Thursday, February 12, 2009 was President Lincoln’s 200 birthday. You might recall that in Lincoln’s second inaugural he spoke the words, “With malice toward none, with charity for all…” Now charity is not exactly empathy, but they are in the same family of sentiments.
Enter David Vitter. Lincoln’s 200th birthday found Vitter at a Chinese restaurant in D.C. equating Obama’s call for empathy for the downtrodden with “dictatorship,” producing one of the great non sequiturs of the last couple of decades. This is how the story was reported in Mother Jones (which, given Vitter’s record, I am inclined to trust).
Republican Louisiana Sen. David Vitter made a trip to DC’s Chinatown on Thursday to nibble on kung pao chicken and rally the conservative troops. Addressing the DC lawyers chapter of the conservative legal group, the Federalist Society, Vitter got right down to red meat. After quoting comments from President Obama suggesting that he’d like his judicial nominees to be able to empathize with the downtrodden, Vitter declared that demanding empathy in a judge was something you’d expect in a “dictatorship.” How empathy equates with repressive rule, Vitter didn’t really explain, except to say that it had little to do with ensuring checks and balances on an imperial government.
You might think that a senator would have remembered some of Lincoln’s most important words on this day. But not Dave. Next time a judge is empathetic or shows some mercy, just remember that for Dave we are one step closer to a dictatorship.
But perhaps this is not just about Dave. Are the Republicans losing it? I mean, they made Eric Cantor House whip, a man who is certainly in over his head and seems not to worry about prevaricating.