The problem with nominating a blank slate, as Jane Hamsher capably argues, is that the president and his supporters have to take on faith that their nominee is “with them” on the issues they care about. But what if they haven’t seen all the documents or can’t quite be sure what she actually believes? It turns into a freak-out for the president’s supporters. And that is what may ensue on the issue nearest and dearest to the left — abortion. The AP reports:
As a White House adviser in 1997, Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan urged then-President Bill Clinton to support a ban on late-term abortions, a political compromise that put the administration at odds with abortion rights groups.
Documents reviewed Monday by The Associated Press show Kagan encouraging Clinton to support a bill that would have banned all abortions of viable fetuses except when the physical health of the mother was at risk. The documents from Clinton’s presidential library are among the first to surface in which Kagan weighs in the thorny issue of abortion.
The abortion proposal was a compromise by Democratic Sen. Tom Daschle. Clinton supported it, but the proposal failed and Clinton vetoed a stricter Republican ban.
And if the left isn’t annoyed enough with Rahm Emanuel, there is this:
The memo is more of a political calculation than a legal brief, but Kagan and Reed urged Clinton to support the compromise despite noting that the Justice Department believed the proposal was unconstitutional.
“We recommend that you endorse the Daschle amendment in order to sustain your credibility on HR 1122 and prevent Congress from overriding your veto,” they wrote.
The memo noted that another White House adviser, Rahm Emmanuel, also supported the idea. Emmanuel is now Obama’s chief of staff.
Uh oh. Well, the left will have a tizzy, the leftist blogosphere will criticize Obama for “playing it safe” with an unreliable stealth nominee, and then the White House will have to reassure its supporters that she’s definitely with them — but of course, they wouldn’t have ever asked her how she’d rule on abortion. Conservatives would do well to pipe down. Let the administration untangle itself from this one and explain why it chose someone who has no paper trail and spent her entire career convincing conflicting sides that she was a sympathetic ear.