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Win first, play by the rules later


In this New York Times op-ed, Dahlia Lithwick and David S. Cohen rightly point out that audacity is the basis of Republicans wins. Being correct is not the basis of the wins; respecting precedent is not the basis of the wins.

KEY POINTS for me:

  • "[Republicans] didn't cop to the possibility that their [legal] theories [in Bush v. Gore] might lose or look foolish in retrospect. Take the theory that ultimately succeeded in the Supreme Court. There was NO PRECEDENT for the idea that the Constitution's Equal Protection Clause required a uniform recount within a state. However, the Republicans pressed that theory and convinced a majority, even though the justices acknowledged that the argument was both unprecedented and not to be used again. It was a win for pure audacity." (emphasis mine, obviously)

  • AND: "Win or lose, Republicans behave as if they won. Win or lose, Democrats behave as if they lost."

  • AND: "Impassioned citizens" are out front, throwing out ideas, legal theories, restating our most dearly held moral values, and in every way, leading the way.

Facts matter-- but only sometimes, among certain people, in certain conversations, in certain contexts. When you're making good policy, doing good science, teaching kids, facts are essential. I'm not convinced that some among us could spot a fact and distinguish it from an opinion, or a guess, or know how a theory differs from a guess.

When you're fighting to be in a position to make that policy, well, it's clear that you fight by any means necessary. You turn over some tables in the temples.

#politics

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