This week my inner political junkie is in overdrive, as I eagerly look forward to NPR's nightly recap of Elena Kagan's Supreme Court nomination hearings. She will be confirmed, after surviving the highly farcical confirmation process she described so well in 1995. Now that she's a nominee for the Supreme Court she has to backpedal from that brilliant earlier analysis, in yet more proof that candor and honesty are virtues we honor much more in theory than in practice.
Senator Jeff Sessions, Republican of Alabama, gave her the toughest time of the day. Sessions felt that Kagan disrespected the military in recruitment at the Harvard Law School campus when she was dean. Kagan successfully argued that her disdain was not for the military (her father was a veteran) but for the discriminatory policy that is Don't Ask Don't Tell. Sessions wasn't satisfied, but he was never going to vote for her confirmation anyway.
Refreshingly, Kagan displayed flashes of humor, even noting that she'd get her hair done more often if Supreme Court arguments were televised. And the best line all day: as a good Jew, she was at a Chinese restaurant last Christmas.
So there you have it--if you can't answer questions honestly in a Potemkin proceeding, the least you can do is laugh.