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The Hughes Report
Sunday, July 24, 2005
Tom Lehrer and the Souter Surprise
Topic: Roberts Nomination
I must reluctantly confess that for several years I was an avid listener to the Garrison Keillor radio show, that Trojan horse of liberalism couched in a veil of nostalgia. I enjoyed the music and comedy, except of course for the parts that made me sick to my stomach. I class Keillor's show along with my other guilty pleasures, the sitcoms "Seinfeld" and "Frazier," which I find simultaneously entertaining and morally repugnant. At least it is good to know what the Left is up to.

Keillor lost me after the 1992 election when he declared that he had finally found a president he could support, and pledged to do so unequivocally.

To get on with the story, back then I used to tape Keillor's show and sock away my favorite snippets for later. I still have these tapes somewhere. Among them is a performance of a Tom Lehrer piece that dealt with David Souter's appointment to the Supreme Court. Lehrer, if you are not aware, writes left-wing political ditties.

There is genuine concern among conservatives, including myself, that John Roberts, current nominee to the Court might, like Souter, be revealed, too late, to be a closet liberal. The Souter appointment has been one of my main disappoints with George Bush, Sr., along with his failure to remove Saddam Hussein in the First Gulf War. I think most conservatives would be content with a justice who would simply honor the Constitution's original intent -- which is the only legitimate interpretation of it -- without being ideological; but of course, those are fighting words to the Left.

The Democrats are prepared to skewer any candidate that is not left of center. Sen. Charles Schumer is demanding the nominee answer 7 pages of specific questions. Sen. Patrick Leahy has already signaled his opposition to any nominee "out of the mainstream," a tactic he has used for many years, as if there were any requirement to be "mainstream" in the Constitution. Apparently, "mainstream" refers to anyone to agrees with him.

However, conservatives might also benefit from the process of grilling the nominee, to be assured that Roberts is one who will swear allegiance to the Constitution, not just his opinions about it. We ought to have at least listened to the scuttlebutt about Souter in 1990.

This is where Tom Lehrer comes in, for he seems to have known some inside information. His song, performed on Keillor's show, includes such lines as, "The man is a liberal, and ACL Liberal," "he'll vote for liberty," "liberal when shove comes to push," and "appointed by Barbara Bush."

The tune was quite catchy, but I discovered that Lehrer did not write it. The tune is, "He Had to Get Under, Get Out and Get Under, written by Maurice Abrahams and published in 1913.

My question is, how did Tom Lehrer know what the Republicans and the first Bush Administration did not?

Copyright 2005 Paul A. Hughes

Posted by hughes at 1:33 PM CDT
Updated: Sunday, July 24, 2005 1:36 PM CDT

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