Shorter Doug Kmiec

By Pejman Yousefzadeh Posted in | | | Comments (23) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »

My former Constitutional Law professor has written an editorial endorsing Barack Obama for the Presidency. In the editorial, Professor Kmiec makes the following points:

  1. He is a small-government, traditional values Republican;
  2. He knows that Senator Obama disagrees with Professor Kmiec on just about every major domestic and foreign policy issue of importance and substance;
  3. He hopes that Senator Obama "is not closed to understanding opposing points of view, and as best as it is humanly possible, he will respect and accommodate them."

Why Professor Kmiec believes this is not explained. Indeed, there isn't even an attempt at an explanation or at a reconciliation of his views with those of Senator Obama's. I guess that we are just supposed to believe that Professor Kmiec will eventually be more explicit regarding that reconciliation.

Then again, perhaps this kind of endorsement should come as no surprise, especially when a previous Kmiec endorsement is brought to the forefront of our memories. Like Proust biting into the tea-soaked madeleine, certain mental souvenirs do not easily fade from one's consciousness.

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Shorter Doug Kmiec 23 Comments (0 topical, 23 editorial, 0 hidden) Post a comment »

Has anyone checked Kmiec's party registration lately?

All the talk of "coming together" seems to assume that those who cooperate from across the aisle will simply give in to the policy demands.

Why oh why would you endorse someone that shares NONE of your values?
When I see stuff like this, it just confirms to me that either people are just blinded by the "glow" or they really are stupid. The verdict is still out on which one is true.

I didn't follow Romney's campaign much so was not aware of this guy, but he comes off as stupid or wallowing in cognitive dissonance. I vote for stupid.

You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.

... for a cushy job in the coming Obama administration. You know, fluff up the old resume before the country goes down the drain.

Why would God invent something like whiskey? To keep the Irish from ruling the world of course

I once thought Doug Kmiec was a really smart guy.

Just one terrible avalanche of stupid, this.

Red Hot-

"...emerged from the empty tomb to take away the guilt of the honkeys."

You made me laugh so unexpectedly that I spit coffee. Ha! I haven't been called a honkey since I was a kid growing up in TX/AR. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

I think your second point mis-represents his argument somewhat. While the initial part of his endorsement is vague, apparently based on mere impression or at the least a poorly explained research process, later in the editorial he lays out what would appear to be his chief complaint:

"Our president has involved our nation in a military engagement without sufficient justification or clear objective. In so doing, he has incurred both tragic loss of life and extraordinary debt jeopardizing the economy and the well-being of the average American citizen. In pursuit of these fatally flawed purposes, the office of the presidency, which it was once my privilege to defend in public office formally, has been distorted beyond its constitutional assignment. Today, I do no more than raise the defense of that important office anew, but as private citizen."

It would appear he is taking a risk on other issues that matter to him in order to reject (via Obama) a continuation of current foreign policy. Seems simple enough.

Prior to endorsing Obama, Kmiec was supporting Mitt Romney for President. Why is it that at point in time, Kmiec wasn't worried about risking "a continuation of current foreign policy"?

"At times one remains faithful to a cause only because its opponents do not cease to be insipid." --Friedrich Nietzsche

perhaps he has an argument as to possible differences in policy between romney and mcain, but really i have no idea and couldn't intelligently speculate.

"In various ways, Senator Barack Obama and I may disagree on aspects of these important fundamentals, but I am convinced based upon his public pronouncements and his personal writing that on each of these questions he is not closed to understanding opposing points of view, and as best as it is humanly possible, he will respect and accommodate them."

You can say a lot of good things about McCain, but understanding opposing views, and respecting and accomodating them are not among them. And honestly, you probably could say those same things about Romney, when you consider how he dealt with the Massachusetts legislature.

...where is the track record of Obama actually working across the aisle and being respectful of other people's opinions? For somebody who talks about it a lot, he doesn't seem to do much of it.

"No matter how much lipstick you put on the taxation pig, it's still a pig... and it's currently snout-down in your wallet." - Michael Fisk

I wouldn't read too much of general import into Kmiec's (admittedly unfortunate) endorsement. Really it just represents the way the legal academy both left and right is ga-ga over Obama as "one of their own" in a way that no Presidential candidate in recent memory has been. I mean, even Richard Epstein at the University of Chicago Law School is backing Obama...and god knows there couldn't be two people more ideologically different from one another than the hardcore libertarian Epstein and the hardcore liberal Obama. Epstein just likes Obama and all these guys like the idea of a fellow law professor (one familiar with arguments on both sides) being Prez.

Again, I think this is stupid logic myself, for all the obvious reasons that need not be rehearsed here. But I'm pretty sure that's the main factor in these sorts of otherwise inexplicable endorsements.

than anyone suspects. Obama for President because God knows we need yet another freaking lawyer, a leftist one at that, to guide us peasants.

Why would God invent something like whiskey? To keep the Irish from ruling the world of course

...but I endorse him for president.


“.....women and minorities hardest hit”

Pejman, now you've really depressed me. I think that's about the worst thing I've ever read an academic write, just on the intellectual merit of the argument it contains, or rather, doesn't contain in any indentifiable way whatsoever.

The only thing I can ascribe it to is Obama's reality distortion field in academia, a manifestation of utter peer pressure forcing people to write so embarrassingly.

If Kmiec really liked Obama he wouldn't have been on the Romney campaign. This seems more like a sour grapes endorsement. Kmiec doesn't mention why he isn't supporting the one candidate with a strong record on judges, abortion, and marriage. He dutifully ignores the existence of McCain.

His arguments make sense if you're only choices are Obama and Clinton, but he doesn't speak for a moment about why Obama would be better than McCain on anything he actually cares about.

It reads to me as if he doesn't consider McCain an option (for whatever reason).

Donate to the Rs in Close Senate Races through Slatecard

is foreign policy. However, it still doesn't make sense that he was supporting Romney who seems to have the same foreign policy. But maybe he thinks Romney deep down was a non-interventionist or he thinks Romney was better on Social issues and that outweighed his being bad on the war.

See here:

PopCon correctly points out that Kmiec was willing to overlook the War & get on board with Romney. As a fellow former Romney supporter, I am sympathetic to Kmiec's discontent with McCain. Though I still back McCain.

Huckabee laid the groundwork for McCain to beat Romney. McCain slammed Romney on substantive grounds while Huckabee played bad cop with subtle cheap shots.

I wouldn't dream of faulting Thompson or Giuliani for not standing up to Huckabee had they benefited from Huckabee's slimy tactics. But McCain's different. He has a record of decrying dirty personal attacks through proxies. Yet he embraced Huckabee!

I took it as mere opportunism by McCain & have moved on. Life's too short to be disappointed by a politician.

But it is not surprising that another Romney supporter would be bitter about the loss. Hagee's claim that McCain actively sought out his support probably added insult to injury.

PS to my Catholic friends: you are not being asked to defend Kmiec. Obviously the man only speaks for himself. In fact, a strong case can be made that, if anything, Catholics deserve credit for disproportionately resisting Obamania. See here:

Yup by skey

Lord knows if I could convince myself that the eventual Democrat nominee wasn't going to be a total disaster I'd be voting for them in the fall. Instead, I'm left with disaster regardless, and have to gauge whether the guaranteed 8 years of damage that will occur if McCain wins is worse than the guaranteed 4 years of damage that will occur if he doesn't. Right now, I think that's a pretty close call. Your call may vary (and obviously does).

I think Kmiec made the same judgement, but was able to convince himself that Obama isn't a total disaster. I think he's deluded himself to do that, but I understand it.

And so I spend my time, money and effort on races where I think there is a positive choice to be made.

I too, have taken a class on Constitutional Law from Prof. Kmiec. I respected his intellect, his dry humor and his general goodwill toward his students. Since then, I've watched his slide toward Obama ever since Romney left.

I've never particularly understood it. Kmiec is a brilliant man, but as it's said, great minds don't make small mistakes, they make huge ones. The only thing that I REALLY find difficult to understand is that he doesn't even seem to present much of an argument as to why. What's more, any reason you can come up with based on his words crumble when examined.

Giving him the biggest benefit of the doubt I can, I guess it boils down to the thinks the Iraq war was unjust, and wants to leave, and that he agreed with McCain that Romney seemed to be saying he'd favor some form of cut-and-run, even though Romney denied it. He assumed he'd flip flop on that issue like he had on others.

But if he actually believed that, why exactly did he believe Romney on social issues and Judges, when Romney's record was clearly a flip-flop on those issues? It just doesn't make any sense.

I hate to say it, but it could be that Kmiec is bitter about not being appointed as an Appeals Court Judge. It's an open secret that he wanted it and the White House, for whatever reason, failed to do so. The conventional wisdom was that Barbra Boxer torpedoed him by saying she'd put a hold on him no matter what if he was appointed to the 9th Circuit, and that they just had other nominees that were better for the DC Circuit. However, given his increasingly visible doveishness, perhaps the White House just concluded he simply wasn't there kind of judge, in spite of his impressive scholarship and conservatism on other issues.

But again, if this was the case, why was he supporting Romney in the first place? If he wanted a Republican that was a break from Bush due to his bitterness, why would he not pick McCain? There was clearly no love-lost between McCain and Bush. Romney was practically running for Bush's third term with greater know-how. So this doesn't make much sense either.

The only other thing that comes to mind is that Kmiec went from the smoothest talking "nice guy" on the Republican side, to the next smoothest talking "nice guy" on the Democratic side. By that, I mean that both men have at least somewhat similar personalities to Kmiec himself. All three have a reasoned, moderate tone in their way of speaking, all three are slow to anger, all three seem like the type it would be great to have a nice, academic debate about issues with.

In other words, style over substance. That's really the only thing that makes any sense. For whatever reason, Kmiec either was overcome by style, or legitimately believes that in some cases, style is more important then substance. That second part is true sometimes, but it's hard to see how it would be true for a die-hard pro-lifer when we are one vote away from overturning Roe v. Wade, and there is 0% chance that Obama will appoint someone who will overturn Roe.

His references to Obama "bringing people together" and his honesty on racial questions maybe translating to dealing with Islam is the only thing I can imagine he could mean and have his logic make any sense at all. He believes that if someone can relate to radical Islam, they can change it through dialog. While I have no doubt that some people sympathetic to radical Islam could be changed in such a fashion (not even addressing the question of if Obama could actually be such a man), it seems to me believing that all or even most could be changed in such a fashion borders on either almost total ignorance about what exactly radical Islam is, or pure lunacy.

I don't like to be so harsh on a man whom I truly do like. But in terms of actual arguments, he's leaving me with little choice. The best possible interpretation of his arguments lead to places that border on incoherence or at least not really thinking the issue through and responding only based on emotion.

The only real conclusion I've come to is that while I respect Kmiec on questions of law, he doesn't know much of anything about politics.

"I ain't never votin' fo another Democrat so long as I can draw breath! I'll vote for a dog first!" - Leola Thomas

Obama staffer on their litmus test for SCOTUS Justices:

"We'd want a nominee who would do what John Roberts did," one staff member said. "You go through the process and say 'Hey, I'll look at each case as it comes.' You have a moderate temperament. You're affable and everybody likes you. And then you get up there, and after a year and a half, you vote on the opposite side from John Roberts in every single case where that's warranted and it matters."

Go to the index of Audacity Of Hope and read every reference to "Scalia".

Prof. Kmiec is just insane if he believes that "(i)n various ways, Senator Barack Obama and I may disagree on aspects of these important (judicial) fundamentals, but I am convinced based upon his public pronouncements and his personal writing that on each of these questions he is not closed to understanding opposing points of view, and as best as it is humanly possible, he will respect and accommodate them."

Totally insane. Whatever reason there may be to vote for Obama, judges sure ain't it.

STEVENS, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which SCALIA, J., joined.

Either your old law professor is the kind of gullible twerp that those 2 AM "get rich quick" infomercials were made for, or he's sold out.

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