Up Front


What is your best D.C. pickup line?

"How about you and me form a coalition of the willing?" -- Larry Sabato, University of Virginia

"Is there any room for me in your caucus?" -- Jesse Taylor, pandagon.net

"Should we take this back to my place or would you prefer the 'public option'?" -- Ryan Avent, blogger

"Baby, CBO would score you a 10." -- Eric Rauchway, U.C. Davis

"I'm moving to New York City. Wanna come?" -- Andrew Golis, Talking Points Memo;


PARODY by T.A. Frank

"Every level of government should statutorily and procedurally prefer married couples over cohabitators, homosexuals, or fornicators." 
 -- highlight from the 1989 graduate thesis of Virginia gubernatorial candidate Robert F. McDonnell

Other highlights the Prospect has uncovered from the college papers of prominent political leaders: 

"Often unfairly depicted, Moriarty is primarily motivated by self-defense, which forces him to work the dark side, if you will." 
 -- Dick Cheney 
Casper College 

"When Bartleby says, 'I would prefer not to' to every request made of him in the workplace, it may seem as if he is simply offering refusal and obstruction. That is entirely unfair to Bartleby. What Bartleby is really saying is, 'What we all need to do is to slow down, stop this current process, start over, and get it right.'" 
 -- Mitch McConnell, University of Louisville

"A notably unfair negative portrayal is Shakespeare's Richard III, as this ignores the security threats Richard faced during the War of the Roses. He had no choice but to work the dark side, if you will." 
 -- Richard Cheney, 
Casper College

"Konrad Adenauer has 
preserved the essential ambivalence about West German identity that ... 

wait, are you sleeping?" -- John Kerry, Yale

"Atticus Finch is an admirable character in To Kill a Mockingbird, but that does not mean he has the right to question the due process against his client. I have not seen anything in the case of Tom Robinson that would cause me to think that the decision that was made by the courts of the state of Alabama was not correct." 
 -- Rick Perry, Texas A&M

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness." -- Joe Biden, University of Delaware

"Hamlet is a famous work by William Shakespeare that, like all of them, any of them, is very great." 
 -- Sarah Palin, Hawaii Pacific University

"Hamlet is a famous work by William Shakespeare that is very great, like any of them, all of them." 
 -- Sarah Palin, North Idaho College

"Hamlet is a famous work, like any of them, all of them, by William Shakespeare that is very great." 
 -- Sarah Palin, University of Idaho

"Like all of them, any of them, Hamlet is a famous work by William Shakespeare that is very great." 
 -- Sarah Palin, Matanuska-Susitna College

"Macbeth is a famous work by William Shakespeare that, like any of them, all of them, is very great."
 -- Sarah Palin, back at the University of Idaho


Dialogue Justice League

Who will be the next Supreme Court nominee?

Adam Serwer: With John Paul Stevens and Ruth Bader Ginsburg possibly retiring soon, we may be looking at another Supreme Court battle in the near future. Who should Obama nominate?

Scott Lemieux: Well, there are a variety of things to consider, but with the Democratic majority in the Senate, it's time to appoint a strong liberal.

Adam: Right, but do you think Obama agrees? Or will he choose another moderate who can be sold as a "pragmatist"?

Scott: I do worry about that. The optimistic way of looking at this is that Bush sold Roberts and Alito as moderates, after all. Judge Diane Wood, who seemed to be high on the shortlist last time, would be easily confirmable but is acceptably liberal.

Adam: I like Wood, but I also like Harold Koh, who has been vocally critical of executive overreach. 

Scott: Obama should consider Pamela Karlan of Stanford Law, for a few reasons: She's a strong liberal, someone with the intellectual ability and theoretical chops to defend liberal constitutional philosophy against Scalia and Thomas ...

Adam: The fact that she's got a razor wit is also a plus.

Scott: Her sense of humor does help. With Ginsburg likely to retire, we need someone who can write the kinds of dissents she's famous for.

Adam: Is there anyone you don't want to see nominated?

Scott: Some liberals would cite Cass Sunstein here, but I don't actually think Obama will choose him. And even if he did, I think he'd basically be a reliable liberal vote.

Adam: So you don't think there are any potential "disaster" picks?

Scott: Well, you never know, but at least among the most discussed potential nominees -- Kagan, Wood, Koh -- they all seem OK to me.

Adam: Elena Kagan? She's good but she seems somewhat deferential to executive power. 

Scott: Her youth is, like it or not, a major advantage. I wish we had term limits, but since we don't, you have to consider it. 

Adam: Are you expecting a more explicit throw-down between liberal and conservative judicial philosophies this time? The Sotomayor hearings seemed to cement the idea 
of activism as bad, even though both sides do it.

Scott: The political advantages of just restating a lot of drivel about mechanically applying the law are so obvious that doing so is almost irresistible.

Adam: Politically speaking, my preferred order would be Karlan, then Koh. I'm looking forward to hearing Pat Buchanan's explanation of why Asian Americans can't be judges. 


Scott Lemieux is an assistant professor at the College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York, and a contributor to the Prospect's group blog, TAPPED.

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