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February 7, 2019

MEGAN MCARDLE: In attacking Neomi Rao, Democrats are arguing against progress — in more ways than one.

Neomi Rao is eminently qualified to be a judge; the former law professor has worked in both Congress and the White House, in addition to her academic experience. She has also long leaned right; when she was in college, and for some time after, she wrote right-leaning opinion pieces. Progressive groups have seized on these old writings as evidence of racial insensitivity and hostility to sexual-assault survivors, and in Rao’s confirmation hearing Tuesday, Democratic senators called her to account for them.

I’m tempted to write “Democrats are reduced to pointless obstructionism,” but “obstructionism” implies the ability to obstruct. Senate Democrats lack that ability, having done away with the filibuster for lower-court judicial nominations when they were in control. Thus they are reduced even further, to “pointless mudslinging.”

Yet “pointless” doesn’t mean “harmless.” The Democratic senators’ juvenile tactics will not stop Rao’s confirmation, but they are lowering the already debased national discourse. . . .

Of course, if the latter-day inquisitors get their way, and everyone is liable to future prosecution for views they no longer hold, we might all become somewhat less cognitively supple. Consider the message that progressives are sending to anyone hesitant about some proposed social change: “We want equality and justice. Also, after we win, we want to punish anyone who disagrees with us right now.”

Future punishees could be forgiven for being reluctant to support any such victory. Moreover, at the beginning of any major campaign for social change, those people will definitionally be in the majority; if they weren’t, the campaign would be unnecessary.

There’s a certain irony in watching progressive groups deploy tactics that are anti-progress in every sense of the word.

Well, it would be more ironic if anyone with any sense believed their claims about what they believe and want. If you want to lower your opinion of progressives still more, just read the comments to her piece at the Post.