style and academic background are all part of the show. The name first surfaced in the legal blog “Above the Law,” incidentally. The hearings will present a dramatic tableau for the nominee and her inquisitors, and confusion for most Americans - who respect the Supreme Court but know little of Ms. Kagan, according to a new C-Span survey. Some worry about the serious implications lurking behind these many distractions.

“Solicitor General Elena Kagan is far outside the mainstream of American legal thought, out of step with Main Street Americans, and lacks any substantial qualifications to sit on the Supreme Court,” say researchers from the Judicial Crisis Network, who have issued a “white paper” on the nominee.

“Using his ‘empathy’ standard, President Obama has nominated someone who will be a rubber stamp for his radical liberal agenda and views the Constitution as inconvenience,” the paper says, noting that Ms. Kagan has accrued a “consistent record” of anti-life advocacy, an “extreme record on the Second Amendment” and will provide a “key vote to impose same-sex marriage.”

And when the going gets shrill, and it will, Ms. Kagan also has media friends to buoy her up, moreso than Republican nominees John G. Roberts Jr. and Samuel A. Alito Jr.

“In the past, when liberal organizations chose to do ‘battle’ with a Republican appointee to the court, the networks chronicled the effort and showcased the complaints of left-wing groups. Now that the shoe is on the other foot, these same networks seem decidedly uncurious about the confirmation ‘fight’ over Elena Kagan,” says Rich Noyes, research director of the Media Research Center.

BUMPER PATROL

“Reagan 2012”

Bumper sticker spotted in Stafford, Va.

“I had a life but my job ate it.”

Bumper sticker spotted in Harrisburg, Pa.

ISLAND WISDOM

“It doesn’t surprise me that Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer is having a hard time getting President Obama to send her some unmanned drones to help patrol the border. All the drones are now in the White House.”

From an Inside the Beltway reader on Bear Island, Lake Winnipesaukee, N.H.

CRIST’S EMERGENCY

News surfaced recently that Florida Gov. Charlie Crist received $30 million from BP to deal with oil-spill woes in the Sunshine State - but the money is not going for, say, hazmat suits and oil-containment booms. Mr. Crist has designated the funds for “emergency marketing” to counter any “misperceptions” among potential tourists that the Gulf oil spill has had significant impact. The spill could have significant and strategic impact on Mr. Crist’s quest to become a Washington lawmaker, however.

The Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau has just received a $1.25 million chunk of the money, and they are mighty pleased with the governor, now locked in a vigorous race for the U.S. Senate with conservative hopeful Marco Rubio.

“We are grateful to Governor Crist for his leadership, and for recognizing that the oil spill is a statewide issue, affecting not only the areas already seeing oil sheen and/or tar balls, but the rest of the State, which suffers from the perception that they are affected, too,” says the bureau’s Chairman Steven Haas. “Securing these funds would not have been possible without the support of the Miami-Dade legislative delegation, and the leadership of Miami-Dade County, and the cities of Miami and Miami Beach.”

Such sentiments could come in handy for Mr. Crist in about five months.

LIBERAL TEA LEAVES

Run for the hills. The “liberal lifestyle” has a champion and he’s written a book. Justin Krebs has penned “538 Ways to Work, Live and Play Like a Liberal,” to be published right on the Fourth of July. This former employee of then-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has many chummy advisories to those who pine for, perhaps, a liberal version of the “tea party” agenda, including:

Watch MSNBC not Fox News, find a like-minded mate, make progressive financial investments and - (hm-m-m) - “wear the flag with pride,” he says. Doesn’t specify which flag, though.

“At a time when the ‘tea party’ energizes the Right and scares the mainstream, it’s important to understand that there is a vibrant social, political culture on the Left,” Mr. Krebs says enthusiastically. “We may not draw the same attention as the conservatives, but liberals are making progress, and developing political communities across the country. Seeing the successes is important, and learning how to expand and promote that liberal culture is critical.”

A BUNCH OF QUACKS

Beware the lame-duck Congress, says Ernest Istook. The former congressman-turned-Heritage Foundation analyst cautions that there is still an 11-week period between the November midterm elections and the arrival of a new Congress in January. All sorts of stuff can happen.

“Congress keeps postponing huge issues until after the elections, and there’s a danger in that,” Mr. Istook says. “This year, it’s the Democrats who may stuff major controversies into a postelection free-for-all. Politicians who won’t face the voters ever again - or not for at least two years - have less accountability, especially when they know it’s their last chance before a major power shift.”

Mr. Istook predicts there may be “last gasp” efforts to enact some form of carbon tax, energy tax or cap-and-trade. Some lawmakers may be more likely to approve controversial measures or “cozy up” to future employers in the private sector.

“Because the public loses its leverage with lame ducks, liberals, conservatives and moderates should agree that a lame-duck Congress is not a proper way to govern.” Mr. Istook advises. “Any major decision that they’re not willing to make before the election is one they should not be permitted to make afterwards. … We pay a heavy price whenever elected officials feel they are freed from accountability to the voters.”

POLL DU JOUR

87 percent of the Chinese are “satisfied with national conditions in their country.”

50 percent of Brazilians also are satisfied with their conditions.

45 percent of India residents are satisfied.

39 percent of Germans are satisfied.

34 percent of Russians are satisfied with their national conditions.

31 percent of British residents are satisfied.

30 percent of Americans are satisfied.

19 percent of Mexicans are satisfied.

Source: The Pew Research Center “Global Attitudes” poll of 24,000 adults in 22 countries.

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