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Saturday, July 23, 2005

SO SAYS TED: The senior senator from Massachusetts says his fellow Democrats must not make Jane Sullivan Robert's views on abortion an issue in her husband's confirmation hearings.
"...Mrs. Roberts's work 'ought to be out of bounds,'" says Kennedy.
This is revealed in a front-page New York Times article with the headline: "Anti-abortion Advocacy of Wife of Court Nominee Draws Interest." Whose interest? The Times'. The article features this pull-quote: "Questions about whether a wife's views reflect her husband's." Whose questions? Again, the Times'. The article doesn't quote anyone who dares to make Jane Sullivan Roberts "fair game" in her husband's hearings. "Fair game" of course was the choice phrase of Kerry campaign operative Mary Beth Cahill, when Kerry decided to smear Mary Cheney while pretending to honor her courage. Maybe the left learned something from that cheap shot, which may have cost Kerry the votes of key moderates who didn't like what the comment revealed about the candidate's character, or lack thereof. Jane Sullivan Roberts's feminist credentials are the real deal — feminism in the best and original sense. She's a talented, accomplished, independent woman who has made her way in a largely male dominated legal world. She asked for no preferences to compensate for being "disadvantaged" as a woman. She made up her mind about what she valued, and she aimed high. One domain she values is being a mom. If the opponents of John Roberts want to make his wife's political views an issue, they will do so only by further betraying the foundations upon which the women's movement was originally based. The feminist establishment that winked at Bill Clinton's degradation of women probably has enough political savvy not to go after Jane Sullivan Roberts — directly. Instead, they'll quietly work to advance a whispering campaign. We'll hear that "questions are being raised" and "people are wondering" and Jane Sullivan Roberts's views "draw interest." It will be interesting indeed to see how far the opponents of John Sullivan will go in playing the marriage card. But we know Ted Kennedy won't be part of that campaign, which means we'll be spared news stories revisiting the high points of the senator's respectful relationships with women. Which is probably a good thing, given that last week's 36th anniversary of Chappaquiddick passed with little media coverage. Certainly it would be in nobody's interest to have to read newspaper articles about how that anniversary is "drawing interest" or "raising new questions." Yes, Senator Kennedy — let's all focus on John Roberts, shall we?