Ten years ago today, at 5:42 p.m. Eastern, Legal Insurrection published its first post, Obama is Door No. 2.
Prior to starting this blog, I was completely non-political. I may have donated small amounts of money to a handful of candidates, but I was not politically active. Like most people, I was more concerned with other aspects of life.
As 2008 progressed, I became increasingly frustrated with and concerned about the mass delusion of Obamamania sweeping the nation, and the blatant media bias.
Yet I still did not become political until very late in the game, and by happenstance.
In early September 2008 I was at the home of a friend and former client, someone I had represented quite successfully in a case before I left private practice. Despite having spent hundreds of hours together, we never had discussed politics.
At the dinner table with our wives, he asked me for whom I was voting. I mentioned that I was voting for McCain, and we got into a big argument, since he was an ardent Obama supporter and suffered from severe PDS.
After we argued back and forth for a while, he said that he never had heard anyone make the points as clearly as I had, and suggested that I should start a blog.
That’s it. No grand plan, just an argument and a dare.
I didn’t really know what a blog was. I didn’t follow the blogosphere much, if at all. So I picked Google Blogger because it was free, easy to use, and free. I was so ignorant of blogging that it never dawned on me to blog under a pseudonym.
It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years now. The camaraderie and spirit of those early Tea Party years still are my fondest memories.
I’ve been through a lot, and I’ve met many great people *virtually* along the way. I’ve also crossed the internet-real world divide many times.
There are readers and fellow bloggers I now consider friends. It’s those people and friendships I’ll still cherish when the pixels dim.
The state of the legal insurrection
Last year I wrote that Legal Insurrection is 9 years old, and filled with dread. On that 9th Anniversary, I was seriously expecting that this year’s anniversary post would be “Legal Insurrection is 10 years old, and done.” I was dispirited:
So I’m thinking through what it will mean to live without institutions.
Sorry to be a downer on our blog birthday. I’ve always tried to be honest with you, and honestly, this blog birthday I’m filled with dread, not good cheer.
So what is the state of the legal insurrection on this 10th Anniversary?
I’m feeling a little more optimistic now, and have dialed back the Dread Clock:
I wish I had a Dread Clock, similar to the Doomsday Clock.
If so, it would have been about three minutes to midnight. But I’ll dial it back by a couple of minutes because of the ongoing success in reclaiming the federal judiciary from the grip of liberal activism…, the clock is being dialed back now because of the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy….
There’s a reason the left is freaking the hell out over the Kennedy retirement. The federal district and appeals courts have been the principal vehicles for achieving liberal political gains that could not be gained at the ballot box or through congressional elections. The Supreme Court, usually by a one-vote Kennedy margin (with the exception of Obamacare, where Roberts defected), also has served that role in fewer, but the most important, cases.
We are used to losing institutions. The left is not. They are waking up to the possibility that the judiciary may be restored to the neutral role it should play, and would no longer serve as a liberal super-legislature.
The reclaiming of the federal judiciary, particularly the Supreme Court, is why the Dread Clock now stands at 5 minutes before midnight.
I did not know at the time the Dread Clock was dialed back that the nominee would be Brett Kavanaugh, or that the Democrats would engage in a months-long smear campaign at the level of dishonesty and fury at which it was fought.
“The personal life is dead in Russia, history has killed it” is one of my favorite lines from the movie Reds. I kept thinking of that line as Democrats weaponized Kavanaugh’s liberal college and law school classmates against him.
I understand what it’s like to be the target of a smear campaign, though what I experienced at Vassar a year ago was a proverbial drop in the ocean of hate and fabrication directed at Kavanaugh. It was an out-of-body experience.
My experience being the object of Vassar’s two-minutes of hate changed the way I look at the left. While many of them are merely misguided, far too many of them are bad people who simply must be defeated. They don’t share our core values of liberty and freedom. In the insane world of the modern campus, defending free speech for those who are unpopular is denigrated as an act of white supremacy. Insisting on due process for the accused is deemed an act in service of the “patriarchy.” And now those campus orthodoxies have taken over the Democratic Party and progressive movement, and are projected by the media.
A meaningful segment of the “progressive” movement has had their minds captured by anti-capitalist, anti-American and anti-Western educational indoctrination. There is no reasoning with such people not because I don’t want to reason with them, but because they have what amounts to a religious zealotry. “Intersectionality” has weaponized these zealots against Israel and Jews, as a proxy for capitalism, America and the West. It’s a singular enemy we face.
If Vassar was an eye-opener for me. Kavanaugh was a game-changer. I don’t know what will be in a few years, but for now there is pre-Kavanaugh and post-Kavanaugh.
Others have made the point, but it’s worth repeating: The malicious campaign against Kavanaugh proves that none of us are safe. No matter how well you live your life, you are exposed to serious damage if you get in their way politically.
The failure to confirm Kavanaugh would have been a disaster, emboldening further abuses. When defeat for Kavanaugh seemed possible, I also was reminded of how Natan Sharansky read Psalm 30 as he was released from Soviet imprisonment:
“I will exalt You, O Lord, for You have raised me up, and You have not allowed my enemies to rejoice over me.”
Thankfully we prevailed this time, just one battle in a long war which, as least superficially, we are losing.
Academia is gone. High tech is gone. Mass media is gone. The entertainment industry is gone. And along with those losses has come the loss of control over our vocabulary, which now is subservient to political needs of the institutions we have lost.
But I’m not as gloomy as I was a year ago. As always, Democrats and liberals overreach. On April 29, 2009, after Arlen Specter switched parties, I wrote, Relax, The Dems Will Screw Up:
It would be very easy to fall into a depression over Arlen Specter switching political parties, giving Democrats a likely filibuster-proof Senate majority. The result will be that Obama will be able to push through much of his agenda without meaningful debate….
What history shows us is that a liberal, blame-America-first Democratic President, urged on by a liberal, blame-America-first Democratic Congress, is a prescription for political self-destruction. Leave Democrats to their own devices, and they will screw themselves politically, just when they are at the height of power.
And so it came to pass. Democrats under Obama did pass Obamacare (barely), but over the next 8 years they were eviscerated at the state level and in Congress, culminating in Election Night 2016. No matter what happens in the future, we can always cherish the meltdowns of that night.
So Democrats, liberals, progressives, leftists — whatever label you want to put on them, are in control of the key cultural institutions of society. But they already are overreaching. Their ideological and cultural totalitarianism already is creating a backlash that may be as great as the political backlash of 2009-2016.
Dread has turned to cautious optimism. If we can hold off the barbarians at the gates in 2018 and 2020, change could be institutionalized and long-lasting. But they are not going to go away quietly or nicely.
All we have is ourselves, our camaraderie, our friendships, our loved ones, our faith, and our Constitution.
So the legal insurrection will continue, for as long as we can keep it going.
But enough about me.
Now a personal note.
As many of you are aware, the last three years have been incredibly difficult due to family illness, and never more so than this past year. My mental and physical energy have been non-existent at times. There are days and sometimes weeks when I just have to disappear. You may have noticed. Nonetheless, I remain hopeful that life can return to *normal* in this fourth year of our difficult journey.
Next year we will celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary, and that means more to me than all the rest.
But enough about me.
Through it all, we’ve kept pushing forward at Legal Insurrection through this adversity. Thanks to the editors and authors for helping keep the wheels rolling here. That we have celebrated so many author 5-year Anniversaries says a lot about how we view ourselves as a team.
Thanks also to the many readers who donate. We run an incredibly lean operation here, and scrape by on what is a rounding error for many websites.
We appreciate the readers who keep coming back for more. In a difficult time period for smaller websites, our traffic held steady and is on the increase.
Thanks even to, ahem, the, um, [heaves a little, almost ralphs], the commenters, many of whom have been here for several years.
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