Like many of my liberal brethren, I was overwhelmed with grief and fear upon hearing that Anthony Kennedy was retiring from the Supreme Court. Within days, however, commentators were reminding us that Kennedy was really not all that liberal, and with but a few exceptions, he toed the right wing line pretty consistently.
Before that, it was Sandra Day O’Connor, who while she did support a moderate position on abortion, her Webster opinion still amounted to a watering down of Roe v. Wade. And how can we forget that she was the deciding vote in Bush v. Gore.
Now, we are looking to John Roberts, buoyed by his vote on the Obamacare case. If he is who we are counting on for salvation, there is little hope for us.
Similarly, liberals now find ourselves looking fondly back on the days of George W. Bush. But we cannot forget the outrage he generated with his baseless war in Iraq or his pro-industry positions, with Darth Vader Cheney himself leading the way. I remember the deep depression I sank into upon learning of John Kerry’s defeat.
I’m also old enough to remember his father’s presidency. I was outraged then at his veto strategy that blocked any efforts Congress made at progress. Indeed, in retrospect, even Ronald Reagan, Barry Goldwater and Richard Nixon seem downright moderate, even liberal.
The point is that we now look at Trump and wonder what comes next. Unless things change pretty dramatically, we will be looking at future Republican candidates who are even more outrageous than he is. It may be hard to imagine that, but during the George W. Bush presidency, I couldn’t imagine anyone worse. Same as during George H.W. Bush’s, Ronald Reagan’s, and so on.
I hate to be negative, but the mean has steadily been moving to the right. Unless something changes dramatically, we will be finding ourselves shocked with even greater outrages in the future.