Dennis Prager said in his first hour today: "President Bush was accused of the doctrine ‘If You’re Not With Us, You’re Against Us.’ That was to do with terror, with the blowing up of innocent people. He was ridiculed by the Left for that. But on the far more subtle complex issue of marriage, that is exactly the doctrine of the Left. Either you are with us or we will want to destroy you. It’s not even that we are against you, it is that you should be destroyed. You should not have a place in public life. You should not be able to make a living. We will boycott you. We will put up blacklists on the internet.
"The latest is the anger at Barack Obama for giving Rick Warren the honor of the invocation at the inauguration… No one who supports marriage as between a man and a woman [only] deserves a place at the inauguration, in government, in private industry, nowhere. The attempt is to ostracize mainstream America. The press never reports this like this because they agree with them. Look at Newsweek last week. It was intellectually dumb, the cover piece of Newsweek that the Bible really is for same-sex marriage."
The problem with Caroline Kennedy’s presumption to Hillary Clinton‘s soon-to-be-vacated Senate seat is not lack of qualification or experience. The Senate houses lots of inexperienced rookies — wealthy businessmen, sports stars, even the occasional actor.
The problem is Kennedy’s sense of entitlement. Given her rather modest achievements, she is trading entirely on pedigree.
I hate to be a good-government scold, but wasn’t the American experiment a rather firm renunciation of government by pedigree?
Yes, the Founders were not democrats. They believed in aristocracy. But their idea was government by natural — not inherited — aristocracy, an aristocracy of "virtue and talents," as Jefferson put it.
And yes, of course, we have our own history of dynastic succession: Adamses and Harrisons, and in the last century, Roosevelts, Kennedys and Bushes. Recently, we’ve even branched out into Argentine-style marital transmission, as in the Doles and the Clintons.
It’s not the end of the world, but it is an accelerating trend that need not be encouraged. After all, we have already created another huge distortion in our politics: a plethora of plutocrats in the U.S. Senate, courtesy of our crazed campaign finance laws. If you’re very very rich, you can buy your Senate seat by spending as much of your money as you want. Meanwhile, your poor plebeian opponent is running around groveling for the small contributions allowed by law. Hence the Corzines and the Kohls, who parachute into Congress seemingly out of nowhere.
Having given this additional leg up to the rich, we should resist packing our legislatures with yet more privileged parachutists, the well-born.
True, the Brits did it that way for centuries, but with characteristic honesty. They established a house of Parliament exclusively for highborn twits and ensconced them there for life. There they chatter away in supreme irrelevance deep into their dotage. Problem is that the U.S. Senate retains House of Commons powers even as it develops a House of Lords membership.
Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against Caroline Kennedy. She seems a fine person. She certainly has led the life of a worthy socialite helping all the right causes. But when the mayor of New York endorses her candidacy by offering, among other reasons, that "her uncle has been one of the best senators that we have had in an awful long time," we’ve reached the point of embarrassment.
Nor is Ms. Kennedy alone in her sense of entitlement. Vice President-elect Biden’s Senate seat will now be filled by Edward Kaufman, a family retainer whom no one ever heard of before yesterday. And no one will hear from after two years, at which time Kaufman will dutifully retire. He understands his responsibility: Keep the Delaware Senate seat warm for two years until Joe’s son returns from Iraq to assume his father’s mantle.