John F. Kennedy made a financial contribution to fellow anti-communist and WWII Navy veteran Richard M. Nixon when, early in his political career, Nixon was running against a Democrat who was soft on Communism. Some have attributed this to cynical motives, but in all likelihood this contribution predated both men's cynicism, and thus expressed genuine solidarity against Communism and its enablers in the American Left.
Barack Obama, by contrast, has unmistakable Marxist impulses and can be described without caricature as a disciple of Saul Alinsky, author of Rules for Radicals and Reveille for Radicals. But Obama, too, is aware of the advantages of straying across the line to forage in Conservative orchards. The Obama campaign recognized early on that the Left has no credibility with centrist Americans under its own name, owing to decades of condescension and outright hostility to American religion, mores and working-class culture.
With only a brief, quickly suppressed gaffe that disparaged white Pennsylvanians for "clinging" to their guns and churches, the Obama machine has exercised remarkable message discipline by co-opting the Christian label, and has used social conservatives' language to soften the distinctions that will be painfully evident once Obama appoints his cabinet and nominates his judges.
The Black Church has apparently put itself entirely at the disposal of the Obama campaign. But Obama has also made major inroads in the white evangelical and Catholic communities. He has drawn endorsements from former pro-life stalwarts Douglas Kmiec and Frankie Schaeffer, and a divorced white Florida name-it-and-claim-it Megachurch preacher couple who will go unnamed here.
This was possible, of course, only with the collaboration of Obama's confederates in the mass media. The New York Times, for example, has mastered the technique of putting Leftist words in conservatives' mouths, often by identifying apostates as conservatives long after they cross over to make separate peace with the Left.
The Times article about the Supreme Court's Heller decision last week is a case in point:
October 21, 2008
Ruling on Guns Elicits Rebuke From the Right
By ADAM LIPTAK
WASHINGTON — Four months after the Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess guns, its decision is under assault — from the right.
Two prominent federal appeals court judges say that Justice Antonin Scalia’s majority opinion in the case, District of Columbia v. Heller, is illegitimate, activist, poorly reasoned and fueled by politics rather than principle. The 5-to-4 decision in Heller struck down parts of a District of Columbia gun control law.
The judges used what in conservative legal circles are the ultimate fighting words: They said the gun ruling was a right-wing version of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that identified a constitutional right to abortion. Justice Scalia has said that Roe had no basis in the Constitution and amounted to a judicial imposition of a value judgment that should have been left to state legislatures.
Comparisons of the two decisions, then, seemed calculated to sting.
“The Roe and Heller courts are guilty of the same sins,” one of the two appeals court judges, J. Harvie Wilkinson III, wrote in an article to be published in the spring in The Virginia Law Review.
Similarly, Judge Richard A. Posner, in an article in The New Republic in August, wrote that Heller’s failure to allow the political process to work out varying approaches to gun control that were suited to local conditions “was the mistake that the Supreme Court made when it nationalized abortion rights in Roe v. Wade.”
Sharp criticism of a recent Supreme Court decision by federal appeals court judges is quite unusual, though these two judges — both Reagan appointees — are more outspoken than most.
Judge Wilkinson, who sits on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, in Richmond, Va., was recently considered for a spot on the Supreme Court. Judge Posner, of the Seventh Circuit, in Chicago, is perhaps the most influential judge not on the Supreme Court.
Not all conservatives agree with the critics, of course. Robert A. Levy, a libertarian lawyer who was a principal architect of the victorious strategy in the Heller case, rejected the comparison to Roe.
The two sides in the Heller case claimed to rely on the original meaning of the Second Amendment, based on analysis of its text in light of historical materials. The amendment says, “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”
The more liberal justices said the amendment protected only a collective right tied to state militias, thus allowing most gun control laws. The more conservative justices found an individual right and struck down parts of a District of Columbia gun control law.
In Judge Wilkinson’s view, the upshot of the court’s extensive historical analysis was that “both sides fought into overtime to a draw.”
Others said the quality of the combat was low. “Neither of the two main opinions in Heller would pass muster as serious historical writing,” Jack Rakove, a historian at Stanford, wrote on the blog Balkinization soon after the decision was issued.
The strong reaction from the right after Heller was preceded, with a sort of symmetry, by liberal support for an individual-rights reading of the Second Amendment. For much of the 20th century, the conventional view of the amendment had been that it only protects a collective right. (Warren E. Burger, after retiring as chief justice in 1986, called the individual rights view “one of the greatest pieces of fraud — I repeat the word ‘fraud’ — on the American public by special interest groups that I have ever seen.”)
But some prominent liberal law professors, including Laurence H. Tribe of Harvard, Akhil Reed Amar of Yale and Sanford Levinson of the University of Texas, have concluded, sometimes reluctantly, that the amendment in fact protects an individual right. Professor Levinson’s seminal 1989 article in The Yale Law Journal captured the tone of the enterprise. It was called “The Embarrassing Second Amendment.”
In an interview, Professor Levinson said, “The result in Heller is eminently respectable.” But he added that he understood why some conservatives were upset. “People say the Roe court was too interventionist,” he said. “So is the Heller court from that perspective.”
Judge Wilkinson’s basic critique is that the majority, like that in Roe, used an ambiguous text to impose its policy preference on the nation, at great cost to the democratic process and to local values. He assumed, as most experts do, that the decision would apply to the states.
“In both Roe and Heller,” Judge Wilkinson wrote, “the court claimed to find in the Constitution the authority to overrule the wishes of the people’s representatives. In both cases, the constitutional text did not clearly mandate the result, and the court had discretion to decide the case either way.”
Judge Posner built on themes in his recent book “How Judges Think,” which argued that constitutional adjudication by the Supreme Court is largely and necessarily political. The Heller decision, he wrote in The New Republic, “is evidence that the Supreme Court, in deciding constitutional cases, exercises a freewheeling discretion strongly flavored with ideology.”
Indeed, Judge Wilkinson wrote, “Some observers may be tempted to view Heller as a revenge of sorts for Roe” or “a sort of judicial tit-for-tat.” As Judge Posner put it, “The idea behind the decision” in Heller “may simply be that turnabout is fair play.”
Mr. Levy, who helped win Heller, said some conservatives wanted almost all decisions to be made by the political branches rather than the courts.
“But these are constitutional rights,” Mr. Levy, now chairman of the Cato Institute, a libertarian research group, said of the rights protected by the Second Amendment. “They are not rights consigned to the legislature.”
The analogy to Roe, he went on, is misguided. There is no reference to abortion in the Constitution.
The Second Amendment, by contrast, indisputably protects a right to keep and bear arms, though there is sharp disagreement about the scope of the right. Mr. Levy said the natural reading of the amendment, one supported by historical materials, was that it protected an individual right.
In his article, Judge Wilkinson wrote that he “readily agreed” that Roe “involved the more brazen assertion of judicial authority.” But he added that the Roe and Heller cases shared a number of common flaws, including “a failure to respect legislative judgments,” “a rejection of the principles of federalism” and “a willingness to embark on a complex endeavor that will require fine-tuning over many years of litigation.”
Judge Wilkinson saved particular scorn for a brief passage in Justice Scalia’s opinion that seemed to endorse a variety of restrictions on gun ownership. “Nothing in our opinion,” Justice Scalia wrote, “should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.”
Whatever else may be said about the Second Amendment, Judge Wilkinson wrote, those presumptions have no basis in the Constitution. “The Constitution’s text,” he wrote, “has as little to say about restrictions on firearm ownership by felons as it does about the trimesters of pregnancy.”
Mr. Levy, too, said he was not a fan of the passage. “I would have preferred that that not have been there,” he said. “It created more confusion than light.”
It is too soon to say much about the legacy of Heller. But Judge Wilkinson said that Heller, at a minimum, represented “the worst of missed opportunities — the chance to ground conservative jurisprudence in enduring and consistent principles of restraint.” At worst, he warned, “There is now a real risk that the Second Amendment will damage conservative judicial philosophy” as much as Roe “damaged its liberal counterpart.”
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: October 23, 2008 An article on Tuesday about conservative criticism of the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on the application of the Second Amendment to gun control in the District of Columbia omitted two words from a passage in the decision concerning gun regulations that remained presumptively lawful. “Nothing in our opinion,” Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for the majority, “should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.” The words “felons and” were omitted.