Michael: Working over society's refereesAfter a tumult of charges of partisanship from all sides, the DeLay political corruption case finally got a judge. How long will it be before a standard part of every case is to demand the recusal of any judge not sharing your client's party registration? Partisan election of judges is a deeply stupid idea for this, any many other, reasons.
I fear we may be coming to a point in American public life when public institutions are no longer perceived as being any more neutral or impartial than the most biased people within them. Look at elections. The deporable political polarization around the issue to accountable and auditable elections, which should be a very neutral and universal goal, is held hostage to the Republican's perception that black box elections somehow favor them. Every aspect of public life is becoming entangled in the Republicans' fevered insistence on 'working the referees'.
Elections should work without political bias. Journalism (as opposed to opinion/propaganda, like this blog) should operate without political bias. The courts should operate without political bias. Yet in each of these realms, on which the very notion of a just and accountable civic order is based, we see conservatives making every effort to inject bias, or decry imagined bias, where previously there was a conscious avoidance of it.
There is a childish saying, which sucinctly captures the essence of conservatives' relationship to political bias: "He who smelt it, dealt it."